ISSUE: MARRIAGE EQUALITY
STATEMENT: Studies have shown that stigmatization and marginalization that is fos-tered by legal and social barriers to equality can have mental health consequences. These consequences can include a mental and emotional cycle of doubt, shame, self-loathing and fear. The result is a six-fold increase in anxiety and depressive disorders and an eight-fold increase in suicide attempts by gay teens. Successful suicide amounts to a three-fold in-crease over their heterosexual counterparts. LGBT individuals exhibit a higher prevalence of excessive drug, alcohol, and tobacco use and are also over represented among the home-less population. LGBT individuals have a 58% incidence of sexual assault, while 66% re-port being verbally abused and ridiculed and 44% are physically abused at school.
Constitutional bans on same-sex marriage have the effect of institutionalizing stigma and discrimination, thereby increasing the incidence of depression, anxiety and abuse. Mental Health America of Indiana would oppose a constitutional amendment that discriminates against same-sex marriage and will support legislation providing equal rights to LGBT in-dividuals as a protected class.
PRIORITY LEVEL: III