Wedding Bells

Gay marriage’s effects are ‘unambiguously positive,’ study finds

It’s been 20 years since gay marriage was first legalized in the US. Back in May of 2004, Massachusetts became the first state to offer marriage licenses to same-sex couples, though not without major pushback. Conservatives complained that legalizing gay marriage would ruin the sanctity of straight marriage, or that fewer people would want to get married in general. Now, a new study proves that the exact opposite has come true.

The study, published by nonprofit research organization RAND, reviewed existing studies and conducted new analyses to see the state of marriage in America today. Long story short, the study’s authors concluded that “the benefits of access to legal marriage for same-sex couples are unambiguously positive.”

What exactly are those benefits? In states where gay marriage was legalized, the rates of anti-queer hate crimes, employment discrimination, and STDs including syphilis, HIV, and AIDS all declined. Meanwhile, rates of homeownership, earnings, and relationship stability all increased for same-sex households in those states, as did adoption rates.

And as far as overall attitudes toward marriage, legalizing gay marriage doesn’t seem to have had much of an impact — and if it did, it was positive. Marriage rates have increased by 1-2% for different-sex couples and by 10% overall. Around 70% of Americans now support same-sex marriage.

“Some of those who opposed the granting of marriage rights to same-sex couples predicted that doing so would undermine the institution of marriage, resulting in fewer couples marrying, more couples divorcing and an overall retreat from family formation,” Benjamin R. Karney, one of the study’s authors, said in a statement. “Overall, the fears of opponents of same-sex marriage simply have not come to pass.”

“We find no evidence for a retreat from marriage,” added Melanie A. Zaber, another of the study’s authors. “In fact, there is evidence suggesting that by extending marriage rights to a greater number of couples, interest in marriage increased. And that finding isn’t limited to same-sex couples — this is also true for the broader population.”

“The only changes we detect are suggestive of a renewed salience of marriage among the broader public,” Zaber continued. “There is no empirical basis for concerns that allowing same-sex couples to marry has negatively affected different-sex couples and families.”

Don't forget to share:

Read More in Culture
The Latest on INTO