Washington, DC – June 26, 3013 –Two landmark rulings today from the US Supreme Court on marriage equality for same-sex couples will have a significant effect on LGBT people and their health by helping end discrimination and stigma, a principle source of health disparities for LGBT people, according to GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBT Equality.
“These are enormous victories for loving and committed same-sex couples,” said GLMA Executive Director Hector Vargas. “GLMA applauds the decisions, which will lead to positive impacts on the health and well-being of LGBT Americans.”
The scientific evidence, summarized in GLMA’s 2008 landmark publication, “Same-Sex Marriage and Health,” points to the health benefits of marriage for gay and lesbian couples. Findings from the report indicate that marriage can help protect and promote: the mental and physical health of lesbians and gay men, the health of children being raised by gay men and lesbians and the health of aging gay and lesbian individuals. This research was referenced in a pair of amicus briefs GLMA filed with the Supreme Court in these cases.
As a result of today’s rulings, California will become the 13th state to allow committed same-sex couples to marry and the federal government must now treat married same-sex couples equally to their opposite-sex married counterparts.
The denial of the freedom to marry has very real health implications. In his majority opinion in the DOMA case, Justice Anthony Kennedy alluded to the social stability that marriage affords and also noted how—in very tangible terms—the law prevented married couples from receiving federal healthcare benefits and raised the cost of healthcare for families by taxing health benefits employers provided to same-sex spouses of employees.
“As health professionals, our members see firsthand how the denial of marriage equality impacts the health and well-being of LGBT people,” said Vargas. “The denial of the freedom to marry is discriminatory and imposes harmful stigma on lesbian and gay individuals, which is a principal source of health disparities among LGBT people.
“While this is a joyous day for LGBT people around the country, our work is not done,” said Vargas. “The majority of states, of course, still do not allow same-sex couples to marry. In addition, the LGBT community continues to face significant health disparities and discrimination in healthcare. With today’s rulings, GLMA renews its commitment to build understanding and advance the conversation about LGBT health and equality.”