Gay men are healthier when marriage for them is available, a new study published in the American Journal of Public Health has found.

According to its authors, the health of gay men in Massachusetts improved after the state legalized marriage for gay and lesbian couples in 2003.

“Our results suggest that removing these barriers improves the health of gay and bisexual men,” Mark Hatzenbuehler, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholar at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health, said in a press release.

“These findings suggest that marriage equality may produce broad public health benefits by reducing the occurrence of stress-related health conditions,” he added.

The 24-month study analyzed health data from a group of gay men for 1 year before and 1 year after the state legalized gay marriage.

Visits to health care facilities plummeted 13% after the law went into effect, which led to a 14% drop in health care costs.

The study found that the health of partnered and single gay men improved.

“This research makes important contributions to a growing body of evidence on the social, economic and health benefits of marriage equality,” Hatzenbuehler said.