Domestic Violence, Child Abuse, Divorce, Etc. In Gay Families

NOTE: This thread is not an attack on gay marriage. This is strictly a quest for knowledge.

Now that gay marriage is becoming legal and accepted (albeit slowly), do the social problems that plague so-called “traditional” families, such as domestic violence and child abuse, shake out in the same percentages as they do in gay relationships?

Is a partner in a gay relationship less likely to be a victim of domestic violence than a partner in a “traditional” male-female relationship? Do married gays get divorced at the same rate as married straights? Is a child in a family with two same-sex parents equally likely to be a victim of child abuse (be it physical, sexual, or whatever)?

The author quotes a mathematically flawed study which says that Gay divorce rates are much lower. He then explains in detail the calculation which shows (with a fairly short time span to go on) that they remain similar at about 2% for the first four years after marriage.

Regarding the question on child abuse, I’m sorry I can’t search YouTube from work, but I remember a video from a few years ago in which somebody appeared before a Senate committee. He brought as his cite a report that he thought said children in SSM families were more prone to (everything bad for kids), and Al Franken pointed out that the reported study stated exactly the opposite.

Ah… from

So, according to a study published prior to 7/11, SSM parents do no worse of a job of providing a safe home for children than hetero-parents.

I have no studies to cite, but I can report strong anecdotal evidence that divorced same-sex parents tend to cooperate and co-parent meaningfully after the split. Especially lesbians.

Anecdote: I personally know a gay couple who are getting divorced right now (no kids or property) and some years back, there was a fatal case of domestic violence involving a lesbian couple. The bigger one would get drunk and beat up the smaller one, and eventually killed her. :frowning:

Domestic violence may be more prevalent (pdf link) or up to twice as high in same sex couples. Or not (pdf link).

Studies have tended to focus on the sex of the victim without necessarily confirming the sex of the abuser.

My take on the conventional wisdom is that it is too early to determine divorce rates for same sex marriages.
When marriage became legal there was a flood of marriages. A big chunk of those marriages were couples who had been together for a long time prior to legalization. Those relationships are less likely to break up since they are already long-term, so those couples skew the results.

On the other hand, the newness and fervor over same sex marriage also led to couples getting swept up in the moment and getting married before they were sure of their relationship.

I don’t think one can draw conclusions from the statistics yet.

Applicable button:

The only difference that **might be **relevant for child abuse is that there are no unwanted pregnancies in same-sex couples. That **might **result in less child abuse . . . pending actual statistics.

↑↑↑ Good point this… :slight_smile:

There have been two studies that have some relevance. One showed that in the US there is a lower rate of physical abuse among adoptive families. Now, that doesn’t mean that adoptive families make the best families, it just means you have parents who are adults, healthy, financially stable, and have been examined for psychiatric problems. Because they have gone through the adoption process, they tend to have a better idea of what is out there in terms of help, and how to get it, if the child has problems, like a disability that requires extra care and expense.

Sperm banks screen recipients as well-- maybe not as stringently as adoption agencies, but they do screen them, and so do mediators in surrogacy relationships. Then, you have the fact that anyone who can afford to buy sperm of pay a surrogate is at least a little better than middle class, and money (or, lack of it) is a big stressor that often leads to abuse. It’s certainly true that anyone is potentially an abuser, but if you can pay someone to come over and watch your kid, while you lock yourself in your private room and cool off-- that speaks for itself.

My personal observation is that gay parents and straight parents are equally on the right side of the bell curve, but there are fewer gay parents on the left side. (With the right side being non-abusive.)

The other study was done in Czechoslovakia. In the former Czechoslovakia, abortion was legal, but a woman had to get permission from some kind of board to get one. I think it must have been like the hospital board that would or wouldn’t grant abortions in some states before Roe v. Wade.

Some time just shortly before the country broke up, someone conducted follow-up studies on women who had sought abortions, been denied them, and kept the baby (there’s not much adoption, so women knew their children would probably be in institutions and foster homes for life). Then they compared them to women in similar circumstances who had not sought abortions. In most cases they were very young women who were not married. In some cases they already had a disabled child, and were afraid of having another-- those are the sorts of things they looked for in constructing the matching group.

Anyway, the group who had sought abortion and been denied were almost twice as likely to admit to an instance of beating their child, and something like 50% more likely to have been visited by the Czechoslovak equivalent of CPS. Some of the mothers in the “denied” group had lost custody of their children, but none in the “non-seeking” group had.

I don’t have a cite, and I know about this only because it was written up for something, and my mother was asked to translate the article into English, but while the Czech version was published, I’m not sure that the English version was. It may just have been for reference at a conference, or something.

Now, there’s no reason to say that what happens in Eastern Europe happens here, but I suspect it would happen more, because there are more governmental supports for people with newborns than there are in the US.

Anyway, while there are women who have babies before they come out, and some of the babies are “Oops” babies, it’s still true that there are many, many fewer “Oops” babies among gay couples.

While gay “marriage” has not been around long enough to do any good studies, there have been studies that examine domestic violence in same sex relationships. Hereis an article about a survey of four studies. It seems one study found same sex relationships have slightly more violence than heterosexual relationships, one found that same sex relationships have three time as much violence, and two studies say that same sex relationships have about double the violence rates.
One would assume marriages would have less violence than the average relationship but it is still probably much higher in same sex marriages than heterosexual marriages.
Child abuse studies are very difficult because of the relative rarity of same sex headed families. The one study that tried to study children of homosexuals found a much higher rate of sexual abuse, that was among all children of homosexuals and would not generalize to maried people.

I would think child abuse in gay families is lower if for no other reason than, even if religious, are less likely to belong to a denomination that views physical discipline of children as biblically sanctioned. There might be anger management or substance abuse issues, but I think you’re not likely to hear about a gay couple beating their child because God told them to.

There’s probably more step-parenting though, and step-parents (well, stepfathers) are more likely to abuse stepchildren than biological (or even biologically related) fathers are.

Speaking just to spouse abuse, leaving kids 100% out of it …

Assume *arguendo *that men are, as a population, more abusive than women.
Also assume arguendo that abusiveness is just as likely in a hetero- as in a homo- oriented person of whichever sex.

Given those assumptions, and assuming *ceteras paribus * for all the other sociological/economic/etc. factors behind abuse, there will be a lower incidence of spouse abuse in 2-female households than in 1-female / 1-male households than in 2-male households.

An interesting question then arises whether the population of homo-oriented abusers will tend to organize themselves into 1-abuser or 2-abuser households. The incidence of *individual spouse abuse *would be the same in either case, but the incidence of *households with abuse going on * could be double or half depending on how the folks pair off. That would be a major confounding factor if not controlled for when comparing statistics across different studies.

According to the CDC lesbians were 25% more likely than straight women to have been to have been raped, assaulted, or stalked by a partner.
Gay men are 10% less likely to have been to have been raped, assaulted, or stalked by a partner.
It seems both of your assumptions are incorrect.

Not once the couple already exists, but there are many which involve stepchildren.

Errrr… How does a lesbian rape her partner? With a sex toy?

Also, statistics show that step-parents are much more likely to abuse a child than biological parents are. The “wicked stepmother” may be an old cliche, but it does have a basis in reality.

Please don’t take this thread in this direction. Most states have definitions of rape that include acts beyond penis in vagina intercourse. It’s certainly possible to be convicted of rape in instances where there was no penitration of any type.