This post is number five of twelve for the Secular Student Alliance Blogathon. I’m responding to comments in the “Go Ahead, Tell Me What’s Wrong with Homosexuality” thread all day. You can read an explanation of the Blogathon and a pitch for donations (even if you’re religious) here.
This point came up a couple of times during the thread, so there’s not any specific comment I want to link back to. Some of the Christians wanted to know if gay marriages actually turned out to be worse on average than straight marriages (maybe proven by fixing the statistical and methodological problems in Blogathon post one, or maybe a reference to Dan Savage’s monagam-ish model), would we withdraw our support? For the sake of the gays themselves as much as everyone else?
There are two kinds of responses to this question: first, we can follow the example of Alex, and ask whether other classes of people should be barred from posting banns, because their ethnic, socio-economic, or data-mining result group has a poor track record in matrimony. Most of us would say no.
But there’s another argument to make. The commenters are claiming that if gay marriages turn out worse that straight marriages, we should keep them illegal. That’s not really the right comparison to make. What we want to do is contrast outcomes for married same-sex partners and same-sex couples who would like to get married by cannot. That way, we’re actually approximating the marginal impact of gay marriage on gays.
Evelyn Waugh is kind of on my side for methodological point here. In what may be an apocryphal story, he was taken to task for his behavior by a fellow guest at a dinner party who asked how he could be so rude and call himself a Catholic. Waugh replied: “Imagine how insufferable I would be if I were not a Catholic!”