Any data on longevity of newly-legal marriages?

Listening to a podcast the other day on the history of No-Fault divorce, there was a brief tangent about Same Sex Marriage, which made me wonder: Now that it’s been a few years, is there any data on the longevity of marriages that become newly legal?

I can think of two effects that might be relevant, but in opposite directions:

  1. Longtime couples who were not legally allowed to marry suddenly are, and get married quickly. I would tend to think those marriages would be longer-lasting than average.
  2. New-ish couples that maybe shouldn’t have gotten married get swept up in the moment and get married. I would tend to think those marriages would be shorter-lasting than others.

My intuition is that the first case will dominate, and marriages between people who recently gain the ability to legally marry will tend to last longer than average, but I don’t have a lot of confidence in that.

Note: I realize there are potential culture-war issues around this, so let’s try to leave those out of this data-based question.

I’d think your point #1 would skew the longevity pretty dramatically. I can think of two longtime couples who I know who got married, but who also sort of treated it as a sort of afterthought. One, because they’d been together for 20 years already, and the other had been together for more than 15, and were *already *married in the Netherlands (that was a FUN destination wedding!)

I’d think you’d have to somehow normalize your data to account for longtime couples like that, but I don’t know how you’d do it at this point, other than questionnaires or something.

I’m not trying to filter out #1, I’m just trying to measure it.

Just to nitpick here – when you talk about marriages that last longer, you mean those that do not end in divorce.

I know one couple that were together for many years, became legal “domestic partners” and then married when it became legal, primarily for Social Security reasons. They are no longer together because one died.

They considered themselves married long before they could officially wed. So in the eyes of the surviving spouse, they were married for 30+ years. But legally they were married less than 5 years.

I guess I’m pointing out that couples who have been together for a long time are more likely to have their marriage end by death than couples who have been together only a short time/

That’s a very good point. I’m explicitly interested in divorce.

I think if you just filter all the marriages that end in death out of the data that… might work, although I wonder if medical or financial issues might result in some strategic divorces shortly before death that would muddy things.

Gay marriage is pretty recent, you might find some better long-term numbers by looking at interracial marriage after that was legalized since Loving v Virginia was five decades ago, giving a bit more time to see long term effects.

The limited available data suggests that same-sex couples break up (and divorce) at slightly higher rates than opposite-sex couples. I don’t think we can read much into that at this stage since it’s still taboo in some circles.

I thought about that. The problem is that no fault divorce wasn’t available everywhere, so that’s going to complicate things.

US-wide it’s fairly recent, but California, Iowa, New Hampshire, Vermont (am I missing any?) have had it for about a decade. That seems like long enough to get some decent stats.

Not really. The idea of a marriage is that it’s supposed to last forever. Certainly lots of them are over in less than 10 years, but 10-year marriages aren’t representative of marriage as a whole.

Sure, but “percent of marriages that don’t end in divorce within 10 years” is an interesting stat and (I’m guessing) highly correlated with other longevity measures.

This wouldn’t surprise me at all. By definition, homosexual couples are less likely to have a staunch traditional religious view or marriage, and so are probably less likely to have a stauch traditionalist view of divorce that keeps some heterosexual couples in unhappy marriages. Also given the challenges involved, homosexual couples are less likely to have kids, and so are probably less likely to “stay together for the kids”.

Not likely. The states with the highest divorce rates also have relatively traditional religious views (Arkansas is # 1) so traditional views of marriage don’t seem to decrease the dissolution of marriage.

On the other hand, people in straight marriages usually have role models for how to be married - parents, other relatives, older friends. People in same sex marriages are still finding their way.

I don’t think that link says that. Note that most of it isn’t about married couples, just couples. The one part that is about married couples says: “despite the minority stress experienced by LGB individuals, Joyner and colleagues (2017) discovered that same-sex married couples are at least as stable as, if not more stable than, different-sex married couples.”

Believe it or not, many homosexuals have religious views and children. Where do you get these ideas from? In one word: CITE?

My sister and her wife have been together for 25 years and have four children.

People in same sex marriages also have role models of parents, other relatives and friends. We don’t view our relationships as different from other marriages.

who says it should last forever? I believe it should last as long as the parties involved think it should last.

I don't have a cite- but I do want to point out that what was said was not that gay couples are less likely to have religious views, but rather they are less likely to have the* traditional *religious views about marriage/divorce that keep some straight couples in unhappy marriages. They are two different issues, and I for one would be shocked if my cousin and her wife stayed unhappily married because they believe divorce is immoral - although I know a fair number of straight couples who did just that.  I mean, it's unlikely that they are at the same time 1) Sufficiently unconcerned with tradition to marry another woman but yet 2) Traditional enough to stay legally married and living together while essentially living separate lives  ( one of the slang terms for this is "Catholic divorce")

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… two longtime couples who I know who got married, but who also sort of treated it as a sort of afterthought. One, because they’d been together for 20 years already, and the other had been together for more than 15, and were **already married in the Netherlands (that was a FUN destination wedding!)

Not the question brought up in the OP, but this makes me wonder: How does the US recognize marriages that occurred in other countries?

Or, hell, how do they decide whether you’re even married in the US? When I got married, we took a copy of our marriage certificate to the Social Security office to get my name changed with SSA, but if I hadn’t been planning on a name change that would not have been required. Maybe it only matters to the gummint if you go for benefits that are only allowed if you’re married - e.g. spousal Social Security, dependent health insurance (for military, or civilian employees)? Will we be expected to provide our marriage certificate when we apply for Social Security in a few years? I did have to send a copy to a private organization recently because I was working on setting up an annuity with a joint-and-survivor feature.

If you need to provide proof of marriage for those purposes, I’d presume you could provide proof of the overseas wedding that would serve the same purpose… and what happens if the marriage was not legal in the US at the time it was contracted overseas? Would they say “nope, gotta get remarried”?

I can understand why you might think this, but there are plenty of gay people who are deeply religious and socially conservative in many parts of their lives. They would take their marriage vows to mean life, and would suffer potential unhappiness because of it. I mean, half the Church of England is LGBT+! It may not be the majority (as indeed it isn’t amongst heterosexuals), but you should never assume that just because someone has accepted that they are LGBT+ and married a same sex partner that they have, in turn, thrown all their conservatism and childhood shackles off.

Every country has different immigration/visa rules for each country they deal with. In my experience, countries which have legal equal marriage or a civil partnership equivalent operate a kind of ‘marriage exchange’ programme (don’t know how else to describe it) whereby they will recognise the equivalent legal status contracted in another country.

So the USA would now accept my wife’s status as my legal wedded partner. Even though we got married before the USA recognised it - point is, they do now.

But you would need to check on a country by country basis.