Same-sex Marriage Impacts HeterosexualsPosted: May 5, 2012
In debates about whether same-sex marriage is a good thing for society overall, there are often claims that it brings no negative impact to heterosexuals. Graphs such as the one displayed here circulate around the blogosphere, implying that same-sex marriage causes no harm and that therefore, there is no reason to object to it. But is that the case?
No. There is evidence that it impacts others. Advertising for a forum on sexual ethics in 2013, noted that “Growing sexual freedom of women, the influence of gay culture and the internet have changed our sexual mores.” For example, it has been suggested that the increasing visibility of homosexuality in our culture, has led to heterosexual same-sex friends modifying their behaviour, IE being less affectionate compared with previous generations.
Increasingly, same-sex relationships mean raising children. Some have chosen to equate legal same-sex marriage with a moral standing that it’s no different to heterosexual marriage, including the notion that homosexual parenting is equally legitimate to natural parenting. Whether children fare worse under same-sex parents, has been a matter of uncertainty and debate. The negatives of having same-sex parents may not be huge, but some paediatricians have expressed concern. And it does tend to mean missing out on the parenting of one of the genders, which of course is not an optimal situation, as even some gay people have agreed (EG1, EG2, EG2b, EG3, EG4). Additionally, because homosexual relationships on average do not last as long as heterosexual relationships, the homosexual families are less stable, on average, for children. Experts advise that stability is of huge importance to optimal child development. And there can be even more problems for the children, especially for the poor, that are not at first apparent.
Experience has shown that anti-discrimination policy for homosexuality does marginalise and discriminate against conservative Christians, IE various cases of loss of employment (EG2, EG3, EG4), demotion, reduction in parenting rights, reduction in rights to become parents, loss of premises, loss of rights in business autonomy, in autonomy of the use of church facilities, of fines, suspensions, arrests, tax penalties and law suits (EG2) sometimes forcing Christians to support it. Christian families also loose out. The social changes can result in the bullying of Christian children. In Ontario, Bill 13 requires Catholic schools to host “Gay-Straight Alliance” clubs and ironically prohibits public schools from being rented to groups that ‘discriminate’. Christian parents come to feel that they need to remove their children from public schools in order to safeguard them from the resulting mandated same-sex indoctrination that contradicts their religion. There are claims of chaplains being muzzled. And there have been claims that Christian adolescents will be deterred from entering a range of professions. There are also real fears of erosion of first amendment rights for US Christians. Other religions have been affected too. And at the forefront of societal change, even a position of neutrality on the morality of homosexuality, is not accepted – rather, affirmation is a requirement (EG).
It’s also been suggested that there will be a financial impact on heterosexuals. One the one hand it’s said that the purchasing of gifts and travel etc that comes with gay marriages will boost the economy for everyone (others have cast doubt on this suggestion). But on the other hand, married couples receive tax benefits, so that additional money has to come from somewhere, and logically means increased taxes for everyone.
And there’s the question of whether redefining marriage to avoid discrimination means that eventually it will be defined to avoid discrimination against other types of sexual relationships, eg polygamy, pederasty and various other types of sexual partners that are currently considered taboo. Because according to contemporary secular morality, discrimination is a bad thing, right? 3-way relationships are uncommon but far from unheard of in the gay community (EG1, EG2, EG3), as is the case in the straight community (EG1, EG2). The left wing have often dismissed this prediction of a creeping scope of ‘equality’, as being unrealistic fear mongering. But some of the left have more recently admitted that the “slippery slope” prediction is not entirely unlikely, with even some of the more ridiculous (EG2, EG3) models of marriage equality actually coming to pass. Despite even liberals pointing out negative impacts of legal polygamy, it’s apparently increasingly accepted. There are indications here and there around the world of pressures to legally accept polygamy, as accepted in dozens of countries already. Sometimes polyamory-advocates are piggybacking on the back of the movement for gay marriage (EG) even in quazi-Christian circles (EG). The degree to which same-sex marriage will lead to broader acceptance of polygamous marriage is unclear and may not be clear for generations to come. But if the happiness and freedom of the individual is society’s top goal, it makes sense that polygamy is permitted, along with other icky things (EG2, EG3, EG4) that are sometimes undertaken by largely nice people, but which are usually hidden away and frowned upon.
Yes, same-sex marriage has been legal in some countries for some years, but Im told that citizens of those countries still distinguish between heterosexual marriage and homosexual marriage, often referring to the latter as “gay marriage”. However, for future generations, perhaps that distinction will fade away, and both types of marriage will be thought of the same way, just as “marriage”? Washington State has looked into de-emphasising the distinction, by removing the terms ‘bride’ and ‘groom’ from marriage certificates to make them gender-neutral. In Canada, at least one school system has similarly changed the forms they use to replace the fields previously named ‘mother’ and ‘father’ with ‘parent’. What will this new world of marriage be like? I have a few thoughts on that…
Lets say that Gary & Gareth are a married gay couple. Next door live Simon and Simmone, a married straight couple. Gary and Simon are good friends – they grew up together, went to the same schools, and still catch up regularly at the local pub. Simon is entirely straight, and Gary is entirely gay, but they share similar thoughts on politics and have similar interests, and their friendship is strong. Simmone is proud of her husband for his open-minded perspective towards gay people. Being a fairly typical male gay couple, Gary & Gareth have an “open” relationship, ie they have a policy of restricted non-monogamy. The policy in their case, is that either partner can have sex with others, so long as they use protection against STIs, so long as the sex does not take place in their own home, and so long as they dont stay the night with the third party. Simon generally isnt interested in his neighbour Gary’s sex life, but sometimes, when there is a lull in the conversation, Gary mentions to Simon of a recent sexual exploit, especially if it is with someone who Simon knows and may have assumed was entirely straight.
Simon listens to the stories of gay sexual escapades with a level of disinterest, and with one eye on a barmaid named Desire. Simon finds the barmaid very attractive, but he also truly loves his wife Simmone, and wouldnt want to jeopardise his marriage. He knows that Simmone has a jealous tendency and that cheating on her would be problematic. However, one night after a few beers, the barmaid corners Simon on his way to the bathroom. She tells him that she knows he steals glances at her, and that she also finds him attractive. Simon pauses like a stunned rabbit, and the barmaid pulls him into the small bathroom with her. Simon knows what is coming, and has to make a quick decision; fidelity or infidelity. He feels very tempted, and thinks to himself that if an open relationship works for Gary’s marriage, there is no reason it cant work for his too. Simon later proposes an open relationship to Simmone, saying that if it works for the neighbours, it could work for them also. She secretly hates the idea, but she’s going through a stressful period at work and has also recently been arguing with her best friend. She feels like various relationships in her life are already stretched, and she would rather compromise than loose Simon, so she reluctantly agrees. Simmone grows increasingly resentful though and an emotional distance opens up between them as Simon in turn begins to feel rejected by Simmone. Ultimately they separate and divorce.
The story above seeks to illustrate that bringing homosexual relationships into the definition of ‘marriage’ is not just about bringing different sexualities under the same title of official relationship. It’s also about bringing different models of relationship under that title. Whereas marriage tends to mean monogamy for heterosexual couples, it tends to not mean that for male homosexual couples. By both forms of relationship having the same title, the distinction between monogamy and non-monogamy is reduced. Others have commented similarly (EG2) and the Pope too has said that including same-sex couples in the definition of marriage, has a destabilising effect for heterosexual marriage. Even non-religious people have said that same-sex marriage impinges on the sanctity of marriage. In response to such comments, an advert for gay man and sex advice columnist Dan Savage (the advert was presumably written by him) has stated on the topic of monogamy “If we really want to protect the sanctity of marriage, we need to make it our playground, not our prison.” Where is the sanctity in that? If these non-monogamous couples raise heterosexual children, will the modelling of non-monogamy be adopted by those children, and lead to increases in family breakdown in future generations, with the economic and social problems that arise from single-parent families?
Additionally, churches can be impacted. For example, although the European Court of Human Rights ruled in 2011 that gay marriage is not a human right, it’s reported that in Denmark, all churches must conduct same-sex marriages, and there are indications of intrusions into freedoms for US church groups too.
Ten years after same-sex marriage became legal in Massachusetts, a poll found that 60% of people said this had no impact on their lives, 25% said it had a positive impact, and 15% said it had produced a negative impact on their lives. Which raises the question – do the positive impacts outweigh the negatives? And if same-sex marriage has an effect of increasing the incidence of infidelity, would the cause be apparent to the average person?
The ultimate form of impact is perhaps death, and now we do seem to have a example of this too. For at least one straight guy, the legalisation of gay marriage was thought to be a driving force to his own suicide in 2013.
It would be nice if the actions of one group of people had no impact on another. But the idea that gay marriage does not impact heterosexuals is a myth.