First, the good news; the suicide rate of gay people has fallen.
The legacy press outlets picked up on this and repeated it without question.
The original source of the claim is this academic study.
The researchers studied 28,649 individuals in same sex marriages in Denmark and Sweden (where the same sex marriage legislation was introduced in 1989 and 1995, respectively) and the suicide rates within that group.
They also compared the suicide rates in the opposite sex marriage cohort.
The suicide rate in same sex marriages was 0.3% and in opposite sex marriages, 0.2%.
Interestingly, the researchers split the time period in half. The reason isn’t made clear:
The following covariates were examined: country (Denmark, Sweden), period (1989–2002, 2003–2016), sex (males, females), age group (18–34, 35–64, 65+) and current civil status (married, divorced/widowed).
The data showed a decline in suicides across the two periods for both groups (top left chart below):
Is it just me or can anyone else spot a flaw in the study methodology, conclusions and subsequent reporting?
I believe one can safely draw several conclusions from the study:
- The suicide rate of people in committed relationships in Denmark and Sweden has fallen since 1989.
- The suicide rate is higher in same sex relationships than opposite sex marriages in Denmark and Sweden.
- That’s it.
What one can’t safely conclude from the study is that the introduction of same sex marriage resulted in a reduction of the suicide rate.
There’s no data presented for the period prior to the legislation being introduced.
There’s also no data presented for unmarried people, which seems another major oversight.
But, magically, the legislation reduced the suicide rate, as regurgitated by formerly-respected news outlets such as the Grauniad.
If you were one of the
Ctrl C/V reporters who published the fake conclusion of the study, ask yourself this question; wouldn’t it have served the world better to have known which group of people are most likely to commit suicide and why?
What a waste of time, money and opportunity.