Live Through This

¡Freak Flag Fly!


Question Are state same-sex marriage policies associated with a reduction in adolescent suicide attempts?

Findings This difference-in-differences analysis of representative data from 47 states found that same-sex marriage policies were associated with a 7% reduction in the proportion of all high school students reporting a suicide attempt within the past year. The effect was concentrated among adolescents who were sexual minorities.

Meaning Same-sex marriage policies are associated with reduced adolescent suicide attempts.

(Raifman, et al.)

The mass-media version, according to the Guardian:

Legalisation of same-sex marriage in US states has been linked to a drop in suicide attempts among teenagers.

Researchers say suicide attempts among high school students fell by an average of 7% following the implementation of the legislation. The impact was especially significant among gay, lesbian and bisexual teenagers, for whom the passing of same-sex marriage laws was linked to a 14% drop in suicide attempts.

Julia Raifman, co-author of the research from Johns Hopkins University, said she hoped the research would help to draw wider attention to the scale of the issue among sexual minorities. “I would hope that policymakers and the public would consider the potential health implications of laws and policies affecting LGBT rights,” she added.

There is some back and forth in the discourse, a headline run for a weird question about political correctness and social sensitivity having to do with what hurts the feelings of people whose policy goals require particular human suffering. That is to say, while homosexuals, their friends and family, and the liberal political community will celebrate this affirmation of what we perceived all along, the evidence of harm reduction hurts the feelings of, and alienates, many who struggled so hard to forestall marriage equality.

Somebody somewhere is disappointed by the news, and it ought not be a shocking idea. Nor need we break out crosses and nails; few are so evil as to be genuinely distressed that fewer queer teenagers are attempting suicide. Still, though, our cause for celebration―

Overall, states that legalised same-sex marriage saw attempted suicide rates fall by 0.6 percentage points against states that did not, corresponding to an average drop of 7%. The effect was found to last for at least two years after the law was passed. No drop in suicide attempts was found in states that did not enact the laws.

The trend, it seems, was largely the result of fewer suicide attempts by LGB teenagers. In states where same-sex marriage legalisation was passed, suicide attempts fell by four percentage points on average, corresponding to a 14% drop compared to states where it was not.

―is some manner of rebuke or reminder for at least some who feel somehow violated or diminished by the fact of another person’s civil rights, i.e., the right of someone else to marry another person regardless of whether or not some random other person who has nothing to do with said couple approves.

Life goes on for the living; the important thing can be what happens tomorrow, when tomorrow comes today.


h/t: Science of Us

Davis, Nicola. “Drop in teenage suicide attempts linked to legalisation of same-sex marriage”. The Guardian. 20 February 2017.

Raifman, Julia, Ellen Moscoe, S. Bryn Austin, and Margaret McConnell. “Difference-in-Differences Analysis of the Association Between State Same-Sex Marriage Policies and Adolescent Suicide Attempts”. JAMA Pediatrics. 20 February 2017.

Ryan, Lisa. “Teen Suicide Attempts in the U.S. Decreased After Same-Sex Marriage Was Legalized”. Science of Us. 21 February 2017.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s