SSM between heterosexual partners?

This is sort of a subforum-crossing notion, so rather than put it in GQ because the initial question is factual and have it moved because the rest is speculative…

Have there been any same-gender marriages between avowedly hetero, or otherwise non-sexually-involved partners?

IIRC, one of the rabid arm-waving arguments against SSM is that exactly this would happen, for nefarious purposes like getting government benefits, assigning pensions, and generally having a “manufactured” family member when no real ones were available. (Of course, all those are just so so awful I can’t even bring myself to discuss them - choke fans himself rapidly.)

Does anyone think that asexual same-gender marriage will become any common thing, to allow good friends without benefits to gain the advantages of married couples for taxes, pensions, medical rights etc.? Would or could there be any legal barriers along the lines that deny rights to sham immigration marriages? Would there be any backlash if, say, middle-aged women married for this kind of mutual protection rather than for sexual or even romantic reasons?

Beat you by almost exactly a year! :cool:

I’ve never understood this argument against SSM. This happens in OSM ALL THE TIME! There’s even a name for it: marriage of convenience.

That said, I’m sure it WILL happen. I don’t think it will ever be any more common than OSM marriages of convenience and will probably be less so.

Well, can’t the very same thing happen already between heterosexual couples of the opposite gender?

Yeah, but now 2 straight guys can get married and neither one of them has to worry about a wife not letting them play golf every weekend! :slight_smile:

And 2 straight women can get married and never see a sock on the floor or a toilet seat left up!


We have a type of civil union here in France that used to be the de-facto gay marriage before we got the real thing passed. Now both are valid and exist side by side. Anybody (well, any 2 people - no polygamist slippery slope to report ;)) can enter it, no questions asked, and get more or less the same tax breaks, medical rights, inheritance rights as the married folks. It’s also easier to get out of a PACS than a marriage.

As I said, this specific type of union was originally intended to be “gay marriage lite”, but these days it’s overwhelmingly hetero people who do not want to get married (for one reason or another, including “friends without benefits” as you put it) who take advantage of the PACS. Only 6% of PACS are actually between gay folks any more.

Fascinating. Although I think French social and cultural assumptions are too different for it to be an accurate predictor of US trends. But that the option would break out mostly hetero/non is interesting.

(I am a close student of another sociopolitical trend in France that stubbornly resists wider appeal, in part because it’s entangled with *questions très *français…)

Does a marriage license have a space indicating whether the two individuals will be having sex? It’s not like there aren’t OS married couples who aren’t having sex. What difference does it make, and why is it anyone’s business?

I expect there to be weddings of couples who make it clear there is no sexual attraction or element, not that there will be some sort of quiz or checkbox.

I doubt people in that situation would bother with a wedding.

I pointed out in the earlier thread (responding to you, actually), that the State does care, at least to some degree, why people get married, and does hold that some marriages are “fake”, and can charge people with fraud. I don’t think sex is the determinant, but INS, for example, will ask to see some documentation that a married couple isn’t just doing it for the Green card (there are actually services in some 3rd world countries that will help you stage a quick “wedding” with fake family members to generate wedding photos to show the Feds).

But they don’t seem to spend a huge amount of energy on it, presumably because the stakes aren’t particularly high. There aren’t actually that many benefits to getting married to someone you don’t have any actual ties to, so the incentive for fraud is pretty low. I doubt that will be less true with homosexual couples.

I suppose the obvious candidates for hetero SSM here in the UK are the home-owning elderly. If you marry, your partner inherits tax free. Consider two elderly siblings living together. Without marriage, if one dies, the other may have to sell the house to pay inheritance tax. (IHT here comes in at a much lower level than the US.) Plus, the next inheritor gets a double IHT allowance.

In the UK, being married is advantageous for inheritance purposes. If I die and leave all my assets, including my share of the house, to my wife, she pays no inheritance tax. If we were not married, then she would have to pay 40% of everything over £325,000. It sounds a lot, but houses here are very expensive.

There is another advantage for those who die intestate. The rules allow all the assets to go to the deceased person’s spouse, with allowances for other dependants. A partner (sometimes erroneously called a common law spouse), who may have shared the house for many years, has no such right.

On the other hand, recent tax changes mean that moderately high earning married couples with several children can lose out.

sure there are. I know a couple who haven’t had sex in 9 years. He’s an alcoholic which I guess contributes.

Unless they’re really into wedding cake.

My thoughts exactly.

Cool. I’m comfortable with the idea that personal partnerships don’t need to be an “all-or-nothing” thing (regardless that I’m an “all-or-nothing” type of guy myself.)

In “Stand on Zanzibar”, Brunner has couples taking “contracts” with fixed durations. IMHO that’s silly, but I think the point of it wasn’t to be practical but to show a future with relaxed norms and room for the kind of intermediate stages of marriage. (The reason I think a fixed period is silly is simply that people are terrible at predicting how long a relationship will last, so why burden one with a specific period? But maybe I’m wrong and there are meaningful applications. Or maybe the idea is a renewable relationship, like a rental agreement, which isn’t quite as silly.)

I’ve seen that represented in some sci-fi as an annual contract, renewable with the consent of both parties. The term is short enough to not be unduly burdensome but long enough that it’s not like they have to check in once a week or anything.

Well, we need to differentiate between “marriage” and “wedding,” don’t we? If you solely mean the latter, well, yeah, a civil union of financial convenience doesn’t really need a public ceremony or any trappings of “bliss.”

But I’m talking about the former - that civil bonding that brings a wealth of benefits and privileges heretofore reserved to one (1) man (male) and one (1) woman (female), and no other combination. I think it would be rare for two men to “marry” with no sexual interest, but I think we will see a significant number of middle-aged and older women marrying to get all the benefits society and government confer on married couples, without the slightest interest in sex.

My real question is whether there will be any backlash - will states find some way to invalidate or at least denigrate such unions as somehow evading or souring the “real” purpose of marriage? That they’re just a scam to get around pension, tax and medical laws?

After all, one of the most compelling and heartbreaking aspects of the ban on SSM was that partners of decades could be shut out of hospital rooms and final-care decisions - I can easily see “good friends” creating this civil bond for the sort of mutual protection and support that comes inherently with family and traditional marriage bonds.

I believe that particular trope became zeerust when easy, no-fault divorce became the norm (in America). When the marriage contract is that simple to dissolve, there is no reason to build the limit in up front.