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Marriage may boost health
Equality under the law may be good for you. According to a new study, gay and bisexual men who live in states where same-sex marriage has been legalised are healthier, less stressed, and have reduced health care costs.
The study, “Effect of Same-Sex Marriage Laws on Health Care Use and Expenditures in Sexual Minority Men: A Quasi-Natural Experiment,” conducted by Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, involved 1211 patients at a Massachusetts health clinic serving the LGBTI community.
The study found that in the year after Massachusetts’ 2003 legalisation of same-sex marriage, there was a significant decrease in medical care visits, mental health visits and mental health-care costs among gay and bisexual men at the clinic compared to the year before the law changed.
Overall there was a 13 percent reduction in health-care visits and a 14 percent reduction in health-care costs, with the benefits displayed similarly in both single men and those with partners.
“These findings suggest that marriage equality may produce broad public health benefits by reducing the occurrence of stress-related health conditions in gay and bisexual men,” lead author Mark Hatzenbuehler said.
Previous research has shown that not having the right to marry can have a stressful effect on gays, lesbians and bisexuals.
“This research makes important contributions to a growing body of evidence on the social, economic and health benefits of marriage equality,” Hatzenbuehler said.
The study was published online in the American Journal of Public Health.