Married heterosexual couples are healthier than people in same-sex relationships, researchers have claimed.
The scientists, from Michigan State University, believe that this could be down to a number of factors, including a lack of resources, such as partner health insurance, that come with marriage.
Therefore, the team say that allowing gay couples to marry could improve their health.
Married heterosexual couples are healthier than people in same-sex relationships, a new study suggests
Dr Hui Liu wrote in the Journal of Health and Social Behaviour that previous research has already shown that married people are healthier than unmarried ones.
He said: ‘Although our study did not specifically test the health consequences of legalising same-sex marriage, it's very plausible that legalisation of gay marriage would reduce health disparities between same-sex cohabiters and married heterosexuals.’
The researchers studied the self-rated health of 1,659 same-sex men living together and 1,634 same-sex cohabiting women with that of their different-sex married, different-sex cohabiting, single, divorced and widowed counterparts.
Dr Liu said: ‘The odds of reporting poor or fair health were about 61 per cent higher for same-sex cohabiting men than for men in heterosexual marriages and the odds of reporting poor or fair health were about 46 per cent higher for same-sex cohabiting women than for women in heterosexual marriages.’
Being married could increase the chance of surviving middle age and decrease the risk of heart attacks
Dr Liu said discrimination could play a part, explaining: ‘Research consistently suggests that “out” sexual minorities experience heightened levels of stress and higher levels of discrimination, and these experiences may adversely affect the health of this population.
‘It may also be that same-sex cohabitation does not provide the same psychosocial, socioeconomic, and institutional resources that come with legal marriage, factors that are theorised to be responsible for many of the health benefits of marriage.
‘Legalising same-sex marriage could also provide other advantages often associated with heterosexual marriage, such as partner health insurance benefits and the ability to file joint tax returns, that may directly and indirectly influence the health of individuals in same-sex unions.’
This is not the first time that it has been suggested that marriage is good for your health.
Earlier this month a study in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology suggested that being married cuts your risk of having a heart attack and makes you more likely to survive cardiac arrest if it does happen.
The study also revealed that single and divorced people have the highest risk of fatal attacks at any age, with a greater chance of dying before getting to hospital.
The study showed that there were 58-66 per cent more cardiac events, including heart attacks, among unmarried men and 60-65 per cent more among unmarried women.
Another survey published this year showed that married people are more likely to survive middle age.
Researchers at the Duke University Medical Centre, in North Carolina, found that people who never married were almost three times as likely to die early than those who had been in a stable marriage throughout their adult life.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2284849/Married-straight-couples-healthier-gay-couples-claim-scientists.html#ixzz2M7dtva00
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