Same-Sex Couples Less Likely to Get Divorced Than Straight Couples [Updated]


Same-sex marriage is just as strong if not slightly stronger than different-sex marriage? Yes, I can just feel the moral foundation of marriage just tearing itself asunder right now.

New research conducted by the Williams Institute took a look at the patterns of relationship recognition in various states in the US and found that female couples are more likely to formalize their relationship with marriage, civil unions or domestic partnerships. Female couples make up 51% of all same-sex relationships, but 64% of legally formalized relationships.

The study also found that same sex couples end their marriages at a lower rate than straight couples. On average, 1.1% of same-sex couples end their marriages each year (1.6% of couples if you include other legal statuses like domestic partnerships and civil unions), while the rate of divorce in different-sex couples is about 2%. So, not a huge gap in divorce, but one nonetheless.

The researchers also highlighted the “Windsor effect,” referring to the 2013 Windsor decision in which the Supreme Court deemed the Defense of Marriage Act (which held that the federal interpretation of “marriage” strictly referred to heterosexual couples) unconstitutional. Via Advocate:

Where the number of same-sex marriages had begun to level off in states that had marriage equality before the June 2013 decision in Windsor, the marriage rate in picked up significantly in the wake of the Windsor decision.

I mean, between this and the study that found that children of same-sex couples are “healthier and happier,” those opposed to LGBT recognition and equality are really running out of excuses though bigotry doesn’t really need an excuse, does it?


Looks like there were some errors in how the divorce rate was calculated, and it turns out that same-sex couples are actually just as likely as different-sex couples to get divorced. Andrew Gelman at Washington Post explains that the researchers calculated the divorce rate in one four-year chunk as opposed to calculating the rate per year, which changes things a bit. According to Gelman, the researchers “made a mistake and underestimated the per-year dissolution rate of same-sex marriages by a factor of 2.” So that puts the divorce rate more-or-less on par with straight marriages.

My bad, folks.

Image via Shutterstock.

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