Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Gay Marriage: Why Gays Get Married

Jonathan Rauch has an opinion piece on gay marriage in the online version of the New York Times.  (May require registration or paywall access; Troy points me to a no-registration version at Independent Gay Forum.)

There is an understated point in here that I find interesting: the idea that being gay and wanting to marry are orthogonal.  Okay, today, when we’re so wrapped up in the pending possibility, that doesn’t seem unusual (although some seem to fear that “married” will become the new gay norm, that those who are not coupled will be shunned).  But before/outside this current spate of marriage fever is a different matter.

We usually think of gays and lesbians who get married (in the straight manner, to people pof the same sex) as denying their orientation.  However, in an orthogonal world, it’s not so much denial as suppression.  For whatever reason, some men and women feel that being married is An Important Thing.  It is something they sincerely want to do/be.  And thus, in the name of achieving this goal, they put aside any same-sex orientation drive they may have and pursue the left turn at Albuquerque.

Of course, drives — sex, hunger, and I’ll propose a “sexual orientation drive” as something distinct from the traditional “sex drive” — can only be idled for so long, and eventually things break down and they have to be addressed.  Which has been the demise of many an opposite sex marriage where suppression has occurred.

So there’s one more reason to favor same-sex civil marriage: it may actually reduce the divorce rate, by allowing those with the need to pursue marriage to do so without the suppression of the sexual orientation drive which tends to tear such things apart.

Updated on August 18, 2004

Updated on March 23, 2011

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