Study: Same-sex marriage bans don't help straights and make life worse for gays
Who's surprised? I'm not. But there's some other interesting stuff in there. Here's the working paper:
This paper analyzes the relationships among same-sex marriage bans, social attitudes, and measures of public health and welfare. We hypothesize that same-sex marriage bans may foster intolerance for gays and increase the social costs of same-sex partnerships, which may raise incentives for risky homosexual behavior. We also hypothesize that same-sex marriage bans may codify and signal traditional family values, which may raise the benefits of heterosexual marriage and reduce incentives for non-marital sex. Using micro- and state-level data and a variety of estimation techniques, we find evidence that same-sex marriage bans reduced tolerance for gays and increased the syphilis rate, a rough proxy for risky homosexual behavior. Moreover, we find some evidence that same-sex marriage bans reduced tolerance for non-marital sex and reduced abortion and teen pregnancy rates, although the effect on teen pregnancy appears very short-lived. We found no consistent evidence that same-sex marriage bans impacted marriage or divorce rates.
In other words, gay people are more at risk when same-sex marriage is banned and stigmatized. I'm not surprised by this. And straight marriages are not actually endangered by same-sex marriage, no matter what the anti-gay-marriage people try to tell you. I am also not surprised by this.
It is interesting to see the effects on other societal arenas, though: for example, making gay marriage illegal appears to reduce the abortion rate. I'm not enormously surprised by this either, but it's worth mulling over. I would personally guess that this happens because women become more scared and anxious and stigmatized in re: getting abortions when they live in a more sex-negative culture -- not because women need abortions less. And being too scared or anxious and stigmatized to get an abortion one wants is bad for women, not good -- although I'm sure someone in the family values crowd would try to spin this one to claim that "hey, women are getting fewer abortions, this means that gay marriage bans are good for women!"
I found this via the amazing MetaFilter, which also has a rundown of some other interesting sex-related papers from these authors.