Studies from the December 15th issue of the American Journal of Public Health confirm what we've previously blogged about here at www.everybodysgood.com, marriage equality is a public health issue that has positive implications for lesbian, gay and bisexual folks. The study highlighted in the journal compared the health records of 1211 gay/bi men who received healthcare at a community based health center in Massachusetts the year before same-sex marriage was legalized in MA and the year after same-sex marriage was legalized. Lesbian and bisexual women were not included in the study because the health center where researchers conducted the study did not see enough lesbian or bisexual women to study them.
The Study Found the Following Results:
1) Between the year without same-sex marriage in MA and the year with same-sex marriage in MA, there was a a significant drop in medical visits (they dropped by 13%), mental healthcare visits and mental healthcare costs. These drops were unrelated to whether or not the participants were married.*
*This is important because it suggests that even for gay and bisexual men who do not want to get married or who are not married yet, the legalization of same-sex marriage can improve their health.
**These findings also suggest that legalizing same-sex marriage could have potential cost saving benefits for gay and bisexual men. If they have less medical and mental healthcare visits, they spend less money on healthcare.
***Also, since gay and bisexual individuals tend to be insured at lower rates than heterosexual individuals, reducing healthcare visits of gay and bisexual men has the potential to save the American public money as well.
2) Married men who participated saw an additional benefits. Between the two years, their hypertension, depression, and frequency of stress-related disorders (adjustment disorders) decreased on top of the benefits above.
It is important to recognize that although the passage of marriage equality can improve the health of gay and bisexual men, the banning of it has negative implications. For more information about this issue, click here.