Same-sex marriage legalization (SSML) is a typical anti-discrimination policy to remove institutional discrimination against sexual minorities by providing them with marriage equality. We examine how this legalization in the Netherlands affected mental health. Conducting a difference-in-differences analysis with heterosexual individuals as a reference group, we find that SSML significantly improved mental health of sexual minorities and substantially reduced the sexual orientation gap of mental health. The beneficial effects were present for both married and non-married sexual minorities. This phenomenon suggests that part of the health gains were related to mechanisms beyond marriage itself.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors. The authors are grateful to participants at an AEA Virtual Seminar on LGBTQ?+?Economics, and attendants at EALE-SOLE-AASLE World Conference 2020, EEA Congress 2020, an SOGI Economics Early Career Workshop, and Australian Gender Economics Workshop 2021 for their helpful comments and suggestions on a previous version of this paper. The authors thank Statistics Netherlands (CBS) for making their restricted access micro-data available for analysis through a remote access facility.
© 2021 The Authors. Health Economics published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.