Monday, February 1, 2010

Mixed-Orientation Marriages, they're not just for Mormons

By Mister Curie

For some reason, I had the idea that only Mormons get caught up in mixed-orientation marriages and that only Mormons are backwards enough to not realize they are gay until after getting married. I stated rather strongly in a previous post that the Mormon church's stance on homosexuality created an environment in which I could not accept that I was gay. I still believe that is largely true, however, watching "Milk" last week helped me realize that a homophobic environment is not unique to Mormonism, but permeates much of society. Of course, growing up behind the Zion curtain, Mormonism and society were nearly synonymous, still that does not mean that homophobia doesn't thrive outside of Mormonism.

According to Wikipedia, homosexual acts have only been legal nationwide since 2003 and legally recognized same-sex unions can be formed in only twelve states and the District of Columbia. None of these relationships, however, are recognized under federal law. The federal government of the United States does not recognize the marriages of same-sex couples and is prohibited from doing so by the Defense of Marriage Act. Same-sex marriages are currently granted by only five of the 50 states. There are no federal protections for discrimination against people based on sexual orientation, although discrimination based on sexual orientation is banned in 20 states, and has recently been included in the federal hate crimes law (since 2009).

While I was seeking to learn more about MOMs, I stumbled across this site: According to this non-LDS affiliated site, it is actually not that uncommon for a gay man to get married. Although the man often may have suspected he is gay, many married gay men have not been able to accept their full sexuality and do not consciously know they are gay. Often these men will have a mid-life crisis in the 40's or 50's when they finally accept their homosexuality. I probably shouldn't have been, but I was very surprised to learn that there are non-Mormon Mixed-Orientation Marriages. Many married gay men who aren't Mormons still want their marriages to work.

From the GLBTQ encyclopedia:
Many factors influence a couple's decision to stay together or separate: their ages; personalities; their level of sexual openness; the degree to which they are invested in eah other financially, emotionally, and psychologically; and their belief system or religious views.

Many of the thousands of heterosexually married individuals who identify as homosexual do not want to lead what they think of (sometimes based on stereotypes) as a gay or lesbian lifestyle.

Moreover, many of them delight in the domestic pleasures of married life and the partnerships they have formed with their spouses, and cannot bear the thought of losing the companionship and nurturance of their partners.

Typically, gay spouses who want to remain in the marriage do so for one good reason: they love their straight spouses.
The site also has a links page with support resources for married gay men. I was surprised at the vast number of resources to support married gay men. According to this New York Times article:
Of the 27 million American men currently married . . . 1.6 percent, or 436,000, identify themselves as gay or bisexual. Of the 75 million men who have ever been married, 1.8 percent, or 1.3 million, identify themselves that way. But, in both cases, when the men are asked about behavior if they have ever had sex with men, not what they consider their sexual orientation, the number of men who have ever been married doubles.
I guess with so many of us, there should be resources out there. I knew about LDS affiliated sites, but not the non-LDS affiliated sites, like GAMMA (Gay & Married Men's Association) or the Straight Spouse Network.

So, LDS and non-LDS affiliated support sites for married homosexuals, have you found any of them to be particularly helpful (or unhelpful) on your journey and for your MOM? How?


  1. When Chris came out to me a little over a year ago, I first found a support group for MOMs that was open to anyone regardless of religious background--I don't remember what it was called, but it was a Yahoo support group where I met women from all over the world who were married to gay men. It was helpful at first just to know that I wasn't alone. But then I heard lots of stories and discussions of couples opening their marriage to accommodate their hubby's SSA, and I didn't agree with that approach. I haven't gone back to that support group since last spring. I find these Moho blogs, especially those of other MOMs, much more helpful. There is a particular background being LDS that non-LDS MOMs dont quite understand or relate to. I guess in the other support group I felt I was only half understood. I tried explaining my concern about the future of our eternal family, or my desire to stay strong in our religious beliefs through all this, but I felt like even though I was surrounded by loving women going through similar experiences, there were essential bits and pieces that they could not relate to or empathize with.

    I'm sure there are some really great support groups out there. I just don't have time (or the need these days) to search them out.

  2. Camilla - thanks for the response. I can definitely see how an LDS MOM would have a different perspective from a non-LDS MOM and why you wouldn't necessarily feel understood. I'm glad the MoHo blogs are helpful to you. When you say you no longer have the need to search out support groups, is that because you have adequate support from the MoHo blogging community, have gotten past the initial crisis and things have settled down emotionally, a combination of the above, or something else?

  3. Definitely a combination of the above.