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States That Allow Same-Sex Marriage Have Lower Divorce Rates

 Posted on December 00, 0000 in Divorce

According to Medill, a publication of Northwestern University in Chicago, "states that allow same-sex marriage have some of the lowest [divorce] rates in the country." As the idea of legal LGBT marriage comes to Illinois, many opponents fear that it will ruin the idea of a nuclear family, traditionally consisting of a mother, father, and children. Yet Carolina Staerk, a representative from Equity Illinois, has stated that the state has recently become open to the idea of a marriage equality act. 

According to the Medill, the divorce rate is lowest in states that allow same-sex marriage. "Same-sex couples took their vows for the first time May 17, 2004, as Massachusetts became the first state to legalize same-sex marriage." In 2004, the divorce rate in that state was 2.2 for every 1,000 people. By 2010 that had risen to 2.5 per 1,000 people; still the second lowest divorce rate in the country by state. The state with the lowest divorce rate in 2010? Iowa—another state that allows same-sex marriage.

Chicagoan Scott Fehlan, a lawyer who married his husband in California in 2008, guesses that it’s because gay couples who get married wait longer and are more mature when they tie the know that divorce rates among same-sex marriages are lower than the heterosexual rates. "They are less likely to get a divorce because they have been together for so long, and the opportunity has only recently been granted for them to get married," he told Medill.

Illinois granted civil unions in June. Currently Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, New Hampshire, New York, and Vermont, plus Washington D.C., are the only states that allow same-sex marriage. Washington and Maryland passed legislation to allow same-sex marriage in February of this year, meaning that gay marriage will be allowed once the legislation goes into effect.

If Illinois legalizes same-sex marriage, the divorce rate—like in other states—could significantly drop. Despite this, divorce is still common, and isn’t a process that should be gone through alone. If you or someone you know is considering divorce, contact an experienced Illinois state divorce attorney today.

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