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Suicide Down

Two years ago, the Supreme Court struck down laws against same-sex marriage as unconstitutional. Before that ruling, 36 states (plus the District of Columbia and Guam) already issued marriage licenses to same-sex couples. This disparity allowed scientists to study the effects of the change, and the results showed an interesting benefit.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins compared suicide rates over time in states that legalized gay marriage, with states that did not. What they found is that states where same-sex marriage remained illegal did not see much change in suicide rates, but in states that legalized same-sex marriage there was a seven percent drop in attempted suicides.

That might not sound like a big number, but it means 134,000 fewer suicide attempts. Suicide is the second-most-common cause of death among people aged 15 to 24 in the US. Other studies have shown that non-heterosexual students are more than two to seven times more likely to commit suicide than heterosexual students.

That is a lot more deaths than are attributed to terrorism. Legalizing same-sex marriage was a good step, but even more suicides could be prevented by eliminating other laws that stigmatize gay people, such as laws that don’t allow same-sex couples to adopt children or laws that allow religious exemptions from nondiscrimination policies.

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8 Comments

  1. Wildwood wrote:

    In this political climate, things will likely go the other way. Sad, so sad.

    Sunday, February 26, 2017 at 10:47 am | Permalink
  2. Ralph wrote:

    I’m gonna go out on a sarcastic limb here and guess that many on the religious right might say it’s just God’s way of culling the herd. Because, you know, Intelligent Design.

    Wildwood, I wouldn’t call it sad. I’d call it pathetic. The SCOTUS ruling gives hope, but with one seat still open and one or more opening up before long, it ain’t over yet. Then again, is it ever with these issues with the godly?

    Sunday, February 26, 2017 at 11:52 am | Permalink
  3. notycoon22 wrote:

    Ten days ago, we were able to attend the wedding reception for two good friends in San Francisco – David and Pedro. Was a great time. We were the token old folks at the reception, but found no blatant age discrimination, either. “>D

    Sunday, February 26, 2017 at 12:25 pm | Permalink
  4. wildwood wrote:

    Ralph, I had the same thought about the religious and their attitudes and just decided not to add it to my post. But it is right on. I will stand by my “sad” statement. It’s sad that people are so afraid of a changing world, it’s sad that someone is driven to commit suicide, it’s sad for the families in most cases. It is pathetic that Intelligent Design ever got traction and that people are so entrenched in their fear that they believe such crap.

    Sunday, February 26, 2017 at 2:40 pm | Permalink
  5. Sam Foster wrote:

    @Wildwood: The one I can never reconcile is that if we are supposedly made in god’s image how can homosexuality or ANYTHING be against god’s wishes?

    Sunday, February 26, 2017 at 4:01 pm | Permalink
  6. wildwood wrote:

    Sam, I am not religious, which is probably evident in some of my posts, so I’m not sure I can reconcile much of what goes on in most religions with a lot of beliefs. The bible is rife with practices and customs that we do not do any more, but no one seems to care about those, they just pick and chose which they want everyone to abide by. And different religions pick different ones. Religions are cults and cults are not good unless it happens to be your cult.

    Sunday, February 26, 2017 at 5:28 pm | Permalink
  7. Anonymous wrote:

    The religious reich can justify anything by claiming it’s gods will and we just can’t understand. Blatant contradictions don’t phase them. Most of my family are southern baptists, that’s how they think. I’m the white sheep of the family.

    Monday, February 27, 2017 at 2:38 pm | Permalink
  8. Wildwood wrote:

    Anon, I was reading too fast and I thought you typed southern bigots. Had to go back and look again. But then again. Maybe not so far off.

    Tuesday, February 28, 2017 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

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