Science

Gay Marriage Linked To Fewer Teen Suicides

By Charles Omedo , Feb 21, 2017 12:22 AM EST
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A new study published in the journal PAMA Pediatrics has found that gay marriages are linked with fewer teen suicides - meaning that the more gay marriages, the lesser teen suicides. Suicidal tendencies are most common among teens who claim to be gay, lesbian and bisexual with many of them responding negatively to gay-limiting policies. This study aimed to see how policies limiting the rights of gays impact on their mental and physical health.

The study was conducted by researchers from Johns Hopkins University's Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore. The research was led by Julia Raifman of the stated school and surveyed about 763,000 youths from 47 US states in survey exercises that ran between 1999 and 2015. Although the surveys did not ask the respondents about their transgender status, about 230,000 of them revealed they were gay, lesbian or bisexual, Philly reported.

The study included suicide attempts only, and not deaths

The ultimate purpose of the study was to understand the impacts of government policies on vulnerable groups - in this case, how limiting the rights of gays affect their behaviors and tendencies. Before same-sex marriage was approved by the US Supreme Court, 29% of survey respondents said they had contemplated suicide, compared with 6% of respondents who are not LGBT. The study found limited rights made LGBT teens feel stigmatized and bullied, and opened up the need to end it all via suicides, SFGATE wrote.

According to study lead author Julia Raifman, "it's important for policymakers to be aware that social policies that affect lesbian, gay and bisexual rights may impact on child health." She added that about 40% of gay and lesbian or bisexual youths said they had considered suicide because they felt bullied and marginalized. She clarified that the study explored a link between same-sex marriage and teen suicide tendencies, and not its direct effects on teen suicides.

Legal discriminations fuel existing biases

Brian Mustanki, director of the Northwestern University's Institute for Sexual and Gender Minority Health and Wellbeing, said youths have a way of responding to biases backed by the law. "Legal discrimination can fuel existing biases," he said, citing an instance where one group (straight) feels it is superior to the other (LGBT) because of the support of the law. He cautioned policymakers to be aware of all the implications of particular decisions before passing them into laws.

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