Wednesday, August 26, 2009

When gay people marry: The Horror! The Horror!

Recently, a Chicago Trib writer asked a number of prominent opponents of marriage equality what is it is that they think will happen if gays marry.

At first, none of them answered, although after a while Maggie Gallagher dove in and said that, gasp, if same sex marriage is legalized, then children will learn about gays! And religious people will be persecuted! As Conor Clarke, writing at Andrew Sullivan's blog remarked,
Is this really the best they can do? First, none of these things are "simple, concrete predictions about measurable social indicators." ....Gallagher's list amounts to this: As support for gay marriage grows, the public institutions and sentiments that oppose gay marriage will become increasingly marginalized.
A new scholarly book recently published called When Gay People Get Married addresses the question with actual data. As the publisher's blurb reports,
The evidence shows both that marriage changes gay people more than gay people change marriage, and that it is the most liberal countries and states making the first move to recognize gay couples. In the end, Badgett compellingly shows that allowing gay couples to marry does not destroy the institution of marriage and that many gay couples do benefit, in expected as well as surprising ways, from the legal, social, and political rights that the institution offers.
That certainly agrees with my experience, being married, as I've previously reflected.
And what's happening here in the US? As discussed at Talk2Action (h/t Toujours Dan), Massachusetts still has the lowest divorce rate of any state (data here ). And where are the highest rate of divorce? There's a big cluster in the South, which corresponds very well with the Bible belt. Interestingly born-again Christians reportedly have some of the highest rates of divorce.

So actual data suggest that same sex marriage is good for gay people, does not negatively affect the marriages of straight people, and that those opposed to same sex marriage on faith grounds are no less likely, and may even be more likely, to divorce themselves.

One hopes these data will be used to rebut the lies for the upcoming Federal Prop8 case, and the lies being told in Maine in the run-up to their election.

1 comment:

Want Some Wood said...

Good point, although I can't help but notice when I look at the state-by-state divorce rate chart that divorce rates went down in almost every state, sometimes dramatically, between 1990 and 2007. The District of Columbia actually had the LOWEST divorce rate listed as of 2007 (interesting to me, since it's constantly pointed out by conservatives every time the District ranks high on some list for some public pathology or problem).