'Gay marriage bans cause distress'

Ban on same-sex marriages inflict psychological trauma on gays and lesbians, a US study released yesterday concluded.

india Updated: Mar 01, 2006 15:42 IST

Ban on same-sex marriages inflict psychological trauma on gays and lesbians, a US study released yesterday concluded.

A study titled 'I do, but I can't' examined nationwide research and determined that denying same-sex couples the marriage rights on par with heterosexual couples created "the mental distress of second-class citizenship."

Being barred from marrying increased the risk of depression or isolation among gays, according to the findings released by the National Sexuality Resource Centre.

"Marriage denial creates what experts call minority stress, the psychological effects of constant discrimination that bars individuals from the legitimate means of achieving goals that are valued by the society in which they live," said study co-author Gil Herdt.

"Lesbians and gay men work just as hard as heterosexuals do in creating and maintaining committed relationships, but they do not get the same tangible benefits."

Even when lesbian or gay couples create unsanctioned alternative families, they don't get the psychological or health benefits reportedly experienced by married couples, according to Herdt.

Herdt, an anthropologist, is director of the center, which is based at San Francisco State University.

Stuart Gaffney and his long-time partner, Jonathan Lewis, whose same-sex marriage in San Francisco was among those undone by the courts, took part in the press conference at which the study results were discussed.

First Published: Mar 01, 2006 15:42 IST