NOM Claims: If Gays Are Allowed To Marry, Husbands Will Leave Their Wives!


It's no secret that the National Organization for Marriage is dissatisfied with the Supreme Court's recent decisions that did away with Prop 8 and Section 3 of DOMA. After plenty of ranting and raving, the organization has now resorted to some of their older tactics, which include distorting facts and figures. This time around, NOM and The Heritage Foundation are trying to present pseudo-scientific data linking marriage equality with single motherhood, children in poverty, and the claim that men will start to leave their wives if they are allowed to marry other men. 

The data in question comes via a chart publicized by the two groups, comparing rates of poverty of single-mother households to that of two-parent households. Not surprisingly, when compared side-by-side, single-mother households ranked significantly higher. While this may not come as a shock to very many, subsequent arguments made by Heritage's Ryan T. Anderson just might:

"Redefining marriage further distances marriage from the needs of children and denies the importance of mothers and fathers. Redefining marriage rejects as a matter of policy the ideal that children need a mother and a father. Redefining marriage diminishes the social pressures for husbands to remain with their wives and children, and for men and women to marry before having children."

In other words, "redefining marriage" would create more of these single-mother households, since husbands will no longer feel obligated to stay with their wives after they have children. This would then lead to increased levels of poverty, much like the ones illustrated in the chart. Alvin McEwen was good enough to point out that “the Heritage Foundation offers no proof that marriage equality leads to single-mother families.” Furthermore, ThinkProgress also observes that…

"The study is based on census data and presents no comparable information about the experience of children in same-sex families. This follows a long trend of conservative groups citing studies about “fatherless” children — those being raised by single mothers — and trying to attribute those results to families headed by lesbian couples."

Single-momRaw Story presented another interesting counter-argument, claiming that growing acceptance of LGBT people and their rights actually reduces the number of straight marriages that are torn apart when one spouse chooses to come out. 

"It’s homophobia that causes people to get married, have kids, and struggle for years before the pressure of living a lie causes them to come out, divorce their spouse, and live as a gay person."

To substantiate this, they presented data which indicated that there are actually more same-sex couples raising kids in red states and areas with more overt homophobia. They argue "that’s because, despite gay couples adopting or having kids together, most gay parents still got their kids during a closeted period in their life."

Whether you agree with the latter claim or not, there is almost no denying that the former claim made by NOM and Heritage is a stretch at best, and is one that echoes many previous arguments previously made by opponents of marriage equality. Raw Story is not surprised: 

"Threatening women with male infidelity or with the fear that men will reject marriage if there’s other options available is a long-standing argument against women’s sexual liberation, so it’s not surprising that the anti-gay arguments are basically an extremely strained attempt to do the same thing."


  1. says

    they’re partially correct; it’s the same mentality that leads Cuccinelli to want to ban oral sex.

    he’s a closeted kinsey-6 homosexual. he’s married. he wants a REASON to never go down on his wife. or have her woman-mouth go down on him.

    look at the anti-gays; these folks dont’ have orgasms. look at their husbands: they’re closeted’mos.

    the more equality spreads, the more their bitterness about a miserable non-life grows. the more their excuses for their cowardice and hate become null.

    oh well. not our problem.

    they’re pretty much saying “if gays aren’t discriminated against our spouses will have no reason to keep lying! our kids who might be gay need to know to NEVER come out! what will the neighbors think!?!?!”

    your neighbors already hate you, folks.

  2. GMB says

    Great article, RJ. I’ve truly come to believe that the NOM hysteria — as well as nearly all ‘ex-gay’ theology — is based on a belief that we shouldn’t take lightly: they essentially believe that all of mankind inherently bisexual.

    Think about it. They seem to believe that any guy could be tempted to flee a ball and chain miserable marriage for the carefree romp of a gay “lifestyle,” unless we publicly denounce gay people and make sure people believe that they’re not acceptable.

    Of course, I’d argue that the leaders of these organizations are closeted, frustrated bisexuals themselves, presuming that everyone is as attracted to both sexes the same way they are.

    It’s just a theory, but considering how many of these leaders have eventually been found in compromising positions, I think there’s something to it!

  3. rroberts says

    boy oh boy, what a stretch. I’m waiting for NOM to claim next that the whole straight-marriage-spoiled-because-hubby-turns-gay thing is because of toothpaste. Or maybe it’s those nasty Carl’s Jr. ads. Or maybe it’s the scarcity of holy water in the schools.

  4. Steve says

    This only makes sense when you accept that that anti-gay activists are really secretly gay and that the only thing keeping them in the closet and straight-married is the outside pressure. When gay marriage becomes accepted, they would be under too much pressure to come out and get gay married.

  5. kit says

    If we needed any more evidence that homophobes are only extremely self-loathing closet cases, it is these people’s insistence that only legal discrimination keeps everyone from being gay.

  6. says

    well, that’s exactly it, STEVE.

    republicans dont’ want their potentially-gay kids to ever feel safe enough to Come Out.

    Rick Warren prefers his son dead, than alive and openly-gay.

    check out the documentary “Bridegroom” – the young man that died? his parents feel the same way; RELIEF that their gay son died so that they could cart his corpse back home, have a big old funeral and pretend he was straight. buried in the closet he didn’t want to be in, in life.

    Sarah Palin. Rick Santorum. Mitt Romney and his kids, grandkids, nieces and nephews. Brian Brown. Peter Labarbera. Magge Gallagher…

    between just them, how many kids are there? a lot. and they think they’re all straight? not even remotely probable. but anti-gay fear is what they need to keep their Family looking “traditional”.

  7. Pdxblueyes says

    Marriage HAS been redefined as men no longer feel obligated to stay with their children’s mothers. That’s why we ave the high rate of single parent homes and a divorce rate over 50%. Don’t stick THAT on the Gays.. If this is an example of their Christian values, perhaps St. Petersburg, RUSSIA would be more to their liking. ASSHATS.

  8. alakazam says

    “It’s homophobia that causes people to get married, have kids, and struggle for years before the pressure of living a lie causes them to come out, divorce their spouse, and live as a gay person.”

    ok, so let gay people marry each other then they wouldn’t have to feel pressured into marrying someone of the opposite sex in the first place – duh!

  9. Michael says

    And, damn, I was just about to for-go being gay and marry a woman instead but thank God Prop 8 was struck down.

    How flipping dumb are these people?

  10. Distingue Traces says

    Apparently being married to a woman and raising kids with her is so horrible that no one would ever do it if they had any other options.

    I had no idea that my friend O. was only pretending to be excited about starting a family with his wife, and is really just doing it reluctantly because of social pressures.

    I guess we’d better keep up that social pressure trapping men in misery with their wives and children, otherwise it only makes sense that they’d all immediately try to flee.

    PS I am a DEFENDER OF MARRIAGE who strongly believes that MARRIAGE IS GREAT.

  11. Paul B. says

    THEM…gays cause hetero infidelity, gays cause STD’s, gays cause hetero divorce rates to skyrocket, gays cause the end of the world as we know it, gays cause teen suicide.
    US…gays are fabulous, cause brilliant color, gays cause dance music, gays cause hair to look delicious & of course we cause trim bodies.
    I’ll take the “US” side anyday!

  12. barryearle says

    This is not a new argument for these people. Ten or more years ago as I studied for my Masters Degree in conflict resolution, I focused on marriage equality as a subject about which I did a lot of research and wrote a lot of papers. I had the occasion to review the anti-gay agenda of the Family Research Council. I was taken aback by their claim that men would leave their wives in droves if marriage equality and social acceptance of queers became the rule of the land.

    However, I think, perhaps, there is some truth in this when it comes to closeted, married gay men who finally accept themselves. The outcome, while beneficial in the end for all involved, is a sad situation when it’s happening brought on by an ignorant culture, something these political/religious conservatives want to continue.

    It is also a recognition of something Dan Savage said recently on TV: Men think with their dicks. If you really want stable marriages, ban men from marrying–either each other or women–and only allow women to marry each other since they tend to have more stable, long lasting relationships. Of course, this is being said by a man who is married and raising a child, a relationship that has lasted for nearly 20 years I believe, most without the benefit of the legal protections that come with marriage.

    While funny, I think it speaks to something that religious conservatives recognize with great fear: men–and Nature–like multiple sex partners which helps keep the human race going. However, it makes monogamy difficult without the restrictions, from a Christian point of view, of religious teachings and the promise of Hell if you disobey. (Not to bash Christianity, other religions have their own eternal punishments for homosexuals.) Hence, we have organizatgions like NOM and the Family Research Council.

    But this truth about men–gay and straight–is not a reason to subject a minority to less rights under the law and to restrict them from marrying if they are willing to make the commitment, no matter how long that relationship might last. Instead, it’s an opportunity to approach human nature with the creativity to understand and re-structure society’s response in a non-obvious way rather than continuing to oppress a minority in the hope that there will be a different outcome or, better yet, a god will finally descend from somewhere and make us all obey, proving them right and us wrong.

  13. says

    Hee hee, Excellent posts here.

    I can’t see any problem; if guys want to leave their wives and have a loving relationship or not with another guy, so what.

    Is NOM trying to establish the straight-marriage police ?
    Are ‘straight’ guys waking up to the enforced manipulation of their insecurities ?
    These so called ‘straights’ were dragooned ……..imagine all those disappointed High School sweethearts…..
    The comedy rolls on.

  14. OUTinMinnesota says

    Signifying is worse than lying.

    When NOM & HF express concern for single-mother households in poverty, and then they take NO action to assist these moms, it reveals them for who they are.

    Editorial embellishment is unnecessary. Through their own lack of action, they’ve condemned themselves.

  15. It's happening already! says

    Late last night I saw something that makes sense now. A band of straight men (I saw the glint of light on their wedding rings) armed with spray paint was running around tagging everything with “Homosex Rules” and “Better Gay Any Day” and like such comments.

    They had abandoned wives and girl friends to go on a frenzy.

    NOM is right — Can society afford to go around cleaning up after them? I think not, paint doesn’t come off that easy.

  16. Paul B. says

    Yes Peterparker…you’ve got it right. They think our power & agenda are overwhelming. We’ll seduce their men…maybe their women even. Funny thing is that I’m in my 60’s…never felt much “gay power”…never had a “gay agenda”. Just raised two kids with my husband the best way we could and did my best to not hurt anyone along the way. Now, that’s a radical homosexual for ya !

  17. TampaZeke says

    Gay marriage doesn’t create single family households. To the contrary it creates TWO parent families so this ad campaign makes absolutely no sense. They are arguing that not allowing couples who have children, or plan to have children, to marry they are decreasing single parent families. That could only make sense in the mind of NOM and others who let religion overshadow their intelligence.

  18. Proteus says

    I don’t think the wife will rejoice at all, she just lost the man she thought she knew! She most likely found him sexually attractive among other things, connected with whom she thought she knew on an emotional & spiritual level, like people in love usually do before getting married. The husband on the other hand depending on if he’s gay or bisexual might view it differently. If he’s gay he probably only married her to hide himself ’cause he always heard people like him are disgusting. If he’s bisexual, he probably finds her sexually attractive but hates that part of himself that gave him a boner in gym class…but he’s always been told man marries woman, so he does but only to find these feelings don’t go away no matter how hard he prays. So one day he indulges his ‘other half’ blah, blah, blah, the wife finds out & the marriage is over. The heartaches & headaches begin, not fun for either parties.

    The point being that heterosexual marriage won’t fall apart because of gay marriage but if gay people are forced to marry opposite sex gender then NOM’s deceit will be for all to see in plain site.

  19. johnny says

    Well, shucks, if it was THAT easy to turn all straight men gay, we’d have fought a little harder for this marriage equality thing!

    Does anyone truly believes this NOM crap?

  20. Rexford says

    RME. I’m surprised they didn’t throw something in there about how all these husbandless women with children will probably have to resort to polygamy and share a man with other desperate women in the same situation.

  21. scott says

    But wait a sec’.
    If marriage equality frees men to leave their wives, doesn’t it also free these same husbandless wives to marry other newly-single women? Single mother problem solved!

  22. Adam says

    I actually think that women are very intolerant of same-sex feelings that might exist in their husbands. Men, however, seem to be far more tolerant of same-sex feelings that might exist in their wives.

    It’s a double standard which women exploit to their advantage. It forces men to deny any same-sex feelings while allowing women to get away with the very same types of feelings. The double standard has got to stop.

    Women use double standards to oppress male-male sexuality. It’s part of their constant gender war against us men. Don’t ever forget it.

  23. ohm says

    Sorry, I didn’t get the joke (still waiting for the punchline) but “take your meds” that’s original Paul B. lol Practice what you preach dude ’cause I was only asking a question.

  24. graphicjack says

    if a man is going to leave his wife because he’s gay, equal marriage doesn’t really factor into it… I know lots of gay men ho were married and left their wives before equal marriage became legal. Equal marriage might stop more gay men and women from being confused and marrying someone of the opposite sex in the first place, but it won’t stop them from leaving their opposite sex partners if they figure out they are gay after the marriage.

    A second point… are gay men who are leaving their wives with kids REALLY the dead beat dads? Not very likely, but possibly some. The majority of dead beat dads are straight teenagers who knocked up their girlfriends, then dump them and have nothing to do with supporting their kids. Teaching kids about protection and safe sex will go a long way in reducing the need for abortion and the number of young girls raising kids on their own. What do gays have to do with this. Absolutely nothing.

  25. stupidinnewbrunswick says

    Hi Little Kiwi…which post, the one I called myself – jk, alakazam, cosmo or ohm?

    I don’t consider myself to be fabulous, I don’t like bright colors, I do like psytrance (Ovnimoon my favorite), I shave my hair so it’s not delicious & I am in good physical shape but not really by choice, just always have been.

    I’m not here to start any drama, I actually like this blog been reading it for a couple of years now & you, Little Kiwi are one of the reasons I keep coming back, like the way you think & you’ve even changed my mind on certain things 😉 so I apologies to Paul B. & to all those I offended with my stupidity, I’ll keep my thoughts to myself.

  26. says

    This is also why the Regnerus study is on our side: it’s about the bad consequences of forcing gay people into straight marriages. It shows that children whose straight parents have gay affairs fare worse than children of intact families.

    It’s also why Russia enacted the ban on “homosexual propaganda,” because EVERYONE will want to turn gay. Therefore we can’t let people know how fabulous it really is.

  27. Carlos says

    Oh Lord, really?? NOM is like those traditional cultures that are uncomfortable with gay men because no one will marry their single daughters.

  28. MargieR says

    The fact that is being overlooked is that Lesbian heads of households have a much higher average income than straight women heads of households… So all households with young children should be headed by a lesbian woman or couple.

  29. Rick says

    Well, in the broadest sense, it is true that men only pursue romantic-love based relationships with women because society prevents them from having close emotional bonds with other men…..and it is those romantic-love based relationships that are both the basis for marriage nowadays in Western culture…..and the reason for the high divorce rate (since romance fades over time).

    The only real solution is for marriage in the West to be what it is in most other cultures and what it was in the West until fairly recently–a practical relationship, the principle purpose of which is to provide a stable environment for the raising of children. This, of course, only works, if both parties a) have a realistic understanding that “romantic love” does not have long-term viability, and b) that the children always come first.

    Of course, it was FEMINISM that destroyed this understanding and the structure that underlay marriage…..and destroyed it. Tolerance of male homosexuality had nothing to do with it.

    That said, free men from the enforced emotional and sexual attachment to women and allow them to be their true selves, and a) virtually none of them would attach themselves emotionally to a woman, and b) bisexuality would be the norm for most of them……which would, of course, destroy the social power of women that feminism is based on.

    So it will be interesting to see how all this plays out over time……because if men become truly liberated from women, then the whole concept of “gay” will go out the window, as well. I just hope I live long enough to see that come to fruition.

    I have to say, though, the longer I have lived and the more I have experienced, the more I think the Arabs, yes, the Arabs, have it right. Marriage between a man and a woman and the raising of children by their natural parents IS the best arrangement…..and it really only works if women do their natural duty and stay at home with the children.

    This frees men to spend their social time with each other, bond in a natural way with each other emotionally…..and express those emotions sexually in some instances.

    It seems a paradox that bisexuality and emotional intimacy among men are so much more common in Arab societies that are, on the surface and at the “official” level, so homophobic…….at the same time that, in the West, with its supposedly more “enlightened” attitudes, emotional intimacy and bisexuality among men are less common…..and where the culture of “gay” is defined by unsatisfying promiscuity and emotional isolation…..not to mention effeminacy, which is related to that isolation…..

    The larger male culture in the West is beginning to change, however, no thanks to “gays”, who are more of an impediment to change at this point than catalysts–since they have become defined as woman-idolizers, the exact antithesis of what we need the “new” man to be…..

  30. Mary says

    “the NOM hysteria — as well as nearly all ‘ex-gay’ theology — is based on a belief that we shouldn’t take lightly: they essentially believe that all of mankind inherently bisexual.”

    As someone who was once a supporter of NOM I can tell you that this is EXACTLY what I feared. Although I can’t speak for others on the right.

  31. Rick says

    “the NOM hysteria — as well as nearly all ‘ex-gay’ theology — is based on a belief that we shouldn’t take lightly: they essentially believe that all of mankind inherently bisexual.”

    That “belief” is based in fact, as all the research done from Freud on down has demonstrated. The confusion comes from defining bisexuality as EQUAL attraction to both genders. In point of fact, most people prefer one gender to the other sexually–most men strongly prefer women and vice-versa……but that does not mean that that attraction is exclusive and absolute.

    Think of it this way: Your favorite flavor of ice cream may be vanilla and you may choose it 80% of the time, but you don’t want it all the time–20% of the time, you want chocolate or some other flavor……and what you want at any given time may depend on a lot of situational factors that you are not entirely conscious of.

  32. Rick says

    And let me add to that last comment that the contradictoriness of “gay” “ideology” on the matter of bisexuality is instructive. On the one hand, for political purposes, some have perpetrated the untruth that sexuality is absolute and that one is either “gay” or “straight”, that there is no in-between, not really….and they have done this because the prevailing assumption has been that if there is even a degree of “choice” in sexuality, then that gives ammunition to the “morality” crowd, who insist that “conquering” homosexual urges is simply a matter of having sturdy moral fiber.

    On the other hand, “gay” men are always speculating about this or that man having latent homosexual desires….which of course is their explanation for why homophobia exists in the first place–that “straight” men are just afraid of their own homosexual attractions and the need to fight those is what makes them homophobic.

    As is so often the case, gay activists want to have their cake and eat it, too….by being able to make both these arguments and hope that nobody looks closely enough to see how contradictory they are.

    The only way to eliminate those contradictions is to do away with the concept of “gay” and liberate all men sexually, socially, and emotionally….from their dependence on women…..but “gay” activists don’t want to go down this road because of their misguided attachment to feminists and to women, in general…..a consequence of their long experience of intolerance from other men.

    The whole paradigm needs to be changed and that is what I am always arguing for.

  33. Mary says

    I agree with you completely Rick. Most people are bisexual (myself included) since they are not 100% straight or gay in their attractions. It may just be a question of whether most people, that is, most “straight” people, can face up to this and admit it. What would concern someone on the cultural Right would be at what point the average person’s bisexuality could go beyond having a fantasy or a crush and enter the realm of actually experimenting.

  34. jason says


    It is pointless comparing woman’s sexuality to a man’s. Women don’t have a true sexuality in the sense of male sexuality. Stop trying to equate the two.

    Women tend to have emotional relationships, not sexual ones. Men’s relationships are almost always sexual. Only men can be truly bisexual.

  35. Icebloo says

    So anti-gay marriage supporter and right wing billionaire abandoned his three wives because of gay marriage ? It wasn’t about him wanting a younger woman each time ?

  36. shows to go ya says

    Today’s quiz questions: What state has had marriage equality longest? What state has the lowest divorce rate? That’s right, not PA but…

  37. Mike B. says

    As much as I realize statistically, Little Kiwi can’t be right about everyone in that category, he expresses the thoughts that were going through my head: NOM needs to quit projecting THEIR reality onto normal Americans.

  38. Book says

    It’s ok. More married gay couples mean more stable, loving, responsible households who can adopt and raise all the products of straight people having unexpected children.

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