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Marriage is beneficial for same-sex couples

Psychological distress is lower among lesbian, gay and bisexual individuals who are legally married to a person of the same sex, compared with those not in legally recognised unions, according to a new study from the UCLA Williams Institute.

A large body of research has shown that lesbian, gay and bisexual people generally experience higher distress levels than heterosexuals due to social exclusion, stigma and other stressors. Research also shows that, on average, married heterosexuals experience better mental health outcomes than their unmarried counterparts.

Since most lesbian, gay, and bisexual people are denied the opportunity to legally marry a same-sex partner, they are potentially denied the positive emotional benefits of the institution of marriage, claim researchers, and they appear to be dually disadvantaged in terms of their psychological well-being.

“Same-sex or different-sex, there appear to be positive mental health benefits associated with legal recognition of one’s relationship,” said Richard G. Wight, who led the study. “Mental health benefits of extending marriage to same-sex couples might be derived from a heightened sense of social inclusion concomitant with the social institution of marriage.”

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