Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Mitch and Cam

Since 2008, the GSS has specifically and explicitly queried respondents on their sexual orientations. Among those who either were or had previously been married at the time of their participation in the survey, 22.6% of heterosexuals and 41.7% of bisexuals/homosexuals were either divorced or separated when the question was posed to them.

There are major extenuating factors to take note of here. The sample size for gays and bis is, through 2012, only 53. Gays and bis are combined to up the count (though it is also worth noting that gays are more likely to be to divorced/separated than bis are). Some of these bis and especially gays may have been married to members of the opposite sex for reasons other than romantic love and are only now jumping at the opportunity to marry their true bugger halves. 

That said, preliminary figures appear to suggest that same-sex marriages may well be less stable and less durable than traditional marriages are. It looks as though the GSS is going to routinely track sexual orientation going forward, so over time additional data will accumulate. 

Of course, even if same-sex marriages "weaken the institution of marriage"--whatever that is supposed to mean, exactly--by the time such an assertion has irrefutable empirical grounding, gay betrothals will have long become inalienable civil rights. Even if they end up being less sincere than straight betrothals, same-sex marriage won't be reneged upon. To even notice disparities in divorce rates will presumably serve only to out one as a homophobe.

GSS variables used: SEXORNT(1)(2-3), MARITAL(1-4), YEAR(2008-2012)


Anonymous said...

Where they divorced from same-sex marriage, or they were in marriage with opposite-sex, realised they are homosexuals and divorced? Or is this number negligible? Or is this completely unknown?

Audacious Epigone said...

It's not determinable from the GSS data. Certainly not optimal; just the inchoate beginnings of a possible pattern that will more clearly emerge over time.

DPG said...

I seem to recall from The Red Queen that lesbian couples are more stable than heteros and gay male couples are less stable. Don't have the book on hand and can't remember what the citations were, but it certainly fits with what you'd expect: women are relatively monogamous/hypergamous, men are relatively promiscuous. Same sex couples exacerbate these differences.

As we get more data, my suspicion is that gay male couples under the age of ~35 will be very unstable. I can see aging gay male couples being relatively stable, when the hormones subside and they start to feel their mortality.