One of the arguments people make to justify their opposition to the legalization of same-sex marriage is that marriage equality will wreck fertility rates. The purpose of marriage, they say, is to create children. Heterosexual unions often create children, while homosexual unions can’t do this without some extra fussing around, and so, these people say, allowing people to get married to people of the same gender will disrupt the reproductive function of marriage, and result in a lower rate of fertility.
There is one fatal flaw with this argument: Its conclusions are based upon conjecture, rather than actual information about what happens out there in the world of real human beings.
Alexandra Sifferlin wrote earlier this week that “If you’re struggling to get pregnant, the best states to live in are Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, and New Jersey.” It happens that all of these states have legalized same-sex marriage. That seems to contradict the arguments of Family Values types that legalization of same-sex marriage will wreck the family and interfere with the procreative mission of heterosexuality.
Sifferlin was writing about the fertility scorecard released this week by the National Infertility Association. The report combines data about the fertility rates and the ease with which couples are able to gain access to fertility treatments in each of the 50 states. It then classifies the states into 5 categories, ranging from a fertility grade of A to a grade of F.
If these letter grades are converted into numerical form, with the most fertile states receiving a score of 5 and the least fertile states receiving a score of 1, a clear distinction appears. The argument that same-sex marriage will lead to increased infertility is not supported. On the contrary, states that have legalized same-sex marriage have a higher average fertility score, of 3.88 out of 5, compared to states that have not legalized same-sex marriage, which have an average fertility score of just 2.94 out of 5.
It appears that opposition to marriage equality for heterosexual and homosexual couples is associated in some way with factors that are harmful to the efforts of parents to make babies.