The legalization of same-sex marriage in the United States has led to improvements in the health of gay men, according to a new study from Vanderbilt University.
The study, presented by the National Bureau of Economic Research, specifically points to an increase in health coverage for married men, plus better access to health care overall for those men.
Marriage, researchers insist, has led to a 4.2% increase in health insurance for men in a same sex household, as well as a 7.3% increase in health check0ups for same.
Per the study, “For men in same-sex households… we estimate that legal access to same-sex marriage was associated with statistically significant improvements in insurance coverage, access to care, and utilization.”
They did not find similarly for women in same sex households, noting that some in this group fared worse — for example, more smokers and less flu prevention — while others were faring slightly better.
“The results… provide little evidence that legal access to same-sex marriage had meaningful effects on health-related outcomes for women in same sex households,” read the study.
It is worth noting that the study did not specifically ask people if they were gay or lesbian, but worked from estimates based on gay or bisexual men and women living in a same sex household with another adult.
“Through a variety of direct and indirect measures, we estimate that 11-28 percent of individuals in households with exactly two same-sex adults are likely to be sexual minorities. For individuals in this household structure who also report being married, the relevant share is even higher: 46-60 percent,” explained the study’s authors.
They opted to go this route due to a lack of existing data sets to work from that could plausibly identify same sex couples.
Researchers are suggesting further study into the link between marriage and improved health for same-sex couples, and suggest it may simply take more time and experience.