The new normal: Lessons from Massachusetts on gay marriage — and divorce

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Hillary Goodridge, right, listens as Julie Goodridge talks about her hope for the future in her Boston home. Julie Goodridge and Hillary Goodridge were lead plaintiffs in the Massachusetts court case that eventually led to a 2004 decision allowing  same-sex marriage in the state. They are now divorced. Photo by Mary Schwalm, courtesy of USA Today

Hillary Goodridge, right, listens as Julie Goodridge talks about her hope for the future in her Boston home. Julie Goodridge and Hillary Goodridge were lead plaintiffs in the Massachusetts court case that eventually led to a 2004 decision allowing same-sex marriage in the state. They are now divorced. Photo by Mary Schwalm, courtesy of USA Today

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As the Supreme Court wrestles with the legalization of gay marriage, the Massachusetts couples who successfully challenged their state's ban on gay marriage in 2003 are juggling work and retirement, raising kids who turn down Ivy League colleges and holding joyful family reunions.

  • JR

    The “new normal”, eh? Call it what you will, paint a Rockwellian picture, pull out the family album and toast marshmallows with the neighbors…..but it still is not normal. It is an aberration of the norm. Why is RNS such a pandering platform to the LGBT community?

  • John W

    Zero statistics provided in this article. I wonder how hard you had to look for two examples of what you set out to prove.

  • Greg1

    It’s more like the “rationalized abnormal,” than the new normal.

  • Larry

    Ten years of marriage equality in Massachusetts and the sky has not fallen nor are Christian Fundamentalists being placed in gulags outside Boston. Dogs and cats continue to live together. Everyone in the state has not suddenly turned gay. Haters continue to hate. Life moves on.

  • Cranmer

    Right and its the so-called ‘norm’ that should be destroyed and put into the trashcan, along with violence, oppression, racism, and injustice. The ‘norm’ never truly exists, except as defined by the powerful who write the script. For a long time many Christians said the ‘norm’ was racial segregation and slavery.

  • Doc Anthony

    “The sky has not fallen…”

    You’re right. At least for today. In fact, Sodom was around a lot longer than a measly “ten years” — and apparently they were prosperous (Ezekiel 16:49) and agriculturally excellent (Gen. 13:10-11).

    I’m sure THEY weren’t worried about the sky falling at all. And then one day, Ezekiel 16:50 arrived. And that, was that.

    But that’s okay. America will figure it out, one way or the other. Soon.

  • Cranmer

    now @Doc Anthony. This nation turns its back on every single aspect of Jesus’ message of liberation, peace, justice and concern for the poor? It seems like that’s much more of an issue than gay marriage — so let’s get real, if God were to judge America, it would be on account of our violence, oppression and greed — not loving gay couples getting married.

  • JR

    Stop comparing gay marriage to oppression, equality, civil rights, racism, etc. There is no history at all for adding gay couples to the marriage definition. The idea is a new evolution of the gay minority, they are riding on it’s popularity now by appealing to the country’s penchant for righting past wrongs. There is no past in evidence….save the last decade! There is a norm to be considered, and adding an aberration is not the answer.
    If gays wish to spend their life together, you are free to…..but it is not a marriage and no history supports its creation.

  • JR

    People are strangled by political correctness, so how can you say what a success gay marriage is anywhere? Every gay negative statement is overblown to name someone homophobic, or a religious fanatic….which leads the gays to attack religion as the source of this “oppression”. Time will show the downside of this idea…..what other institution will be forced to redefine what it has always been?

  • Greg1

    Larry, we are 50 years away from seeing the long term effects of this novel maneuver.

  • CarrotCakeMan

    Wow, JR, so many common anti-gay lies in just one post! Historians have noted same gender marriages were relatively common before the Church interfered in marriage in the 1100s. Please learn to accept the fact that marriage was originally a government construct, and despite the pretty fantasies cleverly presented in your book, no church has any business interfering in legal marriage. No one cares what your Westboro Baptist Church does in this matter, and no same gender couple will ever want to be married there.

  • CarrotCakeMan

    What really upsets JR is the fact that 60% of Americans support marriage equality and are aware of the fact that homophobia is a mental disorder.

  • CarrotCakeMan

    Since you didn’t specify what you don’t believe, it’s difficult to provide those statistics to you.

  • CarrotCakeMan

    What’s abnormal is the mental disorder, homophobia.

    Sexual orientation, whether gay or non-gay, has been shown by science to be inborn and unchangeable, and psychologists have shown being gay or lesbian is just as healthy and “normal” as being non-gay. However, psychologists identified homophobia as a mental illness and published their results in the Journal of the National Institutes of Health in 1953. Psychologists report that the most commonly observed symptom of the mental disorder homophobia is cognitive dissonance, an inability of those so afflicted to accept documentation that contradicts their deep-seated phobia and hatred of LGBT Americans.

  • CarrotCakeMan

    What total nonsense! Why would “gays attack religion” when so many Christian and Jewish denominations WANT to marry same gender couples? These denominations will marry same gender couples in 37 US States and the District of Columbia, but are being denied their right to practice their religion freely in 13 US States:

    Affirming Pentecostal Church International
    Alliance of Christian Churches
    Anointed Affirming Independent Ministries
    The Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists
    Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
    Community of Christ
    Conservative Judaism
    Ecumenical Catholic Church
    Ecumenical Catholic Communion
    The Episcopal Church
    Evangelical Anglican Church In America
    Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
    Global Alliance of Affirming Apostolic Pentecostals
    Inclusive Orthodox Church
    Moravian Church Northern Province
    Metropolitan Community Church

    (more)

  • CarrotCakeMan

    Continued…

    Old Catholic Church
    Presbyterian Church USA
    Progressive Christian Alliance
    Reconciling Pentecostals International
    Reconstructionist Judaism
    Reform Judaism
    Reformed Anglican Catholic Church
    Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)
    Unitarian Universalist Church
    United Church of Christ
    Unity Church

    These and many other denominations reject the hate speech inserted in the Bible to hurt LGBT people. Modern Biblical scholars have proven the Bible was intentionally mistranslated relatively recently in order to provide “Biblical cover” for then-rising levels of homophobia. For example, the word “homosexual” didn’t even exist until 1870.

    The only church where there’s really any agreement to be anti-gay is the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas.

  • CarrotCakeMan

    Why bother to repeat that standard anti-gay LIE, Greg1? Anyone who can get to this web page can see the evidence that same gender marriages were relatively common in the ancient world.

  • CarrotCakeMan

    What JR is doing is pulling a standard anti-gay Dirty Trick of trying to “project” anti-gays’ attacks on the Freedom Of Religion of these many denominations who want to marry same gender couples onto his intended LGBT victims.

    We see this desperate attempt at projection every time some dishonest anti-gay claims his intended LGBT victims are “the real bullies” or “the real haters.”

  • Greg1

    Never have they been “normalized.” Gay people in all previous ages knew they were out of the norm of society, and far from the Plan of God.

  • JR

    Who educated you, Ms. Carrot?

  • Shawnie5

    “Who educated you, Ms. Carrot?

    The late John Boswell, who wasted his life and talents trying unsuccessfully reconcile his homosexuality with Catholicism.

  • CarrotCakeMan

    Anti-gays routinely attack anyone who debunks their constant repetition of those same anti-gay lies.

  • CarrotCakeMan

    Poor, poor Greg1, desperately trying to promote that easily debunked anti-gay lie. He’s desperate to try to demean, demonize and dehumanize LGBT Americans, but the simple fact is that after shrieking those same LIES for nearly 50 years, most Americans just laugh at anti-gays. Hey, greg1, you forgot to spam this board with the one anti-gay historian willing to repeat that standard anti-gay lie!

  • CarrotCakeMan

    The anti-gay poster wrote, “far from the Plan of God.”

    Hardly. If God made us, then God made many of us LGBT. Sexual orientation, whether gay, bisexual or non-gay, has been shown by science to be inborn and unchangeable, and psychologists have shown being gay or lesbian is just as healthy and “normal” as being non-gay. A quick look on any search engine on the phrase “Physiological Basis of Homosexuality” turns up over 26,000 articles, the vast majority supporting the biological basis of same sex attraction, but NONE of them have any PROOF for the wild claim anti-gays make that “it’s a choice.”

  • Veronica

    Hey, Shawnie5, how’s your stairmaster usage education coming along?

    Dropped a few dozen pounds yet, or are you still heaving your bulk into XXL Plus sizes?

  • Shawnie5

    @Carrot: Boswell never “debunked” anything. The only ones he convinced were those with no background on the subject and no interest in acquiring any, like you.