Study confirms Maggie Gallagher’s claim

Timothy Kincaid

December 19th, 2011

Maggie Gallagher, the nation’s chief opponent to marriage equality, loves to claim that marriage is good for society because those who are married live healthier lives. And a new study appears to confirm that claim.

From the NY Daily News

A report published in the American Journal of Public Health shows that in states where gay marriage is legal, homosexual men visit doctors less and their health costs go down considerably.

“Our results suggest that removing these barriers improves the health of gay and bisexual men,” Mark Hatzenbuehler, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholar at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, said in a news release

Of course, Maggie only meant heterosexuals who are married. Alas.

I didn’t really need a study to know that those who are in committed relationships take fewer risks, enjoy greater contentment, and have someone there to nag them about their weight. But it’s nice to have confirmation… Of sorts.

To be honest, I don’t place much faith in this actual study. Comparing one year to another year in one clinic has about as much statistical value as guessing. But I guess it did at least show that enacting equality doesn’t lead to increased health costs – as The Peter absurdly likes to imply.

But Maggie and her NOM buddies just love statistically irrelevant studies and if she were consistent she’d see this as evidence in favor of marriage equality.

So does that mean Maggie will switch sides and support marriage? Nope. Even if this were irrefutable proof that marriage equality would improve the health of ever gay person with no negative consequences for anyone gay or straight, Maggie would still fight to keep inequality in place. Because your health is a far far lower priority than having her church get to dictate what law and culture should allow.


December 19th, 2011

Your last paragraph hits the nail on the head exactly. And we see it all the time in the self-hating, closeted, far-right conservatives (and GOProud): they will stick to their mindless ideology at all costs, even when it becomes ludicrously hypocritical or when it actually harms themselves.

Priya Lynn

December 19th, 2011

JT, I read somewhere about a study that showed if conservatives are shown proof that their beliefs are false it only makes them even more certain their beliefs are correct.

Timothy (TRiG)

December 19th, 2011


My memory of those studies is that they show similar effects for people of all political leanings, but are more marked for conservatives. But I don’t have references to hand and don’t trust my imperfect memory.


Priya Lynn

December 19th, 2011

I don’t remember reading that, Trig which is not to say that it isn’t in there. I normally save a link to such items I’ll have to look for it later.

Timothy Kincaid

December 19th, 2011

Please do find a link if you can. I suspect that it is true for all political subgroups but it would be interesting to find out.

Priya Lynn

December 19th, 2011


December 19th, 2011

Of course she would not support anything that might lengthen the lives of LGBT people. Her prime wish is that we would all simply disappear.

Timothy Kincaid

December 19th, 2011

Thanks Priya Lynn,

Interesting… but that really is a pretty shoddy “study”.

It seems their premise is that once provided with a “refutation” prepared by an opposing political group that the subjects are supposed to no longer believe the first claim but put their faith completely in the second political claim. And if they fail to disbelieve the first claim and choose the refutation instead, this is evidence of recalcitrance.

I think that most BTB readers, if presented with two competing assertions, would consider the sources for both, weigh their credibility, apply the claims to what we already know or believe, and make our determination consistent with our own views. That seems to be “failure” in the views of these researchers.

But it’s interesting nonetheless. Mostly, it provides interesting information about how political scientists go about trying to “prove” that those who disagree with them are not just incorrect but inherently so.

Priya Lynn

December 19th, 2011

“It seems their premise is that once provided with a “refutation” prepared by an opposing political group that the subjects are supposed to no longer believe the first claim but put their faith completely in the second political claim. And if they fail to disbelieve the first claim and choose the refutation instead, this is evidence of recalcitrance.”.

That’s not at all what I got from it. The study shows that if one group of conservatives is given a popular conservative claim such as tax cuts increase revenue, and a second group is given that claim as well as a refutation the second group is twice as likely to believe the popular conservative claim as the first. I.E. evidence that a popular conservative talking point is wrong makes conservatives far more likely to believe its true than if they hadn’t been presented with the evidence that it was wrong.

Timothy Kincaid

December 19th, 2011

thank you for proving my point

Priya Lynn

December 19th, 2011

That wasn’t your point.

Mark F.

December 19th, 2011

It seems common for people to only cherry pick evidence which supports their beliefs.

Eric Payne

December 19th, 2011

Almost 13 years ago, now, I entered heart failure. 12 years ago, I had my first heart surgery. Since the surgery, I have not been able to go a full two months without being hospitaliz­ed for, at least, three days.

November 2nd, 2010, after 16 years of being together, Bill and I married in Boston, MA

This year? 2011 marks the first time since September 15, 1999, that I have not been hospitaliz­ed, at least once, in any given 12-month period. With less than two weeks remaining, I have not been hospitaliz­ed, nor undergone a major “cardiac event”, this year.

(Oh, and my heart was ablated in December, 2010, killing my heart’s ability to create its own beat and, instead, forcing my implanted defib to generate the contractio­ns of my heart… so that might have a little something to do with it… but I like the “I’m healthier because I’m married” meme…)


December 19th, 2011

Eric, your story also highlights the need for gay marriage in other ways. Some hospitals only let immediate family and spouses into certain wings, like the ICU or surgery recovery. I know Obama issued that executive order, but I understand it doesn’t apply to all hospitals. With a legal marriage, he has to be let into those rooms to see you as your recognized next of kin. Anywho, I wish you the best. Sounds like you’ve had a lot of challenges to overcome. It’s great to hear you have a partner to help you through.


December 19th, 2011

I support gay marriage. I would like to point out, however, that marriage does not necessarily bring contentment. If it did, divorce would be nonexistent.

I would also like to share that throughout my life I have had thousands of sex partners. I’ve never had an STD and I’m HIV negative. Seems to me the important thing is to be safe, not married. Married people cheat and if you’re not safe, you bring what you have to a partner.

I’d also like to add that I’ve never wanted to get married. I’ve had a great time being single and my best friends have been much closer to me than any partner I’ve had. I’ll get old with a couple of my best friends and I doubt any married couple loves their spouse more than I love my best friend. My best friend and I would do anything for the other. In other words, you don’t need to be married to have loving, very long term, reciprocal relationships.

Is the gay community going to be as sanctimonious about marriage as the NOM idiots?

Just wonderin’

Timothy Kincaid

December 19th, 2011


I would like to point out, however, that marriage does not necessarily bring contentment. If it did, divorce would be nonexistent.

Good point.

However, marriage does seem to lead to improved health. Or, at least, Harvard Medical School seems to think so. And it doesn’t take the santimoniousness of NOM to report the results of studies.

Of course, you may not experience any added value from marriage or from finding a partner. It’s not for everyone.

But I do have to warn you about claiming too loudly that you will stay single. One of my best friends told me that about two years ago… and though he had been single for a decade, he didn’t last six months before he fell in love. The Fates have a wacky sense of humor, you know.

Priya Lynn

December 19th, 2011

So Jim, if you have such a good best friend, what would be wrong with marrying him? That’s what most of us seek in a marriage partner.


December 19th, 2011

Jim, it’s great that you’re following your own path, and if monogamy isn’t for you, I hope you’ll always stick to that and never try to have it both ways, like so many people do. Those are the people who cheat. Some of us really are down with monogamy, however. My partner and I are two of them. And I disagree very very strongly with your idea that you love your best friend more than other people love their spouses. That’s something that can never be measured. This world and the way people in it behave these days can make one skeptical about the possibility of lasting marital love. My grandparents have proven to me it’s not impossible. Gram died last Spring, and I watched my Pop weep over her on her death bed. The family had been keeping him distracted all day, as Gram laid in the back of the room. It wasn’t until we gave them that moment together to let Pop hold her hand, that she allowed herself to finally give up. She took her last breath after he took her hand and said “I love you, my dear.” They were married for 63 and a half years. They had been dating since before Pop left to fight in WW2. Yeah, it’s probably a long, unnecessary story, but it’s real and I felt like telling it. People like my grandparents, and even my parents, who have survived one another’s alcoholism and now once again have a great and happy marriage, show me that it’s possible, and they also make me value monogamy.

Also, telling my grandparents story reminds me of yet another reason recognizing gay relationships is important. Gram and Pop had the right to be together in their assisted-living home and no one else in the family had any legal right to challenge that. My heart breaks when I think of the two elderly gentlemen in Sonoma County, CA who weren’t offered the same dignity by the county officials who put them in separate homes and auctioned off their home and belongings. While it is true, that in California, there were laws they could have taken advantage of to prevent that, but they were older, and perhaps they would have gotten a domestic partnership had the law been around sooner, and the fact is also that other states have no protections for such couples at all. There’s a really good documentary called “Tying the Knot, that tells the story of such couples.

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