Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Few homosexuals want to get married: The GSS asked: "If the right person came along, would you like to be married?" The sample size is small (N = 288) so I combined gay men and lesbians, and assuming most bisexuals are closer to homosexuals, I included them too. Results? Thirty-two percent answered yes. That means that 1.04% of Americans would like to personally take advantage of gay marriage.


  1. Depending on the year, they could have easily assumed the question was about straight marriage.

  2. Anonymous7:53 AM

    any link to the actual data?

  3. Anon, GSS is here if you want to doublecheck:

    My one gay friend says he wants to get married someday but doesn't want kids, which is about what I would expect.

  4. Few Americans? That's a ton! More than 3 million folks by your (conservative) estimate.

  5. Anonymous11:39 AM

    I live in a very liberal part of the country just outside San Francisco. Understatement.

    Hot bed of gay activism that it is in this area, I was surprised to find out that the gays I work with don't see the need for more than civil unions. In fact, some are outwardly scornful of gay marriage.

    One friend and co-worker said, "Call me traditional. The term marriage should be left for men and women. At least men and women *start off* trying to be monogamous."

    Further discussion centered around his view that the average liberal voter who was likely to support gay marriage at the ballot box (we were in the run-up to the Prop 8 vote when this particular conversation took place) was unaware of the sexually polygamous arrangements most "committed" gay couples negotiate or arrive at with one another. Another guy echoed his idea that straights, well, especially straight women, had little if any idea that a marriage between gay men was likely to exclude even the attempt at monogamy.

    Not surprising, I guess. Males like variety. Were it not for having children, a lot of straight men wouldn't curb their own desires for multiple partners, but the loss of that family isn't worth it to many. So instead, they dream. Like my wife says, "You think women don't dream too?"

  6. Anonymous3:44 PM

    I think it would be entertaining for society to embrace gay marriage, and to simultaneously embrace a strict line on adultery, to wit, that the legal and moral injunctions against adultery would be enforced even in the absence of a plaintiff. So open marriage would be forbidden and the spouses ostracized at the very least, while monogamous gay marriage would be honored. Guys would court each other with a "Hands off until the ring!" attitude and their conservative religious pals would applaud them.

    It'd be even more entertaining if the formalization of gay marriage happened before the reinjunction against open marriage. So all the happily married promiscuous gays would find they'd be stoned to death if they slept with anyone other than their spouse....

  7. Anonymous5:28 PM

    A poster said,
    "I think it would be entertaining for society to embrace gay marriage, and to simultaneously embrace a strict line on adultery, to wit, that the legal and moral injunctions against adultery would be enforced even in the absence of a plaintiff."

    Very clever post.

    On a more serious note, I think it's instructive that almost any group that organizes itself, collects huge sums of money, has a fairly large number who are in the media or entertainment fields, and who pleads unfairness, has a shot at changing a heck of a lot in society if only because of the judicial activism of the age.

    Second, having said that, I still don't think that gay marriage advocates would be nearly so far along in achieving their goals at this stage of the game in this country if the larger American society could point to a healthy model of heterosexual marriage and say, "See that? That's what marriage is: a man and a woman committed to each other and committed to raising productive, well-adjusted kids."

    With just under 50% of children being born out of wedlock, there is not only the deterioration of heterosexual marriage, but the sense of its degradation as well.

    Third, I just read gnxp and saw the heads-up for the link to Derbyshire's column in which he makes the secular right's case against gay marriage.

    I recognize that gays have framed this as a civil right's issue, and young people, mostly those who haven't yet married or begun their own families, are the ones most likely to see it as such.

    My own feeling parallels that of Derbyshire, for the most part. I believe that the legal issues that concern gays are justified, but what bothers me most is that there *is* something in a name. A name confers uniqueness.

    For many opponents to gay marriage, including me, I think it's really about the name---"marriage." I'd not mind if gays found another word for a union, anything other than "marriage."

    I think a case can be made by any judge that heterosexual marriage is sufficiently different from homosexual marriage if only because of the procreation possiblitlites. "Sufficiently different," I said, not "altogether different." In this regard and for this reason alone, it seems to be perfectly reasonable that the term "marriage" not be extended beyond the one man/one woman concept.

    Many proponents of gay marriage o think the argument that modifying the definition would leave open the possibility that one day people will challenge the number aspect of the definition and lead to polygamy. I happen to think there is great logic in that argument. If you can change or get rid of the mention of gender in the definition, you can change the number as well. I do realize that before judges would so rule, they'd have to live in a society in which those who lobby for polygamy were similarly well-funded and well-organized, something which is not in the offing, but something which could one day indeed occur. Polygamy actually has given social stability to many societies at certain times of stress in the communities. In many ways, a more convincing argument for polygamy rather than same-sex marriage can be made. However, the gay marriage fight is about power politics, not about social order.

    I see no reason not to let gays have their legal rights, but I also see no reason to call it by the same name as the union between a man and a woman. Let the gay union be called something else. A few decades ago, somehow, someway, a few homosexuals came up with "gay," a word that never made much sense to me if what the group wanted was respect and to shed stereotyping, but the word stuck. So, let them come up with a new term for their union.

    Derbyshire's column reminded me of something else. Twenty years ago in college, I couldn't understand too much why anyone would be bothered by another's homosexuality as long as no one bothered anyone. After all, homosexuality wasn't something one "caught." The gays I knew were decent people. What was the big deal?

    However, in reading JD, I had to admit that it really is hard for me to see a guy plant one on another guy. I admit to it. It's disgusting, and I wonder if Derbyshire isn't right about this--that we are reviled by such a sight because maybe we are evolutionarily wired to be repulsed by it.

    I think it was last year that I caught the end of the Oscars. Some gay guy won an Academy Award for direction or producing or some such thing. He thanked his partner, named him, then called him "Honey." Said something like, "Honey, I love you" as the camera got up in his face.

    My stomach turned. Now, my point here is not so much to divulge my own revulsion (face it, staight men hate that, no way around it), but to describe my wife's reaction. Now, my wife is a good deal more liberal than I on almost all issues; she's what you'd have to call a liberal on social issues, yet I caught her stealing a quick glance at me when "Honey, I love you" was completed.

    I waited until the commercial to ask her, "Why the look?"

    At first she claimed she was only looking at me to see my reaction, but within a minute or two, she admitted what I had suspected--she too was repulsed by it. On prinicpal, she isn't bothered by homosexuality nor am I, but when we see two men (or in this case, one) seeming to be womanish, it's--yeah, it's disgusting. My wife admitted that when she sees the actual demonstration of intimacy between men (or women, she added) she can't stand it any more than I can. I don't think it's in our hardwiring to get used to that. It's as if you were watching a chicken trying to make it with a cat. You can't quite believe your eyes; something's not right. The stomach turns.

    BTW, Inductivist, could you find us the breakdown of stats for divorce by state? County? It would be great to see a divorce map of the US like the red-counties-blue counties map of the election. Those visuals are mind- boggling. They show so clearly the divide between urban vs. everyone else and east/west coasters vs. pretty much everyone else. Living in the SF Bay Area as I do, I have to remind myself that it really IS different elsewhere.

  8. Did you de-combine lesbians and gay men to see how their respective preferences compared? I would be surprised if SSM weren't a far more attractive option for lesbians.

  9. Anonymous6:23 AM

    32%, that's almost the percentage of homosexuals who think gay sex is always wrong, according to the GSS.

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