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Why Gay Marriage Is Good for Straight People

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Diana Landen: If America would just allow gay people to get married, it would be better for all of us. Let me explain.

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"Each one of us, whether we ever marry or not, benefits from the ways a healthy marriage culture protects children and the common good." -- National Organization for Marriage (NOM) pamphlet

I don't know whether to scream or cry. Our society desperately needs more strong, healthy marriages that last a lifetime. The members of NOM could be fighting to create them. Instead, NOM just wants to keep gay people from marrying each other.

Have they thought this one through? Who, exactly, are the gay men and lesbians supposed to marry? Some of my best friends are gay men, but I wouldn't want my daughter to marry one.

My friend Debra dated a gay man in college. He told her she kissed wrong. Debra was beautiful, but Tim managed to make her feel unattractive. Debra was lucky, though: It was the 1980s, and Tim eventually came out, moved to Amsterdam and married a man.

Not everyone is so lucky. My friend Alec married a lesbian. She would push him away when he tried to hug her.

A generation earlier, Alec might have spent his life in a doomed marriage. Instead, Alec's wife was able to accept herself and come out to him before they had any children. Alec went on to find happiness with a straight wife who enjoyed his lust.

Marriages between gay and straight people are not healthy marriages. They are based on a lie. Gay-straight marriages lack the passionate love that marriage thrives on, and they have no way to create it. The truth leaves the straight partner feeling betrayed, hurt, embarrassed and angry. The straight person's sense of self can be shattered -- especially their feelings about their sexuality.

Meanwhile, the gay spouse struggles with feelings of guilt and self-hatred. Frequently, they are unable to be faithful. So we have former pastor Ted Haggard accused of visiting a prostitute and paying hush money over an affair with a church member. We have former Congressman Eric Massa accused of sexually harassing his male employees. Former Senator Larry Craig had apparently been ready to have sex with a stranger in a bathroom.

Not surprisingly, gay-straight marriages rarely last. The Straight Spouse Network estimates that only 17 percent of mixed-orientation marriages will still be together three years after the gay or lesbian spouse comes out. That's an 83 percent divorce rate -- twice as high as the already-high national rate of 40 percent.

And what about the children in all of this? Before he was caught hiring a male prostitute to carry his luggage, minister and anti-gay activist George Rekers testified against adoption by gay parents in several court cases. Children, he argued, need parents who present positive role models of relationships between men and women.

Apparently Rekers thinks it is better for kids to have a father who visits prostitutes than two fathers who love each other.

Or maybe Rekers thinks divorce is good for children. Ironically, the former president of NOM, Maggie Gallagher, has written about the benefits of marriage for children. She argues that children with married parents are richer, healthier, better behaved, more educated, more successful and more likely to have lasting marriages themselves.

The truth is simple: Gay-straight marriages lead to adultery and divorce. They are dishonest, unhappy, unhealthy and bad for children. Gay marriages are the solution, not the problem.

It's long past time to accept and celebrate gay people and support them marrying each other. And maybe if people stopped fighting gay marriage, we could get to work figuring out how to strengthen American marriage.


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