Jason Richwine, whose terrible research on immigration has prompted a great deal of entirely warranted criticism, wonders whether sociologists will study whether gay marriages are more likely to end in divorce than straight marriages. And he begins with this absurd claim:
Over at the Power Line blog, my former AEI colleague Steve Hayward notes that the first same-sex divorce in the state of Indiana occurred a couple of weeks ago. Will gay couples end up divorcing at higher rates than straight couples? Steve justifiably wonders whether American social scientists will be willing to study the durability of same-sex relationships, given the witch-hunting of Mark Regnerus and others who have published data that paint such relationships in a negative light.
A witch hunt! How about a pogrom? Or a holocaust? Was he thrown into a gulag? Well, no. He was criticized. And those criticisms were absolutely accurate and have gone completely unrefuted. And when Regnerus has been questioned under oath about his study, he’s completely crumbled and his study has been found to be nothing short of laughable. Apparently Richwine thinks a scholar being rightly criticized by other scholars is a “witch hunt.” Now on to his equally inane other point:
The best study I’ve seen focused on Scandinavia, where same-sex civil unions — essentially marriages in everything but name — have been legal for about two decades. The authors had access to population-level administrative data that generated a sample size of over 1,500 same-sex unions. After controlling for age, region, country of birth, education, and duration of the partnership, male couples in Sweden were 35 percent more likely to divorce than heterosexual couples, and lesbian partners were over 200 percent more likely to divorce. Whether the couples had children made little difference in the relative rates…
There are hints of similar results in the American literature, usually found below the headlines of studies with small sample sizes. But, down the road, will researchers jump at the chance to publish large-scale comparisons here in the U.S.? And will they suggest their results have policy implications? Sadly, in this political climate, it might depend on which way the results come out.
Of course sociologists will study this. And if it does turn out that gay marriages are more likely to end in divorce than straight ones, I have no doubt that the Christian right will claim that the “policy implication” of that fact should be that they should not be allowed to get married in the first place. And that’s ridiculous. Poorp people are almost twice as likely as wealthy people to get divorced; should we then prohibit poor people from getting married? Black people are almost twice as likely to get divorced than Asian people; should we ban marriage between black people? Of course not. But they won’t apply their “logic” consistently here, they will just use the data inconsistently to support their bigotry.