When it comes to the media and the current social atmosphere in the United States of America, one of the most pressing issues today is the topic of gay marriage and gay divorce statistics. A highly controversial subject, citizens of the country have found themselves to be divided over the topic. On the one hand, we have representatives of the conservative Republican political party, declaring that marriage is a “sacred institution” between only a man and a woman, and by that very definition, excluding many couples from the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Straight) community, from the domain of those individuals for whom marriage would be a viable option. As a result, because of the clout of the political party and the people who rigidly follow a religious faith which clashes with the interests of the LGBT community, especially when it comes to marriage, gay marriage has been illegal in most American states, save for six states in total, like New York and the District of Columbia. It should be noted that in 2008, gay marriage had been legalized in California as well, but due to the passing of a bill known as “Proposition 8”, where citizens demanded the rights to marriage for same-sex couples to be revoked under California jurisdiction, gay marriage is no longer legal in California.
So, the question arises. If gay marriages are prohibited in all but six US states, is it not but obvious that the marriage rates for same-sex couples would be less than that for heterosexual couples. But how less? And what about the legal termination of such relations? Are same-sex marriages prone to such proceedings? Which states actually permit termination of same-sex marriages? We have provided the answers for you below:
Marriage Statistics for Same-Sex Couples in America
Researcher Lee Badgett and Jody Herman from the Williams Institute, a legal institution related to gay issues and based at the University of California, Los Angeles, have undertaken an extremely comprehensive, all encompassing study which covers most of the facts and figures related to the issue of gay marriage, as well as the legal split-up. Some highlights of Badgett and Herman’s findings have been listed below:
- About 150,000 gay and lesbian couple have been married or attained a registered civil union/ domestic partnership. That makes around one-fifth of the total number of homosexual couples, who have identified themselves as such to the US Census, living in the country currently.
- If marriage is a provided option in the state they currently reside in, than most same-sex couples are likely to opt for it over simple civil union or domestic partnership registrations which give about the same rights to the couple as a legalized marriage.
- Currently, due to the issues surrounding the legalization of gay marriage in various states, the marriage ratio of homosexual couples to heterosexual couples is low, but if the steady rate of same gender marriage continues due to the strong interest generated in the LGBT community for the concept, in about only ten years, the number of gay marriages would easily exceed the number for heterosexual marriages.
Gender Distribution Rate Among Same Sex Marriages
Badgett and Herman also studied the gender break down when it came to the number of registered gay marriages. According to their findings, about two thirds of all registered same gender weddings happened to be between two women, while only one third of the total gay marriage percentage happened to be between two men.
Divorce Rates Among Gay and Lesbian Married Couples
And now the numbers you have been waiting for. It should be noted that if gay marriages are lesser in numbers and percentages because of all the political and legal hassles attached to the subject, same gender break-offs are even lesser in number and percentage rates, probably for one of the very same reasons.
Badgett and Herman, in their study regarding divorce statistics in America, found that only 1% of married same-sex couple legally part every year, as opposed to heterosexual married couples, who breakup at a rate double to same gender couples at 2% every year. It should be noted that these rates are only annual and that the total percentage of divorces is about 50% in America.
One reason why gay divorce statistics is low could probably be that state level courts do not grant legal termination of relationship to married gay and lesbian couples if gay marriage has not been legalized in the state yet. For example, if a same-sex couple wedded in California before the passing of Proposition 8 but then applied for legal split-up in Arizona, which does not recognize gay marriages, then they would not be granted the same in Arizona, and they would not be granted such separation in California either after the passing of Prop 8. They would have to travel to a state recognizing same-sex marriages before the law. This factor plays a major role in the resilience of same-sex couples to make their relationship work further. This also impacts the divorce statistics by age.
And those were the most important gay divorce statistics in the United States of America. The social and legal hardships faced by the LGBT community to have their rights to marry and legally separate recognized reflect in the comparatively low percentages of gay marriage and breakup rates, but for how long will these legal and social obstacles for the community prevail? Only time will tell.