Maggie Gallagher
Do I have blood on my hands?

Major gay rights groups are saying so. Each of us who opposes gay marriage, they say, is responsible for the terrible and tragic suicides of gay teens that recently hit the news.

San Francisco just filed a brief in the federal Proposition 8 case saying 7 million Californians who voted to protect marriage as the union of one man and one woman are responsible for high rates of suicide among gay people.

Evan Wolfson, one of the leading architects of the gay marriage movement, calls me out personally in a column: "National Organization for Marriage Chairman Maggie Gallagher is among those who, with reckless disregard, attacks LGBT youth."

Former Bill Clinton adviser Richard Socarides told the AP that these suicides demonstrate why gays should be allowed to marry: "When you speak out for full equality now, as opposed to partial equality, or incremental equality, you send a message to everybody, including the bullies, that everyone is equal."

Apparently, either we all agree that gay marriage is good or gay children will die.

It's a horrific charge to levy in response to some pretty horrifying stories. Will gay marriage really reduce or prevent gay teen suicide? I felt a moral obligation to find out.

Massachusetts has been tracking gay high school students for a decade using the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's Youth Risk Behavior Survey.

LGBT teens are roughly four times as likely as other students to have attempted suicide in the last year.

They are also about twice as likely to report being in a physical fight at school, three times more likely to say they were injured by a weapon, and almost four times as likely as pther teens to say they missed school because they felt physically unsafe.

These kinds of negative outcomes are consistent with the idea that anti-gay bullying is mainly responsible for the higher suicide rate among gay teens. But as I kept reading, I kept finding the pieces of the puzzle that don't seem to fit the "it's homophobia pulling the trigger" narrative:


Maggie Gallagher

Maggie Gallagher is a nationally syndicated columnist, a leading voice in the new marriage movement and co-author of The Case for Marriage: Why Married People Are Happier, Healthier, and Better Off Financially.