Divorce on Rise in States That Ban Gay Marriage

Massachusetts has country's lowest rate
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 12, 2010 12:08 PM CST
Married same-sex couple Frank Capley-Alfano, right, and Joe Capley-Alfano, who were married in 2008, kiss during a rally in front of a federal courthouse in San Francisco, Monday, Jan. 11, 2010.   (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
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(Newser) – The people arguing that gay marriage erodes the institution of marriage might be surprised to know that divorce rates are generally higher in states that have constitutional bans on same-sex marriage in place. Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight.com ran a quick analysis on state-by-state divorce rates and found that, though they’re declining generally, they’re declining the most in states with more liberal attitudes towards homosexuality.

Since 2003 Massachusetts, where gay marriage has been legal since 2004, saw its divorce rate, as share of marriages, plummet to 0.96% in 2008, by far the nation’s lowest. The seven states with the biggest increases over that period all had strong, constitutional bans on gay marriage. The figures are “highly statistically significant,” concludes Silver, though, “they do not necessarily imply causation.” But it seems doubtful, at least, that there’s any statistical evidence that gay marriage harms the straight variety.

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