Conservative Christians in the Bible Belt decry the liberal states with marriage equality. But guess what? Those states with legalized gay marriage have some of the lowest divorce rates in the nation. Oh, the irony! As research indicates, the Bible Belt seems to have — newsflash! — the highest divorce rates.
In the South, premarital sex is often frown upon, but marrying young is not. In fact, in some portions of the South, marrying young is encouraged. This is in contrast to more “liberal” states, where folks often wait until they’re older and more mature to get married.
Education seems to be closely related to divorce rates. The higher your education, the lower your chances of divorce. Kalman Heller, a psychologist who specializes in divorce studies, wrote, “No wonder the divorce rate in Massachusetts is the lowest in the country. [It] has the highest percentage of college graduates.”
Low tolerance for diversity was also cited as a factor in divorce. Stephanie Coontz, another researcher, believes that exposure to different cultures and a variety of experiences prior to and during marriage helps increase tolerance, which, in turn, encourages folks to come to a workable solution. She writes:
“This is one of the ironies. People who are higher educated and who have experience outside marriage because they have delayed getting married and have a higher degree of economic security and sophistication tend to be more acceptable of same-sex marriage and have lower divorce rates.”
This is not to say that homosexual marriage is without its share of problems. Current research indicates that, although homosexual males have less tendency to be in serious relationships, theirs tend to last longer than those of lesbian relationships.
It’s quite disturbing, this recent trend toward belittling those with educations and brains, because it encourages people to remain ignorant, uneducated and narrow-minded. The Bible Belt has some serious soul-searching to do, if it’s going to reverse the trend of high divorce rates and high teen pregnancy rates (another issue altogether). For conservatives to thump the Bible and facetiously ask, “What would Jesus do?” while at the same time discriminating against an entire demographic, is bigoted and hypocritical. Jesus would have welcomed them with open arms, just as he welcomed the reviled tax collector to sit and eat.
Â©2011 Reno Berkeley for Gather News.