Wednesday, May 9, 2012

GMHC Proudly Commends President Obama's Endorsement of Marriage Equality

Today represents a significant landmark in the fight for marriage equality as President Obama formally endorses that same-sex couples should be able to get married. His announcement is a reflection of his support for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community and for equal rights.

However, marriage equality for same-sex couples is more than just a matter of equal rights and access to the protections and benefits that marriage equality affords. From a public health standpoint, studies have shown that gay couples in affirmed relationships are less likely to place themselves at risk for HIV. Similarly, homophobia and anti-gay bullying often place LGBT individuals at higher risk for HIV.

"The message that same-sex couples should be able to get married is a positive affirmation that our relationships are just as meaningful and deserve the same recognition as heterosexual couples," said Marjorie Hill, PhD, Chief Executive Officer of Gay Men's Health Crisis. "President Obama's demonstrated leadership and commitment to marriage equality is an important milestone in the fight for same-sex marriage, as we move towards full equality for all U.S. citizens, regardless of sexual orientation."

Six states (Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire, New York) and the District of Columbia currently allow same-sex couples to get married and same-sex marriage laws have also been recently passed in Washington and Maryland. While there have been significant gains for marriage equality, recent setbacks, including passage of Amendment One in North Carolina (which prohibits same-sex marriages and civil unions), is a testament that there is still tremendous work to be done. President Obama's support for marriage equality is a strong message that discrimination, homophobia, and a denial of rights will not be tolerated at the federal level.

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