By Kelly Wong
Same-sex marriage has been a subject of controversy even after it was legalized in the United States on June 26, 2015. The opposition argues that same-sex marriage is unnatural and that children need their biological parents in order to succeed, while supporters cite scientific observations of animals displaying homosexual behavior and research backing up the benefits of raising children under samesex parents.
The U.S. government should continue to preserve the legalization of same-sex marriage because it has proven to safeguard the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, et cetera, (LGBTQ+) youth. Laws protecting their rights establish acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community, thus providing a safer environment for youth in particular.
Gender and sexual minorities are more vulnerable to stereotyping and discrimination in comparison to heterosexual individuals. As a result, adolescents often have damaged self esteem and mental health, putting them at risk of bullying, self harm, or suicide.
According to the Trevor Project, a nonprofit suicide prevention hotline, LGBTQ+ youth are at a four times higher risk of taking their lives than heterosexual teenagers.
Furthermore, a survey by the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System revealed that 28.5 percent of the 762,678 students who identified as LGBTQ+ had attempted suicide one or more times between 1999 and January 2015, while only six percent of heterosexual students had done the same.
Federal protection of same-sex marriage has given teens a greater sense of security and confidence to express themselves. Legal advancements for the LGBTQ+ community should not be revoked because such an action would restore the hostile environment and lack of equality that they have faced for centuries.
Major religious organizations, such as the Roman Catholic Church, National Baptist Convention, and the United Methodist Church condemn same-sex marriage, the effect of the same-sex marriage legalization on suicide rates is undeniable.
Reversing the Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage would be devastating not because of the potential backlash or protests, but because of the lives of adolescents hang in the balance.
“We can all agree that reducing adolescent suicide attempts is a good thing, regardless of our political views.” stated Julia Raifman, study author and epidemiologist at John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, in a news release, according to the Washington Post.