Marriage equality advocates have another reason to feel dedicated to their cause today, as a revelatory new study has found that the health of gay men living in states with laws allowing same-sex couples to wed actually improves their health, even if they don't get hitched.
According to "Effect of Same-Sex Marriage Laws on Health Care Use and Expenditures in Sexual Minority Men: A Quasi-Natural Experiment," which can be found online in the American Journal of Public Health, gay men's visits to local health clinics dropped significantly after Massachusetts began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in 2004.
Researchers from Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health surveyed the demand for medical and mental health care from 1,211 Massachusetts-based gay men registered with a particular health clinic in the 12 months prior to the change, and the 12 months afterward, the BBC is reporting.
Overall, researchers found a 13 percent drop in healthcare visits among the group after the law was enacted, as well as a reduction in blood pressure problems, depression and "adjustment disorders," which could be the result of reduced stress, according to reports.
Interestingly, as HealthDay notes, lesbians weren't included in the study because there were too few who visit the clinic.
"Our results suggest that removing these barriers improves the health of gay and bisexual men," Dr. Mark Hatzenbuehler, who led the study, is quoted by the BBC as saying. "Marriage equality may produce broad public health benefits by reducing the occurrence of stress-related health conditions."
Hatzenbuehler was also responsible for a study that found that gay and straight teens who live in socio-politically conservative areas are more likely to attempt suicide, and the degree of an area’s political conservatism reflects the degree teens are likely to attempt suicide regardless of their sexual orientation, the New Civil Rights Movement points out.