The Corner

Defending Scandanavia Numbers

“Pay no attention to that continent behind the curtain.” Andrew Sullivan, The New Republic, Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee, and now Slate have desperately sought for reasons to ignore the fate of marriage in Scandinavia and the Netherlands. But the reality is, where gay unions have been tried, marriage is in decline. Today, in “Unhealthy Half Truths,” I expose the statistical trick at the core of Slate’s supposed refutation of my Scandinavia work. And do have a look at “Going Dutch?” my new piece on the effect of gay marriage on the Netherlands. Critics of my Scandinavia work have said that Scandinavian registered partnerships “don’t count,” because they’re not full and formal gay marriage. They claim I haven’t sufficiently isolated the causal effects of gay marriage from other causes of marital decline. And my critics say gay marriage, having followed so much marital decline, is only an effect of that decline, not a cause. I’ve answered all that, but the case of the Netherlands finally puts these criticisms to rest. Holland has full and formal gay marriage. The causal effect of gay marriage in the Netherlands can be disentangled from other factors. And in the Netherlands, parental cohabitation didn’t begin in earnest until the campaign for gay marriage gave it the green light. Don’t believe me? Read “Going Dutch?” And I’ll have more on the causal nexus in the Netherlands in the next week or so. The fundamental problem faced by my critics is that marriage in Scandinavia and the Netherlands is in fact in decline. No matter how many bogus rationalizations and statistical tricks my critics deploy, the stubborn facts will return. Marriage in Europe is in free-fall. And gay marriage is part and parcel of the process of decline.


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