Lower divorce rate in states with gay marriage

States that recognize same sex marriage tend to have lower divorce rates, according to an analysis of provisional government data.

Five out of the 10 states in the nation with the lowest divorce rates per thousand people are also among the nine states that perform and recognize gay marriages. According to U.S. News and World Report, although states that permit a wider variety of marriages would similarly have more divorce, provisional data from the U.S. Census Bureau and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Vital Statistics System found that the number of divorces in jurisdictions that recognize or perform same sex marriages is 41.2 percent of the number of marriages in 2009. In comparison, in other states that rate was 50.3 percent.

However, other data suggests that states with same sex marriages are just as likely to end in divorce as traditional unions. Gary Gates, a member of a sexual orientation law think tank and the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law, told the news source that divorce rates in Massachusetts have not changed since same-sex marriage became legal in 2004.

In addition, some suggest that newlywed same sex couples are more likely to be older than opposite sex couples and often have higher levels of education, both factors that researchers believe lowers the risk for divorce.

Last month, New York became the newest – and largest – state to legalize gay marriage. Same sex marriages will officially become legal in the state on July 24.