Gay Marriage | New York | News

Lesbians Marry More Often Than Gay Men

BallandChain Same-sex marriage licenses will be distributed here in New York today. And, according to the New York Post, the majority of them will be given to lesbian couples.

...In the states that have sanctioned same-sex nuptials to date, lesbians have been marrying in much greater numbers than gay men.

In Connecticut, for example, 3,252 lesbian couples have wed since 2008, when same-sex marriage was legalized, compared with just 2,053 gay guys.

"This is the way men and women have been socialized from the time we're born," said Stephanie Coontz, who teaches family studies at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash. "'Go out, don't commit too early'... It's the message all men receive."


The Connecticut trend remains true in other states that have marriage equality, as well.

Judith Stacey, who penned a controversial piece in the New York Times that described marriage as exclusionary, continued her argument in the Post, telling the paper, "Gay men and lesbians who don't marry or don't want kids are beginning to feel the same kind of social scrutiny that straight people do."

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  1. Looking into my crystal ball, the only people who are going to be married are lesbians.

    Once all this marriage equality starts settling in, the divorce rate among gay males will parallel that of hetero America.

    Posted by: AllBeefPatty | Jul 5, 2011 1:40:23 PM


  2. Yep, this should surprise no one.

    Judith Stacey either lives on a different planet or is simply trying to get attention. No one has ever put the slightest pressure on me to marry, and I was in a very long-term relationship and could have married in CA.

    Nice graphic! Represents how lots of men, straight or gay, feel about marriage. (Not necessarily me.)

    Posted by: Paul R | Jul 5, 2011 1:44:47 PM


  3. Shocking! Not. Ms. Coontz (teeheehee)seems to be implying that by not by choosing not to marry, some men must somehow be socially maladjusted. Really?

    Posted by: Chris | Jul 5, 2011 1:47:20 PM


  4. since lesbians trend to raise more children than gay men, it makes sense that they would want the protections of marriage more than men. This is not surprising the least.

    Posted by: Daniel | Jul 5, 2011 2:25:34 PM


  5. In Broward County (FL) where we have had a domestic partnership registry since July of 1999, of the 2,741 same-sex registrations, 1,840 (67.1%) have been male.

    Posted by: Bill | Jul 5, 2011 2:41:22 PM


  6. Perhaps Ms. Stacey can point us to these individuals who exert such pressure that they are impossible to resist and cause one to abandon one's holy commitment to singledom and succumb to the evils of wedded hell? We might hire them to lobby for us in Washington to hypnotize the President and Congress into passing equal rights legislation.

    Posted by: StillmarriedinCA | Jul 5, 2011 2:51:31 PM


  7. The sky is blue: news at 11.

    Posted by: AedanCRoberts | Jul 5, 2011 3:16:54 PM


  8. In my opinion it's pointless and irrelevant to even do studies on who marries more, where these marriages take place, etc...

    To do so is completely missing the point of marriage equality. Everyone should have the option and the equal right to marry, that is the point regardless if they personally choose to marry or not.

    Posted by: Matt | Jul 5, 2011 3:24:06 PM


  9. Duh.

    Posted by: PLAINTOM | Jul 5, 2011 3:25:47 PM


  10. Not in any way surprising. People shouldn't be made to feel bad or inferior for not marrying. We all have our reasons to do so, or choose not to. Men are less into commitment by and large so of course lesbian couples by and large will marry more.

    Posted by: Francis | Jul 5, 2011 3:26:33 PM


  11. the qualitative sociologist here says use statistics to make a political point at your peril. It's really too early to make much sense of a couple of years' trends etc. Better to explore people's stories around the theme of marriage, glad to hear that US sociologists are at least contributing to the debate...

    Posted by: Sean R | Jul 5, 2011 3:30:04 PM


  12. @Matt You may be right, but the reality is that if, as a group, we make such a big stink about having the right to marry and then don't do it, people will begin to question our sincerity, in general.

    The real story here is not the small differential between lesbians and gay men; instead, it is that if you assume that 5% of Connecticutt's 3.5 million people are gay, then these statistics mean that less than 3% of gay people in the state have gotten married in the 3 years since it became legal to do so.

    The point that some of you are missing here is that being part of society is not ONLY and always about RIGHTS; it is also about RESPONSIBILITIES.....and any group that is seen as being focused strictly on the former while being oblivious to the latter is running a risk of losing its credibility.

    Posted by: Rick | Jul 5, 2011 3:54:21 PM


  13. Rick: one of the responsibilities is knowing when not to get married. The percentage of gay people who marry will likely rise in the future, but it's irrelevant.

    Each person should have an equal right to determine their future, and that includes the freedom to marry. In VT, I know a bunch of happily married same-sex couples--gay and lesbian--and they're happy because they were meant to be married. My happy single and non-married but coupled friends were not, for whatever reason. Our sincerity need not be questioned if we don't marry enough to suit some theoretical percentage (established by whom?)--kind of takes away from freedom, when you feel forced to do something against your will.

    Demanding marriage equality isn't about "making a stink"--it's about having the same basic civil rights straight people have, regardless of their suitability to marriage. If lesbians marry more often than gay men--and that's hardly surprising--or gay men don't flock into marriage quickly enough to satisfy some, so what? I hate this prescriptive nonsense.

    Posted by: Ernie | Jul 5, 2011 4:13:46 PM


  14. God forbid anyone should have to face "social scrutiny," especially "the same kind" as someone else.

    It's been so righteous having to face social opprobrium reserved particularly for us.

    Posted by: Glenn I | Jul 5, 2011 4:35:21 PM


  15. @Ernie: as usual, I agree entirely.

    Posted by: Paul R | Jul 5, 2011 4:45:42 PM


  16. In European countries the numbers are exactly opposite. More male couples get married than female couples.

    Posted by: TampaZeke | Jul 5, 2011 4:55:02 PM


  17. @Ernie You kind of reinforced my point, Ernie. You see marriage entirely as a right, but most of society sees it as a responsibility. The principle purpose of marriage historically, after all, has been to provide a stable environment for the proper raising of children, not as a form of self-indulgence for a couple of romantically-inclined individuals.

    The institution may have lost some of its gravitas due to the irresponsibility of some heterosexuals over the last few decades in the West, but, even so, the vast majority of heterosexuals do eventually marry and the motivation for most in doing so is to create a family-

    So if that is not our goal and our expectation of ourselves, then the right to marry is not what we should be pressuring society for. Pretending to be something that the vast majority of us are not and never will be is not going to help our overall case for societal acceptance. And the reality is that the vast majority of us are not monogamous and have no intention or desire of ever being monogamous.

    In the same vein, gay soldiers had better not, once DADT is finally gone, do anything other than conform to the military culture and not call attention to themselves, lest we be seen there, too, as wanting rights without responsibilities.

    You cannot ask for the former without a willingness to assume the latter and if you do, it will backfire on you.

    Posted by: Rick | Jul 5, 2011 4:56:20 PM


  18. glenn +1

    Posted by: daftpunkydavid | Jul 5, 2011 4:56:34 PM


  19. Rick is a troll. do not engage

    Posted by: Really? | Jul 5, 2011 5:04:50 PM


  20. Exactly why there's a show called Bridezilla. Can't wait to see the lesbian version where both ladies turn into shrieking idiots because some vague detail was not followed to the nth degree.

    Of course more women want to marry, it's always been more for gals, hetero or gay.

    Posted by: johnny | Jul 5, 2011 5:19:55 PM


  21. They also divorce more than gay men. I recently saw stats from the netherlands showing 70% of gay divorces are lesbian couples. Interestingly this aligns with heterosexual stats too. Women initiate divorce 70% of the time in heterosexual marriages as well.

    Posted by: cmh | Jul 5, 2011 5:32:39 PM


  22. Gay men marry more in the UK.

    Posted by: Rowan | Jul 5, 2011 6:15:53 PM


  23. Anecdotal evidence is a pretty weak argument for arguing against Stacey's ideas...just sayin'

    Posted by: Tom | Jul 5, 2011 6:42:04 PM


  24. "@Ernie You kind of reinforced my point, Ernie. You see marriage entirely as a right, but most of society sees it as a responsibility."

    No, Rick. You misunderstood my point. I see marriage as a right AND a responsibility for straight and gay couples alike. (And I see not marrying as a responsibility for those who aren't prepared for the commitment, like you, it seems.) But I also see marriage as a right we can no longer be excluded from, because there is no rational reason to exclude us in respect to the modern conception of marriage. (I think marriage has evolved for the better, others may disagree.) But no one should marry lightly, since we see the toll divorces take on straight lives.

    Your comments about the "vast majority of us" reflect how you see yourself, but they don't reflect me or how my gay friends behave. Gay people I know, myself included, are perfectly capable of forming long-term committed relationships, staying together, and forming families, whether their family is comprised of 2 people or 6. Sell yourself short if you want, but don't sell the "vast majority" short, because you don't know us.

    I live in a state with marriage equality and spend a lot of time in a country with full marriage equality. It's here to stay. And in those places straight society, except for the bigoted few, is really not concerned with how gay couples conduct their marriages, because they know their gay friends approach family life the same as they do, and how people figure out how to stay together is no one else's business.

    Posted by: Ernie | Jul 5, 2011 7:58:34 PM


  25. I think statistics in Vermont have been roughly twice as many lesbians marrying as gay men since the beginning, when it was Civil Unions instead of marriage.

    It is curious that the statistics are different in Britain, and I haven't heard any explanation for that.

    Posted by: KevinVT | Jul 5, 2011 8:20:00 PM


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