Did Passing Same-Sex Marriage Laws in the United States Account for the Drop In Teen Suicide?



Same-sex marriage laws may have been a factor in the number of adolescent suicide attempts in the US, according to research published on the Jama Network website. 

Researchers used the data of 760,000 students who attended high school between 1999 and 2015.  These dates include the period prior to Massachusetts introducing same-sex marriage in 2005 and end when gay marriage became federal law in 2015. 

What They Found Out


States with same-sex marriage laws had fewer cases of teen suicide than in those states where same-sex marriage remained illegal. 


And at least on the surface, the data appears to make a lot of sense: in states where same-sex marriage (and thereby homosexuality) was more widely accepted, teenagers, insecure or unsure about their sexuality, probably felt less isolated, anxious or desperate than those in states where same-sex marriage was forbidden. 

The data isn’t without problems, however, but researchers believe it could be a valuable aid to policymakers. 

And we’d agree. 

In Australia and Northern Ireland, for example, where politicians are reluctant to support same-sex marriage, despite popular opinion in favour, the data could be used to show that legislation can have a real impact in improving the mental health of vulnerable demographics. 


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