NEW YORK — Gay and lesbian couples in jurisdictions where same-sex marriage is not legal generally have poorer overall health than their straight married counterparts, according to a study conducted at Michigan State University.
Hui Liu, an assistant professor of sociology at the school, said controllers accounting for disparities in socioeconomic status in place, the odds of reporting poor or fair health were about 61 percent higher for same-sex cohabitating men than for men in straight marriages. It was about 46 percent higher for women living together than for straight married women, Reuters quoted Liu as saying.
Although the researchers did not study the impact of legalizing gay marriage, Liu said it is plausible that if gay unions were sanctioned by law it could improve health by reducing stress and discrimination and providing health benefits enjoyed by married couples, the article said.
The researchers compared the health of 1,659 gay couples living together and a similar number of married straights. They pooled data from 1997 to 2009 National Health Interview Surveys in which people across the country were asked to rate their overall health as excellent, very good, good, fair or poor, Reuters reported.
The study, which is published in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, showed that black women living together as a couple were the most disadvantaged. They reported worse health than any other non-married black women.