Shortly after posting my piece, Will Gay Marriage Help Tame Men’s “Piggishness”?, I considered contacting the leading national gay organizations, California groups and other individuals at the forefront of the gay marriage debate to ask them how they felt Eric Erbelding’s comments in the New York Times might impact the movement for gay marriage, particularly the campaign to defeat the proposition on the Golden State ballot this fall.
Instead, I decided to check the websites of the various organizations and bloggers to see if in favoring extending the definition of marriage to include same-sex couples, they recognized that marriage is based on the premise of monogamy. I also wonder if they sought to promote that notion in public statements on marriage.
To that end, I did a number of searches on the websites of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF), the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and Freedom to Marry, Equality California (EQ CA), the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center and Andrew Sullivan’s blog. (I could not find a search feature on Log Cabin’s website nor on those of the pro-gay marriage Equality for All and LetCaliforniaRing sites.)
I did word searches (without quotation marks) for the following: “marriage monogamy,” “marriage monogamous,” “marriage fidelity” and “marriage adultery.” Researching this post took a lot longer than I had anticipated.
And while I found more references than I had anticipated when I did the “marriage monogamous” search, most other searches came up short. On the site of Freedom to Marry, the one national group devoted primarily to promoting gay marriage, my searches yielded almost nothing, with no hits on marriage monogamy and only six for marriage monogamous.
None of those six hits indicated the ostensibly pro-marriage group supported monogamous gay unions. The closest they got was a footnote in the linked report, Black Same-Sex Households in the United States, observing that “Many gay, bisexual and straight people are monogamous.”
Most of the references I found were to other faiths’ definition of marriage and the experiences of individual couples. Nowhere did I find an organization’s representative or blogger saying that he or she believed monogamy to be an essential feature of marriage.
Yet I did find this hopeful note in a transcript of HRC’s morning news webcast “Equally Speaking:”
A new study on the hopes and aspirations of GLBT young people has found that most want to spend their adult life in a long-term relationship raising children. More than 90 percent of young lesbians and more than 80 percent of gay males report that they expect to be partnered in a monogamous relationship after age 30. The study, conducted by the Rockway Institute, is believed to be the first major study of its kind.
An overwhelming majority of young gay men and lesbians expect to be in monogamous unions? This is big news. Advocates of gay marriage should make much of it if they are serious about promoting gay marriage.
If these advocates wish to deprive opponents of gay marriage of the gift the New York Times gave them when they featured a man in an open relationship in its recent article on gay marriage, they need to stand up and say that those who reject monogamy do not speak up for the vast majority of gay men and lesbians who want the state to recognize their monogamous unions.
So far they haven’t done that.