(Blogmensgo, gay blog of February 24, 2017) In the US states, in which same-sex marriage was legal between 2009 and 2015, significantly fewer youths (particularly LGBT youths) attempted to commit suicide than in other states. According to a study by Johns Hopkins University, there were 134,000 fewer suicide attempts in these states, compared to states that did not allow gay marriage. Since a Supreme Court ruling of June 26, 2015, same-sex marriage has been legal everywhere in the USA.
The research team of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health focused on youths in the high-school and college age who are basically to young to be married and therefore are not directly concerned by gay marriage.
However, in suicide attempts are very common in that age group: 29% of all LGBT youths have already attempted suicide, as opposed to only 6% in heterosexual youths – not included the number of unreported cases.
The researchers analyzed data of 32 states. They compared numbers before and after gay marriage legalization, and the compared data between states with and without gay marriage.
In states without gay marriage, the number of suicide attempts did not change. In states with gay marriage, the percentage of suicide attempts dropped significantly, and stayed there until two years later.
- 7% less suicide attempts in youths overall.
- 14% less suicide attempts in LGBT youths.
The reasons for these reductions are likely to be the following:
- Less stigmatization based on sexual orientation.
- Reduced feeling of unfair treatment resulting from same-sex marriage.
- Stronger feeling of belonging to society.
- Better perspectives for the own personal and love life.
Comment: The Johns Hopkins researcher cannot definitely prove the direct correlation between legalization of same-sex marriage and the lower numbers of suicide attempts but the figures strongly point in that direction.
In any case, suicide is the second most frequent cause of death for LGBT youths, directly after accidents.