Ruth Institute 12 June 2013
A new study in the Journal of Epidemiology followed 6.5 million Danish persons for nearly 30 years (for a total of 112.5 million person-years) looking at how living arrangements (being single, cohabiting, married, widowed or in a same-sex union) affected their health outcomes.
From the official abstract:
“[Hazard Ratios] for overall mortality changed markedly over time, most notably for persons in same-sex marriage. In 2000–2011, opposite-sex married persons (reference, HR = 1) had consistently lower mortality than persons in other marital status categories in women (HRs 1.37–1.89) and men (HRs 1.37–1.66). Mortality was particularly high for same-sex married women (HR = 1.89), notably from suicide (HR = 6.40) and cancer (HR = 1.62), whereas rates for same-sex married men (HR = 1.38) were equal to or lower than those for unmarried, divorced and widowed men. Prior marriages (whether opposite-sex or same-sex) were associated with increased mortality in both women and men (HR = 1.16–1.45 per additional prior marriage).”
The conclusion of the authors:
“Our study provides a detailed account of living arrangements and their associations with mortality over three decades, thus yielding accurate and statistically powerful analyses of public health relevance to countries with marriage and cohabitation patterns comparable to Denmark’s. Of note, mortality among same-sex married men has declined markedly since the mid-1990s and is now at or below that of unmarried, divorced and widowed men, whereas same-sex married women emerge as the group of women with highest and, in recent years, even further increasing mortality.”
While this is just one study that needs to be supplemented by more research, it does suggest that the health benefits of marriage may be unique to the male-female union. Governments may try to legislate a revised version of “marriage,” but they cannot legislate the health and longevity benefits that come from a man marrying a woman.”