The Netherlands became the first country in the world to approve same sex weddings, when the first gay couples tied the knot on April 1, 2001.
Women are more likely to get married than men and their marriages are more likely to break down, the national statistics office CBS said on Wednesday.
Since the initial surge in weddings, some 700 female couples and 500-600 male couples get married every year. Of them, around 200 female and 100 male couples will get divorced, the CBS said.
Of the 580 weddings between two women sealed in 2005, 30% had ended 10 years later. Among men, the 10-year divorce rate is around 15%. One in five weddings between a man and woman ends in divorce.
One reason for the low divorce rate among gay men could be the fact they tend to get married when older, the CBS said. One in five gay men is over the age of 55 when he gets married.
Tanja Ineke, chairwoman of the gay rights lobby group COC, told broadcaster Nos that the higher divorce rate among women may be because lesbians are less accepted.
‘There is more attention paid to discrimination involving gay men,’ she said. ‘Discrimination against women is less visible but certainly exists. Lesbians often feel they are taken less seriously.’
Despite the divorce rate, there is reason for celebration, she said. ’15 years ago the Netherlands was the first country to allow same sex couples to get married,’ she said. ‘Since then, 20 countries have followed suit. And that is really great.’
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