Social Question

ETpro's avatar

Would marriage equality harm the marriages of heterosexual couples?

Asked by ETpro (34557points) January 15th, 2014

I happen to live in the first state to have gay marriage. We’re closing in on 10 years now since May 17, 2004 when the Supreme Judicial Court in our state said that enforced inequality in marriage laws violated our state’s equal protection clause. Despite all the dire warnings of our esteemed clergy, straight couples didn’t rush to divorce and try the gay lifestyle. Nobody has married a dog or a horse. Scoutmasters and school teachers didn’t start teaching all their kids to be gay. Kids growing up with two moms or two dads seem to be doing just fine. They are no more likely to be gay than the general population is.

When I was in a 4 unit condo in Boston’s North End, there was a married couple with a kid on the second floor, two gay guys on the third floor and a single woman on the fourth. Despite all predictions to the contrary, nobody else in the building caught the gay from the male/male couple living on the third floor. Truth be told, they were fine neighbors, and always willing to lend a hand if needed. The fact both were avid bodybuilders meant that they were truly able to help when heavy objects had to be moved.

With a decade of experience to evaluate, how can religious leaders who presumably think lying is a sin still run around claiming that all the things the predicted for Massachusetts—all of which never took place—will still happen in any other state that adopts marriage equality?

If you’re in a straight marriage, or if you’re courting or engaged and likely to be in one, do you think legalizing gay marriage where you live would suddenly convince you to dump your partner and marry someone of the same sex? How would allowing marriage equality harm you?

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51 Answers

filmfann's avatar

The argument, as I understand it, is not that someone will dump their wife to marry a guy. It is that the slippery slope of moral decay will cause people to value marriage less. More divorces, affairs, etc.
I do not agree with this position.
It is funny to me that so many who oppose gay marriage for the sake of the sanctity of marriage, are divorced.

tom_g's avatar

@filmfann: “It is that the slippery slope of moral decay will cause people to value marriage less. More divorces, affairs, etc.”

You’re right. We did hear that one as well. But as @ETpro points out, we have data now. We’ve had a 10-year experiment here in Massachusetts. So, how/why can opponents of same-sex marriage still get away with making these arguments. I mean, Massachusetts has the lowest divorce rate in the country.

elbanditoroso's avatar

I know, and you know, the answer to your question.

My comment is about the name of the court. When I used to live in Massachusetts, I always got a huge kick out of the pomposity of the court – they call themselves the “Supreme Judicial Court”. Seems like the word :Judicial” is rather repetitive and frankly meaningless. In the context of “supreme”, what other sorts of courts are there? Supreme Tennis Courts?

But then that’s Massachusettss…

livelaughlove21's avatar

No. The only way gay marriage will ruin a straight marriage is if one or both of the people in the straight marriage are gay. Gay people aren’t ruining marriage, straight people are.

Why shouldn’t gay people be able to be just as miserable as the rest of us? ;)

tom_g's avatar

@elbanditoroso – The name of the court bothers you? Strange. Anyway, it was named that back in 1780, so maybe that was considered a reasonable name back then. Prior to 1780 it was called “Superior Court of Judicature”.

Juels's avatar

It would make me happy to see our friends, a gay couple, be able to commit themselves to each other through marriage. I know they have been waiting for the day to come. If all goes well, it should happen this June. They were able to adopt a son last year. They are a strong and loving example of how a family should treat each other. I would never consider them a negative influence.

whitenoise's avatar

Are you kidding?

We had several wars, the biggest depression in a long time, government expenses go through the roof and the Chinese will soon take over the world!

KNOWITALL's avatar

“Caught the gay” so funny!! Of course NOT!!

Since I was a child my mother, a good strong Christian, has taught love and acceptance, and I remember my first gay friend, Bobby, as a fun, outgoing, fem that I loved. As a straight married woman, I don’t find myself attracted in any way to LGBT’s, men or women, fem or other. My husband worked for a gay man for a while and was never hit on either.

They are just people trying to be themselves and happy, and we should all support each other in that endeavor as human beings, theists especially should practice love and non-judgement, it shames me many of them are so judgemental.

JimTurner's avatar

I’ve been married for 20 years. What someone else does has no bearing on me and my wife’s relationship. How can it?

If I have gay or lesbian neighbors which I might since I don’t know and don’t care what people do behind closed doors also has no bearing on me and my wife’s relationship.

zenvelo's avatar


We had a two-women couple down the street, who had a daughter same age as our son. When Emily was about three, one of the women began an affair with another woman up the street, broke up with the first woman, and moved in with the second woman. It was just like the man around the corner that divorced his wife and moved in with his girlfriend down the block.

So Emily ended up with three moms, and all three women eventually became peaceful because of their daughter.

None of the straight families on the street were in any way threatened by the same sex couples.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@ETpro I also want to point out that SSM also has legal ramifications for these people.

If SSM is not legalized, generally the couples have no legal rights to make important end of life decisions, property right, etc… To me, that is as important, based on RL experiences, as the social ramifications.

Think about my friend who’s SO was dying in the hospital and the conservative parents wouldn’t allow the SO in to even say goodbye, she was banned from the room, the funeral and mutual property was disposed of after the woman died. It was a horrible and emotional scarring situation.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

How does a homosexual couple’s choices affect my life? They’re not attracted to me. Why should I be blocking them from the same choices available to me?
Edit: I would also think the legal community would be all over this issue. Think of the additional divorce business this would make available.

Coloma's avatar

The “institution” of marriage harms everybody. haha
Institutions historically fail, and marriage, IMO, is an archaic and outdated institution that is still touted and revered as some end all and be all of ones existence. Pffft!
I think marriage, other than the economic and legal benefits, is mostly a trap that binds people to each other in unhealthy ways 90% of the time.
I see marriage as an equal opportunity of misery for all genders. lol

Whoever wants to jump over that broomstick is more than welcome.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Coloma Harm, trap, archaic, outdated institution, unhealthy, misery. Wow, tell us how you really feel sister…lol I completely disagree by the way, but you made me laugh!

LuckyGuy's avatar

~Allow them to get married and the next thing you know they reproduce and have gay kids. Oh wait….
~@ETpro I’m willing to bet the third floor apartment was the cleanest, and had the best furnishings and window treatments in the building. It is difficult to keep up with that.

Being hetero I am hard pressed to see how gay marriage affects my life at all. I’m in favor of it if that is what consenting adults want to do.
With tongue firmly in cheek here are some reasons to be against it..
– There might be an increase in taxes due to more people collecting on a departed spouses social security.a departed.
– There might be an increase in health care cost with more people added to work policies.
– Hetero couples would have to start maintaining their lawns, houses and cars to keep up with the gay couple next door.
– Radio pundits would need to find other subjects to complain about.
– More marriages mean more divorces and more lawyers.

It would be interesting to see if there is data proving or disproving those statements. I’ll bet there are plenty of studies.

filmfann's avatar

Despite all predictions to the contrary, nobody else in the building caught the gay from the male/male couple living on the third floor.

Nobody else?
So, you are saying you “caught the gay” from that couple? Wouldn’t that be defeating your own argument?

Coloma's avatar

@KNOWITALL Haha, well I am glad.
I am simply going off of the evidence I have witnessed over the years. I have never known one truly happy and healthy marriage situation. The vast majority of married couples seem to live somewhere between quiet desperation/ apathy and inertia/ habit and outright contempt. lol

JimTurner's avatar

@Coloma You’ve been hanging around the wrong couples at the wrong time.

Coloma's avatar

@JimTurner Must be. I so hate relationship drama, gah!

KNOWITALL's avatar

@coloma Marriages, in my experience, go through stages. Based on divorce rates, I’m sure a lot of people would agree with you though. :)

JimTurner's avatar

@Coloma Yet you are one of the friendliest people on Fluther.

Coloma's avatar


Oh, I am friendly, I LOVE people, and yes, relationships do go through stages, however, seriously, I have yet to see anything truly resembling a healthy union. I think given the nature of change and growth that it is unrealistic to expect to be tethered to one person til death do you part. It takes a rare couple of birds to really keep a relationship alive, conscious, healthy and growing. Most people haven’t even really seen their partner in the last 10 or 20 years.

They become part of the furniture, taken for granted but comfortable, like an old sweatshirt. lol
I have a friend right now, divorced, that is in her 50’s like me, been seeing someone for the last 4.5 years and is stuck in the endless cycle of “talks” about what she needs. I can hardly stand to listen to it anymore. Shit, have you learned NOTHING?

People don’t change much, if at all, and if you haven’t gotten what you “need” for the last 4 years what makes you think another fruitless “talk” will change that?
Duh! haha
I just have no patience for middle aged people that still allow themselves to stay stuck in unrewarding relationships/marriages. There is so much more to life than relationship IMO.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Coloma That would be an interesting discussion for the collective sometime!

Coloma's avatar

@KNOWITALL Haha, egads, please, lets talk about anything but relationships. lol

MadMadMax's avatar


bolwerk's avatar

Of course. Opponents of gay marriage know that homosexuality is the best sexuality. All sex, no pregnancy!

Blondesjon's avatar


Most of the time just being married harms the marriages of heterosexual couples.

DWW25921's avatar

Yes. There would be more people complaining about how miserable their marriages are. Thus, affecting the heterosexual couples as they would think twice about getting married in the first place. There would be more crappy marriage advice floating around. Gays should have the right to be just as miserable as everyone else. Did I mention I’m getting a divorce this year? Oh, sweet sweet divorce, let me embrace the ample bosom of thy loneliness with eager anticipation!

Coloma's avatar

Right, it’s all about equality of misery. lol

DWW25921's avatar

@Coloma Sure! I mean, aren’t the people who are opposed to gay marriage simply trying to save these poor folks from psychological and financial ruin?

Coloma's avatar

@DWW25921 I don’t think their motives are that pure, no. lol
I was being sarcastically humorous. :-)

DWW25921's avatar

@Coloma Oh… That’s the only logical reason why I can think of being against it. I understand the sides and kind of tend to take my own road on most things…

LornaLove's avatar

I think people should be allowed to love who they want and to marry them too. Marriage is good in that a lot of people give time, energy, money and their hearts to another and often get booted out with bugger all. That goes for gay and straight marriages. I really don’t ‘get’ the slant that all married people will rush out and divorce to get married into a gay marriage of your question, but it is 3am maybe that is why.

ETpro's avatar

@filmfann I should have included the slippery slope argument as well. The enemies of equality made that argument along with the others I listed. They tried to launch a ballot initiative to amend the State Constitution. They failed, but all those including slippery slope and “The next thing will be polygamy.” were floated as reasons we had to stop equality in its tracks.

@tom_g Exactly. However poorly I may have articulated it, that was my point. We have the results of a 10 year experiment with 6.4 million plus test subjects, and we know what happened. Why do the champions of inequality continue to plug their ears and chant, “I can’t hear you!”?

@elbanditoroso Don’t almost all states have a Supreme Court. The US does. Most foreign nation states do. I believe even states within nation states abroad do. What’s so strange about the word?

@livelaughlove21 In that case, the marriage is almost certainly squicked anyway.

@Juels Thanks. It is touching that you think of a real world example, and care more about the people involved in it than some religious/political agenda to use the law to force others to behave as you personally wish to behave without any compelling social interest compelling such behavior.

@whitenoise No, I’m not kidding. I wish I were.

To this crowd, a hundred thousand dead and trillions spent for wars fought for no good reason is fine. But people in love can’t marry, or even exist, unless they are just like the “morality monitors” who interpret “Judge not that ye be not judged.” as a command to go out and find what’s wrong with everybody who isn’t exactly like them.

@KNOWITALL Thanks. Perhaps more Christians would think as you do if the Book they hold as inviolate truth didn’t say the exact opposite about gays while also telling them not to judge. Pick your poison.

ETpro's avatar

@JimTurner Married 36 years here, and somehow we were not motivated to divorce 10 years ago and marry same sex partners just because we suddenly could.

@zenvelo A three person grouping. Augh! The next great threat. Polygamy, which the Bible actually endorses but the Christian Right rail against as a consumate evil. I suppose their omniscient, omnipotent God called that one wrong, then somehow forgot to set it right; but they know what’s right in their God’s eyes even if their God doesn’t. Sorry if that offends some, but this stuff is really hard for me to process mentally, and I am actually trying to understand. Please enlighten me.

@Adirondackwannabe Great point. If you find divorce lawyers lobbying against SSM, they wouldn’t be good choices to represent you. They are either too deep in ideology to be objective, or just plain stupid.

@Coloma Not lucky in love, hey? Join the very large club.

@LuckyGuy I never went up there, but I bet you are right. Given the hodge-podge of Goodwill Hunting finds we chose to furnish our place, I am sure the beat us hands down.

@Lightlyseared Yes, as the observed data show, you are right.

@MadMadMax & @Blondesjon Right!

@bolwerk Great point. Maybe that’s what’s got their panties in a knot.

@DWW25921 Then under the rule that “Misery loves company” I am all for SSM.

@LornaLove And I think that’s the best answer.

Pandora's avatar

Ignorant people always think the same way. Oh, if you give black people rights they will use our bathrooms and we can catch the blackness. Oh, if you hand out contraceptives, young people everywhere will run out and have orgies. So in their minds giving gay people the right to marry means our young people will think its ok to marry animals. It just makes sense.
Right up their with a black president has to be a terrorist.
And the cow didn’t try to jump over the moon until some black gay boys with rubbers tried to boink it and joined a terrorist group and filled it with bombs. If only the cow didn’t have its guns taken away.

ETpro's avatar

@Pandora Sadly, that is pretty close to the “logic” as they explain it.

Pandora's avatar

@ETpro I’ve given up talking to ignorant people. It just makes my head hurt and sadly it doesn’t effect them because they would need a brain that is slightly bigger than a parrots brain. That is why they repeat what they have been programmed to say. They figure that it is how they do things. They are told to do it and so they follow. Therefore everyone else does the same thing. If they are told that contraceptives is good then they think that it is equal with being told that whoring about town is a good thing. If it moves, then screw it, just wear a rubber.

ETpro's avatar

@Pandora You don’t really have to give up. Most are not stupid, just mired in thought process that place faith (belief without evidence) above reason. You are unlikely to break through such a wall of non-critical thinking unless you know how, and insulting their intelligence is definitely not how. If I may recommend a book, it is A Manual for Creating Atheists by Peter Boghassian. He teaches how to use pointed questions instead of criticism to get those mired in faith-based thinking (whether it is Christian, Muslim, Mormon, Jewish, Hindu or what have you) to let go of the canned answers their religious leaders have programmed into them and begin to apply critical thinking.

As Socrates rightly noted, ”...The life which is unexamined is not worth living…”

KNOWITALL's avatar

@ETpro “Perhaps more Christians would think as you do if the Book they hold as inviolate truth didn’t say the exact opposite about gays while also telling them not to judge. Pick your poison.”

Remember people still talk derogatorily about blacks, too, some thing’s just take time. Personally I talk to everyone I can about the issue and I feel that the more Christians that hear messages of love and acceptance from other Christians, the quicker and easier it will be to foster the change. I’m not saying anyone has to approve or condone, just love no matter what. That’s all we can do, but it would be wrong for me to judge the people that feel different than I do as well. They sure are missing out on some great relationships, friends, family, etc…

Darth_Algar's avatar

I’ve married and divorced three times since Illinois passed its marriage equality bill.

DWW25921's avatar

@Pandora I caught some blackness once. It wasn’t in the bathroom though. It was sweet, a little rough but never bad. Yeah… Good times.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Darth_Algar But how many of those marriages were to dogs or box turtles? That’s the crucial question.

ETpro's avatar

@KNOWITALL I sincerely hope you succeed. But as long as you are dealing with a set of bronze age writings that condone slavery, rape, genocide, murder, infanticide, incest, burning of witches, stoning homosexuals to death, and even the death penalty for eating lobster or shrimp, there remains the very real threat that someone will take the book they claim justifies their faith at face value, and as soon as they do, we get the Christian Taliban that we have seen so often in the Crusades, Inquisition, witch burnings, and in abortion clinic bombings and murders of gays today.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@ETpro Communication is the key to understanding, friend. :)

ETpro's avatar

@KNOWITALL Indeed that is true. That is why I keep communicating here.

Paradox25's avatar

Repressed feelings? I’m starting to think this when I see that the most anti-gay countries on Earth lead the world in googling gay porn searches. Pakistan? No way. Uganda? No freakin way again. Now I’m starting to wonder about Russia.

Darth_Algar's avatar

In Soviet Russia gay porn searches you.

Misspegasister28's avatar

Wanna know what will happen when gay people are allowed to get married?

Gay people will get married. Nothing else. No one will be harmed. Homophobes need to stop and listen to what they’re saying. It makes no sense, it’s ridiculous, and they’re just assholes.

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