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When Gay People Get MarriedWhat Happens When Societies Legalize Same-Sex Marriage$
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M. V. Lee Badgett

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780814791141

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814791141.001.0001

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The Impact of Gay Marriage on Heterosexuals

The Impact of Gay Marriage on Heterosexuals

(p.64) 4 The Impact of Gay Marriage on Heterosexuals
When Gay People Get Married

M. V. Lee Badgett

NYU Press

This chapter examines the possible relationship between the marriage choices of gay couples and the decisions about marriage made by heterosexual couples. More specifically, it considers whether same-sex couples have somehow changed heterosexual marriage choices. It first comments on Stanley Kurtz's claim that “gay marriage is both an effect and a cause of the increasing separation between marriage and parenthood” because it accelerates the separation process that had already begun as a result of other causes. It then addresses the argument that the “experiment” with same-sex marriage in Europe was a disaster by analyzing the evidence on what heterosexuals do with respect to marrying and having children. Focusing on measures of heterosexual marriage and divorce behavior, the chapter suggests that nothing much changed as a result of the recognition of same-sex couples. It also shows that there is no correlation between changes in ideas about marriage—mainly a belief that marriage is an outdated institution—and the granting of legal rights to same-sex couples.

Keywords:   marriage choices, gay couples, heterosexual couples, same-sex couples, Stanley Kurtz, same-sex marriage, Europe, children, heterosexual marriage, divorce

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