Anxiety & Stress Increase In States That Ban Gay Marriage

Stress decreases in states that pass same sex marriage laws. Should that be surprising?

Gay marriage improves everybody’s life, straight, gay or otherwise.

gay marriage, gay men, same sex marriage, same sex relationship, anxiety, stressA study published in American Journal of Public Health by Columbia University shows that LGBT people, in states that passed defense of marriage laws banning gay marriage, saw increased mental health problems.

The National Institutes of Mental Health NIMH had done a survey before the defense of marriage fad started in 2004 and did a followup survey in 2005. The Columbia researchers were able to compare the results of the two surveys and isolate the changes in mental health conditions proving that only LGBT people in states where there had been fierce debate about marriage and subsequent laws discriminating against same sex marriage were effected.

What they found in the LGBT population was:

  • a 37 percent increase in mood disorders,” he says
  • a 42 percent increase in alcohol-use disorders
  • a 248 percent increase in generalized anxiety disorders

Dr. Hatzenbuehler the lead researcher from Columbia stated that went from being reported among 2.7 percent to 9.4 percent of gay, lesbian and bisexual people.

The researchers also were able to prove that LGBT people in states less hateful to them did not experience increases in mental health disorders:

“We showed the psychiatric disorders did not increase in lesbian, gay and bisexual populations in states that didn’t debate and vote on same-sex marriages,” Hatzenbuehler says. “There were also no increases — or much smaller increases — among heterosexuals living in the states that passed same-sex marriage bans.”

Even more interesting according to Hatzenbuehler was that once gay marriage passed in Massachusetts:

“Gay men in Massachusetts experienced fewer stress-related disorders after that state legalized same-sex marriage.”

The reason for this increase? According to Hatzenbuehler:

“They [LGBT community] reported multiple stressors during that period. They reported seeing negative media portrayals, anti-gay graffiti. They talked about experiencing a loss of safety and really feeling like these amendments and these policies were really treating them as second-class citizens.”

Same sex marriage benefits all of society not just the LGBT community. My article 4 Good Things About Gay Marriage on the benefits straight people get from gay marriage can be accessed here. 

This data was published in the American Journal Of Public Health and reported on by NPR.

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Larry Cappel is a trained relationship coach specializing in same-sex relationships and a licensed marriage and family therapist. He can be reached through his website if you’d like to talk about any aspect of your relationship.



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