MARRIAGE DIGEST: Homosexuals in no hurry to 'marry,' new study says; Mass. parents file suit over textbook flap
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--"Gay marriage" may be legal in four countries and one American state but, so far, homosexuals are in no hurry for commitment.
A new study by the Institute for Marriage and Public Policy, headed by author and researcher Maggie Gallagher, shows that the percentage of homosexuals opting for "marriage" is small.
The study estimates that between 2.6 percent and 6.3 percent of homosexuals in the Netherlands have been "married." In Belgium, the estimate is between 1.9 and 4.7 percent. The Netherlands legalized "gay marriage" in 2001 -- becoming the first nation to do so -- while Belgium followed in June 2003. The figures for both countries vary because it is not known precisely how many homosexuals live in each nation. In each instance, the smaller percentage includes a generous estimate of 5 percent of the population being homosexual. Thus, if the homosexual population is larger, then the percentage of those who have "married" is even smaller.
By contrast, 51.7 percent of households in America include a married couple that is heterosexual, according to the 2000 U.S. Census. The IMAPP data, though, included the percentage of homosexuals who have ever been "married," and not those who are currently "married." The percentage of Americans who have ever been married no doubt is much higher than 51.7 percent.
The study was authored by Gallagher and Joshua K. Baker.
"Trend data is extremely limited, but the available data suggest that the number of gay marriages tends to decrease after an initial burst (reflecting pent up demand)," the IMAPP study says. "Whether same-sex marriage will emerge as common or normative among gays and lesbians, or fade as time and novelty passes, cannot yet be determined."
In Massachusetts, where "gay marriage" has been legal since May 2004, the study estimates that between 5.9 and 16.7 percent of homosexuals have "married." In British Columbia, Canada (legal since July 2003), the estimate is between 2.8 and 14.3 percent. The smaller figure again includes an estimate that 5 percent of the population is homosexual.
Nationwide data for Canada and Spain -- both of which recognize "gay marriage" -- is not yet available. Also, Ontario, which was the first Canadian province to redefine marriage, does not keep data differentiating between heterosexuals and homosexuals.
The study quotes Michael Bronski, visiting professor of women’s and gender studies at Dartmouth College, as saying, "When I talk to my gay and lesbian students and other young queer people, there is no doubt that they are in favor of marriage equality. It’s a no-brainer: Why shouldn’t there be equality under the law? But very few of them actually seem interested in getting married, now or later. That’s true of both gay men and lesbians, although the women are more inclined to consider marriage in the future. Such ambivalence stands in sharp contrast to my heterosexual students, many of whom expect to get hitched sometime in the near future and some of whom have even made plans to do so after graduation."
TEXTBOOK LAWSUIT -- Two couples have filed a federal lawsuit against officials at a Lexington, Mass., school, saying their constitutional rights were violated when their children were exposed to homosexual themes.
One of the couples has a child whose second-grade teacher read the students "King & King" -- a story about a prince who searches for a wife, only to choose another prince as his "husband." The other couple has a child who, while in kindergarten, was given a "diversity bag" that included the book "Who's in a Family?" The book includes drawings of families with homosexual parents. The children went to the same school -- Estabrook Elementary.
"Parents need to be the ones to determine when ['gay marriage'] is introduced and how it is introduced," one of the parents, David Parker, said, according to the Associated Press.
The couples' attorney said the school's policy violated their right to privacy and religious freedom, AP said. But a school official disagreed.
"In Massachusetts, gays have equal rights," school superintendent Paul Ash told AP. "We have gay marriage. Our kids see it, it's part of our overall curriculum. We talk about what kids see in today's world."
Conservative leaders say the controversy shows how "gay marriage" can negatively impact all aspects of society.
FRANK BEING RATHER FRANK -- Democratic leaders wanting to see their party re-take Congress this year may not want to put Rep. Barney Frank in charge. The Massachusetts Democrat, an open homosexual, told a gathering of Utah Stonewall Democrats April 21, "There is no bigger difference between the two political parties today than on LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered] issues." The Salt Lake Tribune reported about Frank's speech.
Frank added, though, that not all Democrats are united on homosexual issues. But he did say that young people will live to see the day when "gay marriage" is legalized nationwide.
"I can't wait for the day when a person asks me if a gay person should be a Republican or a Democrat and I can say it depends on your economic view," he said.
At least seven states this year are scheduled to vote on marriage amendments to their respective constitutions. Nineteen states already have them, and they have been approved by an average of 71 percent of the vote. The amendments prevent state courts from legalizing "gay marriage." Massachusetts has no marriage amendment.
For more information about the national debate over "gay marriage," visit http://www.bpnews.net/samesexmarriage