LONDON — The advent of gay marriage has cut suicide rates among lesbians and gay men in Sweden and Denmark but, divorced, widowed or married, gays are still more prone to suicide than their straight peers, according to a study released on Thursday, Reuters reports.
The researchers said reduced stigma for sexual minorities was likely driving the drop in deaths, culled from official data on thousands of same-sex couples in the two countries, both early adopters of gay marriage, Reuters reports.
“Being married is protective against suicide,” said Annette Erlangsen of the Danish Research Institute for Suicide Prevention. “Legalizing same-sex marriage and other supportive legislative measures — they might actually reduce stigma around sexual minorities,” said Erlangsen, the lead author of the study, Reuters reports.
Suicides of people in same-sex unions fell 46 percent when researchers compared two periods — 2003-2016 and 1989-2002 — versus 28 percent among straight couples, according to the paper published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.
Same-sex married people still killed themselves at more than twice the rate of those in opposite-sex marriages in both periods, reinforcing research from other countries that points to a higher incidence of suicide attempts among LGBT people, Reuters reports.