I admit it: gay marriage is having an effect on my straight marriage

It’s true.

I often hear pro-SSM folks argue that same-sex marriage doesn’t have any actual effect on traditional marriages. Well, I live in Massachusetts, and was married in 2003 – about 7 months before SSM was made legal here – and the state court decision has had a real, noticeable effect on my “traditional” marriage.

It’s made it better. No doubt about it.

It’s easy to understand why, if one looks at previous examples of discrimination. Imagine if you went to get a drink of water at your office water fountain, and discovered two fountains, one of which said “whites only.” By law, you were told, white people had to drink from the one so labeled. I imagine most (white) people here would feel distinctly uncomfortable drinking from the exclusive fountain, and the “experience of quenching one’s thirst” would be sullied by that discomfort. That feeling can be generalized: “It makes me uncomfortable, in a guilty sort of way, to enjoy some benefit that’s being unfairly denied to others.” I’ll bet that most of you would agree, to lesser or greater extents, with that sentiment. Not that we personally have done anything to assume guilt, but the feeling is there all the same. The undercurrent of injustice in our own favor is a psychic pollutant.

Before the spring of 2004, my marriage was that way. My wedding was a wonderful experience to share with my wife, friend and family – the happiest day of life, in fact – with only one thing marring its sheen: the knowledge that plenty of other people, some friends included, were being denied the opportunity for that same joy. Every happy day of my marriage brought with it a shadow of indignation on behalf of millions of others, knowing our society was denying them the simple recognition of marriage to the person they love.

When gay marriage was legalized here in Massachusetts, it didn’t just improve the lot of the gay community. It improved my own life as well.

I’m not talking about the niceties of the law here. I’m not even talking about the advantages of increasing the pool of adoptive parents or the number of cohesive family units. I’m talking about the absolutely real psychological effect of ambient social justice. So, when I hear arguments that allowing gay marriage will somehow have an effect on straight marriage, I agree wholeheartedly that there’s an effect. A wholly positive one.

Heck, I’m feeling it right now.

I realize this thread is simply a form of witnessing, and not a debate, but thought I’d add my two cents worth (and cheap at half the price!) wrt people opposed to gay marriage: It’s only a matter of time folks. Like those who tried to hold things back in the 50’s wrt race, and stand in the way of Civil Rights during the 60’s, the tide is against you, and 20 years from now you will look incredibly bad…and, probably like the folks who fought against the tide in those earlier events, you’ll FEEL bad about yourselves too. Don’t go out kicking and screaming…let it go, guys.


Yeah, I considered putting this in MPSIMS, but given that pretty much every SSM-related thread ends up here eventually, I thought I’d save the mods the trouble. I certainly won’t be offended if a mod wants to move it somewhere else.

I suppose the debate inherent in the OP is: how does this example of a “good” effect compare to, and does it outweigh, the “bad” effect anti-SSM folks claim regarding the erosion of “traditional” marriage?

You put in the right place, FWIW…GD is for witnessing as well. This isn’t a knock on your OP btw…I agree pretty much with what you wrote.


While the OP receives a psychological benefit from SSM, I’d imagine there are some folk who become psychologically distraught over the existence of SSM. If that were all there were to it, you’d have to weigh how many are pleased against how many are offended, and that might not come out in favour of SSM. Since we quite rightly tell those who are offended that their tender sensibilities don’t matter, and aren’t relevant to the debate, I feel forced to conclude that the OP’s happiness isn’t relevant either.

A reasonable reply.

I suppose I posted what I did because when it comes to debate over if/how SSM will affect existing (or future) hetero marriages, I typically only hear two things:

  1. Pro-SSM folks arguing that there’s no effect.
  2. Anti-SSM folks arguing that there’s some (hard to explain) negative effect.

I’m adding a third item to this list: that there’s an easy-to-explain positive effect, which I seldom see or hear mentioned.

That’s a good point. While the OP derives joy from making marriage an inclusive institution, there are plenty of others that derives joy from marriage not being inclusive. It’s special to them because only one woman and one man can do it. Any other arrangement “robs” them of that specialness. Which is why they will automatically segue into talking about men marrying chickens when the SSM issue is discussed.

Sadly, you have to already be accepting of gays to have the OP’s attitude. Likewise, you already have to accept that sexual orientation is analogous to race before you see comparisons to IRM and SSM as being valid.

The negative effect is easy to explain too, but the people who are most concerned about it (which is to say, the people who can expect to experience it) are usually reluctant for one reason or another to state their concerns in clear terms. And the people who don’t expect to experience it are similarly impeded due to the fact that doing so rarely facilitates positive debate (and may be against forum rules). So, instead of discussing the actual problem that anti-SSM people are concerned about, the anti-SSM people attempt to substitute in alternate complaints that are inevitably ephemeral, and pro-SSM people can spend their time debunking or mocking those complaints.

I have to say gay marriage is pretty irrelevant to my marriage. At first I didn’t get legally married and spouted all kinds of political nonsense reasons not to, particularly that it was unfair that homosexuals couldn’t get married. Now that I am legally married, the marriages of other people I don’t know personally are largely irrelevant to mine.

Well, there are at least two clear positive effects.

First, there’s the effect on the newlywed couples–who now have a bunch of rights, protections, and so on that are, objectively, of great value to a committed couple. That cannot be understated.

Second, (I have made this argument before on these boards)–I think there is an enormous positive effect of same-sex marriage on the institution of marriage as a whole-same-sex marriage ensures that marriage remains relevant.

I reason as follows. First, if same-sex marriage is prohibited, committed same-sex couples aren’t going to break up. They’re not going to stop adopting. They will exist in society.

Second, in society, people look to their friends, their peers, and so on to figure out how to live their lives. For most people, some or many of those friends and peers will be in same-sex relationships. I will assume that at least some of those relationships would be marriages if same-sex marriage is permitted.

Hence, if we don’t permit same-sex marriage, we create many perfectly happy, loving couples who would get married if permitted, but who remain unmarried.

So if we imagine a young couple(whether same-sex or not) trying to decide how to structure their life together, and looking to those friends to see how they do so, prohibiting same-sex marriage means that they will see among their peers more happy couples who get along just fine without marriage.

This will show our hypothetical couple that marriage is, essentially, unimportant to a happy and committed life together. That can only devalue marriage–by making it less important to modern life, and by helping to create proof that it just ain’t necessary.

On the other hand, if we permit same-sex marriage, what will our hypothetical couple see? Suddenly, more of their peers are married–those same happy couples are now happy married couples. That will lead to the opposite influence.

I think the one thing that will be fatal to the institution of marriage is that it becomes unnecessary–or unimportant. I think same-sex marriage will be very valuable in preventing that risk.

If there’s even a KERNEL of validity to your assertions (and I’m pretty sure there isn’t), we should be seeing the happy results you’re touting in the more enlightened nations of Europe that allow gay marriage.

All those happy married gay couples in Denmark, the Netherlands and Sweden have set such a great example that MILLIONS of straight couples who’d regarded marriage as an anachronism have STOPPED shacking up and gotten married.


Well, that’s a nice argument, really, capital letters and everything. However, I really can’t tell what, specifically, you disagree with. Please enlighten me.

Do you disagree that gay couples exist in modern society?

Do you disagree that some of those gay couples are in long term, committed relationships, including raising children?

Do you disagree that such gay couples will continue to exist in modern society whether or not same-sex marriage is permitted?

Do you disagree that people are influenced by their peers, and their friends?

Do you disagree that one way people are influenced by their peers, and their friends, is in how they develop and build relationships?

Do you disagree that many people have gay friends and peers?

Is there something about those gay friends and peers that make them less influential than straight friends and peers?

Do you disagree that if same-sex marriage is allowed, many people will have gay friends and peers, some of whom will be married, while if same-sex marriage is prohibited, those friends and peers will not be married?

Or to put it a simpler way.

My argument is that, in order to keep marriage relevant in modern society, to preserve marriage as an institution, more marriages=good. Fewer marriages =bad.

There are, as a factual matter, same-sex couples who will marry if permitted to do so.

Permitting them to do so = more marriages. Not permitting them to do so = fewer marriages.

Well, Keith Olbermann presented a number of financial pro-SSM arguments back in May.

Yeah Massachusetts continues to prove gay marriage is one one of the best things that could happen to marriage in general.

MA has some of the least restrictive laws on divorce in the country. If someones goal it to get through the legal process of divorce quickly MA if a preferred state to do so in.

At the same time since gay marriage has been legalized here the divorce rate, which was already the lowest in the country, got even lower. The current divorce rate in MA is lower then it has been since the 1940’s.

I expect the sky to fall any day now though because legalizing gay marriage will have terrible consequences. The anti-gay marriage crowd told us so so it must be true. Kinda like they told us the about negative effects it had on the ‘Country of Scandinavia’. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pQY-5tANd0&feature=related

I disagree that anybody who is opposed to SSM will ever think it through logically like this. People are against it because a goatherder living in the Bronze Age thought it was icky. These people are not going to be convinced by a rational argument.