Researchers Lee Badgett and Jody Herman surveyed the number of same-sex couples that married or state-registered in civil unions or domestic partnerships. They also looked at the gender and age. In comparison to the divorce rate for straight couples, they also looked at the number of couples that are formally ending their relationships.
The researchers concluded that almost 150,000 same-sex couples have either married or registered civil unions or domestic partnerships, which constitutes about one-fifth of same-sex couples in the U.S.
In comparison to about 2% of the total number of married straight couples, about 1% of the total number of currently-married or registered same-sex couples gets divorced each year.
As opposed to a marriage-equivalent domestic partnership or civil union registration in states where only those options are allowed, couples are more likely to legally formalize their relationship when marriage is an option.
Nearly two-thirds of registered or married same-sex couples are lesbians, and only about a third are gay men. A smaller percentage of same-sex couples register or marry in comparison to straight couples, but the marriage/registration rates will be similar in about ten years if current trends continue.
So what are these statistics telling us?
For same-sex couples, marriage is much more attractive than a legally equivalent registration as civil union or domestic partners. As opposed to the "dry" technical benefits of a domestic partnership or civil union, the finding shows that same-sex couples are more interested in the social symbolism and community acceptance that is bestowed by marriage.
When it comes to love and romance, gay and lesbian folks seem to be not all that different than straight couples. In addition, marriage is more appealing to women than to men.
Furthermore for same-sex couples, the divorce rate is lower than straight couples.
The trends revealed by the report shed new light on the world of same-sex marriage.