Gay Men Married To Women: The Latest Allies In The Fight Against Marriage Equality

As the Supreme Court prepares to hear oral arguments at the end of this month regarding whether individual states’ gay-marriage bans violate the Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection for all citizens under the law, proponents against marriage equality have found a surprising new ally: gay men who are married to women.

As Slate reported, an amicus brief was submitted to the Supreme Court on behalf of gay men who are currently happily married to women. Stick with me, as this logic is as circuitous as it gets. The gay men in question (who go by “same sex-attracted”; the brief in question was filed by “same-sex attracted men and their wives”), claim that they are happily married to women by choice, despite their attraction to other men, and that if the Supreme Court were to prohibit states from banning gay marriage, it would invalidate their choice of being gay men in heterosexual relationships. The circuitous logic itself goes as follows: by broadening the definition of marriage to include same-sex marriages, it automatically lumps marriage into one of two categories — male-female marriage between straight partners, or same-sex marriage between gay partners. The people who ostensibly would be “left out” by marriage equality? Gay men who choose to be in heterosexual relationships.

The brief makes it very clear that the gay men in question are not bisexual or men who have gone through any sort of conversion therapy — but are indeed men who are attracted to other men, but choose to be in heterosexual relationships for reasons including procreation. In a section of the brief that Slate highlights, the men further clarify their point by claiming that by making gay marriage legal under federal and state law, it suggests to gay individuals that heterosexual relationships are “unattainable.” Gay men for straight marriage argue that this is not the case.

Inescapably, striking down man-woman marriage laws on the basis of a constitutional deprivation would send a message to the same-sex attracted that there is only one choice for them, that man-woman marriage is unattainable, that they are acting against their nature for desiring it. … But, in reality, the opposite is true. The institution of man-woman marriage is … an ensign, beckoning to anyone—regardless of sexual orientation—that the union of a man and a woman is uniquely significant because it is endowed with procreative power and complementary capacity.

I have now read and reread this brief in its entirety at least a dozen times, and what doesn’t make sense to me is how allowing rights to couples who choose to have a homosexual marriage strips any nuance from whatever sexual-proclivity baggage you’re bringing to the table in a heterosexual relationship. But if we were able to accept that, what would we fight about for generations to come? [Slate]