Friday, April 28, 2006

The Number of Gay Marriages

Dale Carpenter, who blogs over at Volokh Conspiracy primarily about gay marriage and related issues (he's in favor of gay marriage), points to a recent study done by one of the anti-gay marriage groups that shows that only a tiny fraction of homosexuals are taking advantage of new laws allowing gay marriage--something like 2% to 6% of homosexuals--who in turn, are only about 2% of the population:
The report derives these numbers by comparing the total number of same-sex marriages in a jurisdiction (based on government reports) to an estimate of the total number of adult homosexuals in the jurisdiction (based on survey data for the jurisdiction, if available, or a general estimate if not). The first number is precise; the second number is necessarily a rough estimate. I won't address here the accuracy of the data; I'll assume that the numbers for same-sex marriages are correct. While we could quibble over the estimates of gays in a given jurisdiction, the assumptions used seem fair. The report itself has a welcome "just the facts, ma'am" tone.
One of the criticisms of recognizing gay marriage was the claim (which seems to have been borne out) that relatively few gay people are interested in the sort of long-term committment that marriage entails. Now, even if true, this wouldn't be an argument against gay marriage. But it does suggest that the claim that gay people are just like everyone else, except for their sexual orientation, isn't really accurate.

There are a number of data points that show that homosexuals are, on average, different from straight people. Let me emphasize on average. They are more likely to vote Democrat and subscribe to liberal or leftist ideas--but there are conservative and libertarian homosexuals--rather more than most people would expect.*

For example, this recent article in what appears to be a Chicago gay newspaper reports something that is not a surprise to anyone that has looked at the rather extensive literature on homosexuality and substance abuse:
Paul Fressola, one of HBHC’s psychotherapists, presented a grid illustrating the use of hard drugs ( e.g., meth, heroin and cocaine ) by LGBT seniors. It is estimated that 10 percent of those aged 50-75 abuse a hard drug, compared to 1.8 percent in the general population. There is no data for individuals aged 75 and over, and none at all on the senior transgender community.

* You think life is hard for a homosexual in an overwhelmingly straight culture? I used to correspond with a guy who was a gay conservative who shot in the Camp Perry high power rifle matches. He had to mind what he said that might expose his sexuality when he was hanging out with fellow gunnies, and he had to mind what he said about politics when he was hanging out with his fellow homosexuals.

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