on why being denied marriage is deadly for gays

by CynthiaYockey on August 15, 2010

I was just browsing for a story on a post I’m planning when I came across one that may help my dear gentle readers understand why being denied marriage equality is deadly for lesbians and gays and goes a long way toward creating the social instability for which our communities are attacked.

I’ve mentioned in past posts that the dream of marriage has great socializing power because it allows children and teens to imagine building a life with their spouse, which motivates them to make better choices in their education, activities, dates and career.

As murky and dicey as straight people may feel it is to look into the future and believe they will find the love of the life, it is infinitely murkier and dicier for lesbians and gays because we are second-class citizens federally and in most states and we can marry only in a handful of states (and other states and the federal government don’t have to recognize these marriages). In addition, the religions that are anti-gay are zealous about encouraging families to estrange themselves from gay family members.

So, as high as the rates of break-ups and divorces are for straight people, I think it’s a safe bet to say that they are higher for lesbians and gays. I call it the death of a thousand cuts — not every lesbian or gay person dies from it, but it does indeed diminish for each and every one of us our well-being and what we can be and achieve.

So the article gives some substance to my speculation by explaining “6 Scientific Reasons Break-ups Suck Worse Than You Think.” Read the whole thing, but the following are the reasons, plus the parts that jumped out at me as applying especially to explaining a high rate of break-ups and suffering in the lesbian and gay communities due to being second-class citizens and having no federally-recognized right to marry (boldfacing mine):

6. You Might Be Ruining Your Friends’ Lives, Too. (Short version: because when you break up with your partner, your friends are more likely to break up with their partners, too, if they were unhappy — it’s like you gave them permission and showed them how. Break-ups lead to even more break-ups.)

5. You Go Into Withdrawal. “It’s science. When shown a picture of someone you are in love with, the centers of your brain responsible for motivation and reward (the same that are stimulated by other addictive substances like drugs and alcohol) become more active.”

4. You Get Poorer or Lonelier … For Years.

3. You Go a Little Bit Crazy. “Any loving relationship, no matter how short, completely messes with your sense of self. There’s a reason why ending it feels like waking up in a bathtub full of ice and finding one of your kidneys has been stolen.

“Three different studies have found that after a relationship ends people tend to go through a serious identity crisis. No matter how strong or independent you think you are or you were before the relationship, your ability to know who you are gets thrown totally out of whack after a breakup. Whether you realize it or not, in your brain your significant other’s personality started to merge with yours. Despite the terrible cliche, they really are ‘your other half.’

“So why does this even matter? ‘Self-concept clarity,’ while not something you’ve probably ever thought about before, actually affects your life in massive ways. People who don’t really know who they are tend to be more depressed, think less of themselves and are more likely to make rash decisions or changes that might not be good for them.

“Sometimes this can lead to good things after a breakup, like a decision to lose weight. Other times it leads to rushing into rebound relationships, career or school changes, or drastic image changes.”

2. You Can Actually Die of a Broken Heart.

1. It Can Give You Freaking Cancer.

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LindaF August 16, 2010 at 5:53 am

Your logic has some flaws. Prop 8, and other laws like it, will do nothing to change family response to gay marriages, whether religiously-based or not. Or, do you anticipate prosecuting religions that believe that gay relationships are against God’s law? The influence that those religions have on friends’ and families’ opinions will not diminish, no matter what the law says. The beliefs that relations have won’t change, no matter how the state and federal governments treat gay marriages.
Domestic partnership agreements, in states that permit them, give all the benefits and rights of marriage, with 1 exception – the states and federal government don’t have to provide employment benefits to gay (or straight) partnerships.

CynthiaYockey August 16, 2010 at 10:54 am


You really do not understand the issue. Also, you do not seem to have a firm grasp on the separation of church and state. You do seem to have considerable zeal about making and keeping gays as second-class citizens. Putting just those two things together, you seem to feel entitled to impose your religion as the law of the land. You are not going to like the results of creating that mindset and setting that precedent when a different religion than yours is calling the shots. Another thing you do not understand is the concept of unalienable rights associated with full equality — they are NOT subject to a vote and they must not vary from state-to-state.

Just to be clear, religions are NOT going to be prosecuted for their beliefs. Religious leaders and social conservatives should stop lying and fear-mongering about this.

While anti-gay families will continue to pride themselves on destroying the lives of their gay family members and any gay or lesbian person in their power, and preen themselves on their moral superiority in proportion to the number of other people they destroy, attaining equality WILL give lesbian and gay individuals the tools everyone else has to build moral and prosperous lives. The more of us who can do that by creating our own new families, the more moral, stable and prosperous the gay and lesbian communities will become. THAT is my logic.


Janis August 16, 2010 at 7:54 pm

“Domestic partnership agreements, in states that permit them, give all the benefits and rights of marriage, with 1 exception”

And how many straight people did you survey to find out this piece of information?

Doesn’t it strike you are just a leeeetle bit peculiar when the only people who say something are people who have no personal experience with it? Gay men and lesbians will be happy to tell you EXACTLY and in excruciating detail what rights they do NOT get without marriage — but you would rather believe a proclamation made by people who have never had to find out for themselves.

Amazing. Absolutely amazing. I should ask men about cramps and childbirth next. And women about jock itch. Surely they’ll be the experts, due to never having had to deal with either themselves.

CynthiaYockey August 16, 2010 at 11:50 pm


You know, I can’t tell if she meant that one right/benefit of marriage is excepted, or if one state that allows “domestic partnership agreements” does not give them parity with marriage.

I don’t see how the state-by-state approach could give all the rights and benefits of marriage, since the federal government is not bound to recognize these marriages and the General Accountability Office in a study of the Defense of Marriage Act determined there are 1,138 federal rights associated with marriage.


Janis August 17, 2010 at 2:15 pm

The state-by-state approach WON’T. They want it so they can kill you with a thousand little battles instead of just settling the whole shebang with one big one that will force them to stop pretending and just come out and admit, “YOU MAKE ME QUEASY AND I DON’T WANT YOU TO HAVE THE RIGHTS I HAVE BECAUSE YOU’RE BAD AND I’M NOT.”

Preaching to the choir though, I know …

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