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Gay couples divorce at similar rates to straight ones

Gay people and lesbians who are married or in committed relationships break up or divorce at a similar rate to other couples, new research indicates.

In a study entitled Couple Longevity in the Era of Same-Sex Marriage in the United States, researcher Michael J Rosenfeld of Stanford University analysed data from a series of relationship surveys. These traced the experiences of 3,000 American couples between 2009 and 2012. Close to 500 of these couples were in same sex relationships.

Rosenfeld found an annual separation rate of less than three per cent for both opposite sex and same sex relationships. He wrote:

“…same-sex couples and heterosexual couples have statistically indistinguishable rates of [marriage] breakup…”

Nor was there any meaningful difference in the break up rates of male and female same sex couples.

There was however one noticeable difference for married couples, he stated, whether heterosexual or homosexual.

“…married couples are dramatically more likely to stay together than unmarried couples at all levels of relationship quality and at all relationship durations…”

The study also found that same sex couples tended to both marry and stay together for longer when they lived in areas which had legalised gay marriage.

The study was published in the October edition of the journal Marriage and Family.

Earlier this week, the US Supreme declined to reconsider the legal status of gay marriage in five US states, allowing earlier court rulings legalising such unions to stand.

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. As well as pieces from our family law solicitors, guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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