According to new data from the Office for National Statistics published female same-sex couples make up just over half of same-sex marriages in England and Wales, yet they account for nearly three-quarters of same-sex divorces.
Five years on from the introduction of equal marriage in England and Wales, there were 822 divorces among same-sex couples in 2019, nearly twice as many as reported in the previous year.
Of these, 589 were female couples and 233 were male couples.
The ONS says that the overall increase of same-sex divorces “reflects the increasing size of the same-sex married population since 2014”, though divorces among same-sex couples still make up less than one per cent of all divorces.
Unreasonable behaviour, which includes adultery, was the most common ground for divorce among same-sex couples this year as almost two-thirds of couples divorced for this reason.
2020’s divorce stats, which will not be published until late 2021, are likely to be turbulent reading, with lockdown believed to have pushed many couples to the brink.
There is no clear statistical explanation for why divorce rates among lesbians and gay men diverge so significantly, though female couples are more likely to get married at younger ages.
Stonewall co-founder Lisa Power previously told The Economist that the number of lesbian couples getting divorced might have something to do with the tendency to move very fast and quickly invest in a relationship, otherwise known as U-hauling.
Power added: “We all used to move in with each other at the drop of a hat.”