Will same-sex marriage make America healthier?

Story highlights

  • Marriage provide health benefits, including lower rates of anxiety and depression
  • Researchers say federal recognition of same-sex marriage will reduce stigma

(CNN)A few weeks ago, Carlos Santos-Herrera was in a hospital bed, ill with a rare, severe form of strep throat. He was weak, but conscious -- and worried. His family members' religious beliefs differ from his own, and he didn't want to leave decisions about his care in their hands.

His partner, David Herrera-Santos, was unable to make any decisions on his behalf because they weren't legally married, and couldn't be in their home state of Georgia, where same-sex marriage wasn't legal.
"He was powerless. Completely powerless," Santos-Herrera said. "The hospital would not recognize David as my partner -- only as a 'friend.' "
    He survived the medical scare, but it was on his mind last week when the pair embraced as newlyweds on the steps of an Atlanta courthouse. After a Supreme Court decision made same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states, David and Carlos married and are now able to enjoy legal benefits including decision-making power in health care and changes to their health insurance.
    They believe these changes will help keep them healthier and less stressed, but what about the rest of the country? Will same-sex marriage make America healthier?
    The short answer, experts said, is yes.
    "Absolutely same-sex marriage will make America healthier -- that's what all the medical literature says