Study: Same-sex marriage laws linked to fewer suicides among LGBT youth

Published: Feb. 21, 2017 at 8:26 PM MST|Updated: Feb. 22, 2017 at 4:18 AM MST
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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - When same-sex marriage became legal in Arizona and other states it may have had an effect you might not have thought about.

A new study has found it also may be behind a reduction in the number of suicide attempts by gay, lesbian and bi-sexual high school students.

That's a group that has been more likely to take their own lives.

According the experts it makes sense, though the study did not look at why the suicide attempt numbers may be falling.

Same-sex couples have been marrying in Arizona since late 2014.

Marriage equality may symbolize what most adolescents want: To be accepted and to not be alone.

"It's feeling like you have a community to connect with and that society who isn't specifically LGBTQ+-- that they're accepting, that they are helpful and that they are willing to pride this equality for us too," said gay Tucson teen Miles Kleve.

"More people getting married and living long, happy, healthy lives makes folks feel like there are other options. It makes you feel there's a future beyond just getting bullies at school or there's a future beyond the acceptance that they don't feel from their families," said Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation Senior Health Education Specialist Moureen Drury.

The authors say their study indicates that policymakers around the world should consider the mental health consequences of same-sex marriage policies.

Drury recommends The Trevor Project hotline for LGBTQ+ youth who are in crisis or just need to talk.

The hotline number is 866-488-7386.

Click HERE to see the study that was published in JAMA Pediatrics.

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