Gay men who marry women are very likely to end up getting divorced.
A survey of 1,612 gay and lesbian (current and former) Mormons found that up to 69 percent of marriages involving a gay man and a woman end in divorce. This contrasted with a divorce rate of 25 percent among straight Mormons.
Moreover, more than 70 percent of gay and lesbian Mormons leave the Mormon church and 80 percent of respondents said they had undergone efforts to change their sexual orientation.
The study, performed by BYU Professor of Biology William Bradshaw, Utah State University Professor of Psychology Renee Galliher, Pacific Lutheran University Visiting Professor of Psychology Katie Crowell, and U.S.U. Psychology Ph.D. candidate John Dehlin, was started in 2011 and found Mormon respondents in 48 states through various venues.
“This study utilizes the best dataset (as in largest, and most representative) of LGBT Mormons (and possibly LGBT individuals of any religious group) ever assembled to address topics such as mixed-orientation marriages, celibacy, reparative therapy, religiosity,” wrote Dehlin on his Mormon Stories web blog. “We worked hard to avoid any bias.”
There has not yet been a response to the study from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The release of the survey coincided with the broadcast of The Learning Channel documentary, My Husband’s Not Gay, which has the support of Mormon leaders but was slammed as irresponsible and dangerous by gay rights advocacy groups.
Of the study’s 1,612 respondents, 500 (or 31 percent) had entered into a “mixed-orientation” marriage during their life — 240 of those were in one such marriage during the study. The average duration of those marriages was 16.6 years. Many of the divorces happened after the children of the marriage left home. The total divorce rate of mixed-orientation marriages is over 300 percent more than the U.S. average for opposite-sex marriages, according to the study.
Of the 240 respondents who are currently in mixed-orientation marriages, the average Kinsey scale rating was 3.75 — well within bisexual ratings. (According to the Kinsey scale, those who say they are a zero are entirely heterosexual and those who rate themselves as 6 are entirely homosexual.) Respondents no longer in a mixed-orientation marriage rank themselves an average 5.1 on the Kinsey scale.
The study also measured quality of life using a respected standard among psychologists. Those who were single ranked the lowest at a score of 78 and those in mixed-orientation marriages scored at 81. The average quality of life for a person with lupus — a debilitating illness which includes symptoms such as fatigue and fever, joint pain, stiffness and swelling, skin lesions, shortness of breath, chest pain, headaches, confusion and memory loss — rank themselves at just under 84.
“Conversely, our study found that LGBT Mormons who entered into legal, committed, same-sex marriages reported the highest quality of life and self-esteem scores, and the lowest scores for depression, sexual identity distress, and internalized homophobia — by a large statistical margin,” the study reads.
“Celibacy is possibly the single worst decision that an LGBT/SSA person could make from a mental health and well-being standpoint, based on our analysis of the data so far,” the report continues.
The study is still gathering data on the heterosexual spouses in mixed-orientation marriages.
The full results of the study can be found at bit.ly/momstudy