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NYT Looks At Gay Couples Choosing to Say 'I Don't'

The New York Times takes an in-depth look in today's Sunday Style section at same-sex couples who are in loving, committed, long-term relationships who, despite being afforded the right to marry, thanks to the destruction of DOMA section 3 and the increase in the number of states allowing same-sex marriage, choose not to:

CoupleFor some, marriage is an outdated institution, one that forces same-sex couples into the mainstream. For others, marriage imposes financial burdens and legal entanglements. Still others see marriage not as a fairy tale but as a potentially painful chapter that ends in divorce. And then there are those for whom marriage goes against their beliefs, religious or otherwise.

“It’s a very, very archaic model,” said Sean Fader, 34, an artist in New York who is single and asked to be identified as queer. “It’s this oppressive Christian model that says ‘Pick a person that’s going to be everything to you, they have to be perfect, then get a house, and have kids, and then you’ll be happy and whole.' ”

IdontIndeed, despite the rush to the altar we've seen after the Supreme Court rulings on Prop. 8 and DOMA and more recently after the New Jersey state supreme court ruled that same-sex marriages must be allowed to begin in the Garden State despite Governor Christie's opposition, same-sex couples are less likely to seek out marriage, according to a new Pew Research Poll released in June that found "60 percent of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender adults are married or said they wanted to marry, compared with 76 percent of the general public."

The Times also notes that not all LGBT activists have been so keen to focus on pushing for marriage equality when HIV/AIDS education and prevention along with securing the safety of LGBT youth are issues that, in the eyes of some, have been under-served and even ignored by the community at large.

The reluctance to marry also seems to span across generations:

“For people in the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s, there was a feeling that L.GB.T. people can do better than marriage, that relationships can be more egalitarian” when built around untraditional families, said Mary Bernstein, a professor at the University of Connecticut and an author of “The Marrying Kind?” which examines the marriage debate in the gay rights movement.

Milennials on the other hand may consider themselves "a very disillusioned generation," as Eric Routen, 24, a student at New York Medical College, put it, less willing to take a chance on marriage because, “No one expects marriage to last."

Check out the full piece from The Times HERE.

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Comments

  1. It does not surprise me that some couples are choosing not to marry. That is also what it means to live in a free society. I am a bit concerned that the pressure to marry will grow in the LGBTQ community and there will be an expectation that marriage will become the norm for all same-sex couples.

    Posted by: jpeckjr | Oct 27, 2013 5:36:26 PM


  2. Mr. Fader's calling marriage "an oppressive Christian model" is unfortunate and, uninformed. Other religions, and people of no religion, get married, too, and people were getting married before the emergence of Christianity. Pairing off is universal in human culture, and it takes various forms.

    Posted by: revchicoucc | Oct 27, 2013 5:40:49 PM


  3. As a rule marriages DON'T last, but - hey - if you want to give it a whirl...why not. That being said - it may be that we (as humans) just aren't cut out for that kind of commitment, but there are some pairings that last a lifetime. Religion really should not enter into the picture at all...ever.

    Posted by: Geoff | Oct 27, 2013 5:44:56 PM


  4. Now pick some heterosexuals who say the same thing? Derr, there are a lot of them too.

    Posted by: york | Oct 27, 2013 5:45:11 PM


  5. Give it a generation and the difference will level off. Many older gay couples have been together for decades and have all their affairs in order, so they may not see a need, however the young generation sees this as a non-issue and will embrace the opportunity to marry.

    Posted by: Stefan | Oct 27, 2013 5:48:08 PM


  6. When marriage affords financial security and allows for same sex couples not be effed over by homo hating parents..

    yes fatso mary bernstein - we are the marrying kind...

    Posted by: york | Oct 27, 2013 5:48:12 PM


  7. Ah the NYT style section and their infamous "trend" pieces. Filled with anecdotes from yuppie or hipster denizens of NYC, little or no empirical evidence, and given a gloss of credibility with some pseudo-academic theory. Notice the only statistic they included showed a 60% vs 78% "desire to get married" which actually undermines their entire article. The vast majority of both str8 & gay people want to get married and the fact that the difference is only 18% says it all. Once you adjust for age, I am pretty sure you would find no difference.

    Posted by: etseq | Oct 27, 2013 5:56:03 PM


  8. Agree with JPeckJr. It's nice to be able to choose whether or not to wed. I love the quote in the article that partnerships (like older cell phone contracts) should be for 2 years, with the option to renew and even upgrade the status.

    Posted by: bravo | Oct 27, 2013 6:09:11 PM


  9. Thanks you, Grilled Cheesus! And here I was afraid that I was the only sensible person left on the planet.

    Posted by: FFS | Oct 27, 2013 6:18:26 PM


  10. If there are any questions, look no further than the story of "Bridegroom." A loving partner who dies, a committed partnership that had everything to live for. Suddenly, family steps in and forbids you to see your partner in his last moments, to at least say one last goodbye. Then forbids you to attend the funeral, even threatens violence against you if you try, and does what they can to re-write history and write you out of his life.

    This is why we fight. Marriage should be a right and a choice for all, not an exclusive right for some. If you choose not to marry, that is your choice, and your right. But please don't demean or mock anyone else's desire to do so. For some (i.e., the authors of this article), it may not mean so much. But for some (i.e., the rest of us), it may just mean everything.

    Posted by: KC | Oct 27, 2013 6:31:03 PM


  11. Marriage shouldn't come with the insane amount of privileges and rights as it does. Things like hospital visitation, medical decision making and inheritance shouldn't be so closely tied to marriage. But that's how things are, and the chances are slim that it will change in the forseeable future. Until then, it's better for people in certain situations to be married.

    Posted by: Steve | Oct 27, 2013 6:36:38 PM


  12. I think what is being lost is not that marriage is allowed its that marriage is now a choice.
    When you are a tax paying adult with everything you want in your life and your told you cant do something because of the choice you make for a partner thats one thing no different than the colour of your skin or sex but when everything is a choice and it is up to the individual to marry or not than it makes us equal in every sense

    Posted by: mark | Oct 27, 2013 6:38:11 PM


  13. It is one thing for someone in their mid 30's to say they don't want to get married. Hell, I sure didn't when I was that age.

    But having turned the bend past 50 almost two years ago and having a partner of over a decade who is older than me, you look at what marriage can bring to the relationship. Right at the top of the list is entitlement to inheritance, hospital privileges, shared social security/medicare benefits and many more.

    Posted by: bkmn | Oct 27, 2013 6:40:03 PM


  14. The vast majority of straight and gay people may want to get married, but fewer than half of both are married and same-sex marriage rates have consistently been pretty low on average. In Massachusetts, in New York, in Minnesota. Marriage just may not be a central tenant of our community. It's not really a big deal. As more states have marriage equality, that may or may not change, but ultimately, the LGBT community isn't the straight community so it may not change.

    Posted by: Francis #1 | Oct 27, 2013 6:41:09 PM


  15. Marriage IS a big deal for couples who have been together a long time (i.e. not single 30-something NYC artist queers, who represent little beyond the NYTimes Style pages) and want to protect themselves. Not having that freedom was a bigger deal, and still is for those who have no choice. That said, it's not surprising that gay people regard the institution of marriage with skepticism--so do young straight people who grew up with divorced parents.

    It will be interesting to see what happens when gay kids grow up knowing they have the right to marry. Quite a sea change from my generation, when we grew up knowing we did not, unless we married someone of the opposite sex. A bit ironic that gay people are joining an institution on the decline. We could actually refresh it, or simply mimic the hetero model, which would be unfortunate.

    Posted by: Ernie | Oct 27, 2013 7:06:06 PM


  16. "‘Pick a person that’s going to be everything to you, they have to be perfect, then get a house, and have kids, and then you’ll be happy and whole.'"

    None of these characteristics are necessary for marriage, or even a happy marriage.

    Marriage brings individuals together to create a family. That's it. The details belong to the couple, and the couple alone.


    " I am a bit concerned that the pressure to marry will grow in the LGBTQ community and there will be an expectation that marriage will become the norm for all same-sex couples."

    So what if there's pressure? As long there are no laws mandating marriage for gay couples, I don't see the problem. Why does societal pressure concern people so much? We are all autonomous individuals capable of deciding our futures. We are only beholden to people to the extent that government dictates, and we shouldn't fret over non-existent obligations.

    Posted by: Nat | Oct 27, 2013 8:12:45 PM


  17. "Pick a person that’s going to be everything to you, they have to be perfect, then get a house, and have kids, and then you’ll be happy and whole."

    If that was the actual - and wholly unrealistic - basis of marriage in either gay or straight culture, almost nobody would be married.

    What an idiot they chose to interview for this story.

    I knew from the offset my partner would not be "everything" for me, that wasn't the point. I had money, I had friends and a life, but I still needed someone to share that life. I loved him, he loved me, that's where it started. And we certainly knew neither of us were perfect, yet we STILL loved each other and that's what makes for a good marriage. Apparently the guy interviewd has never experienced that kind of love.

    Neither of us want kids, either BTW, but a house was a fairly smart investment, and, given the market you live in, still is.

    Posted by: johnny | Oct 27, 2013 9:45:38 PM


  18. Marriage does have a social status and privilege; married people are often seen as more mature, stable, and trustworthy than singles. (Why else do politicians show off their families in photo ops? Notice we don't elect many single presidents!) Not that many decades ago, polls showed that significant majorities of Americans held negative attitudes toward the mental health and morals of people who remained single "after a certain age". Even nowadays, a person who's never been in a long-term relationship is going to be regarded by many people as either too selfish and immature for serious commitment, or too undesirable to find anyone.

    So it's not surprising that many gay people in committed relationships do want the social privilege of marriage along with the legal benefits. They don't want a society where marital status doesn't matter; they believe it should matter, and they want the social recognition. And if some single people, either gay or straight, have reservations about the unequal social status that marriage brings, that's not surprising, either.

    Posted by: Profe Sancho Panza | Oct 28, 2013 12:25:15 AM


  19. Well I was going to throw in my two cents but you guys pretty much covered it.

    All the objections in the rather silly article (but pretending to be substantive) seem like people reacting to some old definition in their imaginations. Kind of self defeating.

    Posted by: emjayay | Oct 28, 2013 1:11:39 AM


  20. Obviously I strongly support marriage equality, but damn I'm glad I never got married. After a 20-year relationship ended, I would have been screwed if he'd had access to my assets. He seemed more stable than me when we started, but people and situations change.

    Inheritance can be taken care of by putting someone's name, birthday, or SSN on an online form or cheap will. Blocking hospital visitation seems like an issue mainly for backward hospitals or bitter relatives; I wouldn't take my partner to either. Of course there are other concerns and needs, but there are burdens as well. For some of us they don't balance out. I'd also hate being the center of attention to tell the world I love someone when they know it already.

    Posted by: Paul R | Oct 28, 2013 5:02:27 AM


  21. Apparently the one young man actually believes the BS that Christianity somehow owns or created marriage. History does not show that. Marriage predates all religions practiced and has been many different things to different people. What the law recognizes as marriage and what Christianity taught about marriage are not the same thing.

    Posted by: James Peron | Oct 28, 2013 5:12:26 AM


  22. @Sancho Panza: When you say "many people," you mean you, right?

    Why don't you ask Anthony Wiener's, John Edwards' and Newt Gingrich's wives how trustworthy and mature their husbands are?

    You know what a society in which marital status has no meaning is called? Egalitarian. Don't hastily presume that, because you don't want to live in that world, there aren't many people who do.

    Posted by: FFS | Oct 28, 2013 6:07:26 AM


  23. My guy and I have been together 19 years. WIth his former marriage and my hippy upbringing, we question that marriage 'validates' our relationship. We don't believe in a god, aren't religious and we don't need a dominant paradigm to justify us.

    That said, we demonstrated for all to have the right to marry. We're not above taking the benefits and considering marriage- mostly for unromantic reasons, e.g.: death. A simple marriage is a lot cheaper than a complicated will. Then if the taxes don't make us pay more than our exisiting share, perhaps...

    Posted by: pickles | Oct 28, 2013 6:42:09 AM


  24. @Paul R.... A simple will doesn't take care of inheritance issue when the tax man gets involved.

    Posted by: anon | Oct 28, 2013 7:42:07 AM


  25. That vapid little "queer" will change his tune if he moves in with his boyfriend who then decides to toss his ass out on the street after a few years.

    Marriage offers protection, from outsiders and each other!

    Posted by: QJ201 | Oct 28, 2013 8:08:06 AM


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