Gay marriage is more than just a moral issue: It might be a health matter.
A recent study from Statens Serum Institut in Copenhagen found that men in same-sex marriages live longer than single and divorced men, and men in heterosexual marriages live the longest.
NBC News reported that the study found since it started the late 1980s, the mortality rate for men in same-sex marriages has declined. They are 1.4 times more likely to die earlier in life than men in opposite-sex marriages, which is lower than the 1.7 mortality rate of both unmarried and divorced men.
LB Hannahs, director of LGBT Affairs at UF, said, “I don’t think that it’s so much about the marriage than it is about the partnership.”
A researcher for the Serums Institut believes advancement in HIV and AIDS medication might be a reason for longer life spans.
Hannahs said in the U.S., this could be a contributing factor. In states with legalized same-sex marriage, a couple can get married so that if one partner is infected with HIV or AIDS, he or she can access the other’s health benefits.
The positive social standards of marriage and the fact that healthy gay men are more likely to enter marriages could be other reasons for living longer, according to the report.
Kevin Huynh, 21, a UF public relations junior, said he could see how marriage can make someone happier and give them a better sense of security. However, from his personal experience, being in a relationship can be more stressful.
“You have a sense of security that perhaps being single you wouldn’t have,” he said. “The main goal of getting married is being happy with someone, but I don’t know if that would make me live longer.”
Andrew Sun, 20, is the cabinet director for LGBTQ Student Affairs in UF’s Student Government. He said legalized same-sex marriages encourage gay individuals to be open about their sexuality, which could lead to happier, longer lives.
Sun, a political science junior, said he has friends who have been engaged for a long time and are waiting to graduate and get married in other states. The waiting and planning makes them more sure about their decision and happier when they finally get married.
Hannahs said although it reinforces a stereotype about gay culture, some gay men like to keep a certain aesthetic.
“Some gay men have this ideal of what a man is supposed to look like,” she said. “Those are all positive things like working out and eating healthy.”
Sun said in his opinion, it’s not so much about health, but about the more balanced gender roles he sees in same-sex relationships.
Although there are ups and downs like in any relationship, there is a more balanced division of duties in same-sex relationships that lead to a more equal partnership, he said. This could be one of the reasons they live longer.
There is still pressure for same-sex couples, though, he said.
“People think that when we get past gay marriage, then we are done,” he said. “There’s more to gay rights than marriage.”