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NY Mag: Gay Couples at the Start of a Divorce Boom

Nymag

The flipside of the blossoming of marriage equality:

Mag1From “I do” to “I’m done” is a well-­traveled road—for straight couples. When their legal marriages are over, they pretty much know they will need a legal divorce. But for gay couples, the promise of marriage is still so new and incomplete that the idea of matrimonial courts, equitable settlements, and all the rest barely registers. How do you process the undoing of a bond that until a moment ago in history you were not allowed to form?

It’s not a subject that marriage-equality groups tend to trumpet on their websites, but gay couples are at the start of a divorce boom. One reason is obvious: More couples are eligible. According to a report by UCLA’s Williams Institute, nearly 50,000 of the approximately 640,000 gay couples in the U.S. in 2011 were married. (Another 100,000 were in other kinds of legal relationships, such as domestic partnerships.) The marriage rate, in states that allowed it, was quickly rising toward that of heterosexual couples: In Massachusetts as of that year, 68 percent of gay couples were married, compared with 91 percent of heterosexual couples. Another reason for the coming boom is that while first-wave gay marriages have proved more durable than straight ones (according to the Williams Institute, about one percent of gay marriages were dissolving each year, compared with 2 percent for different-sex couples), that’s not expected to last. Most lawyers I spoke to assume that the gap will soon vanish, once the backlog of long-term and presumably more stable gay couples have married, leaving the field to the young and impulsive.

From ‘‘I Do’’ to ‘‘I’m Done’’ [ny mag]

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Comments

  1. This is hardly a surprise.

    Posted by: James | Feb 25, 2013 9:04:47 PM


  2. Yes, there's a dark side to this thing called marriage. For as little as $350.00 you can hire a thug to rip the heart out of the man you used to love so dearly. The laws in this country aren't made to keep people together.

    Posted by: Bill Michael | Feb 26, 2013 2:51:46 AM


  3. Speak for yourself @Andrew. That's BS. I and many men I know have had no great trouble staying together for years and years, as long or longer than our lesbian friends, and a whole lot longer than many of the straight couples we know. Gay men who can't hold relationships always presume other men have the same issue.

    Posted by: Ernie | Feb 26, 2013 9:58:26 AM


  4. ERNIE - you speak with the admired authority of experience and consistent sanity. We are in a new world now with men able to marry other men in the setting up of happy households. I believe that untold numbers of homosexual people have wanted to do this for centuries and now, able to, will hold to a steady tiller never permitted them before.

    Posted by: UFFDA | Feb 26, 2013 10:42:54 AM


  5. See what happens when you ape heterosexuals?

    Posted by: David Hearne | Apr 17, 2013 8:24:41 PM


  6. @Andrew. In Canada, where, depending on the province, same sex marriage has been legal for nearly 10 years, the rate of divorce among female couples has been higher than that among male married couples, going all the way back to 2005. It'll be interesting to see if that trend holds up over time.
    (garryo. married ten years in 2013)

    Posted by: garryo | Apr 25, 2013 4:53:37 AM


  7. I've been talking about this inevitability for over a year on this site. So, before it becomes fully legal, let you all eat crow. The push for gay marriage is tripping over itself. Reality will level the playing field. Opponents will feast on the divorce statistics, while gays try to navigate their way out of sticky legal complications. There's no TV show for this one yet.

    Posted by: Bebo | Apr 29, 2013 10:47:34 PM


  8. My life and the lives of so many people I know were so messed up by one divorce after another (our parents, ourselves, our friends) that I want nothing more than to see marriage invigorated. I would be thrilled if gay and lesbian couples had a far lower divorce rate than straights and brought a new sense of seriousness to the institution of marriage. I wouldn't care about social conservatives being proven wrong (some of them could use a good reality check anyway.) And I wouldn't care about straight people being shown up by the LGBT world. Keeping marriages together is not easy. If gays can do it well they'll serve as a good example to straight people, who need all the help they can get in field of marriage.

    Posted by: Mary | Apr 29, 2013 11:24:18 PM


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