Europe study: Gay unions don't hurt marriage
by Christopher Curtis
New research published Tuesday claims to refute the notion that same-sex unions have a negative impact on heterosexual families in European countries where gay and lesbian couples are able to get married or enjoy partnership benefits.
During the failed effort to pass the Federal Marriage Amendment (FMA) in the Senate this week, Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., claimed, "In the Netherlands, which adopted de facto same-sex marriage in 1997, the proportion of children born outside the marriage has tripled."
But according to economist Lee Badgett of the University of Massachusetts, that claim is untrue. "It hasn't even tripled," she said. "It rose a lot before the Netherlands passed the law. But people couldn't register [for partner benefits] until 1998."
According to Badgett's research, "It is true that the Dutch nonmarital birth rate has been rising steadily since the 1980s, and sometime in the early 1990s the nonmarital birth rate started increasing at a somewhat faster rate. But that acceleration began well before the Netherlands implemented registered partnerships in 1998 and gave same-sex couples the right to marry in 2001."
Gay rights advocates savor Senate victory, brace for long battle
SAN FRANCISCO – Gay rights advocates reveled in the moment Wednesday after the Senate handed President Bush and his most conservative backers an embarrassing setback by voting to block a constitutional amendment that would have banned same-sex marriage
But opponents of the Federal Marriage Amendment also acknowledged that with the House of Representatives and voters in 11 states set to take up the issue again, it's too early to declare victory. And supporters vowed to use the Senate outcome as ammunition in the upcoming election.
"The Republicans, at least some of them, have made the political calculation that this is to their benefit to raise," said Michael Adams, education director of the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund. "We certainly hope today's vote might have a moderating influence on them to realize it's not the political wedge issue they wanted."
Gay rights organizations have made fighting the amendment their top priority since the president announced his support for it in late February in a speech that complained about "activist judges" on Massachusetts' top court, which legalized gay marriage in that state, and took issue with San Francisco's renegade experiment in same-sex nuptials.