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Gay Marriage and Domestic Violence

A month ago, the Supreme Court affirmed the right that American adults can marry each other regardless of gender. For proponents of same-sex marriage, this was a hard fought victory and for me, personally, it was truly remarkable. Like the majority of LGBTQ+ individuals, accepting that I was not heterosexual was a long painful process because the long-standing and consistent message from society has been “you are not welcome because you are an abomination.” Now, we have taken a big step to change that message and embrace all people, but the damage from this message remains.

One of the most damaging ramifications of anti-LGBTQ+ messages can be seen in the rates of domestic violence in the community. Consistently, studies show that those in same-sex relationships experience domestic violence at much higher rates than heterosexuals. To be honest, it’s not surprising. Prior to the past few years, it felt as if every part of society was telling an individual that he or she was “evil” leaving them vulnerable to those who abuse and control. Once these individuals were in violent relationships, it seemed there was nowhere to turn because of homophobia or not knowing where they will be welcome.

Hopefully, that has changed. With the acceptance of same-sex marriage, will we see the rates of domestic violence for those in same-sex relationships begin to drop? Will LGBTQ+ youth no longer struggle to accept their sexuality, instead embrace it? I believe the next generation will have positive messages from society, homophobia will not be tolerated, and it will be reflected in their relationships.

Until then, the Domestic Violence Network is working with several agencies through the Service Equality Task force to ensure that local service providers are equipped with the knowledge and tools to serve the LGBTQ+ Community. In the coming months, they will continue to train professionals on unique forms of abuse experienced by the community and how to competently serve all people.  Contact Chris Handberg at chandberg@dvnconnect.org to schedule your organization for this free training.