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Christianity, Dating Mating Sex and Reproduction

Gay Marriage Isn’t Rare, and It’s Never Destroyed Society.

One of the lies peddled by the Christian bigots is that if gay marriage is allowed, it will destroy society.  People will be marrying lambs and sloths, and carp and anchovies, and orangutans and breakfast cereals, and fruit-bats…  Straight marriage will be so corrupted that the “sanctity of marriage” will disappear.

The thing is, like so many of their claims, this one completely contradicts the evidence.  And there’s lots of evidence.  Let’s start close to home:

Of course, bigots will be bigots, and will not accept this data.  Divorce has been on the decline in Canada since before gay marriage was allowed.  Nevertheless, allowing gay marriage hasn’t dented the increase in happy, long lasting marriages.  And that says an awful lot.

They will go on to say that an isolated bit of data does not a case make.  And in principle, they’re correct.  With regard to the facts, they’re ignoring Argentina, Belgium, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, and Sweden. (LINK)

Even so, the haters will retort that these are all recent examples.  We haven’t had enough time to really examine them.  They are isolated anomalies.  Glitches in the Matrix.  Gay marriage has always been shunned by long term successful society.

Only… it hasn’t.

  • There are numerous West African societies (some quite old) in which a woman may legally take a “woman husband.”  Numerous African societies recognize male-male marriage. (1)
  • In many Native American tribes, marriage is/was defined by the role, not the genitalia.  A woman doing “man’s work” could marry a woman doing “woman’s work,” and likewise for men marrying men. (2)
  • In ancient Greek society, a similar relationship ethic prevailed.  Though marriage was usually reserved for political alliance and procreation, relationships between same-sex couples were accepted — as long as one assumed the “masculine” role and one assumed the “feminine.”(3)

It turns out, the Christian bigots are even wrong about marrying dogs.

  • Both the Bella Coola and Kwakiutl societies of the Pacific Northwest allowed bizarre marriages — including marrying a dog — to solidify trade agreements between tribes.  And until the Europeans arrived with their silly ideas about marriage and their smallpox, things were just fine. (4)

Could it get any worse?  YES!  And it has!

  • Both Chinese and Sudanese cultures allow for marrying dead people.  That’s right.  Two societies, one of which was ancient when Jesus was called Tammuz, have allowed people to marry ghosts.  (4)
  • As a final insult to injury, there are the Na.  Dating back to at least the Ming Dinasty (1368-1644), this society of thirty thousand or so has not had a concept of marriage at all!  Brothers and sisters live together in a matrilinial society, raising, educating, and supporting all the children of all the women in the family — with no regard or concern for who is the father. (3,4)

The sad thing is that this information isn’t hard to find, nor is it controversial.  The only thing we should be regarding as scandalous is our myopic and egotistical assumption that marriage is confined to one man and one woman, that it is inspired by love first, and that it is an exclusive sexual contract, inviolate and unbreakable.  A cursory examination of the anthropological record shows that quite the opposite is true.  Marriage is as diverse as culture is diverse, and all the different variations, quirks, and permissive tendencies have exactly one thing in common.  Not one of them has ever destroyed society.


(1) Gouh, Kathleen.  “The Nayar: Central Kerela,” Matrilinial Kinship.  Berkeley: University of California Press. 1961.  Krige, Eileen. “Woman-Marriage, with Special Reference to the Lovedu — Its Significance for the Definition of Marriage.” Africa 44. 1974. Amadiume, Ifi.  “Male Daughters, Female Husbands: Gender and Sex in an African Society.”  London:  Zed Books, 1987.
(2) Blackwood, Evelyn, ed. “The Many Faces of Homosexuality: Anthropological Approaches to Homosexual Behavior.”  New York: Harrington Park Press, 1986.  Jacobs, Sue-Ellen. Thomas, Wesley, and Lang, Sabine, eds. “The Two Spirit People: Native American Gender Identity, Sexuality, and Spirituality.”  Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1997.
(3) Ryan, Christopher and Cacilda, Jetha.  Sex at Dawn: How We Mate, Why We Stray, and What It Means for Modern Relationships. Harper Perennial; Reprint edition, 2011.
(4) Coontz, Stephanie. Marriage, A History.  New York: Viking Press.  2005.


11 thoughts on “Gay Marriage Isn’t Rare, and It’s Never Destroyed Society.

  1. If only Christian bigots were concerned with preserving society…they seem to be hellbent on doing the opposite.

    Posted by Ian | July 27, 2011, 8:03 pm
  2. Ain’t it the truth. I really don’t know what comes first — the ignorance or the bigotry — but they hold hands very nicely.

    Posted by Living Life Without a Net | July 28, 2011, 12:36 am
  3. If only Christian bigots were concerned with preserving society…they seem to be hellbent on doing the opposite.

    Yeah, you’re right — people like Pol Pot, Josef Stalin, Mao Zedong, etc. were much better at creating and preserving ideal societies than any Christian subhuman could ever hope to be.

    Posted by CB | July 28, 2011, 10:55 am
  4. CB, I’ve never threatened to do this before, but you’re over the line here. This thread is about gay marriage. Not atheism or communism. I will delete any more comments that are off topic in this thread. Be warned.

    Posted by Living Life Without a Net | July 28, 2011, 12:11 pm
  5. Well, the simple fact is that most Christians oppose gay marriage, so, by your judgement, most Christians are “bigots”, so what I see in the first two comments of this thread are two atheists agreeing that “most Christians seem hell-bent on destroying society”. Therefore, it appeared that the “preservation of society” (or lack thereof) was a valid topic of discussion, and since you guys were making sweeping statements about “Christians” and “society”, I saw fit to balance that with a decidedly anti-Christian reference.

    Now yes, I do realize that this is your blog, and that you have the power to censor me any way you choose, using any justification that is expedient. That being said, any time I see atheists engaging in a circle jerk over how “evil” Christians are, I will throw Pol Pot and Stalin back in their face(s) in an attempt to restore some perspective. After all, this entire blog is adamantly anti-religious to the point of being a propaganda site, based on your apparently inability to see any good in religious expression whatsoever. If my attempt to balance that lopsided view incurs wrath and gets me censored or even banned, so be it. If you want me censored, you will have to do the job yourself, as I will not self-censor, regardless of threats leveled against me.

    Posted by CB | July 30, 2011, 8:37 am
  6. Just because a society still exists doesn’t make it a healthy, thriving one. Weak article.

    Posted by Jodi Michael Horner | November 15, 2011, 6:06 pm
  7. @last comment
    Then what does ? I live in a country that has legalized gay marriage for some time now. If there’s something “unhealthy” or “non-thriving” about us right now, I think I may have missed it. Please enlighten me.

    Posted by snowylocks | May 12, 2012, 8:13 pm
  8. CB, If you think that this blog makes sweeping, generalized statements about Christians, how are sweeping generalized statements about Atheists any better?
    Jodi Horner, Same-sex marriage is already legal in Canada, Belgium, South Africa, Norway, Sweden and several other populous and affluent countries, although the societies listed in the article also seem healthy and thriving.

    Posted by John42 | May 13, 2012, 7:58 am
  9. CB, If you think that this blog makes sweeping, generalized statements about Christians, how are sweeping generalized statements about Atheists any better?

    1) To which “sweeping generalized statements about Atheists” are you referring?

    2) They don’t have to be “better” to illustrate a point. In fact, the fact that they’re not “better” is what illustrates the point.

    3) I don’t recall claiming that any such statements were “better” in any way.

    4) What makes you think they’re any worse?

    Posted by CB | June 1, 2012, 9:05 am
  10. Our society is already destroying itself for many other reasons. I am against aspects of LGBT activism and as a citizen living in a democratic republic I will try to fight laws that call certain things hate speech. There are many loving Christians whom don’t overly focus on this issue, but also want their freedom to say that certain things are sin. Apart from that, I’m personally more worried about fidelity among believers than I am homosexuality. Nevertheless, even some gays believe that homosexuality should not be monogamous, and gay marriage is wrongly trying to mimic monogamy. Also, I don’t buy the argument that legal benefits are the end goal. I don’t demand that I have benefits as a heterosexual, and even if my wife and I didn’t get them we’d still happily get married.

    Posted by Cameron | July 21, 2013, 2:30 am
  11. @Cameron : You will always have the freedom to hate people who have done you no harm whatsoever, so no need to worry about that. It’s just that inciting violence and discrimination can lead to the “destroying of society” that you are lamenting here yourself, which is ironic, to put it mildly.
    Also, you don’t seem to be addressing a single of he points made in the article you’re commenting on.

    Posted by alexi | September 6, 2013, 12:13 pm

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