Queer Voices

Same-Sex Couples Less Likely To Divorce Than Straight Couples, Williams Institute Research Finds

Good news for same-sex couples who are planning to tie the knot: new research has found that those pairs divorced at a slightly lower rate than their heterosexual counterparts.

The Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Law and Public Policy, which has conducted previous studies on same-sex relationships and parenting, collected administrative data on divorce rates between LGBT couples from New Hampshire and Vermont. The data found that, on average, same-sex couples divorced at an average rate of 1.1 percent annually between the two states, compared with 2 percent annually between heterosexual pairs.

Williams Institute officials also pointed to state administrative data from Connecticut, New Hampshire and Vermont, which showed that the number of same-sex couples who married nearly doubled in marriage equality states from 2012 to 2013.

Meanwhile, additional research found that female same-sex couples were more likely to "formalize their relationships through marriage, civil unions or domestic partnerships," which is "a much higher proportion than would be expected."

Across 10 states that provided data, 64 percent of all same-sex couples that "entered legal status" for their relationships were female, while men comprised 36 percent. On average, 62 percent of same-sex couples who married were female.

Study co-author Christy Mallory said the divorce rate disparity didn't come as a big surprise.

“Many of these couples have been waiting years to get married," Mallory said in a statement. "On average, they are more likely to have relationships tested by time before marrying.”

Read more about the research here.

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