QUESTION: Can Gays and Lesbians Save the Institution of Marriage?

same sex marriageIn The Atlantic article “The Gay Guide to Wedded Bliss,” writer Liza Mundy points to a growing swath of research that indicates that gay and lesbian married couples are more happy than their heterosexual counterparts, with some even going so far as to suggest that gays and lesbians are “making marriage sexy again.”  Through various studies, Mundy is able to pinpoint some very interesting facts about how gays and lesbians are approaching marriage.

Among some of the more intriguing findings are:

  • Gays and lesbians divide familial responsibilities more equally because of a lack of pre-existing gender norms and expectations about who does what.
  • Lesbians are almost twice as likely to get divorced than gay men.
  • Some countries in which same-sex unions have been legal for 10 years or more have seen a rise in marriage rates overall.
  • (Surprise, surprise) Straight women and lesbians are more monogamous than gay men. 14% of straight women and roughly 8% of partnered lesbians reported sex outside of their relationship, as opposed to 15% of straight husbands and  roughly 60% of gay men in partnerships and civil unions.

Though gays and lesbians are taking their unions seriously, not all is perfect in their marriages.  The studies found that about one third of gay male couples with children had one partner who is a “stay at home dad,” and sometimes these arrangements were fraught with feelings of a loss of status and prestige by the stay at home partner.  Also, in both gay and lesbian couples, the partner who makes the most money tended to take the lead on the major financial decisions of the family, which also led to tension in the marriage.

So the question is, Queerty readers, can gays and lesbians help save marriage?  By bucking outdated gender norms, becoming de facto activists just by entering into marriages with our partners, and re-writing the rules of those marriages once we put a ring on it, can we help stem the tide of divorce rates in America and prove to straights (and ourselves) that we can be in happy, loving relationships?

Or, are we just involved in a hopeless and ultimately futile push to emulate straight culture while roughly 60% of the gay male couples surveyed were open about getting sex outside of the relationship.  Are we ready to make the real commitment, or are we just caught up in marriage fever?