There has been a substantial reduction in the suicide rates among gays and lesbians due to the legalization of marriage between same-sex couples. This was discovered in a study conducted in Denmark and Sweden.
These two European nations legalized same-sex marriage earlier, with Denmark doing so in 1989. Hence, researchers had the privilege of analyzing lots of data. For an average of 11 years, over 28,000 individuals who were married to someone of the same sex were tracked.
The rates of suicide among individuals who got into same-sex marriages between 1989 and 2002 were studied. The same was done for people who entered same-sex marriages between 2003 and 2016. The result showed a 46% drop in the rate of suicide.
Other studies have shown that married individuals, including all sexualities, have a lower chance of committing suicide, and the rate of suicide in Sweden and Denmark has reduced recently. The same survey revealed that there was a 28% drop in the rate of suicide among individuals in opposite-sex marriages. Despite the massiveness of this drop, it is still lower than that of people in same-sex marriages.
To bring their findings to a conclusion, the researchers say “Although suicide rates in the general populations of Denmark and Sweden have been decreasing in recent decades, the rate for those living in same-sex marriages was declining at a steeper pace, which has not been noted previously.”
Notably, a few other reasons may contribute to this drop, such as more effective treatment for individuals living with HIV that has caused a decrease in suicide rates among gay people. Nevertheless, the researchers claim that the legalization of same-sex relationships has assisted in reducing the discriminations of same-sex couples.
According to Annette Erlangsen, who is one of the authors of the study and also an expert at the Danish Research Institute for Suicide Prevention, marriage protects people against suicide.
In her interview with Thomson Reuters Foundation, she continued that the prejudice against gay and lesbian people might be reduced by the legalization of same-sex relationships and other legislations that support it.
Notably, other studies have earlier claimed that marriage lowers suicide among LGBTQ individuals. In 2017, a study conducted by Harvard University noted that states, where same-sex marriages were legal, had a 14% reduction in the suicide attempts among LGBTQ US students in high schools.
However, there was some bad news from this study. In comparison to people in opposite-relationships, same-sex couples still had 2.3 times more likelihood of committing suicides. Notably, gay men had a higher chance of committing suicides than other cohorts. There is still a lot of work to be done when it comes to dealing with discrimination and stigma.