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I think marriage equality confers a certain amount of legitimacy on gay relationships. I think that a society that is tolerant of sexual relationships other than traditional hetero-marriage, will have fewer traditional hetero-marriages. I'm in favor of marriage equality, but I don't think the argument that the homos are undermining the traditional family is entirely baseless.
Posted by Ken Mehlman on October 22, 2012 at 9:36 AM · Report this
Fortunate 3
@1 Except that actual evidence doesn't bare that out. The first state to allow same sex marriage was Massachusetts, and there is no indication that heterosexual marriages have declined in that state. What is more, Mass. has the lowest divorce rate in the country.

The Netherlands, which was the first country to allow same sex marriage, used to have an alarmingly increasing divorce rate, but the divorce rate has actually slowed since allowing same sex marriage.

There is no evidence that allowing same sex marriage will have any negative impact on hetero-marriages, and the argument that same sex marriage undermines the traditional family is, therefore, completely baseless.

We don't have to speculate or imagine what would happen if same sex marriage is allowed. There are a fair number of countries now that allow it, and some US states that have allowed it for a fairly long time now. We can see the long term impact of it in these places and in the end there is none. We don't have to guess, or give into fear mongering. The examples exist and the data is out there, and the data does not indicate what the fear mongers try to get people to believe.
Posted by Fortunate on October 22, 2012 at 9:55 AM · Report this
Sorry, that argument is entirely baseless.
Posted by Tor on October 22, 2012 at 10:03 AM · Report this
Entry #4 was addressed to #1.
Posted by Tor on October 22, 2012 at 10:04 AM · Report this
@1: "I think that a society that is tolerant of sexual relationships other than traditional hetero-marriage, will have fewer traditional hetero-marriages."

The only "traditional hetero-marriages" which are affected by the legalization of same-sex marriages are the ones in which one (or both) of the people in the "traditional hetero-marriage" is actually a gay person who didn't want a "traditional hetero-marriage" in the first place.

And that, I am convinced, is what the religious right is terrified of. They really see sexuality as a choice. Particularly the closeted gay religious fanatics, who are repeatedly told that the feelings they wake up with every morning are something they can choose not to feel. So when they've convinced themselves that they can choose to be straight, it only follows for them that other people have chosen to be gay.

And what follows from that tortured logic is that if we legalize same-sex marriage, then "people who have chosen to be straight" will then leave their "traditional hetero-marriages" and "choose to be gay," thus undermining "traditional hetero-marriages."

I have unfortunately seen exactly this idiocy play out in my own social circle, with the end result being a "traditional hetero-marriage" consisting of two completely miserable people -- a gay Christian fundamentalist man who is trying his damnedest to pray himself straight and a straight woman who constantly feels rejected and not good enough -- and one poor little girl caught in the middle.

I would not wish that on anyone. It would have been a hundred times better if he had come out and married a man he loved, she found a man who genuinely wanted to have sex with her, and the little girl had parents (regardless of gender or orientation) who didn't loathe some part of one another.
Posted by Action Kate on October 22, 2012 at 10:05 AM · Report this
Rob in Baltimore 7
1, Do you have any actual evidence to back your argument that gay marriage makes straight people no longer want to get married? Do you know of any straight people who abandoned their marriage plans because of the gays? Or did you do what you usually do, and just post your unfounded, and poorly reasoned thoughts?
Posted by Rob in Baltimore on October 22, 2012 at 10:23 AM · Report this
smajor82 8
@6 - exactly. Ken's opinion essentially only holds if one or both of the following hold:

1) homosexuality is a choice
2) homosexuals in a heterosexual relationship are a "traditional family".

Both of these notions are idiotic. Further, the very concept of a "traditional family" is such a ridiculous thing. How far back in time do we want to go? Why are we obsessed with making historical institutions seem so great and magical? It's pretty obvious that traditionally, life sucked a lot more than it does today. Disease was rampant, life was short, poverty was common, and the only few people with rights were wealthy white men.

Or is traditional marriage from the 50's when racial and sexual discrimination were violent and often brushed under the rug? Men smacking their kids around and degrading their wives are pretty traditional forms of family form that era - is that what we are afraid of disturbing?.
Posted by smajor82 on October 22, 2012 at 10:32 AM · Report this
Posted by venomlash on October 22, 2012 at 10:38 AM · Report this
I always thought the same way as @1, and I thought it was a good thing. With gay people forming long-term partnership without the constriction or baggage of social rules to have anything to do with their relationships, human society had a brief period of golden opportunity where we could question every bit of socially construction around marriage and coupling, one by one, and redefine them. It's a bit sad that instead of 'undermining' marriage gay people are bringing themselves into it. However, that would have meant a l-o-n-g (er) and harder battle for acceptance for gay relationships. No one group should be asked to go through that much.
Posted by fahima on October 22, 2012 at 10:56 AM · Report this
Dingo 15
Adoption by same-sex couples became legal in Canada in 1995--in the province of Ontario, quickly followed by BC, Alberta and Nova Scotia. That's 17 going on 18 years ago.
Posted by Dingo on October 22, 2012 at 11:26 AM · Report this
very bad homo 19
I think some of them actually believe that if they ban gay marriage, their children will all turn out straight, have children, and go to Heaven. Because that's really what this is all about.
Posted by very bad homo on October 22, 2012 at 11:47 AM · Report this
Rob in Baltimore 21
Straight people need to take responsibility for their own marriages, and stop blaming gay people.
Posted by Rob in Baltimore on October 22, 2012 at 12:23 PM · Report this
@1 - even given the premise of that argument - that alternatives to heterosexual marriage mean that there will be less het marriage - it's a horse that left the barn a long time ago, and gays had nothing to do with it.

It's been a good forty years since sexual relationships outside of marriage became open, unremarkable, and mainstream in North America. It's not unusual, and hasn't been unusual for a long time, for middle class, conventional couples to live and have children together without getting married.

Allowing the small percentage of the population who are gay to have the same civil rights as everyone else is a drop in that bucket of "It's not 1920 anymore".
Posted by agony on October 22, 2012 at 12:29 PM · Report this
Sargon Bighorn 23
#1 Ken makes such a VALID point. Have you seen the deplorable state of restaurants since Black folk can eat in them with traditional White folk! Shocking. And schools, oh don't get me started. Little Black children and little White children learning together has turned our traditional schools into zoos full of guns and drugs and unwed mothers. And now that women can vote look at the low turn out rates and the clown act voting has become. Women ruined traditional voting.

Black folk and women have undermined so much in our nation as #1 Ken would suggest about Gay folk. Really America was founded by White men for White men any thing else is just not traditional.
Posted by Sargon Bighorn on October 22, 2012 at 1:23 PM · Report this
Megaera 24
@19: and we can see just how well that theory has worked out for them so far.
Posted by Megaera on October 22, 2012 at 1:50 PM · Report this
venomlash 25
@11: You ask for a direct link to the study itself, then you complain that you can't access the study for free. Too bad so sad.
@12: n=82, n!=22
You raise a host of irrelevant and baseless objections. This study did not look at the risk of parental abuse, but rather at the psychological development of adopted children. Additionally, as the authors state, "There were no significant differences between children from gay versus lesbian households for any of the variables of interest (all ps > .05), so we collapsed across the two nonheterosexual household types to maximize power and facilitate comparisons with heterosexual households."
@13: "There is no scientific basis to discriminate against gay and lesbian parents." Do you have any evidence that there IS a scientific basis for such discrimination? The burden of proof is on you.
@18: "At each time point, children received age-appropriate cognitive assessments, and the primary parent (the parent designated as spending the most time with the child) completed questionnaires regarding the child’s behavior problems."
The study lists 6 measurement tools used to study the psychological development of children, of which exactly one could have been influenced by the attitudes of the parents. And you want me to believe that the results of the study are due to parents fudging the numbers? That if we disregard their input, the data will magically change to say that gays are bad parents? You shouldn't insult my intelligence, given how effectively I've deployed it against your pitiful ravings.
@20: "the authors of the 'study' tout the fact that the children adopted by homosexuals had more 'risk factors' but they do not quantify that."
No, they do quantify that. "A cumulative risk index was created for each child by summing across the factors...with 1 point assigned to each and a maximum possible score of 9 (M = 3.90, SD = 1.57)." "children in gay and lesbian households had significantly more total background risk factors upon placement (M = 4.64, SD = 1.39) than did children in heterosexual households (M = 3.61, SD = 1.55), t(48) = 2.17, p < .05, effect size r = 0.33."
Posted by venomlash on October 22, 2012 at 1:55 PM · Report this
venomlash 26
Alleged in a nutshell: "The science doesn't disagree with me, so I'm going to make up reasons why it's wrong."
That is NOT how you get your stuff published in Science.
Posted by venomlash on October 22, 2012 at 1:57 PM · Report this
@14--you wrote "What is inescapable is that the push to legitimize homosexual pairings as 'marriage' accompanies a dramatic reduction in the percentage of adults who enter marriages."

Massachusetts, the first state to legalize marriage equality, did so in 2004. That was eight short years ago. Marriage rates among heterosexual couples were dropping for several decades before that. Unless you are arguing that straights stopped marrying in the 1970's out of fear that gays would start marrying thirty-five years later, I'd say that you're confusing cause and effect, and doing so in a very big way.

How about these things for factors leading to a decline in marriage: the increased opportunities for women to earn livings for themselves, rather than to depend upon men for financial support; a decrease in the social stigma of sex outside of marriage; a decrease in the social stigma of heterosexual couples living together without marriage. These would seem to be more immediately relevant to the decrease in rates of heterosexual marriage. They will continue to be factors after marriage equality is the law of the land--and they exist independently of marriage equality.

So-to get back to my argument from another thread, instead of making gays and lesbians the scapegoats of failed marriages, you would do a lot better to put your efforts into showing straight couples why it is to their benefit--and their childrens' benefits--to get and stay married.
Posted by Clayton on October 22, 2012 at 1:58 PM · Report this

Great post, Dan, and love the Corvino videos. After I first saw them, on a whim I looked up and emailed Corvino's agent, asking if he might possibly be available for a fundraiser for Mainers United for Marriage - the local pro-gay marriage group I volunteer for. And fuck if they didn't almost immediately agree - we merely had to name the time and place and pay for a hotel. I gleefully passed this email onto the local Mainers United coordinator, who sent it up to their "communications" guy, (neither of whom who had ever heard of Corvino or seen the videos nor cared to) ... who promptly and completely blew Corvino and his very nice agent off, failing in his first duty to at least be professional and courteous in the frickin communications department.

This is a group begging people for the paltriest donations, and when they're handed this guy for free, they essentially tell him to fuck off.

So fucking frustrated with the Democrats ...

Posted by Velvetbabe on October 22, 2012 at 4:31 PM · Report this
@1: Theocracy, patriarchy, white supremacy; all traditional institutions that have been weakened in western cultures. Thank FSM.
Posted by chi_type on October 22, 2012 at 8:32 PM · Report this
@14 and 30-33

You seem to keep changing your mind about whether marriage equality is a cause of the decline of heterosexual marriage or a symptom. Perhaps the question is one of semantics, and so I'll let that point go for the time being...

We both agree that marriage is a vital institution for a healthy society. I agree so much, in fact, that I want my legal marriage to my same-sex spouse recognized in my home state and by my federal government. You, however, do not want my marriage recognized. Fine. We can agree to disagree on this point...

...provided that you address a point you continually avoid: if the institution of marriage is to be encouraged, both for the benefit of heterosexual couples AND for the benefit of their children, what do you propose to do that will encourage those marriages? Your answer, though, *must* address the behavior of the heterosexuals you see as abandoning the institution. You cannot merely say "we can't allow gay marriage." As you have conceded, the percentage of heterosexuals who marry has been declining for decades. What changes would you propose to make heterosexual marriage more attractive to heterosexuals, independent of whateve gays and lesbians are doing? What changes in law/social policy/Sunday School/whatever would you propose making to encourage heterosexuals to marry and remain married at greater rates? I'm a big fan of heterosexual marriage (I'm the child of one), and I will happily join you in whatever effort you propose to promote that goal, *provided that* your proposal is geared toward encouraging desirable heterosexual behavior rather than scapegoating gays and lesbians.
Posted by Clayton on October 22, 2012 at 8:54 PM · Report this
venomlash 36
@32: Are you advocating gender discrimination? By your ideology, single men should be allowed to adopt, but lesbian couples should not.
Yes, 7 and 15 are very small sample sizes. Luckily, the sample size was actually 82.
You very clearly have no understanding of how science works. The study does not assume that factors such as single/coupled parenting or parental income do not affect the outcome of children. What it DOES assume is that there is no significant difference in those factors across the treatments studied.
And as far as the risk factors go, here's the definition of quantify: "Express or measure the quantity of." When you assign a number to some factor, you by definition quantify. While the study's approach is not useful in absolute terms, it is an excellent tool for making relative assessments of risk.
@33: There is no scientific basis.
That is, we at present have no reason to support a policy of discrimination against homosexuals parenting. It doesn't mean we've done all the research that could ever be done. It just means that the evidence we DO have overwhelmingly agrees that gays and straights are indistinguishable in parenting ability.

Please, leave the science to those who are properly trained and competently intelligent.
Posted by venomlash on October 22, 2012 at 9:05 PM · Report this
@ 35 "I will happily join you in whatever effort you propose to promote that goal"
I'd be careful about making that kind of statement. I can think of a lot of changes to society that would make heterosexual marriage more desirable, that would not necessarily be good changes. Reversal of the gains women have made over the last fifty years toward equality, for example.

Marriages used to be a lot more stable, but it does not follow that the individuals in those marriages had better lives.
Posted by agony on October 22, 2012 at 10:05 PM · Report this
venomlash 39
@38: "Teach children that premarital sex carries high risks of physical, medical and emotional harm"
Not actually true.
"the emotional distress that accompanies a promiscuous lifestyle"
"Hold the males who father children financially responsible for their children."
We already have laws for that.
"Restore penalties for adultery that reflect the devastating toll in [sic] takes on marriages and families."
Sexual infidelity is generally a symptom, rather than a cause, of marital issues. Besides, where in any state or federal constitution do you interpret a power to pass such laws?
"Truth in Advertising- educating people on the actual costs/risks of behavior choices"
More like feeding people your inaccurate propaganda to scare them into behaving in accordance with your personal beliefs. I believe that marriage is an important social institution, and that a stable family is paramount in successful childrearing. However, your suggestions are less in line with responsible social policy and more along the lines of a theocracy.
Posted by venomlash on October 22, 2012 at 11:58 PM · Report this
@40 "Actually, we don't hold males accountable to support children they father out of wedlock to any significant degree."

If a guy paying child support has a job 20% of his paycheck diverted to his baby mama before he sees any money. If a guy who is behind on his child support files a tax return the IRS will send his refund check to his baby mama. Non-payment of child support is a felony in 34 states.

"What percentage of the children for whom public assistance is being collected are being financially supported by their fathers?"

I'm not really sure what you mean by 'public assistance.' You do remember back in the '90s when welfare as we know it was ended don't you? As Barney Frank once said asked a tea bagger, on what planet do you spend most of your time?
Posted by Ken Mehlman on October 23, 2012 at 8:44 AM · Report this
thelyamhound 42
I think that a society that is tolerant of sexual relationships other than traditional hetero-marriage, will have fewer traditional hetero-marriages.
I don't see how that follows, given the near identical rates at which homosexuality occurs from culture to culture, regardless of how it's received. It seems you're suggesting a level of mutability not borne out by the evidence, i.e., that individuals who would enter into same-sex marriages, if such were fully legal and recognized, would otherwise enter into heterosexual marriages. On what basis do you believe that? Or is this just speculation?
Posted by thelyamhound on October 23, 2012 at 9:41 AM · Report this
venomlash 43
@40: Oh boy, a fresh new truckload of stale bullshit. Let's take it in reverse order, shall we? (I figured that since you seemed to enjoy taking it from the rear so much, I might as well follow suit.)
"You are aware that kids get STDs through premarital sex, aren't you?
And powerful chemicals that cause a couple to want to bond are released during sexual intimacy. In a monogamous longterm relationship (aka 'marriage') these help strengthen the marital bond. However when people attach and unattach with multiple partners through premarital sex they weaken their brain's ability to stay attached when/if they decide to settle down in that stable family you cite as paramount in successful childrearing."
Are you referring to oxytocin? It's a hormone responsible for a constellation of effects, including parturition, sexual arousal, and romantic attraction. Unfortunately for your pathetic argument, we can't actually become resistant to oxytocin as a result of serially polyamorous sexual intimacy. We don't lose our ability to pair-bond from having premarital sex. FACT.
You know what else premarital sex doesn't cause? STD transmission. I've had plenty of premarital sex, and yet my risk of catching an STD is exactly zero. You know why? Because in every case we used physical protection and both of us were known to be clean. You don't get STDs from premarital sex; you get STDs from unprotected sex.
Read #41's statement. He takes you down pretty well.
Yes, sexual infidelity is often implicated in divorce. Implicated by whom? By the divorcees. Didn't you full-throatedly condemn self-assessed statistics back in #18? But like I said, sexual infidelity is almost always a symptom of Trouble In Paradise rather than a cause. If two people are in a loving and satisfying relationship, why would one of them cheat on the other unless something was deeply wrong?
Your move towards theocracy isn't in encouraging monogamy; it's in your relentless fabrication of imaginary dangers coming with premarital sex. You gloss over the extreme utility of encouraging the use of protection via proper sex ed, while hoking up a bunch of direct consequences of getting it on without a marriage license. It's not responsibility; it's slut-shaming and social authoritarianism.
Posted by venomlash on October 23, 2012 at 10:48 AM · Report this
@38 "1- Value and Promote [marriage] in the popular culture.
Teach children The Truth; that being married promotes their emotional, financial and physical well being. The popular culture would reflect that it the messages it promotes and refrain from presenting a false glamorized depiction of degenerate alternate lifestyles."

Gee, you and I must have different sources of popular culture. Seen any Rom-com's lately? They nearly always focus on two straight people in love who get married at the end. IF either of them sleeps with someone other than each other, he/she regrets it, and the story ends either with wedding bells, or with their imminence. In "Knocked Up," the inconveniently pregnant Katherin Heigl character was so fixed on marrying her baby-daddy that she was willing to overlook the fact that he was unemployed and had only $35 in the bank. Hell, even "Magic Mike"--a movie about male *strippers*-- had a plot resolution that involved punishing the "bad" stripper (the one who slept around and used drugs) and promising the audience that the "good" stripper (the one who had seen The Error Of His Ways) would settle down with a virtuous woman.

As for television, let's face it: for every "Modern Family" or "The New Normal" there's a thousand television shows and sitcoms that celebrate the intact, stable, heterosexual nuclear family: "The Middle," "Everybody loves Raymond," "All in the Family," "I Love Lucy" and "Leave it to Beaver" (still actively watched after all these years), "Family Ties," "Roseanne," and so on and so on, ad infinitum.

I'd say that popular culture is serving heterosexual marriage pretty well.

I also agree with you that children fare best when their parents are able to provide the financial and emotinal well-being that results from being in a committed, stable marriage. Which is why I would wish those blessings for the children of gay and lesbian couples.
Posted by Clayton on October 23, 2012 at 6:48 PM · Report this
venomlash 46
@44: Nuh-uh, back on topic. You aren't dodging this one. You made shit up about oxytocin. You made shit up about premarital sex causing STDs. You made shit up about child support, and about divorce. Give me ONE reason why I should believe anything you say. Show some self-respect, for the love of all that is holy.
Posted by venomlash on October 23, 2012 at 11:36 PM · Report this
venomlash 48
@47: There's no evidence that Dan has been sexually unfaithful to Terri. Frankly, it's none of your business or mine.
Answer the question. A little integrity, please.
Posted by venomlash on October 24, 2012 at 9:25 AM · Report this

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