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In sickness and in health: Same-sex marriage laws and sexually transmitted infections

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  • Francis, Andrew M.
  • Mialon, Hugo M.
  • Peng, Handie

Abstract

This paper analyzes the relationship between same-sex marriage laws and sexually transmitted infections in the United States using state-level data from 1981 to 2008. We hypothesize that same-sex marriage laws may directly affect risky homosexual behavior; may affect or mirror social attitudes toward gays, which in turn may affect homosexual behavior; and may affect or mirror attitudes toward non-marital sex, which may affect risky heterosexual behavior. Our findings may be summarized as follows. Laws banning same-sex marriage are unrelated to gonorrhea rates, which are a proxy for risky heterosexual behavior. They are more closely associated with syphilis rates, which are a proxy for risky homosexual behavior. However, these estimates are smaller and less statistically significant when we exclude California, the state with the largest gay population. Also, laws permitting same-sex marriage are unrelated to gonorrhea or syphilis, but variation in these laws is insufficient to yield precise estimates. In sum, the findings point to a modest positive association—if any at all—between same-sex marriage bans and syphilis.

Suggested Citation

  • Francis, Andrew M. & Mialon, Hugo M. & Peng, Handie, 2012. "In sickness and in health: Same-sex marriage laws and sexually transmitted infections," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 75(8), pages 1329-1341.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:75:y:2012:i:8:p:1329-1341
    DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2012.05.037
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    Cited by:

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    2. Michael Earhart & E. Frank Stephenson, 2018. "Same-sex marriage legalization and wedding tourism: evidence from Charleston and Savannah," Journal of Economics and Finance, Springer;Academy of Economics and Finance, vol. 42(3), pages 566-574, July.
    3. Miriam Marcén & Marina Morales, 2022. "The effect of same-sex marriage legalization on interstate migration in the USA," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 35(2), pages 441-469, April.
    4. Delhommer, Scott M. & Hamermesh, Daniel S., 2020. "Same-Sex Couples and the Marital Surplus: The Importance of the Legal Environment," IZA Discussion Papers 13061, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    5. Marcén, Miriam & Morales, Marina, 2019. "The effect of same-sex marriage legalization on interstate migration in the United States," MPRA Paper 97767, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Dimitrios Nikolaou, 2022. "Same‐sex marriage laws, LGBT hate crimes, and employment discrimination charges," Southern Economic Journal, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 88(3), pages 869-905, January.
    7. Christopher S. Carpenter, 2020. "The Direct Effects of Legal Same-Sex Marriage in the United States: Evidence From Massachusetts," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 57(5), pages 1787-1808, October.
    8. Delavande, Adeline & Sampaio, Mafalda & Sood, Neeraj, 2014. "HIV-related social intolerance and risky sexual behavior in a high HIV prevalence environment," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 111(C), pages 84-93.

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