Supporting Adam & Steve Might be a Healthy Decision

Gay marriage is typically debated as a moral issue – but it might also have public health implications. A clever paper by Thomas Dee (forthcoming in the Economic Journal) suggests that countries which permit gay marriage could improve public health. Here’s the working paper version:

Forsaking All Others? The Effects of “Gay Marriage” on Risky Sex
Thomas S. Dee
One of the conjectured benefits of establishing the legal recognition of same-sex partnerships is that it would promote a culture of responsibility and commitment among homosexuals. A specific implication of this claim is that “gay marriage” will reduce the prevalence of sexually transmitted infections (STI). In this study, I present a simple 2-period model, which provides a framework for discussing the ways in which gay marriage might reduce (or increase) the prevalence of STI. Then, I present reduced-form empirical evidence on whether gay marriage has actually reduced STI rates. These evaluations are based on country-level panel data from Europe, where nations began introducing national recognition of same-sex partnerships in 1989. The results suggest that these gay-marriage laws led to statistically significant reductions in syphilis rates. However, these effects were smaller and statistically imprecise with respect to gonorrhea and HIV.

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2 Responses to Supporting Adam & Steve Might be a Healthy Decision

  1. Andrew thanks for sharing this paper. I don’t agree with Gay marriage but I respect the right of others to hold a different view. I enjoyed the article. It makes perfect sense to me that having gay couples committed exclusively to one another for life would be beneficial compared to the alternatives. I suspect that the data on the benefits of heterosexual marriage would be even stronger and would extend well beyond reduced STDs.

  2. ChrisPer says:

    So can we make it compulsory, for the health benefits?

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