Markie Blumer, an assistant professor in the marriage and family therapy department at the University of Nevada, in Las Vegas, agreed. "Any time we have people who are stigmatized and feel not supported by the larger society, it can become a public health issue," she said. "It's complicated. Marriage may be just one part of it; people may be gay or lesbian, and also an ethnic minority, and maybe also a religious minority, depending on where they live."
Blumer thinks reducing psychological distress in people who are not heterosexual goes beyond the question of marriage.
"It's not the answer but it's a step in the right direction," she said. "You'd feel supported in your relationship by the general public and have way more legal rights. If the barriers of same-sex marriage were removed, people would be on more solid ground."
The study found an association between being in a legally recognized relationship and having better mental health, but it didn't prove cause-and-effect.
For more about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender health issues, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
SOURCES: Richard Wight, Ph.D., associate researcher, department of community health sciences, University of California, Los Angeles, School of Public Health, Los Angeles; Markie Blumer, Ph.D., L.M.F.T, assistant professor, marriage and family therapy department, University of Nevada, Las Vegas; Dec. 13, 2012, American Journal of Public Health, online
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