Priceless: Divorce Rates Rising Only in States That Ban Same-Sex Marriage
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Over the past decade or so, divorce has gradually become more uncommon in the United States. Since 2003, however, the decline in divorce rates has been largely confined to states which have not passed a state constitutional ban on gay marriage. These states saw their divorce rates decrease by an average of 8 percent between 2003 and 2008. States which had passed a same-sex marriage ban as of January 1, 2008, however, saw their divorce rates rise by about 1 percent over the same period.
It looks like Massachusetts is the winner -- it legalized same-sex marriage in 2004 and its divorce rate has declined by 21 percent.
Of course you can't conclude from these numbers that there's 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," writes Nate Silver, who analyzed the research. "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."
We all know all the right-wing family values stuff is bullshit, so this just helps put the icing on the cake. And here's perhaps the most important point from his research:
At the very least, I would be surprised if there were any statistical evidence that interpreting the right of marriage to apply to same-sex couples would be injurious to heterosexual couples in any material way.
Therefore, same-sex marriage is no way a threat to the institution of marriage. Better start looking at the more obvious threats, like, oh I don't know, divorce, for starters.
Tara Lohan is a senior editor at AlterNet.