Two Decades of Same-sex Marriage in Sweden. A Demographic Account of Developments in Marriage, Childbearing and Divorce
Abstract: In this study we examine period trends in same-sex marriage formation and divorce during 1995-2012 in Sweden and the role of childbearing in Swedish same-sex unions. The period begins with the introduction of the registered partnership for same-sex couples and also covers the introduction of formal same-sex marriage in 2009. We use register data for the complete population of Sweden, and contrast patterns for male and female same-sex unions with those of opposite-sex marriages. Our study shows that female same-sex union formation increased rapidly over the period, while trends for male same-sex unions show less of increase. The introduction of same-sex marriage legislation in 2009 appears to have had no noticeable effect on the pace of formation of new same-sex unions. In contrast, legal changes that supported parental rights in same-sex unions may have fueled the formation of female same-sex marriages. Further, we find that divorce risks in the marital unions of two women are much higher than in other types of marriages. We present some evidence of a convergence in divorce patterns over time. At the end of our study period male same-sex unions have the same divorce risk levels as opposite-sex marriages, while the elevated risks of divorce in female same-sex unions appear to have stabilized at levels somewhat lower than those observed in the late 1990s.