Monday, September 13, 2004
Statistics released by the state of Oregon show that same-sex couples who married earlier this year in Portland are older and better educated than most newlyweds... The Oregon Center for Health Statistics studied the 2,968 same-sex marriages and compared them with the 11,004 marriages between a man and a woman that took place between January and June, when gay marriages were stopped.
- The researchers found that three-quarters of the gay and lesbian couples had at least one college-educated partner - more than twice the rate among heterosexual couples.
- Same-sex couples on average, married at age 42 while most opposite-sex married while in their early 30s.
- In addition, in about half of the heterosexual marriages at least one partner had been married before. In a third of the cases, both the man and woman had been in previous marriages.
- The study also found that in 43 percent of the marriages between lesbians, at least one of the women had been married to a man. In 27 percent of the marriages between gay men, at least one of the men had been married to a woman. About 7 percent of the same-sex weddings were between partners who both had been married.
The age thing isn't particularly interesting, since as a new phenomenon, gay marriage will naturally attract older people who could not marry before (or strange marrying fanatics who thought they'd make do with a straight partner in the meantime, by the look of the statistics).
But is gay marriage purely for the educated establishment types? If so, it perhaps supports the more general idea that marriage is for the most part based on cold economic calculation – the more educated tend to be wealthier and have more property to protect through marriage than others - while its greater predominance among the straight population can be put down to mere cultural pressure.
So if gay marriage is allowed in more places and this trend continues, it might lead more people to question why they want to get married, and whether they could achieve the economic aims of marriage by other means. It might even undermine the idea that financial benefits should ever be attached to any sort of romantic relationship. This in turn would help us achieve the aim only liberals (of any sexuality) have ever denied we had; that is, the total destruction of the institution of marriage. Excellent.