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Married LGBTI seniors healthier and happier than singles, study finds

A first of its kind study reveals the health and financial benefits of same-sex marriage

Married LGBTI seniors healthier and happier than singles, study finds
Jose Antonio Navas/Flickr
Married LGBTI seniors happier and healthier

LGBTI people over 50 years old who are married are happier and healthier than singles, a new study found.

The first of its kind study found better physical and mental health, more social support and greater financial resources than those who were single.

Conducted by researchers at the University of Washington, the research found increased benefits among LGBTI couples in long-term relationships, but even more benefits for married couples.

Author Jayn Goldsen said: ‘Same-sex marriage… may be one of the most profound changes to social policy in recent history.’

‘[It] went from being a pipe dream to a legal quagmire to reality,’ she told New Kerala.

For the study, more than 1,800 LGBTI people over 50 were surveyed.

About one quarter were married, one quarter were in long-term relationships and half were single.

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Single LGBTI seniors were more likely to have a disability, the study revealed.

It also reported singles had lower physical, psychological, social and environmental quality of life.

There was also a higher prevalence of respondents to have experienced the death of a partner, especially among men.

Hesitations about entering into marriages

Married respondents spent an average of 23 years together, while those in long-term relationships had spent an average of 16 years.

Financially, marriage provides tax exemptions and social security benefits, but there was still hesitation about entering into marriage.

A lot of older LGBTI people in long-term relationships don’t feel the need for marriage, says Goldsen.

She said: ‘More older people are living together and thinking outside the box.

Before nationwide same-sex marriage laws, ‘couples were living together, but civil marriage wasn’t part of the story,’ she said.

So they adapted and now have different attitudes towards marriage.

Goldsen said: ‘Service providers need to understand the historical context of this population.

‘Marriage isn’t for everyone.

‘[T]here are legal, financial and potentially societal ramifications,’ she said.


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