Marriage equality ruling boosted LGBT emotional well-being
A study has determined that the 2015 marriage equality ruling of the US Supreme Court in Obergefell v. Hodges had a positive impact on the happiness and life satisfaction of LGBT people.
The study was conducted by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law using data from the Gallup Daily Tracking Well-Being Index Survey.
Profound effect of marriage equality ruling
In their study, researchers reported that that LGBT adults were “less likely to be happy and less likely to rate their life satisfaction higher-than-average” as compared to non-LGBT adults before the 2015 decision.
But after the high court came out with their ruling extending marriage equality nationwide, these disparities disappeared immediately.
Likewise, researchers discovered that this increase in life satisfaction was even higher among LGBT people living in states that didn’t allow same-sex weddings before the high court decision.
“The ruling alleviated one aspect of structural stigma from LGBT people’s lives,” said lead author Andrew R. Flores, Visiting Scholar at the Williams Institute.
“And we see statistically insignificant differences following the ruling between LGBT and non-LGBT people in measures of their well-being,” Flores pointed out.
LGBT well-being before and after the SC ruling
The study comes on the fifth anniversary of the Supreme Court ruling that all same-sex couples are guaranteed the right to marry.
Breaking down the numbers of the study, fewer LGBT adults reported feeling happy as compared to non-LGBT adults before the Obergefell decision, or 84 percent versus 89 percent respectively.
Likewise, fewer LGBT adults rated their life satisfaction higher-than-average compared to their non-LGBT counterparts, or 58 percent versus 68 percent respectively.
After the Obergefell decision, more LGBT adults reported feeling happy with 87 percent. More also reported higher-than-average levels of life satisfaction with 62 percent.
However, there were no significant changes in well-being among non-LGBT adults. Researchers pointed out that this destroys the homophobic myth that marriage equality would damage society or harm non-LGBT adults.
More data needed about post-Obergefell decision
However, researchers were unable to determine outcomes among LGBT people based on race and ethnicity, sex, and other personal characteristics.
This was due to the small number of LGBT survey respondents in the survey and because the data didn’t have more fine-grained measures of sexual orientation and gender identity.
As a result, the results may not totally describe the differences in well-being for LGBT people of color, women, transgender people, and others who’ve experienced stigma and discrimination.
Earlier, the Williams Institute released the findings of a study that determined that marriage equality actually boosted the US economy by around US$3.8 billion.