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May 2015

Science-Gilding the Marriage Debate

“Marriage equality is a civil rights issue—but it is a public health issue, too. And a growing body of research links bans on same-sex marriage with adverse health effects on lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) individuals.” So begins the amicus brief filed by the American Public Health Association (APHA) in support of same-sex marriage. The APHA says that its brief offers “another compelling reason” for the Supreme Court to overturn state laws that define marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

The brief is one of several that cite scientific backing for a movement that was once about subjective notions of fairness and equality. The motivation is understandable: deep-seated ideological differences seem much easier to overcome when one side can claim the authority of Science (with a capital “S”). After all, who could be against Science?