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Gay Marriage Ban Adds to Social Stigma: Expert

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California's ban on same-sex marriages contributes to the social stigma that puts gay men and lesbian women at increased risk for substance abuse, depression and suicide, says a Columbia University social scientist.

Ilan Meyer was testifying Thursday in the federal trial to determine whether voter-enacted Proposition 8 violates the U.S. Constitution. It's the first federal trial to consider the constitutionality of state gay marriage bans, the Associated Press reported.

"People in our society have goals that are cherished by all people, that are part of the social convention," Meyer said. "We are all raised to think there are certain things we want to achieve in life, and this Proposition 8 says if you are gay or lesbian, you cannot achieve this particular goal."

In other testimony Thursday, a city of San Francisco economist said the gay marriage ban costs the city millions of dollars a year in lost revenue and increased services, the AP reported.

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