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Emory study: Marriage bans infect more than just the body politic

by Jeremy Hooper

We've suggested time and time again that many things for which the "pro-family" community faults LGBT people (drug use, STDs, depression, etc) are largely due to (or at least compounded by) their own anti-gay activism. That's because marginalization can often time leads to lives that are lived on the margins, and no community is better at casting LGBT people out of their homes, families, and comfort zones that those who spend their days condemning this population. The concept makes perfect sense to just about every queer person.

Now a new Emory University study suggests as much, at least when it comes to HIV:

Picture 7-176In the first study of the impact of social tolerance levels toward gays in the United States on the HIV transmission rate, the researchers estimated that a constitutional ban on gay marriage raises the rate by four cases per 100,000 people.

"We found the effects of tolerance for gays on HIV to be statistically significant and robust – they hold up under a range of empirical models," says Hugo Mialon, an assistant professor of economics.

"Laws on gay marriage are in flux and under debate," added Andrew Francis, also an assistant professor of economics, citing the recent decision by the California Supreme Court to uphold a ban on same-sex marriage. "It's a hot issue, and we are hoping that policymakers will take our findings into account."

The study used data from the General Social Survey (GSS), which has tracked the attitudes of Americans during the past four decades. The economists calculated that a rise in tolerance from the 1970s to the 1990s reduced HIV cases by one per 100,000 people, and that laws against same-sex marriage boosted cases by 4 per 100,000.

"Intolerance is deadly," Mialon said. "Bans on gay marriage codify intolerance, causing more gay people to shift to underground sexual behaviors that carry more risk."

Bans on same-sex marriage can be tied to a rise in the rate of HIV infection, a new study by two Emory economists has found.
(H/t: J.M.G.)

Although it's likely that at least 4 in every 100,000 who campaign for marriage bans consider AIDS to be "God's wrath" anyway. So who knows if this finding even helps our side?

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Your thoughts

This is fascinating and important stuff. Thanks.


Posted by: Timothy (TRiG) | Jun 5, 2009 5:29:43 PM

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