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Same Sex Marriage May Boost Gay Men's Health: Study Finds Benefits Similar To Straight Marriage
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Same Sex Marriage May Boost Gay Men\'s Health: Study Finds Benefits Similar to Straight Marriage

According to a new study performed by Colombia University, marriage may provide many of the same health benefits to gay men as it does for straight men. That same study also concludes that just the mere possibility of legalizing same sex marriage may provide those same benefits as well. That study will be published in the American Journal of Public Health.

Study author, Mark Hatzenbueler, a researcher from the School of Public Health at Colombia University studied data gathered from a large Massachusetts health clinic that focuses its efforts on the gay, lesbian and bisexual community. Information from a one year period prior to the passing of the same sex marriage law in Massachusetts to one year following its passage for over 1200 patients. In that time frame, researchers were able to see that both the number of doctor visits and overall total health care costs had decreased. The number of visits to the doctor reported for the married gay men in that one year period was down by thirteen percent while the health care costs were down by nearly twenty percent. According to this research, the typical appointment prior to the passage of the same sex marriage law was for a variety of illnesses including high blood pressure, depression, anxiety and sexually transmitted diseases.

Hatzenbueler said that there were not enough lesbians involved in the study to gather data but presents the theory that the same could be said for them as well.

Massachusetts was the first state to legally allow same sex marriages in 2004 followed by Connecticut, Iowa, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont. The state of Maryland does recognize same sex marriages but does not issue licenses itself. A number of other states prohibit same sex marriages based on state statutes while others forbid it via state constitution. It has been a dividing force among politicians and has caused a number of debates and protests as well.

In previously released studies, researchers have proven the link between marriage and better health as well as longer life. Other studies, including those performed by other branches of the government have shown that marriage serves, at least in theory, as a detriment to potentially risky behaviors. That in part, may explain the decrease in health visits for gay men. Another explanation is the decrease in stress that they often feel by the protests against their desire to be married to the person that they love.


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