Thursday, March 26, 2009

How Gay Marriage Skews Statistics

gay, marriage, homophobia, homosexual, tradition, dna, duncan, voice, prop 8
During today's Voice of a Nation, the guest, William C. Duncan, director of the Marriage Law Foundation (was it really necessary for me to listen to the program to know what he said?) said that the reason the "traditional marriage" crowd is "losing" in New England is because "marriage is weakest there."

Oh, really?

Perhaps Mr. Duncan simply equates "allowing gays to marry" with "weak marriage", but let's take a look at some dumdumdum statistics. (Ya know, science!)

According to the CDC's website, the rate of divorce (obviously the weakest point of a marriage) in New England is (as of 2004):

Connecticut* 2.4 (per thousand)
Maine 4.3
Massachusetts * 2.2
New Hampshire 3.9
Vermont 3.9

Now let's compare those rates to some other places in the United States.

Arizona** 4.2
Tennessee** 4.9
Arkansas** 6.1
Idaho** 5.0
Kentucky** 4.9
Utah** 4.1
Wyoming 5.2
Alabama 4.9

Clearly, gay marriage does skew marriage statistics***- toward stronger marriage and less divorce.

*allows gay marriage
**bans gay marriage
***yeahyeahyeah correlation does not equal causation, but there is definitely something going on there.


  1. There is also a negative correlation between divorce rates and atheism (atheists tend to have less divorces). Guess which states have the most number of atheists in them.

  2. Excellent statistics. Did you read the Red Sex, Blue Sex essay in the New Yorker last year? It's a good read if you didn't. One paragraph that seems pertinent:

    "Of all variables, the age at marriage may be the pivotal difference between red and blue families.... The red-state model puts couples at greater risk for divorce.... The paradigmatic red-state couple enters marriage not long after the woman becomes sexually active, has two children by her mid-twenties, and reaches the critical period of marriage at the high point in the life cycle for risk-taking and experimentation. The paradigmatic blue-state couple is more likely to experiment with multiple partners, postpone marriage until after they reach emotional and financial maturity, and have their children (if they have them at all) as their lives are stabilizing."

    It's worth pointing out, as well, that delaying marriage is not the same thing as devaluing marriage, or even weakening marriage.

  3. Beamstalk: I know, I know! The Divorce, er, Bible Belt!

    peanutsnraisins: I actually reached that conclusion myself after seeing that atheists have the lowest divorce rates, and fundys have the highest. What's the difference? Age at marriage, length of courtship, sexual experience and how soon/how many kids they have. Why anyone would think two 18 year old virgins getting married a few months after meeting and then popping out a bunch of kids right away is a good thing is beyond me.

  4. It's the difference between marriage as a partnership, and marriage as a shield to make it so that the gods aren't enraged when you have sex. Obviously, one of those relationships is going to be a little more stable than the others. Still ironic that they claim that the places without shotgun weddings are places where marriage is weak. Maybe if other people didn't keep inflating their numbers it wouldn't seem that way...

  5. Statistics don't lie, but statisticians do?

    I think starting a marriage (i.e., relationship with sexual involvement), with the theory that sex is bad, probably isn't the way to go. Just seems to me . . .

  6. i have another, additional take on this.

    a hundred, hundred fifty years ago, a 16 year old woman was an ADULT. (ok, not inthe richest section of the populace, i think those women were oftentimes *never* adults. but the *average* woman)

    when these dumbasses look at the history of marriage (which, hello, they only look at a small portion of it ANYWAY. for instance, in the Germanies after the Peasant war but before the Neapolitian wars, the average age of marriage was something like 27-or-8. a couple would get engaged/bethrothed, around 20, 22, and then WORK TOGETHER AS A COUPLE TO CREATE PROPERTY TO SUPPORT THEM AND THEIR FUTURE CHILDREN WHEN THEY GOT MARRIED. and HEY they HAD SEX TOO, BEFORE they got married, but after they got bethrothed - that baby was NOT born out of wedlock, either, because a bethrothal was contractually the same as a marriage)

    wow, i distract myself.

    anyway, what i am saying is that the specific history that they look at to compare todays marriage with is US history of 100-150 years ago, when children were RAISED TO BE ADULTS BY AGE 16.
    right now, children are raised to be adults somewhere around 25 (fucking seriously, we keep DELAYING adulthood!)

    so... tell me, in THIS culture, THIS society, what 16 year old is mature (and skilled/trained/educated) enough to be married? very damned fucking few. but Laura Ingalls Wilder? she was more than ready when she got married (at, iirc, 19) BECAUSE SHE HAD BEEN RAISED AND EXPECTED TO BE AN ADULT. jesus, she was a SCHOOLTEACHER before she was 18! the list of that woman's home-ly accomplishments is PAGES long.

    next to LIW, i am a CHILD - and i am 32 AND i have been married.

    i grant that a small part of that is a tech shift - we no longer, as a nation, need to do back-breaking-labor just to survive. but most of it seems to be a rebound from WWI/Depression/WWII - everyone was going to make sure THEIR kids didn't suffer as they did, had a better life, more opportunities - and a generation was a little more coddled. the baby boomers saw too much, THEIR kids were going to have it better - and a second generations was even MORE coddled. and etc.

    i was an anomoly when i got married, and not just acuz i was 17 when it happened (again, i plead Alabama!). i (sorta) knew how to cook, i knew how to clean, i knew how to "keep house" (which is everything else in being a housewife) i knew how to pay bills and budget and Rob Peter To Pay Paul - i had been running my mother's household since i was 12 (and i had raised by youngest sister, starting at 10 and ending at 16 when my dad finally took custody of me away from my mother).
    the guy i married was 21 to my 17. he had been in the AF for 3 1/2 years. he had held a job since he was 15.
    and he knew JACKSHIT about being an adult. i still remember the month when the mortgage check bounced - it was $450, Michael got paid $1400 a month (not counting BAQ and BAS) and the check bounced. because he bought a $1000 worth of Magic cards. because the money was there in the account when he went to an ATM, he didn't even know enough TO LOOK IN THE CHECKOOK!

    most 22 or 23 year olds are about par with where my ex-husband was when we got married. its part of what enrages me when i hear fundies preaching abstinence only based on how "babies having babies is wrong" - because if they weren't raising them to BE babies, they wouldn't be! and an 18 year old would know how to be an adult!

    we really shoulf adopt the 1600's Germanic model...

  7. We do need to step back some from eternal teenagehood. It's getting rather ridiculous.

  8. and teenage-dom SUCKS anyway!
    just ask Eddie Izzard :D


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