Only 1.1% of same-sex couples in civil unions in the Australian Capital Territory have divorced in the past 6 years – a far lower figure than the number of heterosexual divorces.
Only 9 same-sex couples have sought to have their civil unions annulled since civil unions became available to them in the territory in May of 2008.
In that time there have been 799 civil unions and 8,711 heterosexual marriages recognized in the Australian Capital Territory.
In comparison there were 6965 heterosexual divorces, with statisticians finding that 33% of heterosexual marriages would eventually end in divorce.
Adjunct Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Canberra Amanda Gordon told the Canberra Times that she believed the success of same-sex couples in civil unions was a result of less social pressure to get married among LGBTI people – meaning those who did were more serious about their relationships.
‘There are very few [terminations] because people have thought it through very carefully and understand the implications,’ Gordon said.
‘They are actually thinking very hard about the significance and importance of making it work.’
However Gordon predicted that if same-sex marriage became more common amongst LGBTIs, divorce rates would become more similar.
‘If homosexual couples slip in to marriage the way we do then I think you will find the same level of distress in a relationship as other people,’ Gordon said.
‘These figures go some way to prove that if you put hard work into a relationship you can make it work, because these relationships have lasted the five-year distance in a way that is different to traditional marriages.’
‘They don’t take it for granted.’