Washington, DC – “For the first time in history, the Supreme Court of the United States is poised to weigh in on the issue of marriage equality for same-sex couples. Oral arguments begin today in a challenge to California’s Proposition 8 and tomorrow the Court will hear arguments around Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act. At stake is whether gay and lesbian couples will be denied equal protection and rights under the law. The National Minority AIDS Council (NMAC) is confident that the Court will come down on the side of fairness, inclusion and equality and affirm the right of same-sex couples to legally marry.
“As a matter of policy, same-sex couples deserve and should be granted the same rights and privileges as heterosexual couples. By doing so, our nation would affirm its founding principles and continue its tradition of fairness and equality. As a matter of public health, advancing marriage equality is a critical step in addressing the broad range of health disparities and social inequities that affect the LGBT community. The government should support all individuals who wish to make a lifelong commitment to their partner through civil marriage, which has been shown to promote the health, not only of those entering into such unions, but also among the larger LGBT community.
“A study conducted by two Emory University economists found a direct correlation between constitutional amendments banning gay marriage and increased HIV infection rates among gay and bisexual men. Codifying discrimination perpetuates stigma and devalues the meaning of sexual behavior between same-sex partners. On the other hand, codifying equality has been shown to have a direct impact on the physical and mental wellbeing of the entire community. A study in Massachusetts found that after marriage equality was implemented there, gay and bisexual men had a significant decrease in medical care visits, mental health care visits, and mental health care costs, regardless of whether they were married or single.
“Today’s arguments are a historic moment in the struggle for LGBT equality. But regardless of how the Court rules, it is clear that our community’s march toward full equality is inevitable. With 58 percent of Americans now supporting marriage equality, including President Obama and more than 200 members of Congress, public sentiment is on our side. NMAC was founded on the principle that all minorities deserve equal treatment. As such, we wholeheartedly support marriage equality, both as a matter of social justice and as sound public health policy. We hope that the Supreme Court affirms that belief, and will continue to fight for marriage equality for all Americans.”
Contact: Kyle Murphy, (202) 483-6622, ex. 3330, firstname.lastname@example.org