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Denmark and Sweden Record Dramatic Drop in Suicides Among Same Sex Couples Since Legalisation

Image for representation (Reuters)

Image for representation (Reuters)

A joint study between Danish and Swedish researchers found that suicide rates among people in same-sex relationships fell more than those in heterosexual relationships.

In a nod to to the validity of legalising same sex relationships, suicide rates among those in same-sex relationships has fallen dramatically since both countries legalised gay marriages.

A joint study between researchers from Stockholm University and the Danish Research Institute for Suicide Prevention revealed that suicide rates among people in same-sex relationships fell more than those in heterosexual relationships since legalisation.

Denmark was the first country to legalise same-sex civil union in 1989, followed by Sweden in 1994. Gay marriages became legal in Sweden in 2009 and in 2012, the Danes replaced the old law by legalising gay marriages too.

Researchers followed 28,000 people in same sex relationships for an average of 11 years and compared suicide data from periods 1989-2002 and 2003-16 and found that number of suicides in gay relationships between the two periods fell by 46 percent. In contrast, suicides in people in heterosexual relationships fell by 28 percent.

“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 marriage declined at a steeper pace, which has not been noted previously,” the study, published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, stated.

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.

“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.

(With inputs from Reuters)