New M. V. Lee Badgett paper: Will Providing Marriage Rights to Same-Sex Couples Undermine Heterosexual Marriage?

UMASS economist M. V. Badgett has released a “discussion paper” examining the evidence from Scandinavia and the Netherlands – available in both html and pdf formats. You can also read a short summary of the paper’s conclusions here.

In essence, the evidence is consistant with the common-sense idea that same-sex marriage has no impact on straight marriage. The vast majority of heterosexuals deciding whether or not to marry, aren’t basing their decision on if same-sexers have legal recognition of their relationships.

The paper also makes this point, about how heterosexual marraiges are even less likely to be affected in the US:

In the end, the Scandinavian and Dutch experience suggests that there is little reason to worry that heterosexual people will flee marriage if gay and lesbian couples get the same rights. This conclusion is even stronger when looking at the United States, where couples have many more tangible incentives to marry. Scholars of social welfare programs have noted that the U.S. relies heavily on the labor market and families to provide income and support for individuals. In the United States, unlike Scandinavia, marriage is often the only route to survivor coverage in pensions and social security, and many people have access to health care only through their spouse’s employment. Scandinavian states, on the other hand, are much more financially supportive of families and individuals, regardless of their family or marital status.

The lack of support alternatives plus the tangible benefits of marriage all lead to one conclusion: if and when same-sex couples are allowed to marry, heterosexual couples will continue to marry in the United States.

Incidently, folks interested in the statistics and social-science side of the SSM debate should check out Professor Badgett’s site, which is full of interesting papers.

This entry posted in Same-Sex Marriage, SSM: The Scandinavian Question. Bookmark the permalink. 

3 Responses to New M. V. Lee Badgett paper: Will Providing Marriage Rights to Same-Sex Couples Undermine Heterosexual Marriage?

  1. 1
    lucia says:

    It’s always nice when thorough academic research happens to agree with data you can find on the web!

    I am pretty amused by Kurtz’s accusation that Badgett’s case is built on statistical sleight of hand.

    Uhmmm.. isn’t Kurtz decision to focus on one country (the Netherlands), slight of hand? And couldn’t one make an some sort of negative statement about Kurtz’s claim that no other European country’s illegitimacy ratio rose at a rate greater than 2% a year during the 90s?

  2. 3
    Ryan Freebern says:

    Heh. It’s also nice when thorough academic research happens to agree with plain ol’ common sense.