Despite the evidence of social and personal gains from allowing gay couples to marry, the political debate is filled with sky-is-falling rhetoric. Opponents of gay marriage assert that children, society and the institution of marriage will all be irreparably harmed. However, no evidence exists of harm generated by letting gay couples marry. Heterosexual marriage, divorce and non-marital birth rates have stuck to prior trends. Heterosexual people still get married and still have babies, even when they share those life experiences with gay men and lesbians.
Moreover, the experience in places that allow gay couples to marry is one of mutual acceptance, not a radically changed institution. Same-sex couples enter the existing institution, and the community recognises that same-sex couples should marry and are married. Even initially reluctant family members will often come around to the idea of celebrating loving marriages by same-sex couples. Friends and family members are happy to recognise same-sex couples’ marriages by celebrating anniversaries, using terms like wife and husband, and treating same-sex spouses like members of the family.