Marriage has been shown to lower mortality rates among heterosexuals, and it looks like men in same-sex marriages may share this same marital benefit.
A new study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology found men in same-sex marriages had a slightly lower mortality rate than unmarried or divorced homosexuals.
Researchers suggest this decline correlates with advances in HIV/AIDS treatment.
However, mortality rates among married lesbians actually rose over the course of the study. These rates are now higher than both married gay men and cohabitating straight couples.
“Men in same-sex marriages had a lower mortality
rate than unmarried or divorced homosexuals.”
While the study found married heterosexual people have considerably lower mortality rates than married gay people, the quality of a marriage significantly affects mortality rates.
Straight married couples who live apart had twice the mortality rate of cohabitating married couples, and mortality rates jumped for straight people every time they remarried, 27 percent for women and 16 percent for men.
Researchers note higher mortality rates for married heterosexual couples may have to do with income, health care and social support.
The study used Denmark’s civil registry to follow 6.5 million people over the course of 29 years (1982-2011). Since homosexual couples made up less than 1 percent of the study’s participants, authors said more research needs to be done.
“Future studies of health patterns among homosexual persons will gain statistical power, and presumably be more representative of the target population,” researchers wrote.