As rising out-of-wedlock birthrates disassociate heterosexual marriage from parenting, gay marriage becomes conceivable. If marriage is only about a relationship between two people, and is not intrinsically connected to parenthood, why shouldn't same-sex couples be allowed to marry? It follows that once marriage is redefined to accommodate same-sex couples, that change cannot help but lock in and reinforce the very cultural separation between marriage and parenthood that makes gay marriage conceivable to begin with.
We see this process at work in the radical separation of marriage and parenthood that swept across Scandinavia in the nineties. If Scandinavian out-of-wedlock birthrates had not already been high in the late eighties, gay marriage would have been far more difficult to imagine. More than a decade into post-gay marriage Scandinavia, out-of-wedlock birthrates have passed 50 percent, and the effective end of marriage as a protective shield for children has become thinkable. Gay marriage hasn't blocked the separation of marriage and parenthood; it has advanced it.
WE SEE THIS most clearly in Norway. In 1989, a couple of years after Sweden broke ground by offering gay couples the first domestic partnership package in Europe, Denmark legalized de facto gay marriage. This kicked off a debate in Norway (traditionally more conservative than either Sweden or Denmark), which legalized de facto gay marriage in 1993. (Sweden expanded its benefits packages into de facto gay marriage in 1994.) In liberal Denmark, where out-of-wedlock birthrates were already very high, the public favored same-sex marriage. But in Norway, where the out-of-wedlock birthrate was lower--and religion traditionally stronger--gay marriage was imposed, against the public will, by the political elite.
Norway's gay marriage debate, which ran most intensely from 1991 through 1993, was a culture-shifting event. And once enacted, gay marriage had a decidedly unconservative impact on Norway's cultural contests, weakening marriage's defenders, and placing a weapon in the hands of those who sought to replace marriage with cohabitation. Since its adoption, gay marriage has brought division and decline to Norway's Lutheran Church. Meanwhile, Norway's fast-rising out-of-wedlock birthrate has shot past Denmark's. Particularly in Norway--once relatively conservative--gay marriage has undermined marriage's institutional standing for everyone.
Whole article found at:
While you may still disagree with the conclusions, I hope this article helps to explain the underlying reasoning some of us think gay marriage is big step in the wrong direction.