This chapter explores whether Californians in same-sex legal marriages and partnerships reported lower levels of psychological distress than other adult Californians after the 2008 California Supreme Court Decision that legalized same-sex marriage. We pooled 10 years of California Health Interview Survey (CHIS) data and employ a T1-T2 design to approximate a time series design. Dependent variables include overall self-related health, psychological distress, and household income. Independent variables include sexual identity and same-sex spouse. Bi-variate analyses compared self-reported mental and physical health between the two periods. We found decreased reports of poorer health and increased reports of very good health among gay men and lesbian women with legal spouses. Psychological distress decreased for legally coupled gay men and lesbians while increased slightly among unpartnered lesbian women and gay men. Household income increased among coupled lesbian women and gay men and decreased among others. Our project demonstrated positive health influences for Californians with legal same-sex spouses. We recommend future research projects that explore whether and how same- and opposite-sex marriage benefits health, well-being, and prosperity, and for marital status survey questions that are inclusive of sexual and gender identities and elicit the sex/gender of a respondent’s spouse.
Part of the book: Psycho-Social Aspects of Human Sexuality and Ethics