The Bible Belt's Real Threat To Marriage: Divorce

According to a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau, the Bible Belt has a divorce problem:
Of the 14 states reporting divorce rates for men that were much higher than the U.S. average -- ranging from 10.0 to 13.5 per 1,000 -- most were in the South. They included Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas.

In contrast, men in the Northeast divorced less than the national average. Five of the nine states that had divorce rates for men significantly below the U.S. average -- ranging from 6.1 to 8.5 -- were the Northeastern states of Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey , New York and Pennsylvania.

The same was true for Southern women. Nine of the 14 states with divorce rates for women above the U.S. average, ranging from 10.7 to 16.2, were in the South. They included Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas and West Virginia.

By comparison, four of the 10 states with below-average divorce rates for women, ranging from 6.0 to 8.9, were in the Northeast: Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.
Let's take a look at the maps:

It's pretty clear from these maps that the Bible Belt states (and others, to be fair) have a problem staying married.

If I remember correctly, it seems that most folks in these Bible Belt states feel that that they need to ban same-sex marriage in order to protect marriage.

Let's have a look at the status of same-sex marriage in the US (orange and red denotes constitutional amendments banning same-sex civil unions and marriages, respectively):

Looks kinda familiar, right?

Of course, we all know that the Bible Belt is the most religious section of the United States, as detailed in this map depicting US religiosity by state:

Again, looks pretty familiar, right?  Do these highly religious folks not realize that their Bible forbids divorce?

The data is quite telling. While certainly there are many factors to consider when making correlations (i.e. people in the Bible Belt marry at younger ages than their Northern counterparts), this data underscores the blatant hypocrisy associated with much of the Bible Belt's religious, anti-LGBT population.

While their religion dictates that they discriminate against gays and lesbians, they don't seem to care what the Bible has to say about divorce and re-marriage. Or perhaps they choose to believe that the anti-divorce stuff in the Bible belongs in that pile of stuff that we don't follow anymore. But the anti-gay stuff? Totally still relevant.

Funny how they pick and choose based on their own circumstances.

While they claim that the real threat to marriage is allowing same-sex couples to marry, we can clearly see that the real threat to marriage is divorce.


  1. Well reasoned and I love the maps. Interesting data on my home state of CO, in top category for divorces but has some civil union provisions.

  2. Women have higher divorce rates because of careers. If women didn't have careers, everything would be fine. That starts with women in the military, police, and firefighting. The more options women have, the more they get divorced.