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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Denmark: No Empirical Proof of Benefits of Same Sex Marriage

This is taken out of one of Oxford's Journals:  THE INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF EPIDEMIOLOGY

Marriage, cohabitation and mortality in Denmark: national cohort study of 6.5 million persons followed for up to three decades (1982–2011)

1.        Morten Frisch1,2,* and Jacob Simonsen1
+Author Affiliations
1.        1Statens Serum Institut, Department of Epidemiology Research, DK-2300 Copenhagen S, Denmark and 2Center for Sexology Research, Department of Clinical Medicine, Aalborg University, DK-9000 Aalborg, Denmark
1.        *Corresponding author. Department of Epidemiology Research, Statens Serum Institut, 5 Artillerivej, DK-2300 Copenhagen S, Denmark. E-mail mfr@ssi.dk
·         Accepted February 1, 2013.
Background Living arrangements have changed markedly in recent decades, so we wanted to provide an up-to-date assessment of mortality as a function of marital status and cohabitation status in a complete population.

Methods We studied mortality in a national cohort of 6.5 million Danes followed for 122.5 million person-years during 1982–2011, using continuously updated individual-level information on living arrangements, socio-demographic covariates and causes of deaths.

Hazard ratios (HRs) estimated relative mortality in categories of marital status, cohabitation status and combinations thereof.

A new study in the International Journal of Epidemiology comparing the health outcomes of all couples in Denmark over a three decade period sheds interesting light on this subject of the uniqueness of the male-female marital bond. During 2000 to 2011, Danish male-female married couples were the healthiest and least likely to die at various ages compared with individuals who were unmarried, divorced or widowed. In contrast, same-sex married men in Denmark were no healthier than unmarried men. Same-sex married women had much higher mortality rates than other women, including the ones who were unmarried, divorced or widowed. There was no apparent marriage “benefit” in terms of better health or longer life for these same-sex married women.
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. And, that should not be surprising, since you really cannot legislate what you did not create

Results: 
HRs for overall mortality changed markedly over time, most notably forpersons 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).

Conclusion 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.