Gay Couples Report Poorer Health Than Straight Couples

A study comparing gay and lesbian couples to straight married couples revealed that cohabiting same-sex partners suffer poorer health, Reuters reported on Wednesday, February 27.

And according to the study, first published in The Journal of Health and Social Behavior, the chasm dividing the two is a large one.

Dr. Hui Liu, assistant professor of sociology at Michigan State University, led a team of researchers in discovering that cohabiting gay men were almost two-thirds more likely to report fair or poor health.

“When we controlled for socioeconomic status, the odds of reporting poor or fair health were about 61 percent higher … than for men in heterosexual marriage,” Liu said, adding that lesbian couples were about 46 percent more likely to report health issues than women in heterosexual marriage.

Live Science noted the findings seem to support that legalizing same-sex marriage could improve the health of gay couples and pointed to another portion of Liu’s statement.

“Past research has shown that married people are generally healthier than unmarried people. … Although our study did not specifically test the health consequences of legalizing same-sex marriage, it’s very plausible that legalization of gay marriage would reduce health disparities between same-sex cohabitors and married heterosexuals,” Liu said.

Liu’s team compared the health of 1,659 gay couples to a similar number of heterosexual married couples and pooled data from National Health Interview Surveys from 1997 to 2009 in making their determinations.

It isn’t known whether the US Supreme Court will be affected by the study when it rules on Prop 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) this year.

However, supporters believe it’s only a matter of time before gay marriage is legally recognized in the US, pointing to recent Republican support as evidence of changing tides.

Do you believe the right to marriage will improve gay health issues for same-sex couples?

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