Legalizing Same-Sex Marriage Has Another Positive Effect: Decreasing Suicide Rate Of LGBT Teens

By Claire Parker, Parent Herald February 22, 04:00 am
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Teen suicide rate and suicide attempts decreased in numbers and one of the main reasons linked to this new finding is the fact that same-sex marriage was legalized in the United States. The report regarding the decrease in number surfaced amid the plans of some state lawmakers to pass bills against the LGBT community.

The United States Supreme Court made same-sex marriage legal in 2015. Before the law was passed, however, California, Massachusetts, Utah and 34 areas already passed state laws legalizing same-sex marriage.

Teen Vogue reported a new study found suicide rates and attempts dropped among young people after the law became in effect. The study was published in JAMA Pediatrics.

Per the findings, researchers saw a seven percent drop in the number of high school students who reported suicidal tendencies. An even greater percentage was recorded for high school LGBT students, which was a 14 percent decrease.

The research studied the data from Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System, which had information from 1999 to 2015 from the Centers for Disease Control. Experts then looked at reports about suicidal ideation in students before and after the law was passed regarding same-sex marriage.

States with legalized same-sex marriage are the only areas where there was a drop in the percentage of teens having suicidal ideations. The researchers believe having same-sex marriage laws led to more acceptance for the LGBT community, thus teens who are part of this minority group experienced less depression.

A number of potential mechanisms such as policies reducing perceived stigma among adolescents have also contributed to the decrease. "Same-sex marriage policies drive social change among parents, teachers and peers of sexual minority adolescents," co-author of the study, Julia Raifman of Johns Hopkins University said. "It is also possible that the campaigns around same-sex marriage policies are responsible for changing the experiences of LGBT adolescents," 22 News reported.

Suicide is the number one cause of death in teens in the United States. It is also more common for teens who identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual.

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