By Terry Vanderheyden

BRATTLEBORO, Vermont, December 16, 2005 ( – The first same-sex couple to enter into a civil-union “marriage” in the US is getting a divorce.

Kathleen Peterson and Carolyn Conrad were in court in October to dissolve their civil union and to decide on a division of home and property.

“All I want to say is that the civil union was a big source of pride for me and now it’s not,” Peterson said Wednesday, as reported by the AP. The pair was the first to enter into a civil union after former Vermont governor Howard Dean signed the legislation into law in 2000.

The AP report highlighted that although 7,459 same-sex couples have entered into civil unions in Vermont, only 1,137 – 15 percent – were state residents. So far 78 dissolutions have been registered in Vermont.

A Swedish study published last year found that lesbian couples were 2.67 times as likely to divorce as opposite-sex married couples, while same-sex male couples were 1.5 times as likely to divorce as married opposite-sex couples, over a similar period of time.

Even after controlling for demographic characteristics associated with increased risk of divorce, male same-sex couples were still 1.35 times as likely to divorce, and lesbian couples were three times as likely to divorce as opposite- sex married couples.

Vermont’s civil union law grants same-sex couples most of the privileges normally reserved for heterosexual marriage such as the filing of joint tax returns, spousal health care benefits, and an allowance for making critical medical decisions for each other.

In the US, Connecticut and New Jersey also have civil union laws, and Massachusetts has legal same-sex “marriage,” while 30 states have passed constitutional amendments banning the aberration.

See related coverage:
  Same-Sex Couples Face High Divorce Risks, Says New Swedish Study
  Canada’s First Same-Sex Divorce: Separated after 5 Days of ‘Marriage’ – Set-Up Suspected
  Canadian Women World’s First Same-Sex Couple to be Granted a “Divorce”
  B.C. Grants First Gay “Divorce”– Activist Judge Rewrites Law to Accommodate “Divorce”
  The Competing Social and Political Philosophies Regarding Same-Sex Unions
  The Case against Same-Sex Marriage


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