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August 26, 2004 6:52 AM   Subscribe

Heterosexual marriage rates in Denmark increased after adoption of same-sex marriage, study shows. "In the end, the Scandinavian and Dutch experience suggests that there is little reason to worry that heterosexual people will flee marriage if gay and lesbian couples get the same rights," Badgett concluded, in a report published by The Institute for Gay & Lesbian Strategic Studies. Much of the report covers the same ground which Hoover Institution professor Stanley Kurtz testified on before the US Congress in April this year, drawing almost diametrically opposite conclusions.
MORE FROM THE PRESUMABLY STRAIGHT KURTZ HERE; FROM THE POSSIBLY GAY BADGETT HERE.
posted by dash_slot- (36 comments total)

 
It's a little publicised academic report, and I think it adds significantly to the debate. The IGLSS seems to be useful repository of relevant research, one that I hadn't come across before.

Please discuss responsibly. (",)
posted by dash_slot- at 6:56 AM on August 26, 2004


From Kurtz' essay:

"...demographers and sociologists take rising out-of-wedlock birthrates as a proxy for rising rates of family dissolution..."

That seems like a pretty stupid proxy. I, for one, have a hard time seeing the link. Speaking as a Dane a great deal of my friends have kids, live together and do fine. Some are married, some are not.

Apart from the added security of marriage it seems to me that for the last decade or so marriage has become a lot more fashionable. Again I have a hard time seeing the link between same-sex mariages / registered partnerships and the hetero marriage rate.

Chill, Mr. Kurtz, same-sex marriage is not 'the horror, the horror' it's made out to be.
posted by AwkwardPause at 7:35 AM on August 26, 2004


I think the visceral rejection of same sex marriages comes not from a fear that they will lead to less hetero marriages. Rather, I think it is merely fear of homosexuality itself. All of the other arguments are smoke screens to obscure the underlying fear of homosexuality.
posted by caddis at 8:19 AM on August 26, 2004


I like to believe that morals are relative. Even when I disagree with someone, I always try and see their side of the problem. However, when it comes to the issue of same-sex marriage, I'm tired of debating it. I mean, there is only one correct answer. Anyone who is against same-sex marriage is plain and simply intellectually deficient. There is no 'other side of the story' or 'seeing it through their eyes'. The desire of the majority to oppress the minority based on their own, irrational, prejudiced beliefs is wrong, plainly and simply.
posted by PigAlien at 8:30 AM on August 26, 2004


Interesting points, Awkward [may I call you that? It's so formal with last names, an'all..]. I think that they'd do better trying to find other measures for whether families are succeeding - like are rates of child abuse increasing, or juvenile offending rates, or teen pregnancy rates. It seems to me that if the nuclear family is such a great model, then family values will be transmitted.

Would anyone like to place bets on the comparative incidences of such phenomena in say, Denmark or Norway, vs. the United States?

caddis: I think that you may be right. Wouldn't it be at least honest of them, if they just said: 'I simply don't like you homosexuals'? Mind you, then they'd have to admit that that everything done by gays is done by straights, and they'd be in a bit of a pickle then. O well.
posted by dash_slot- at 8:32 AM on August 26, 2004


may I call you that?

Sure, Dash, be my guest.

I guess my point is just that I simply fail to see any link between same-sex and hetero marriages, at least in terms of prevalence, quality and the like. Same way as I cannot see any causal link between same-sex marriage and rates of child abuse, or juvenile offending rates, or teen pregnancy rates.

Even if you could determine some kind of correlation, as long as the causality cannot be accounted for, the connection might just be spurious.
posted by AwkwardPause at 9:08 AM on August 26, 2004


only married couples get divorsed
posted by mr.marx at 9:24 AM on August 26, 2004


Despite what anti-gay marriage people say. I don't believe that they think that gay marriage will destroy the sanctity of marriage (or their marriage). Really I think they just don't want gay people to be on the same level as themselves. Simple bigotry.
posted by jeblis at 9:26 AM on August 26, 2004


I cannot see any causal link between same-sex marriage and rates of child abuse, or juvenile offending rates, or teen pregnancy rates.


No, no - nor can I. I was proposing them as a measure the success society has in transmitting family values [not a term I bandy around much, but I thought I'd see how far I could go into their territory...]

My point in that comment is - succinctly - if America has fewer but better types of marriage [as Kurtz alleges], does it have fewer youth-centred problems?

I should declare that although the post is neutrally framed, I am a strong supporter of same-sex marriage on the basis of equality, human rights and justice.

More marriage is bad...why, Mr. Kurtz? The data doesn't support you.
posted by dash_slot- at 9:31 AM on August 26, 2004


"Mom, I'm not going to take out the garbage because of [excuse A.]"

Six months later, Mom comes home and says, "Son, there's been a study that shows [excuse A] is unfounded."

"Mom, I'm not going to take out the garbage because of [excuse B.] Also, because of [Excuse A.]"


That is where the gay marriage "debate" is now.
posted by callmejay at 9:36 AM on August 26, 2004


I don't think it's fear of homosexuality, I think it's a fear of "cultural encroachment" on what is held 'sacred' coupled with an attitude of arrogant, authoritarian, top-down social manipulation to achieve (their) cultural supremacy.

It's an authoritarian, punitive mentality mixed with a fixed conception of what society should be. It applies to much more than homosexuality.
posted by Blue Stone at 9:36 AM on August 26, 2004


Blue Stone - Well put.
posted by jeblis at 10:06 AM on August 26, 2004


Yes, but why is the birth rate sharply decreasing?
posted by the fire you left me at 10:22 AM on August 26, 2004


Why do so many people see robins around here?
posted by AwkwardPause at 10:29 AM on August 26, 2004


The fire you left me:
I dunno - I caught the gay and still managed to reproduce!
Maybe that's a story for the blog...
posted by dash_slot- at 10:56 AM on August 26, 2004


" Yes, but why is the birth rate sharply decreasing?"

My god, it's so simple and clear, yet of course it's the answer the fundies least like to hear...

Evolution, duh!

Survival of the fittest. Having children helped people stay alive in the past. Also, many children died, so to ensure that their genes lived on, they had to have many children.

Now, few children die and we don't need children to help us on the farm or support us in our old age. We have pensions now.

Besides, children interfere with the accumulation of material goods.

Of course, the fundies don't want to believe in evolution - heresy! It must be the gays!!!
posted by PigAlien at 11:14 AM on August 26, 2004


Hey, this just adds more fuel to my movement to outlaw divorce first.

For those of you who aren't familiar with it, let me just summarize it here: if we are going to base US public policy on marriage in the Christian Bible, then it stands to reason we should outlaw divorce before even addressing the question of same-sex marriage for the following reasons:

a) Jesus himself speaks against divorce, whereas he says nothing about the gay;
b) Paul speaks far more often against divorce than he does against the gay;
c) since at least 90% of all US residents are heterosexual, they are in far greater danger of The Evil of Divorce than they are of same-sex marriage;
d) whether or not legalized same-sex marriage would lead to a rise in divorce rates is a matter of speculation. However, it is an incontrovertible fact that legalized divorce has led to a rise in divorce rates.

Therefore, before even beginning to address the issue of same-sex marriage, the US must outlaw divorce first.
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:54 AM on August 26, 2004


I love you, Sidhedevil, and will gladly marry you regardless of your gender.
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:05 PM on August 26, 2004


Yes, but why is the birth rate sharply decreasing?

For various reasons that have nothing to do with gay marriage. The birth rate is declining all over Europe. I believe Spain and Italy both have lower birthrates than, say, Sweden. In fact, Italy has the lowest birth rate in Europe, and Italy doesn't have gay marriage at all.

So one could even argue that gay marriage makes the birth rate decline less than it would have declined otherwise. At least, such a claim wouldn't be any more spurious than the claim that gay marriage causes birth rates to fall.
posted by deanc at 12:12 PM on August 26, 2004


Aye, deanc.
posted by AwkwardPause at 12:33 PM on August 26, 2004


Sweden has a shitty birthrate, but maybe that's only by our own standards. Our PM has even asked us to fuck reproduce more. I'd bet that TEH GAY has zip to do about it though.
posted by mr.marx at 12:55 PM on August 26, 2004


Therefore, before even beginning to address the issue of same-sex marriage, the US must outlaw divorce first.

Sounds like Constitution-amendin' time!
posted by reklaw at 1:14 PM on August 26, 2004


Is the birth rate related to personal satisfaction or earning potential? Didn't I read how Sweden lowered it's teen pregnancy rate by increasing initiatives for women to enter the work force?
posted by ewkpates at 1:40 PM on August 26, 2004


Why is lower birth rate considered a bad thing, anyway? The last I looked, there were lots of people and we weren't going to run out any time soon.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:47 PM on August 26, 2004


I see a Defense of Marriage Act II coming, sidhedevil, and you've got it's major component nailed! Plus, this version I can support since I finally married the right person (on the third try).
posted by billsaysthis at 1:51 PM on August 26, 2004


Why is lower birth rate considered a bad thing, anyway? The last I looked, there were lots of people and we weren't going to run out any time soon.

Depends on where you live. Low birth rates and swelling ranks of pensioners are leading to an imminent social crisis in Japan, for example.

In the U.S., our lowish birth rate is being supplemented by comparatively high immigration rates compared to many other countries.
posted by DaShiv at 1:56 PM on August 26, 2004


Low birth rates and swelling ranks of pensioners are leading to an imminent social crisis in Japan, for example.

On one hand we have the continued acceleration of natural resource depletion, and on the other we have an increasing population of retirees being supported by a decreasing pool of laborers. Hmmm.... of these two collapsing pyramid schemes, I think I'll take the solution that leaves us a functioning home planet. I'll start worrying about low birth rates when the global population gets back down to around a billion or so.
posted by Mars Saxman at 2:05 PM on August 26, 2004


I would, too. However, that's because I'm an inhabitant of this planet but not one of Japan as well. Were I a Japanese pensioner or a politician representing that demographic, I would most likely see low birth rates as genuine "problem", as I also would if I lived in a society that had high disease/infant mortality rates, or was heavily agrarian, etc.

I doubt that birth rate concerns is what's fueling the anti-gay hysteria within certain circles here in the U.S. though.
posted by DaShiv at 2:21 PM on August 26, 2004


The one and only bottom line here is money and the law. Forcing an interpretation of morality on others is religious extremism, and a relic of the past and the peasant.
And, since the "evil" American corporations seem to be at the forefront of social change in this case, something for which they should be lauded, *and* it has not devastated them financially, what problem? The government, as usual, is playing catch-up to society as a whole.
So what is going on here?
First of all, married homosexuals will now have to contend with both the financial advantages and disadvantages (such as the "marriage tax".) But, in addition, there is an immense amount of law that now has to be adjusted, or created, to take into account this new reality. This almost guarantees that for many years, married and divorced homosexuals are going to have a running nightmare in the courts.
Even heterosexual marriage law still has pockets of bizarre law in the US. For example, one state, I believe, requires that a divorce must be *vetted* by the minister that originally married the couple, if they are still alive.
It is going to take decades to get this sorted out.
posted by kablam at 3:26 PM on August 26, 2004


There's also highly variable birthrates when you look across different subsets of the U.S. population. Middle- to Upper-classers have a lower birthrate than those from lower classes. Also, Mormons are insane.
posted by kaibutsu at 5:56 PM on August 26, 2004


But, here is the thing. Given two options--a) get people to reproduce more, thus adding to the burden on the world's resources, or b) get the people without enough resources to move to the countries without enough people--

--isn't b) clearly a preferable solution?

DaShiv, I was being somewhat satirically disingenuous. Whether or not there are "enough" Japanese people (for example) is an issue that can be resolved in two ways--get the existing Japanese people to make more, or add some extra people from elsewhere.

The second solution has historically been infinitely more successful than the first.
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:02 PM on August 26, 2004


Kablam, what US state are you talking about that requires clergy to sign off on divorces? Because that would be so spectacularly unconstitutional that I would be astonished if it were true.
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:03 PM on August 26, 2004


I likely think it's *apocryphal*, Sidhedevil.

No relevant returns from google for "a divorce must be [vetted][approved] by the minister that originally married the couple".

Unless you know better, kablam? BTW, other than that bit, I thought that your comment was a fine piece of moderate conservatism.
posted by dash_slot- at 6:36 PM on August 26, 2004


Ah, Apocryphal. Nice country they've got around there. I had a conference in Apocryphal City one year and have always been meaning to go back.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:08 PM on August 26, 2004


Actually, from what I remember of the story, it was more complex. A woman wished to divorce her husband who had left the state, perhaps Louisiana, and had neglected to sign the divorce papers. She was advised to contact the minister who had married them, as it would be very difficult and time consuming to force the divorce. Had he just vanished, there is a provision for divorce after public advertisement; but he was still there, just out of state and uncooperative. The minister, if agreeable, could essentially void or annul their marriage, but only the individual that had married them could do that, by asserting some error.
Fortunately, he helped her out.
posted by kablam at 8:20 PM on August 26, 2004


Kablam, that story bears absolutely no relationship to what you asserted in your earlier post.
posted by Sidhedevil at 9:17 PM on August 26, 2004


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