News Release
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Department:

City Services

April 8, 2013

Chicago LGBT Health Advisory Council Calls on Illinois House to Pass Marriage Equality ‘for the Health of All Our Neighbors’

Historical Data Shows that Increased Equality Yields Improvements in Health

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT:

Brian Richardson, Director of Public Affairs & Community Engagement

brian.richardson@cityofchicago.org

Chicago – Today, the Chicago Department of Public Health’s (CDPH) LGBT Health Advisory Council submitted an open letter to members of the Illinois House of Representatives making the public health argument for the “Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act” providing marriage equality in Illinois. In the letter, the members of the Council provide evidence showing the connection between increased equality under the law and improved public health.

“A vote for this bill is a vote for public health,” the letter reads.

The authors compare marriage equality to past civil rights issues, citing previous studies that show the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 led to increased life expectancy and decreased infant mortality among African Americans. These improvements are credited in part with increased access for individuals as well as decreased social stigma associated with unequal status under the law.

“Civil rights are important for health because the social differences that result from inequalities actually have more impact on the health of an individual than even medical care,” the letter continues.

The letter goes on to detail the vast health inequalities that exist for LGBT Americans including increased likelihood of bullying against LGBT youth, decreased rates of health insurance and increased likelihood of general psychological distress.

The letter continues, “LGBT Illinoisans deserve the same rights and opportunities as everyone else – including not only the right to marry but also the right to live a healthy life.”

The full letter can be found here.

The Chicago LGBT Health Advisory Council is composed of sixteen community leaders and was formed last month to provide insight and input to city leaders determining policy affecting the health and wellbeing of LGBT residents. More details on the Council, including membership can be found here.