John M. Becker

Same-Sex Couples Divorcing Less, Study Shows

Filed By John M. Becker | December 11, 2014 4:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Marriage Equality
Tags: divorce, gay marriage, marriage equality, relationship recognition, same-sex marriage, sanctity of marriage, Williams Institute

gay-couple-wedding-cake-topper.jpgA new study from the Williams Institute, an independent LGBT think tank at the UCLA School of Law, finds that contrary to conservatives' claims that same-sex couples will "destroy marriage," married same-gender couples are actually divorcing at a slightly lower rate than their opposite-sex counterparts.

The group reports, via press release:

"Administrative data from two states shows that same-sex couples end their marriages at a rate of 1.1% annually, on average, and an average of 1.6% of couples dissolve their legal relationships if a broader set of states is included. This rate is slightly lower than the annual rate of divorce among married different-sex couples... the annual rate of divorce among different-sex couples... is about 2% annually."

Not only are married same-sex couples less likely to divorce than opposite-sex couples, but an analysis released last week by the New York Times shows that the overall divorce rate in the U.S. has been declining for more than two decades:

Despite hand-wringing about the institution of marriage, marriages in this country are stronger today than they have been in a long time. The divorce rate peaked in the 1970s and early 1980s and has been declining for the three decades since.

About 70 percent of marriages that began in the 1990s reached their 15th anniversary (excluding those in which a spouse died), up from about 65 percent of those that began in the 1970s and 1980s. Those who married in the 2000s are so far divorcing at even lower rates. If current trends continue, nearly two-thirds of marriages will never involve a divorce, according to data from Justin Wolfers, a University of Michigan economist (who also contributes to The Upshot).

Incidentally, this decades-long decline in divorce rates encompasses the entire length of time that legal same-sex marriages have taken place in the United States. So this holiday season, when your angry Tea Party uncle starts ranting about gays wrecking marriage, call shenanigans.

h/t: The New Civil Rights Movement.

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