As NOM often tells us, married people live longer

Timothy Kincaid

March 14th, 2013

The National Organization for Marriage often touts the statistical advantages of marriage. For example, this is from their fact sheet, Why Marriage Matters:

Both men and women who marry live longer, healthier and happier lives. On virtually every measure of health and well-being, married people are better-off than otherwise similar singles, on average.

Which is, to my way of thinking, a good reason to support marriage equality. Unless, I suppose, you don’t want gay people to live longer, healthier, and happier lives.

But I think NOM would counter that these statistics of benefit only apply to heterosexual marriages. And it is the magical, mystical, godly coming together of penis and vagina that in some unknown way (similar to the power of wearing your lucky socks on game day) gives better lives. I get the sense that they really do think there’s something holy and mysterious about heterosexual married sex.

But they would be wrong. The Danes took a look. (LA Times)

Men in same-sex marriages are living longer, according to Danish researchers, but mortality rates among married lesbians have begun to rise after a long period of decline.

The study, published Tuesday in the International Journal of Epidemiology, used Denmark’s civil registry to follow 6.5 million adults from 1982 to 2011. The study is the first of its kind to examine mortality — the risk of death during a specific period of time — and relationship status for an entire nation.

(What do you bet NOM mentions this study… but only the part about married lesbians mortality beginning to increase.)

And it turns out that it isn’t penis in vagina, after all, that results in longer lives.

Researchers found that marriage in and of itself did not ensure low mortality during the period studied. For instance, opposite-sex married couples who lived apart faced a two-fold increase in their mortality rate.

Also, heterosexual men and women saw a steep jump in their mortality rate during the study period if they were married two or more times. The rate increased 27% for women with each successive marriage, and it increased 16% for men.

And so, with their usual logic, social conservatives will continue to insist that gay men and women leave their partners and live celibately. Or marry someone of the opposite sex – even though they know that this is likely to result in some poor soul’s unhappy divorce and remarriage (and increased mortality).

You’re killing me, NOM, you’re killing me!

John W

March 14th, 2013

A further problem for NOM is that their own Maggie Gallagher (and her co-author, Linda Waite)proposed mechanisms by which the marital health advantage functions: emotional support; spousal encouragement of healthy habits (also known as ‘nagging’); monitoring of each other’s health, and serving as primary care-giver for each other.

NOM has to explain why any of these would apply only to mixed-sex couples.

(The Case for Marriage: Why Married People Are Happier, Healthier, and Better Off Financially)

Michael Moore

April 4th, 2013

It’s really hard to draw any conclusions about whether results from Denmark, which has universal health care, would have any relevance to the health or mortality rates of married vs. unmarried gay or straight people in the U.S., which lacks universal health care.

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