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Equal marriage has improved gay men’s health, new study suggests

Ella Braidwood July 10, 2018
men holding hands

Gay and bi men must refrain from having sex with another man for a year before they can donate blood in Canada. (BORIS HORVAT/AFP/Getty Images)

A new study has suggested that the legalisation of same-sex marriage in the US has improved the health of gay men.

The latest research – by professors at Vanderbilt University – found that equal marriage had led to increased health insurance coverage and better access to health care for men living in same-sex households.

The study revealed that gay marriage “increased the probability” of a man in a same-sex household having health insurance by 4 percent.

These men, it found, since equal marriage became law in the US, were 4 percent more likely to have a “usual source” of healthcare, and 7 percent more likely to have had a health check-up in the past year.

The new research, distributed by the National Bureau of Economic Research, did not ask respondents about their sexual orientation – but instead researchers calculated an estimate for number the number of gay or bisexual men and women living in same-sex households with one other adult.

The White House is lightened in the rainbow colors in Washington on June 26. 2015, following a Supreme Court decision to legalise same-sex marriage. (MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images)

They found that one in ten women and four in 10 men in these same-sex households were not likely to be heterosexual.

The academics then looked at the changes in health insurance and and healthcare for these people, following the legalisation of equal marriage in the US in June 2015.

Still, the results did not find that the impact of gay marriage was notable for women. Researchers pointed to deficiencies in their statistics as an explanation for this.

They said that women were more likely than men to have children from previous relationships – making them more likely to travel to another state where same-sex marriage was legal, before it became law in all the US states.

Australian Commonwealth Games sprinter Craig Burns (R) and fiance Luke Sullivan (L) kiss after exchanging vows at their marriage ceremony at Summergrove Estate, New South Wales on January 9, 2018. Australia officially become the 26th country to legalise same-sex marriage after the law was passed on December 9, 2017, with the overwhelming backing of the Federal Parliament. / AFP PHOTO / Patrick HAMILTON (Photo credit should read
Gay marriage was legalised in all 50 states in the US in June 2015. (PATRICK HAMILTON/AFP/Getty)

The researchers said their data did not record this prior residences or the location of same-sex marriages.

However, researchers pointed to previous studies that concluded that the legalisation of equal marriage had had a positive impact on the health of lesbian and bisexual women.

For both men and women in same-sex households, the new study revealed that gay marriage did not affect the rates of substance use and preventative health care.

The findings support the the results from previous research into the impact of equal marriage on gay couples.

In 2012, another study in Massachusetts, focusing on gay and bisexual men in same-sex marriages, revealed that same-sex marriage decreased their need to visit the doctor, and resulted in lower health-care costs.

 

More: equal marriage, gay men, same sex marriage, study, US

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