Legalizing Same-Sex Marriage Is Good For What Ails You

The fact that there's a policy currently in place that discriminates against a significant chunk of Americans is the number one reason to legalize same-sex marriage, but there are plenty of other benefits to allowing gay people to marry. Studies have found that banning gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people from marrying increases their stress levels, and now new research has discovered that allowing same-sex marriage seems to improve the health of gay men. (Which unfortunately, may not be a top concern of those who oppose marriage equality.)

A study conducted by Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health looked at the medical exams, mental health visits, and mental health care costs for 1,211 gay male patients at a large health clinic in Massachusetts that serves sexual minorities, according to the New York Daily News. Other groups were excluded from the study because too few visited the clinic. By comparing records from the year before the state legalized gay marriage in 2003 and the year after, researchers found that post-legalization, gay men made fewer visits to the clinic across the board. For both single gay men and those in relationships, there was a 13 percent reduction in health care visits and a 14 percent decrease in health care costs.

There were also reductions in specific medical problems. While visits for HIV/AIDS treatment were the same from year to year, those for stress-related problems, including hypertension, depression, and adjustment disorders dropped. "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," said lead author Dr. Mark L. Hatzenbuehler.

The results of the study are encouraging, though clearly it's limited in scope — and a little biased. The researchers looked at a group likely to benefit from legalizing same-sex marriage but didn't study those whose lives were negatively affected by the law. Presumably all the straight people forced to divorce their spouse and marry a gay person experienced terrible stress and debilitating hesalth problems.

Legalization Of Same-Sex Marriage May Make Gay Men Healthier: Study [N.Y. Daily News]
Same-Sex Marriage Laws Reduce Doctor Visits And Health Care Costs For Gay Men [EurekAlert]

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