The TLC documentary My Husband’s Not Gay has put a spotlight on Mormon men who deny their same-sex attractions and marry women, but a new study indicates such marriages may well break up.
Marriages of this type “are two to three times more likely to end in divorce than others,” reports The Salt Lake Tribune in an article on the study by a doctoral student at Utah State University and a retired Brigham Young University professor.
Their project is an “in-depth survey of 1,612 self-selected LGBT/same-sex attracted Mormons and former Mormons, thought by researchers to be the largest study ever conducted with this population,” the Tribune reports.
Utah State graduate student John Dehlin and retired BYU professor Bill Bradshaw, with assistance from Renee Galliher of Utah State, asked participants for their stories via numerous websites with a variety of viewpoints. These include North Star International, a support group for LGBT Mormons that is successor to an “ex-gay” organization, and Dehlin’s podcast Mormon Stories, which is sometimes critical of the Mormon Church, formally known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The researchers found that “between 51 percent and 69 percent of mixed-orientation Mormon marriages end in divorce, well above the roughly 25 percent of LDS couples who split up,” the Tribune notes. They also reported that 70 percent of Mormons who identify as LGBT or “same-sex attracted” end up leaving the church. And only 6 percent of respondents said they rejected their LGBT identity, although 80 percent had gone through therapy designed to change their sexual orientation.
Respondents were drawn from 44 U.S. states and 22 countries, although 45 percent of them were from Utah. Three-quarters were men.