One percent of cohabiting couples (see definition in the box) formed since the 1980s in Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden, is a same-sex couple. Since the end of the 20th century, same-sex couples have gradually gained legal recognition in these European countries, from registered partnership (as the Pacs in France or legal cohabitation in Belgium) to marriage.
This changing legal and social context arises from a weakening of the marriage institution since the 1970s. The diffusion of unmarried cohabitation and the increase in separations and divorces among heterosexual couples has transformed family structures. The opportunity for homosexual couples to register their partnership or marry has brought visibility and social recognition to their union. From this perspective, this research aims to compare the separation risks of cohabiting same-sex couples with those of different-sex couples in the above-mentioned six European countries.