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Mental Health

Dr. Manny: Marriage equality has health benefits for all

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As a practicing physician for the past 30 years, I know one fact to be true: Marriage benefits the family.

I have worked in very busy medical centers, and I have seen numerous patients take on debilitating health problems by themselves.  Many times, their isolation makes things much more difficult.  

To have a support system through marriage means the world when you’re sick.  It means you have someone to listen to your problems, to offer advice; and ultimately, to be your health advocate.

If we look at some of the health benefits of marriage, we find that married individuals recover better after surgery, are less likely to have heart attacks, and are more likely to live longer and be healthier overall.  Also, a study published in the American Journal of Public Health found that married gay and lesbian couples are much more likely to have better mental health than their unwed counterparts.

And marriage isn’t only valuable for the individuals involved, as its health benefits extend to the rest of the family.  Recently, the American Academy of Pediatrics said children thrive when they have two married parents who love them and can provide them with a nurturing environment, irrespective of the parents’ sexual orientation.

In my personal specialty, I see the power of marriage in bringing new life into this world.  I have delivered babies for heterosexual couples, as well as babies for many lesbian couples.  Regardless of a couple’s sexual orientation, the beauty of a newborn child is equally astounding to everyone.

I applaud the Supreme Court for striking down the Defense of Marriage Act and essentially overturning Proposition 8.  Marriage equality is quite healthy for our society, especially for our children.  Isolation and inequality are detrimental to our health, ultimately bringing about depression, sadness and anxiety.  

I am glad we are making the world a more equal and joyful place.

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Dr. Manny Alvarez serves as Fox News Channel's Senior Managing Editor for Health News. Prior to this position, Alvarez was a FNC medical contributor. Click here more information on Dr. Manny's work with Hackensack University Medical Center. Visit for more.