Gay Marrieds are Happier than Straight Marrieds! Especially the Lesbians!

Percent Very Happy by Gender, Marital Status, and Sexuality: 1990-2012 GSS

Percent Very Happy by Gender, Marital Status, and Sexuality: 1990-2012 GSS

Dok Zoom was waxing poetic about the latest stupid article by pro-marriage activists, and it got me thinking, mostly because of an off the cuff comment made by the conservative pundit suggesting that gay marriage advocates could help their case by providing evidence that gay marriage makes you happier. Well, Here. It. Is. Above you can see the chart from the 1990-2012 General Social Surveys. Indeed, married people are happier than unmarried people—but the mostest happiest of all of the people are the married lesbians! 49% reported being “Very happy” compared to only 42% of married women who do not have sex with women. Married gay men are also substantially happier than married heterosexual men, with 47% of gay married men being “very happy”, compared to only 40% for married straight men.  Bisexuality makes married men sad, but married bisexual women are more happy than unmarried bisexual women. But, for sure, this is scientific proof that all of those married heterosexuals need to get themselves gay married. Looking at the unmarrieds, the gays are also significantly happier—25% of gay men are very happy, compared to only 18% of straight unmarried men, and unmarried bisexual men are also happier than unmarried straight men (23% compared to 18%). Differences aren’t as large for unmarried women, but lesbians tout the highest score. So, if you can’t get gay marrired, at least get gay.

Notably, about 4.4% of GSS respondents report having had sex with someone of the same sex, and among those with exclusively same sex sexual ties, 18% of “gay” men and 28% of “lesbian” women identify themselves as “married” in the GSS. The results above are based on reasonably sized groups, with 54 married gay men and 60 married lesbians (total N for those groups are 294 and 214, respectively).

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3 Responses to “Gay Marrieds are Happier than Straight Marrieds! Especially the Lesbians!”

  1. grahamalam Says:

    It’s probably a selection, not treatment effect.

    The social costs of gay marriage are way higher than for straight marriage, so you’re only getting people with really strong preferences for (1) marriage as an institution, and (2) their partner. No begrudged gay marriages while we’re still in political transition here.

    That said, I can’t wait for the day that gay marriage is so common that Jim feels pressure from his dad to ask James to marry, and Jim and James drag the GSS average back down to parity with straight marriage.

  2. Better description of coding please Says:

    How did you code sexuality for this data? GSS did use use direct measures for sexuality identities until pretty recently.

    • sherkat Says:

      Behavioral. This cross classifies sex and sex of sex partners. There aren’t enough cases yet in the identity measure that was added around 2008.

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