Stats thanks to Pams House Blend and Radio Netherlands(1,2)
* Approximately 15,000 gay and lesbian couples have tied the knot in the Netherlands since 2001.
This little factoid is interesting to me because it took them ten years to reach that number. California, on the other hand, married some 18,000 couples in the few months in which it was legal to do so.
*According to Radio Netherlands, some 20% of Dutch homosexual couples have married versus 80% of Dutch heterosexual couples.
I find this a curious statistic. Who gets married leave a public record and can be tracked...how do they get an accurate number of who didn't get married in order to establish the percentage? At any rate, this is a stat that alot of anti-gay groups would probably love to point to as an example of the fact that gay people really don't want to get married...which would be misleading and incorrect. I wonder how many of the heterosexual marriages were undertaken because of societal pressure or family expectations. Gay couples don't have mom and dad leaning over their shoulder waiting for them to marry their boyfriend and produce grandbabies. Could that account for some of the disparity is percentages? In addition, to what degree does religion play in this number?
*Of the 15,000 marriages performed since 2001, the number of same-sex divorces is 1,078. Two thirds of those divorces were by female couples.
Yuck....We knew that with marriage would sometimes come divorce and here it is. To me, that seems an extraordinarily low number. I would have expected numbers closer to heterosexual marriages of about 40% plus change. If in ten years that number has not climbed then I have to wonder if there is a relation to the fact that only 20% of gay couples are opting to marry. Perhaps this is another number reflective of the tendencies of gay couples to really think about getting married before doing so.
*same-sex marriages comprise just 2% off all marriages performed.
This is an important one and one which we will probably never see NOM or the FRC use against us. One of their biggest scare tactics is to claim that allowing gays and lesbians to marry will somehow lead to a degeneration of the institution of marriage. The more hysterical elements put forth the idea that allowing gays full equal treatment under the law will lead to more people becoming gay...and as the Pope puts it..this would have catastrophic effects on procreation. In short, let the gays marry, serve in the military, or get jobs and the whole world is gonna turn gay. Well here you go people. Marriage did not stop in the Netherlands....nor did we see any mass exodus from straight to gay occur. In fact, of all the marriages that continued to take place, only a tiny fraction of them were from gay couples. I don't know about you guys...but I don't see any sky falling.
Marriage is not for everyone. Nor are those who advocating for it trying to make it mandatory for all gay people. However, being full and equal American citizens means full and equal treatment under the law in all circumstances...marriage included. No heterosexual marriages will be harmed or devalued, no children will be psychologically scarred by acknowledging that such things happen in the world, and people will continue to marry and have children just like they do now. If you are gay and of the mind to marry, then you should be allowed to...that is all there is to it.
* The worlds first gay marriage took place on April 1, 2001 at midnight. Amsterdam Mayor Job Cohen married four couples. Of those original four only one couple has been separated because of death, the others are still married today.
I can't imagine what it must have felt like to be the first gay person in the world to get married. Granted, you would have had to share that distinction with three other couples...but still, that must have been something. As we mark this day as a celebratory one for all gay men and women, it is important to remember that it is a very personal day for these four couples for whom this is their actual wedding anniversary. Congratulations to Them all and thank you for blazing a trail that has so many of us are trying to follow. tonight I will raise a glass for all of you.
Until next time dear readers....