Illinois' Low Divorce Rate Due to Lack of Gay Marriage Ban?

Tuesday, Jan 12, 2010  |  Updated 1:00 PM CDT
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SAN FRANCISCO - FEBRUARY 12: A same sex couple stand arm in arm during a "Freedom To Marry" rally February 12, 2009 at City Hall in San Francisco, California. Same sex couples and supporters of gay marriage went to county clerk offices across the country to ask for marriage licenses on "Freedom To Marry" day, the five year anniversary of same sex unions in San Francisco. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

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The decreasing number of divorces throughout Illinois may be connected to the state's relatively lax marriage laws, according to a recent analysis of national data.

Of the 43 states that have reported their divorces to the Center for Disease Control -- yes, they track marriage and divorce, too -- the states with constitutional bans on gay marriage have the largest increase in divorce rates, according to Nate Silver, a prominent statistician and proprietor of the blog FiveThirtyEight.com.

Illinois, according to Silver's numbers, ranks 15th, with a -8.7 percent decline in divorces between 2003 and 2008. Illinois doesn't have a state ban on marriages.

Illinois is ranked third overall in the midwest, beaten by only Michigan (-9.4 percent) and Iowa (-12.5), the latter of which passed a constitutional amendment legalizing same-sex marriage.

First in the nation, according to Silver, is Rhode Island, at -21.2 percent.

Bringing up the rear is Alaska, with +17.2 percent of marriages ending in divorce.

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