Same-sex marriage in the US just received the backing of one of the world's most well-respected medical journals. The New England Journal of Medicine published an editorial today outlining its position — a position that is, unsurprisingly, tied to the many health obstacles faced by LGBTQ folks, as well as their families.
"Too often physicians have seen the price that their patients have paid for society’s lack of acceptance of homosexuality," the authors write. Long-term, stable relationships encourage health and reduce the risk of certain diseases; same-sex marriage should therefore "be accepted both as a matter of justice and as a measure that promotes health," they write.
"a matter of justice" and "a measure that promotes health."
The editorial is a message meant for the Supreme Court, which is expected to rule on same-sex marriage in June. "We believe that the Court should resolve this conflict in favor of the full recognition of same-sex marriage throughout the United States," they write.
In a country without federally recognized same-sex marriage, making life and death decisions — decisions regarding end-of-life care, for instance — is difficult for gay couples. "Physicians know that talking with a patient’s partner is not legally the same as working with a patient’s spouse," the authors write. The same goes for families with children; in order to take care of the health of their kids, parents should benefit from the full rights and protections of marriage. It's often necessary to obtain health insurance coverage for spouses and kids, the authors note.
"More than 1,000 federal benefits are conferred by marriage, among them access to family medical leave, Medicaid, and Veterans Affairs medical services" — and some of those benefits aren't accessible to same-sex spouses in states that don't recognize their union. If the court rules against same-sex marriage, the "injustice would damage the health and welfare of millions of Americans."