John at AMERICAblog picks up on this interesting bit of news out of Vermont, where they’ve been issuing gay civil unions:

(Vermont Times-Argus) Vermont’s — and nation’s — first civil union breaking up

BRATTLEBORO — The first same-sex couple in the United States to receive many of the legal rights of marriage are in the process of dissolving their historic civil union in Vermont.

The break-up is a milestone in the movement to grant gay and lesbian couples the same rights as heterosexual marriage. But people should not be surprised that same-sex couples experience similar relationship problems as traditional couples, said Bari Shamus of Brattleboro, one of the founding members of the Vermont Freedom to Marry Task Force.

“There’s no proof that our relationships are any better than heterosexual relationships,” Shamas said. “We all experience similar issues in relationships.”

Up-to-date information on the number of civil unions that have been dissolved in Vermont was not available Wednesday. But from July 1, 2000, through the end of 2004, according to the Vermont Office of Vital Records, 7,549 couples have filed for civil unions in Vermont and there have been 78 dissolutions.

All right, students, break out the calculators. In the span of four-and-a-half years, 1.0332% of Vermont’s civil unions have broken up.

Now, fifty-four months of civil union history isn’t exactly the perfect set of data from which to draw conclusions about the long-term success rates of gay marriage / civil unions. But it is interesting to compare it to these numbers:

(Dallas Morning News) The Barna Research Group’s national study showed that members of nondenominational churches divorce 34 percent of the time in contrast to 25 percent for the general population. Nondenominational churches would include large numbers of Bible churches and other conservative evangelicals. Baptists had the highest rate of the major denominations: 29 percent. Born-again Christians’ rate was 27 percent. To make matters even more distressing for believers, atheists/agnostics had the lowest rate of divorce 21 percent.

So, folks, to what do you attribute these stunning difference in statistics? My theory is that the holy rollers are more likely to buy the car without taking a test drive, if you get my drift, and later discover that common faith isn’t enough to help you put up with a spouse you’re otherwise incompatible with. Another theory is that the babbling biblical literalists put too much emphasis on the spiritual nature of marriage without addressing the real life, day-to-day concerns of marriage.