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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.
The Swedish Research Council, Vetenskapsrådet, via the Swedish Initiative for research on Microdata in the Social and Medical Sciences, SIMSAM, grant registration number 340-2013-5164 and the Linnaeus Center for Social Policy and Family Dynamics in Europe