Why Ban Gay Marriage When We Can Ban Straight Divorce?
The odds of being killed by a vending machine are 1 in 112,000,000.
The odds of dying by being struck by lightning are 1 in 83,930.
The odds of getting divorced are 1 in 2.
The point is clear: It’s time to ban all sharks, vending machines, lightning and divorces.
Many Christian religions and organizations consider the marriage between a man and a woman to be “the bedrock of society.” Thus, it was with a certain predictability that a number of prominent religions — such as the LDS Church and the Catholic Church — and a number of conservative organizations — such as the National Organization for Marriage and the American Family Association — reacted rather sharply to Judge Vaughn Walker’s ruling in Perry v. Schwarzenegger, which overturned Proposition 8. Therefore, one might assume that these religions and organizations care so much about protecting marriage, that they would focus the majority of their efforts in combating marriage’s biggest foe. And what exactly is that foe?
The odds of getting divorced are 1 in 2.
One of the biggest ironies in the cultural battle over gay marriage has been conservatives’ ironic, hypocritical and almost spooky silence in regarding divorce. If conservatives are angry over the prospect of gay marriage, shouldn’t they be furious over straight divorce? Why aren’t conservatives writing angry letters to their legislators, imploring that divorce be made illegal? Where are the proposals to change state constitutions, outlawing divorce and thus keeping families together? If the Defense of Marriage Act were to truly live up to its name, wouldn’t it defend marriage … by preventing divorce?
Instead, conservatives conveniently sweep indiscretions, affairs and serial divorces under the morality rug, all while preaching against the ‘marriage-destroying’ influences of gay men and women. Rarely will a Republican politician (or any politician, for that matter) publicly condemn divorce. The odds are better of a conservative pundit being killed by a vending machine, than he or she admitting that divorce erodes the institution of marriage. Even Republican leaders Newt Gingrich and Rush Limbaugh have come out against gay marriage, all while forgetting the inconvenient truth that they’ve collected seven marriages between them, as if their marriages were Pokemon cards.
Seven in 1 chance of getting divorced? Those are some pretty good odds.
Religious conservatives latch onto the issue of gay marriage with much more ferocity than they do divorce, so surely the Bible must have something to say on the matter. As it turns out, there are actually more Biblical scriptures concerning divorce (Genesis 2: 24; Exodus 21: 7-11; Leviticus 21: 14; Deuteronomy 22: 19; Deuteronomy 22: 29; Deuteronomy 24: 1-4; Matthew 5: 31-32; Matthew 19: 3-12; Mark 10: 2-12; Luke 16: 18; 1st Corinthians 7: 10-17) than there are scriptures supposedly about homosexuality (Genesis 19: 5; Leviticus 18: 22; Deuteronomy 23: 17; Isaiah. 3: 9; Romans 1: 27; 1 Corinthians 6: 9-10; 1 Timothy 1: 10; Jude 1: 7).
If divorce is a greater Biblical sin than homosexuality, then divorce rates should be lower in the Bible belt than in the rest of the more liberal United States, right? The truth is actually quite the opposite. In fact, recent studies have shown that divorce is more common in conservative-voting states than in liberal-voting states. According to two researchers in a story by NPR, women in liberal-voting states are waiting until later to marry, thus reducing the divorce rate:
“The states that voted Democratic in the last two presidential elections have the lowest rates of divorce and teen pregnancies. And the red states had the highest. One of those researchers, June Carbone of the University of Missouri-Kansas City, tells host Guy Raz what she thinks is the deciding factor: Women in blue states wait later to get married and have kids.”
Conservatives argue that allowing gay marriage would destroy the ‘bedrock’ of the ‘traditional’ family. If this fear-mongering stratagem was true, then the most obvious way to prove this would be to view the divorce rates of those states that allow gay marriage, versus those states that do ban gay marriage.
Washington DC, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Iowa are at the bottom of the list among the country’s lowest divorce rates. Gay marriage is legal in every single one of these states or provinces.
Arkansas, Alabama, Idaho, Kentucky, Tennessee and Florida top the list with some of the country’s highest divorce rates. Gay marriage is banned in every single one of these states.
Obviously, one cannot deduce that gay marriage prevents divorce. However, one can deduce that gay marriage doesn’t destroy, alter or affect straight marriage in any way. The sexual orientation of one’s neighbors does not affect in any way the marriage of the neighbors down the street.
While there are many obstacles facing the modern family, gay marriage is not one of them. If religious leaders, political pundits and conservative politicians truly do agonize over the state of the modern family, then they will find more success by building up straight marriages, instead of tearing down gay marriages.
After all, the only thing more traditional than a marriage between a man and woman … is a divorce between a man and a woman.
I hear the odds of that are pretty good.