I read with interest an article in the New York Times about how gay couples are doing in Massachusetts, which has had gay marriage for some four years now.
But as same-sex marriage begins in California, Massachusetts’s experience may offer hints of what is to come. For example, after an initial euphoric rush to the altar, the number of gay weddings here fell sharply and has declined each year since. Of the more than 10,500 same-sex couples married here since May 17, 2004, 6,121 wed in the first six months. There were 2,060 weddings in 2005; 1,442 in 2006; and 867 in the first eight months of 2007, the most recent data show.
Interesting. I have not seen the stats on dissolution of domestic partnerships, which has basically mirrored dissolution of marriage in California since 2005, but it made me wonder if they are relatively low, not because gays "stay together" but because they are less likely to enter into legal commitments, be in domestic partnerships or marriages.
Nearly two-thirds of the weddings have been lesbian marriages, including one between two women named Melissa McCarthy. And while nearly half of straight people marrying are under 30, more same-sex married couples of both sexes are older — nearly a third are in their 40s.
I was discussing this earlier with a friend, and we both agreed that this makes sense in light of our own perceptions that women are more geared psychologically towards "nest building" than men. I think to many women, relationship = home = relationship.
What has changed for gay couples is that marriage is part of the dating landscape, adding tension or romance, pressure or excitement.“It makes me completely think differently about the relationship,” said Lance Collins, 38, a colorist at a Boston hair salon. He envisions his perfect wedding (grooms in jeans and T-shirts), but his partner does not want to marry. “I know he cares about me quite a bit,” Mr. Collins said. “I just think he doesn’t want to.”
Mr. Collins believes his partner is his ideal match because he “gets as excited about seeing me as I get about seeing him,” because “sometimes he’ll do my laundry and fold it the way I like it,” and because “he makes my coffee really well — one Equal with just a tablespoon of fat-free half-and-half.”
But their marriage chasm worries him. “Maybe I should move out and maybe that will make him appreciate me,” Mr. Collins said. “I’ve gone so far as looking for an apartment.”
Welcome to The "Real Life" Dating Game - if you love me, what's stopping you from marrying me? As an aside, it actually surprised me that The New York Times would inlcude those last few paragraphs, as it tends to portray this issue in a sort of "sitcom" light, given the stereotype that Lance exudes.
Eric Erbelding and his husband, Michael Peck, both 44, see each other only every other weekend because Mr. Peck works in Pittsburgh. So, Mr. Erbelding said, “Our rule is you can play around because, you know, you have to be practical.”
Mr. Erbelding, a decorative painter in Boston, said: “I think men view sex very differently than women. Men are pigs, they know that each other are pigs, so they can operate accordingly. It doesn’t mean anything.”
Still, Mr. Erbelding said, most married gay couples he knows are “for the most part monogamous, but for maybe a casual three-way.”
So, what does this say to the reliance of the California Supreme Court on recognizing "loving, committed relationships" as the reason for their decision? Or is this simply status quo in gay relationships and is it largely occurring among male homsexuals? The ones opposed to gay marriage have said "marriage is between one man and one woman." Gay activists have said, "no, marriage can be between one man and another, or one woman and another." If this is typical - and I am not saying it is and wouldn't know, because I don't have any real contact with the gay community at large - then why draw the line at polyandry or polygamy?
It will be interesting. One thing that is different between Massachusetts and California, is that I think there will be more of an impact - including, eventually, federal recognition (and, more importantly, change in the IRS code) - resulting from gay marriage in California.