NOM: Gay Couples Aren’t Monogamous Because They Can’t Have Children

Jennifer Roback Morse

Jennifer Roback Morse of the National Organization for Marriage’s Ruth Institute has been particularly vocal over the past few months, promoting ex-gay therapy and suggesting that young people not have gay friends. In an interview published in Salvo Magazine in September, she was quite candid about the archaic stereotypes about same-sex couples that inform her anti-gay positions:

MORSE: If you look at same-sex couples, both at what they say and their behavior, neither permanence nor sexual exclusivity plays the same significant role. In other words, if you’re in a union that’s intrinsically not procreative, sexual exclusivity is not as important. Once you start thinking like that, you’ll see that everything people offer as reasons why same-sex couples should be “allowed” to get married—all of the reasons are private purposes. Sometimes it’s nothing more than how it will make them feel. It’s not the business of law to make people feel a certain way. When you see that redefining marriage is going to, in fact, redefine the meaning of parenthood, removing biology as the basis for parenthood and replacing it with legal constructions—then you see that there is quite a lot at stake in getting the definition of marriage right.

Morse is arguing that any couple that can not biologically reproduce is incapable of monogamy or life commitments to each other, a characteristic that applies to many straight couples as well. This argument neglects both the important legal protections of marriage and the fact that many same-sex couples raise families. For example, marriage inequality creates many unique challenges for LGBT older adults, especially economic and health inequities because of benefits they do not have access to from their partners.

Later in the interview, Morse defends heterosexism because “heterosexuality is normal in our species” and marriage equality and nondiscrimination protections “wipe out a belief that is actually true.” She is clearly concerned with maintaining a special superior status for heterosexuals, and she will employ any narrow stereotypes and assertions in pursuit of a discriminatory goal that has little to do with “preserving marriage.”