Sunday, June 28, 2015

Can Gay People Save Marriage?

Like most of my friends, I was pleased with the Supreme Court ruling Friday.  

Simply put, gay men and lesbians are part of the human family.  I am happy that they can enjoy the satisfactions that family life has afforded me. 

One thing that surprises me a little is that lesbian and gay adults seem to be embracing the idea of marriage when many of the rest of us are leaving it behind.



This chart ends in in 2013, when the Census Bureau recorded "nearly 252,000 households (were) headed by same-sex married couples . . ., a notable increase from the 182,000 estimated in 2012, but still a small fraction of the 56 million total U.S. married couples." 

In fact the trend in the chart continues. According to more recent reports, just fewer than half of American adults are married today. 

B.  A 2001 study by the National Healthy Marriage Resource Center (?) reported these findings:

        -- "Female adolescents’ attitudes toward marriage have undergone the most 
       dramatic changes, from nearly 39 percent believing that marriage leads to fuller 
       and happier lives in 1976 to just 22  percent expressing this view in 2001." 
        --  "Among black adolescents, 41 percent agreed that marriage leads to fuller and 
        happier lives in 1976, versus just 26 percent in 2001." 

C.  Here are some Gallup Poll comparisons of changing American attitudes about marriage over the years. 

1)  When a man and a woman plan to spend the rest of their lives together as a couple, how important is it to you that they legally marry?

                             Very             Somewhat      Not too        Not at all      No Opinion
                             Important     Important        Important    Important

June 2006             54%                19%               13%             12%             1%

June 2013             43%                 21%              16%             19%             1%

2) When a man and woman have a child together, how important is it to you that they legally marry?

                             Very             Somewhat      Not too        Not at all      No Opinion
                             Important     Important        Important    Important                       

June 2006             49%                27%               12%             11%             1%

June 2013             38%                26%               15%             20%             1%

Today's Commentary

Friday's Supreme Court decision on gay marriage was of sufficient import that several articles in the Sunday Review section of the New York Times were devoted to its analysis. Two quotes:

"The gay movement has stood . . . for other ideas . . . that risk being lost in this moment's pro-family turn: that intimacy, domesticity and caretaking do not always come packaged together; that marriage should not be the only way to protect one's children, property and health; that having a family life shouldn't be a requirement for full citizenship; and that conventional respectability shouldn't be the only route to social acceptance.
     ". . . . We were not, for obvious reasons, the marrying kind; that was part of what made us special."
Timothy Stewart-Winter
"The Price of Gay Marriage"

"Admittedly, there's probably no surer way of destroying your marriage than writing a paean to it.  I also should acknowledge that I have no idea if I like the institution of marriage or if I just like my specific husband.  The jinx I've invented here notwithstanding, I hope I never find out."

Curtis Sittenfeld
"Wedded Bliss for Everyone!"

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