A new study has found that LGBTI people aged over 50 who are married are healthier and happier than those who are single.

The world-first study by the University of Washington found that older people had better physical and mental health, social support and financial resources than their single counterparts.

Over 1,800 LGBTI people aged over 50 were surveyed for the study. Around a quarter were married, a quarter were in long-term relationships, and half were single.

The research found benefits for LGBTI couples in long-term relationships, but even more so for married couples.

“Same-sex marriage may be one of the most profound changes to social policy in recent history,” said study author Jayn Goldsen.

“[It] went from being a pipe dream to a legal quagmire to reality.”

Single LGBTI people surveyed were more likely to have a disability, and had lower physical, social and environmental quality of life.

Goldsen said many older LGBTI people in long-term relationships don’t feel the need for marriage.

Before marriage equality in the US, “couples were living together, but civil marriage wasn’t part of the story,” she said.

“Service providers need to understand the historical context of this population.”

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