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Does Equality Threaten The Sanctity of Marriage?

in UNITED STATES, 28/11/2012

Opponents of marriage equality often cite the need to protect the sanctity of marriage as reason for denying gay couples their right to equal protection under the law, yet there is no evidence that gay marriage has any link to heterosexual marriage at all, let alone poses any real threat.

There are many causes of divorce for heterosexual couples, but gay marriage is not one of them. Opponents of marriage equality often cite the need to protect the sanctity of marriage as reason for denying gay couples their right to equal protection under the law, yet there is no evidence that gay marriage has any link to heterosexual marriage at all, let alone poses any real threat.

A longitudinal study of marital problems in heterosexual couples cited infidelity, money problems, drug use, jealousy, moodiness and irritating habits as some of the major factors leading to divorce.[1] Another study published in the Journal of Marriage and Family cited seven dimensions of divorce with eighteen possible contributing causes; not one of them gay marriage.[2] A study published this year in the Journal of Family Issues reported extramarital sex as a strong predictor of divorce with those who have committed extramarital affairs being far more likely to be divorced.[3] What's more, a systematic review of the literature conducted by researchers at Pennsylvania State University found that differences in gender were a major predictor of divorce; ironic considering differences in gender would not likely pose much of a threat to gay marriage.[4]

Perhaps most interesting of all, a recent study conducted by researchers at UCLA found that annual divorce rates among same-sex couples were half that of heterosexual couples, meaning heterosexual couples are twice as likely to divorce than same-sex couples.[5] It would appear the greatest threat to the sanctity of heterosexual marriage is heterosexuals themselves. In fact, due to lower divorce rates reported among same-sex couples, there is a case to be made that increasing the number of same-sex marriages may actually bring down the overall divorce rate.

References

  1. Amato PR, Rogers SJ. A Longitudinal Study of Marital Problems and Subsequent Divorce. Journal of Marriage and Family, 1997. 59 (3): 612-624.
  2. Cleek MG, Pearson TA. Perceived Causes of Divorce: An Analysis of Interrelationships. Journal of Marriage and Family, 1985. 47 (1): 179-183.
  3. Allen ES, Atkins DC. The Association of Divorce and Extramarital Sex in a Representative US Sample. Journal of Family Issues, 2012. Retrieved 28 November 2012: http://jfi.sagepub.com/content/33/11/1477.full.pdf+html
  4. Amato PR, Previti D. People's Reasons for Divorcing: Gender, Social Class, the Life Course, and Adjustment. Journal of Family Issues, 2003. 24 (5): 602-626.
  5. Badgett MV, Herman JL. (2011) Patterns of Relationship Recognition by Same-Sex Couples in the United States. Retrieved 28 November 2012: http://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/wp-content/uploads/Badgett-Herman-Marriage-Dissolution-Nov-2011.pdf
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