Worst of all, Australia’s ban on same-sex marriages disadvantages same-sex attracted people by sending out the message that they are less capable of love and commitment than heterosexual people.
It says their relationships are less stable, less resilient and of less value to the partners involved and their family and friends.
These negative messages, plus the devaluation and discrimination already cited, have a profound impact on the health and well-being of same-sex attracted people and their families.
Same-sex attracted Australians are more likely to experience below-average health outcomes including higher levels of depression, due to this prejudice and discrimination. The statistics are particularly alarming for younger and newly-identifying LGBTI people who have consistently higher rates of drug and alcohol abuse, homelessness, early school leaving, conflict with peers and parents and suicide ideation, all directly related to the discrimination and prejudice they experience.[v]
A number of researchers have shown there is a direct link between legal bans on same-sex marriage and higher levels of stress and anxiety, lower self esteem, and greater incidence of mental and physical health problems among same-sex attracted people.[vi] This has prompted the American Psychological Association to support marriage equality. It has also been confirmed by the University of Queensland study mentioned above. This study found that the more same-sex attracted people felt their relationships were valued in the same ways as opposite-sex relationships, the greater their sense of overall well-being.
Because not allowing same-sex couples to marry disadvantages all same-sex attracted people by infringing their fundamental rights, fostering discrimination against them and impairing their physical and psychological health surveys have consistently shown that support for marriage equality among same-sex attracted people, including those who do not wish to marry, is as high as 80%.
[v] For more on health risk in young people see “Writing Themselves in Again, the 2nd national report on the sexual health and wellbeing of same-sex attracted young people”, Australian Centre for Sex, Health and Society, http://www.glhv.org.au/files/writing_themselves_in_again.pdf
[vi] Herdt, G., and R Kertner, “I Do, but I Can’t: The Impact of Marriage Denial on the Mental Health and Sexual Citizenship of Lesbians and Gay Men in the United States”, Journal of Research and Social Policy, March 2006, also, D., Hasin, et al, “The Impact of Institutional Discrimination on Psychiatric Disorders in Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Populations: A Prospective Study”, American Journal of Public Health, Jan 2010
Posted in: 12 reasons why marriage equality matters