Monday, March 28, 2011

10 Years of Gay Marriage in the Netherlands - And Gays Have a Lower Divorce Rate

This coming Friday will mark the tenth anniversary of the advent of full same sex marriage rights in the Netherlands and - I'm sure to the shock and dismay of Maggie Gallagher, et al - the world has not come to an end. Nor have heterosexual divorce rates soared as a result of civil law recognition of same sex marriages. Indeed, the Netherlands continues to have a markedly lower divorce rate than the USA as a whole and even more so compared to the Bible Belt where divorce and unwed mothers rank the highest. One might even conjecture that Ms. Maggie and her fellow gay haters' real motivation in trashing same sex unions is because they are scared to death that we gays might be better at marriage than the heretofore privileged straights. So far in The Netherlands, gays divorce at a rate of roughly 5% versus a rate of 38% for the larger public. Rex Wockner has a few reflections on the upcoming anniversary and here are some highlights:
In the intervening 10 years, 14,813 of the Netherlands' 55,000 gay couples have gotten married, according to Statistics Netherlands. Of those couples, 7,522 were female and 7,291 were male. There have been 1,078 same-sex divorces, 734 of them by female couples.
Same-sex marriage is legal in Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden and Mexico (where same-sex marriages are allowed only in the capital city but are recognized nationwide).
In the U.S., same-sex marriage is legal in Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Washington, D.C. In addition, same-sex marriages from anywhere in the world are recognized as marriages in Maryland, New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island and California (if the marriage took place before Proposition 8 passed) even though those states do not let same-sex couples marry.
As noted, what is striking about the Netherlands and most of the nations that allow full same sex marriage, is that most have much, much lower divorce rates that the USA. Just as Massachusetts - the first U.S. state to have gay marriage - has a much lower divorce rate than say Arkansas or Mississippi deep in the conservative Christian Bible Belt. So just maybe, its the far right, multiple divorced conservative Christians who are the real threat to marriage. Here are some statistics from Divorce
Country Divorce Rate (per 1,000 population per year):
United States 4.1
Belgium 2.6
Sweden 2.4
Canada 2.28
Norway 2.2
Netherlands 2.1
Iceland 1.9
Portugal 1.9
Spain 0.9
South Africa 0.81
Mexico 0.41
I could not find data for Argentina, but its neighbors, Brazil, Uruguay and Chile all divorce have rates that are a fraction of the rate in the USA. Perhaps if the Christianists worked to address the REAL threats to marriage in the USA - instead of using anti-gay animus as a fund raising tool - the nation's divorce rate would not be sky high compared to so many other nations.

1 comment:

Pinkbeard/Barbarrosa said...


I think one of the reasons for the extremely high divorce rates in the Bible Belt might be the extremely high rates of undue marriage. In these conservative communities there's a very strong pressure to marry and "make it legal". Families and churches push immature people and even gays (as you have so well told) to the brink and this is the result. You might add the lower educational levels in the same states.... and there you have it. In Europe now people marry much less, but they divorce less for the same reason.