Marriage equality boosts gay men’s health, lowers stress

A new study suggests legalized same-sex marriage may provide gay men with more than just legal benefits.

For the study, published in the Dec. 15 issue of the American Journal of Public Health, researchers compared health records on 1,211 gay patients at a community health clinic in Massachusetts in the years before and after same-sex marriage was legalized in 2003.

In the year after same-sex marriage was legalized, gay and bisexual men were significantly less likely to visit the clinic for medical and mental health care. Gay men saw reductions in their hypertension, depression, and frequency of stress-related disorders called adjustment disorders, health records showed. These reductions contributed to a 13% drop in health care visits and 14% drop in health care costs.

Earlier studies have shown that laws preventing lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals from marriage may have a stressful impact on those populations.

“Marriage equality may produce broad public health benefits by reducing the occurrence of stress-related health conditions in gay and bisexual men,”study author Dr. Mark K. Hatzenbuehler, a researcher at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, said in a written statement. “This research makes important contributions to a growing body of evidence on the social, economic, and health benefits of marriage equality.”
(via CBS News)