Divorce on rise in states that ban gay marriage

Divorce rates are higher in states that ban same sex marriage than in states that do not have state constitutional bans.

According to statistician Nate Silver (FiveThirtyEight), between 2003 and 2008 states which do not prohibit same-sex marriage saw an average 8% decrease in divorce rates. However, states that passed a same-sex marriage ban as of January 1, 2008 saw a 1% increase in divorce rates during the course of the same years.

"The differences are highly statistically significant. Nevertheless, they do not necessarily imply causation. The decision to ban same-sex marriage does not occur randomly throughout the states, but instead is strongly correlated with other factors, such as religiosity and political ideology, which we have made no attempt to account for. Nor do we know in which way the causal arrow might point. It could be that voters who have more marital problems of their own are more inclined to deny the right of marriage to same-sex couples." Silver says.

The numbers seem to offer the same basic conclusion in Canada. A recent study from professor emeritus Anne-Marie Ambert for the Vanier Institute for the Family shows that divorce rates in Canada are down significantly from their peak in 1987, as the graph from HRSDC demonstrates.

First in the U.S., according to Silver, is Rhode Island, at -21.2 percent decline in divorces, while Alaska makes the bottom of the list with +17.2 percent of marriages ending in divorce.

Photo: Philippe Leroyer


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