The Tech - Online EditionMIT's oldest and largest
newspaper & the first
newspaper published
on the web
Boston Weather: 41.0°F | Overcast
Article Tools

This week, the Supreme Court agreed to hear a case seeking to force states to permit gay marriage. Many expect the Court to force nationwide gay marriage, and in most of the US, gay marriage is indeed popularly supported. While many laud gay marriage as the natural consequence of homosexuality being normal, and many college students have a homosexual experience at some point, homosexual behavior and homosexual commitment are very different. Before encouraging gay marriage, we should examine the effects of homosexual commitments: even pro-gay-marriage scientific studies show that long-term homosexual commitment is very unusual, and strongly correlated with depression and suicidal tendencies, even with societal support.

First, long-term homosexual relationships are rare in most animals, including humans. In other species, while homosexuality has been frequently observed, long-term homosexuality is very rare, indicating that it constitutes a deviant, rather than normative, sexual behavior in general. Homosexual relationships are also less stable than heterosexual marriages. Data from Vermont (Solomon and Rathblum 2004, in favor of gay marriage) showed that homosexual couples in civil unions had considered or discussed ending their relationships just as frequently as married heterosexual relatives had. At the same time, homosexual relationships lasted on average just two thirds as long as heterosexual relationships. Even though these long-term relationships were validated by society, they showed higher instability than similar heterosexual marriages, which leads to lower family success rates and likely psychological damage to the next generation.

Furthermore, human homosexuality has been correlated with an increased risk for mental health problems, including suicide and depression (for instance, see Remafedi et al. 1998, in favor of gay marriage). While this may be caused by societal pressures, data from the Netherlands (Sandfort et al., 2006), where homosexuality is much more socially acceptable than it is here, shows a statistically significant difference in acute mental health problems between homosexuals, bisexuals, and heterosexuals. The correlation seems inescapable — the encouragement of homosexuality should only come with increased availability of mental health resources and an understanding that homosexual behavior often correlates with poor mental health.

I support individuals’ sexual freedom; I am libertarian and bisexual. However, given the apparent deviance of homosexuality, it seems that encouraging homosexual exclusivity is against society’s obligation to safe, healthy social behaviors, at least without additional local data contradicting our current experiences. Homosexuality should be coupled with increased mental health support, not with encouragement to commit to long-term dangerous behaviors, and this can only be done together at a local level, not by requiring states to conduct gay marriages despite majority opposition. I hope the Court upholds the ability of states to choose to not recognize gay marriage, and I encourage the reader to research the psychological effects of gay marriage before making a conclusion for one’s self.

Tea Dorminy ’13