When we heard ProtectMarriage.com’s attorney Charles Cooper yesterday argue how legalizing same-sex marriage would lead to fewer marriage (and, thus, a destabilizing effect on society!!), we were all, “WTF you smoking, son?” Because legal gay marriage would, uh, allow more people to get married, and certainly wouldn’t put an end to heteros tying the knot. But now, some hard facts — like how states with bans on same-sex marriage have higher divorce rates.
The data shows a clear trend, according to Nate Silver: “Since 2003, however, the decline in divorce rates has been largely confined to states which have not passed a state constitutional ban on gay marriage. These states saw their divorce rates decrease by an average of 8 percent between 2003 and 2008. States which had passed a same-sex marriage ban as of January 1, 2008, however, saw their divorce rates rise by about 1 percent over the same period.”
Curiously, the worst case study centers around Alaska, which constitutionally banned gay marriage in 1998, and has seen its divorce rate, as a percent of overall marriages, skyrocket to 17.2 percent. (Nevada, Colorado, Kansas and Utah aren’t far behind.)
None of which is to say that gay marriage bans create divorce, but it’s worth pointing out for the simple fact that Charles Cooper isn’t just playing with faulty science in the Perry courtroom. He’s not playing with any science.