Are same-sex couples more or less likely to divorce?

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Posted By | December 26, 2019 | Articles

The Supreme Court ruling that allowed same-sex couples throughout the United States occurred nearly five years ago in 2015, although marriage equality in New Jersey occurred two years earlier. Whether you got married at that time or are contemplating marriage with your partner now, you may wonder about the longevity of your relationship and the potential for divorce.

Prior to the Obergefell decision in 2015, it was difficult to conduct a meaningful study on LGBT divorce because some states did not allow same-sex couples to get married. The time that has elapsed since the Obergefell decision has allowed some preliminary research to take place.

According to, the findings on same-sex divorce are not yet conclusive. There are still many other factors to account for, including geography, socioeconomic status and race/ethnicity. Preliminary research has shown that many of the factors that can destabilize different-sex couples can also take a toll on same-sex marriages. Financial stress is a notable example.

However, the research shows that there are factors more commonly present in same-sex marriages that can strain the relationship, as well as protective factors that are less frequently present in different-sex marriages. Same-sex couples may face minority stressors, such as employment discrimination, which can have a negative effect. Another minority stressor is a lack of family acceptance of the relationship. This can prove a significant destabilizing factor given the association between relationship stability and social support.

Nevertheless, same-sex spouses often receive a high level of support from friends, which can compensate for a lack of family support. Another protective factor that tends to occur more frequently in same-sex couples is a more egalitarian division of household labor.

Evidence suggests that marriage of any type increases a couple’s chances of staying together compared to unmarried couples. However, to determine how the longevity of same-sex marriages compares to that of different-sex couples, more research is necessary. Furthermore, although marriage to your partner may make it less likely that you will eventually split up, it does not necessarily indicate that you will be happier.

The information in this article is not intended as legal advice but provided for educational purposes only.