Monogamish

August 22nd, 2011

We often protest when homophobes insist that same sex marriage will change marriage for straight people too. But in some ways, they’re right. Here’s how gay relationships will change the institution—but for the better. By Ari Karpel

When birth control pills were making Megan’s sex drive almost nonexistent, she told her boyfriend, Colin, what many gay men in a similar position might say to theirs: “If you want to have sex, feel free to sleep with someone else; just don’t tell me about it.”

Last year, after six years together and a year and a half of marriage, Colin’s chronic back pain was making sex less than fun. So he returned the favor: “Sleep around all you want,” he said. “Just don’t do anything stupid, and don’t tell me about it.”

That’s how Megan, now 25, and Colin, 26, college sweethearts who live in Minneapolis, came to fashion a committed, nonmonogamous marriage. They don’t flaunt their unconventional lifestyle (they requested that their last name not be used), but they are hardly alone. By designing a relationship that doesn’t fit a typical married couple, Megan and Colin have joined a small but growing number of straight couples who are looking to gay male relationships as the model for long-term, nonmonogamous unions.

Anti-equality right-wingers have long insisted that allowing gays to marry will destroy the sanctity of “traditional marriage,” and, of course, the logical, liberal party-line response has long been “No, it won’t.” But what if—for once—the sanctimonious crazies are right? Could the gay male tradition of open relationships actually alter marriage as we know it? And would that be such a bad thing? With divorce rates at an all-time high and news reports full of famous marriages crumbling at the hand of flagrant infidelities (see: Schwarzenegger, Arnold), perhaps now is the perfect time for the gays to conduct a little marriage makeover.

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  1. Leo
    August 22nd, 2011 at 19:42 | #1

    Has there ever been a case of a divorce involving same sex partners where the issue of adultery was raised?

  2. August 22nd, 2011 at 22:57 | #2

    Holy mackerel. What a find, Betsy!

  3. Anne
    August 23rd, 2011 at 08:41 | #3

    The inmates are taking over the asylum. People have lost all sight of what is true and meaningful.

  4. Heidi
    August 23rd, 2011 at 10:14 | #4

    @Leo
    I doubt it because of no-fault divorce laws. No one has to prove any longer that their spouse cheated, abused them, abandoned them, etc. in order to obtain a divorce. All that needs to happen is to have one spouse testify that there are irreconcilable differences between the two spouses and the court will grant a divorce. As a lawyer, I can tell you that fault-based divorce proceedings would make the divorce process more of a nightmare and more of a caustic and adversarial process than it already is. I very seriously doubt that there will ever be a return to fault-based divorce, if for no other reason than that the majority of lawyers (who lobby their respective state legislatures) and judges in the field of family law would never stand for it. Trust me: too many divorcing couples hate each other to add another layer of animosity into the process.

  5. Ruth
    August 23rd, 2011 at 13:04 | #5

    “But evil men and impostors will go on from bad to worse, leading astray and being led astray.”

  6. Leo
    August 23rd, 2011 at 18:45 | #6

    @Heidi
    Somehow I suspect Governor Schwarzenegger’s adultery will influence the divorce settlement even in the state that originated “no fault” divorce. The culture remembers what the law has forgotten. Ask Tiger Woods.

    No fault divorce makes women more vulnerable to “opportunistic divorce” by the husbands and weakens contract rights (http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/232863/marriage-contract-should-still-be-contract-carrie-lukas#). It weakens the position of the non-moneyed and wronged spouse and has led to the feminization of poverty. It is time to reconsider it. The law is inherently adversarial. Even if no-fault divorce isn’t repealed, there will be a grwoing movement to create and promote “covenant marriage.” Most Americans want divorce to be harder, not easier. (http://www.trinity.edu/mkearl/fam-div.html).

  7. Heidi
    August 24th, 2011 at 07:03 | #7

    “Most Americans want divorce to be harder, not easier.” Leo, I am not so certain of that statement. Americans cherish individual liberties. The idea that the State should force unwilling individuals to remain married strikes me as a bit totalitarian. As for covenant marriages, I would be interested in discovering what percentage of total marriages are covenant marriages in the states where such an option exists. Something tells me that it would be a tiny percentage of all marriages. Again, Americans value freedom, including the freedom to escape an unhappy marriage.

  8. Leo
    August 25th, 2011 at 00:32 | #8

    The lives of millions of women and children have been unjustly shattered by no-fault divorce. I know quite a few. That is why the polls show Americans want a change in divorce law. But the elites are against it.

    Pacta sunt servanda is a bedrock principle of contract law. Why not abolish that, too? Lots of people would like to get out of lots of contracts. That could be very popular. What could be more liberating than to get out of any contract at will? The idea that the State should allow contracts to be enforced does not strike me as totalitarian at all. It is necessary for the functioning of a just society.

    Making divorce harder is not intended to make it impossible. If the implied contract is in breach, that, under contract law, allows the other party to escape the contract.

    Do we want to make it easier for the rich man to dismiss is wife of thirty years than to dismiss a workman painting his house who at least has a contract?

  9. Heidi
    August 26th, 2011 at 10:01 | #9

    @Leo
    “That is why the polls show Americans want a change in divorce law. But the elites are against it.”

    Proof please.

  10. Heidi
    August 26th, 2011 at 10:04 | #10

    With respect to the article itself, I don’t understand why it is anybody’s business what any couple’s agreements are with respect to their sex lives. These are private decisions and we all ought to stay out of each other’s bedrooms. My partner and I believe strongly in being faithful to one another in a monogamous relationship (it is one of the many reasons that we want to be legally married), but we realize that others may not feel the same way. It is none of our business what our friends do or do not do in their sex lives.

  11. Anne
    August 26th, 2011 at 11:55 | #11

    @Heidi

    “It is none of our business what our friends do or do not do in their sex lives.”

    Which is exactly why homosexuality doesn’t belong in public schools.
    The biology of reproduction is relevant to teach. Homosexual behaviour is about sex and behaviour which you agree is not anyone else’s business, least of all children.

  12. Rich
    August 27th, 2011 at 09:44 | #12

    @Anne
    “Which is exactly why homosexuality doesn’t belong in public schools.” Well Anne, once again I come across another no-nothing accuser of that which she cannot support. Your statement, on its face, is ridiculous if only because our schools are populated by millions of gay students. Substitute heterosexuality in your statement and you see how ludicrous your statement is.

    “Homosexual behaviour is about sex and behaviour which you agree is not anyone else’s business, least of all children.” Here you reveal your true position and it, too, is ludicrous and extremely uninformed. As I have implored others with your narrow perspective to do is get into your community’s schools. Ask for a copy of the curriculum standards/expectations. Check with your state’s department of education. Nowhere will you find a lesson on homosexual/heterosexual sexual behavior in the general education plan. Sex Ed classes deal with safety and self-esteem issues. Questions will/do arise in classes with respect to the state of sexual identity/politics/the constitution and current court dealings (aka Current Events) but to suggest that there is any school system in the United States that seeks to indoctrinate students in homosexual practices is a red-herring served up for those with no interest in moving beyond gut feelings or willing to research beyond what is fed by scare-mongers.

  13. Leo
    August 27th, 2011 at 21:23 | #13

    @Heidi

    Proof?

    The poll was referenced in the article. The poll says what it says. You may produce contrary polls if you like. But consider common observation. How many people do you know who are saying that we need to make divorce still easier? Do you know anybody who is saying what this country really needs is for more marriages to end in divorce?

  14. Rich
    August 28th, 2011 at 09:52 | #14

    @Ruth
    To whom do you refer? Pseudo-Christians by any chance?

  15. bman
    August 28th, 2011 at 20:46 | #15

    Rich: Check with your state’s department of education. Nowhere will you find a lesson on homosexual/heterosexual sexual behavior in the general education plan. Sex Ed classes deal with safety and self-esteem issues.

    What then could this gay columnist possibly be talking about:

    “Recruiting children? You bet we are,” he said. “Why would we push anti-bullying programs or social studies classes that teach kids about the historical contributions of famous queers unless we wanted to deliberately educate children to accept queer sexuality as normal?”
    from: http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/gay-journalist-lets-face-it-we-want-to-indoctrinate-children

    On that same note, the “different kinds of families” curriculum taught at kindergarten, along with books like Heather Has two Mommies, Daddy’s Roommate, King and King (two kings fall in love and get married), plus the recent attempt to have Bert and Ernie get married, all fit that same pattern, an agenda to indoctrinate children to accept homosexism at an early age.

    Here are some other new times:

    State ignores plea to teach sex factually: Allows district to tell students homosexuality is ‘innate’:

    State education officials in Maryland have rejected a plea from 270 Montgomery County area physicians to require the local school board to include factual information about sex in a new curriculum that establishes homosexuality as “innate” and features a 45-minute lesson on how to use a condom.

    The physicians and other opponents of the new home-grown curriculum first had asked the Montgomery County Board of Education, then the state board, to include a warning about anal sex that is critical to student safety – as issued by the Office of the Surgeon General and the National Institutes of Health.

    The local board first rejected the request, and now the same response has come from the state board. The two boards also dismissed a long list of other concerns that had been raised about the sex education.

    Leaders in the Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays organization said homosexual advocates on a school board curriculum advisory committee are using the curriculum to advance their agenda for the public schools.

    By the way, you can be sure there are plenty of bright educated people among the 270 physicians and all the parents, contra your post to Glenn that its a, “….patently false and an old canard spouted off by mostly not bright people.”

    Montana parents sue over sex ed

    “Since the release of the curriculum last June, the district has received thousands of complaint emails from members of the community. A document outlining the program released in June said that “body part language” would be introduced in kindergarten, the idea of same-sex love in grade one, and methods of sexual intercourse [oral and anal intercourse] would be taught to fifth-graders”

    State education chief pushes ‘gay’ pornfest

    ….numerous small children were marched in the [gay pride] parade under the banner of a local charter school.

    “O’Connor’s letter includes a shocking display of disrespect for families who are doing everything possible to protect their children from child molesters, the pornography industry, and sexually transmitted diseases,” Hartline said.

    A substitute teacher from Massachusetts wrote in a yahoo blog, “My my state, the Bay State, the state authorities believe that all school children should have access to family planning. All school children. In Provincetown, MA, even the kindergarten kids get condoms. I was substitute teaching in the first grade and one of the kids asked me if I was gay. I asked him why he would ask a grown up a question like that. He said there was a guy in there yesterday handing out “those balloons” and giving the first graders a sex education class.”

    That is an anecdotal report but its credible since school superintendent Beth Singer issued a public statement that said, “The intent is to protect kids.” We know that sexual experimentation is not limited to an age, so how does one put an age on it?”See, Massachusetts Schools are Giving First Grade Children Condoms, Why Exactly?

    California referendum launched to halt mandatory ‘gay history’ law

    Governor Jerry Brown this month signed SB 48, which mandates an emphasis on “lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender” role models in K-12 history and social science textbooks. Because California constitutes a large share of the national textbook market, the mandate, although unique to California, would likely cause the printing and distribution of “gay-friendly” textbooks for consumption across America.

    Teachers are being irresponsible when they teach that homosexuality is a healthy lifestyle.

    California Public Schools: Not Enough Money to Teach Math & English; Enough Money to Teach Homosexuality to Kindergarteners

  16. bman
    August 28th, 2011 at 20:52 | #16

    Correction: Where my post said “new times” read “news items”

  17. Ruth
    August 28th, 2011 at 23:48 | #17

    @Rich
    The context is II Timothy.
    It is a short letter, and you can read it profitably.

  18. Rich
    August 30th, 2011 at 08:09 | #18

    @Anne
    “Which is exactly why homosexuality doesn’t belong in public schools.
    The biology of reproduction is relevant to teach. Homosexual behaviour is about sex and behaviour which you agree is not anyone else’s business, least of all children.

    Good lord Anne, would you please get into the public schools all about you and check whether the teachers are instructing kids in homosexual sex? Just to say this is happening offers no proof whatsoever that it is happening. It’s like the proverbial you know what, keep flinging it and, hopefully, some of it will stick.

  19. Rich
    August 30th, 2011 at 08:39 | #19

    @bman
    Your examples are, again, scare tactics. They are proffered by those with animus towards anything closely associated with tolerance being taught to our kids. For so many of you, knowledge is a scary thing because it suggests the possibility that, with time, old canards are, just that, unfounded in truth. Gay marriage does exist. Many kids, with either two mommies or two daddies, exist. Loving gay relationships exist. Change in people’s attitudes toward gay marriage exists. Kids know this; they see it every day. It’s in their schools by sheer presence, their homes, on TV, in books, newspapers on the internet. If you want to keep homosexuality in the closet and label it with a seal of condemnation, you’ve lost the battle. Kids understand this and they’re not frightened by it nor are they threatened by it. Why should someone want to scare them about this, a part of their culture, their communities, their churches, their work-places? Straight kids are straight kids, gay kids are gay kids. They live, learn, work and play together. They participate in classroom assignments together, they play on sports teams together, they act in school plays together, they communicate with each other, they eat lunch together, they may even make best friend pacts together. To all of you who are parents. Ask your kids if they know of a peer who is gay, a peer who has two mommies or two daddies. You see, your fears are not their fears. For they have nothing to be afraid of.

  20. Anne
    August 30th, 2011 at 11:17 | #20

    @Rich
    “Just to say this is happening offers no proof whatsoever that it is happening. It’s like the proverbial you know what, keep flinging it and, hopefully, some of it will stick.”

    And to say it’s not happening when it so obviously is is like the proverbial psychosis “If I close my eyes, it will go away.”

    Your denial of the obvious evidence is unsettling Rich. To disagree with the tactic is one thing. To deny it is happening is purely irrational. You and your students will be in my prayers.

  21. Ruth
    August 30th, 2011 at 13:02 | #21

    @Rich
    I know a girl who has two Dads and wishes she had a Mom.
    It is demeaning to dismiss her interests as “fear”.

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