Sunday, August 23, 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 rates of divorce? There's a big cluster in the South, which corresponds very well with the Bible belt. And 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 that are being told in Maine in the run-up to their election.


Fred Schwartz said...

what baffles me is that in the face of clear and convincing evidence normally rational people will reject the rational in favor of the completely, unexplicably absurd.

Tom Sramek, Jr. said...

That's because most people are not normally rational. I've come to the conclusion that 95% of the objection is visceral--heterosexual folks just cannot contemplate how one can be attracted to someone of the same sex, much less want to marry that person. It's more than the "ick factor" it's a basic reptilian brain thing.