Did gay marriage cause Ashley Madison? Has permitting same-sex couples to marry caused millions of heterosexual folks to cheat on their spouses? As Business Insider reports this morning, only three zipcodes in the U.S. did not have folks signed up for Ashley Madison. Two of those were in Alaska, one in New Mexico, and all together, they have a whopping total of 476 population.
Has all this happened because of Obergefell? Remember: it's what the opponents of same-sex marriage have been predicting. Folks like Ross Douthat have claimed that if you let the gays marry, straight folks would kick over the traces and start acting like moral reprobates. The refusal to permit gay couples to marry was the only thing keeping the straights from going hog wild, Douthat and others gravely informed us.
Remember the "Whoopsie, Baby," argument that ran all through the briefs submitted by various parties to the Supreme Court asking the Supremes not to permit same-sex marriage? As Dahlia Lithwick explains, it ran something like this:
Marriage needs to be reserved as the special domain of straight people because they’re the reckless sorts who can get each other accidentally pregnant. Got a whoopsie baby? Better get going to the chapel. The argument holds, further, that if same-sex couples had access to this accidental-baby door prize—um, this privileged marital status—it would make straight couples less apt to marry.
Letting the gays marry makes straight folks think they can fool around and then not marry, and, when they do marry, it makes them think they can keep right on fooling around. It's all the fault of the gays, the feckless, immoral, non-committal intrinsic disorder of straight folks, and the only thing keeping the straights in line is their awareness that the gays cannot marry.
So the argument went . . . .
So did the gays cause Ashley Madison? There's just one problem with this nifty explanation: Ashley Madison launched in 2001. What the Ashley Madison leaks are showing us is that the theory of homophobes that allowing gay folks to marry would make straight folks lose their moral compass and wreck straight marriage was total tripe all along. It was while he and his wife were informing their daughter that gay marriage is immoral (in a video they've now deleted) that Christian viral vlogger Sam Rader was also maintaining an Ashley Madison account.
Straight folks have been perfectly capable of misbehaving without the slightest bit of help from evil gay couples asking for marriage certificates — or so it appears to me in light of the Ashley Madison revelations. And I'm saying none of this to gloat over anyone whose secrets have been exposed by the Ashley Madison leaks, or to encourage others to do so.
I'm saying it because it needs to be said. People need to recognize how wrong-headed, unjust, and downright morally stinky these arguments against permitting LGBT people the same rights others have — arguments that have pervaded our culture for a long time now — really are.