The number of divorces filed in North Carolina dropped to a 25-year low in 2014, the same year a U.S. District Court judge effectively legalized same-sex marriage here.
Opponents of same-sex marriage have regularly warned that allowing same-sex marriage could destroy the sanctity of traditional marriages.
As recently as last April, Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio maintained that marriage should be between a man and a woman, saying, “We should never have any policies that stand in the way of families. We should never have any policies that stand in the way of marriage.”
In an interview on a conservative radio show in 2014, Ted Cruz lamented the spread of same-sex marriage, telling listeners, “Our heart weeps for the damage to traditional marriage that has been done.”
And after the U.S. Supreme Court made its landmark ruling in favor of same-sex marriage last October, the conservative-minded NC Family Policy Council published a blog post, saying, “The ruling has left many in the Christian community feeling defeated, uncertain, and even fearful about the future…”
But as the numbers seem to show, the damage done to traditional marriages has been minimal. According to North Carolina’s Department of Health and Human Services, fewer couples decided to end their marriages following the legalization of same-sex marriage in North Carolina than during any period in the last quarter of a century.
Not only that, but North Carolina experienced a slight jump in divorces in 2012, the same year voters approved Amendment 1, the controversial amendment banning same-sex marriage in the state.
It’s possible the correlation is mere coincidence, but who can say for sure? The public won’t know whether the downward trend in divorces continued in 2015 until the Department of Health and Human Services releases updated numbers later this year. What can be said for certain is the legalization of same-sex marriage didn’t end up causing an immediate crisis for straight marriages after all.
As LGBT attorney Connie Vetter said, “What’s very, very clear is that the doomsayers who said,’marriage equality is going to destroy traditional marriage,’ — which we all knew was not true and was never true — were, in fact, wrong.”
The last time the number of divorces in North Carolina fell this low was in 1991. It was the same year Cher released her hit album, “Love Hurts.”