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NOM’s Amusing Marriage Chart

You can always count on the National Organization for Marriage to make a truly ridiculous claim that they wrongly think supports their position. On their Facebook page they posted this graph of marriage rates in the United States, along with this caption:

Marriage rates down, out-of-wedlock birth rates up. Conservatives may have correctly predicted the consequences of same-sex marriage.

Here’s the graph:

NOMgraph

Notice that the downward trend began way back in 1960, long before anyone even conceived of same-sex marriage. So what caused the problem from 1960 to 2003? Were less people getting married in 1970 because they knew that 45 years later, gay people might be allowed to get married? I find it quite amusing that they actually think this graph helps their case. Are they really that irrational or are they just counting on the fact that their supporters are?

Comments

  1. blf says

    Ah, but the 1960s had all those hippie weirdos and the even weirder Civil Rights Act (not to mention the beyond-the-pale Equal Rights Amendment), so there! Case proven.

  2. MadMax says

    The more I pay attention to the conservative movement, the more convinced I become that the leaders regard their supporters as a bunch of complete idiots who add, and can barely remember things that happened last week. They don’t “think” their supporters can’t read a graph and draw conclusions, they KNOW they can’t.

  3. Dunc says

    This clearly shows that the power of gay marriage is so terrifying that it can actually reverberate backwards through time!

  4. Chris A says

    Are they really that irrational or are they just counting on the fact that their supporters are?

    Can’t it be both?

  5. Jeremy Shaffer says

    I think NOM gave up the ghost a little here. Since most arguments against same- sex marriage are just refurbished arguements against interracial marriage I don’t think it’s an accident that the graph starts in the1960′s, the same decade of Loving v Virginia.

  6. says

    The chart itself started in the 1960s, and has been downward the entire way. I would love to see the graph starting at, say, 1900. That would at least let them show an upward trend, in the years after WW II (WW I didn’t see a huge increase in marriage afterwards, thanks to the great flu pandemic and the Great Depression.)

    It’s like they are trying to DISPROVE their points.

  7. thisisaturingtest says

    I’m not even sure they know what the word “prediction” means- pretty sure that it doesn’t mean “starting fifty years ago, until now, as a consequence of something that hadn’t happened then and still hasn’t happened now.”

  8. amenhotepstein says

    Wait… if marriage is one man-one woman, why are the percentages of married men and married women different!

    Checkmate, NOM!

  9. Larry says

    If Obama can use his WayBack machine to go back in time to substitute a Hawaiian birth certificate for the Kenyan one, Teh Gayz can return to the 1960s to work their ol’ debil magic and start marriage on its way to irrelevancy in order to make way for SSM.

  10. Randomfactor says

    why are the percentages of married men and married women different!

    Because NOM counts women at about 67% of the male value. Duh.

  11. Doug Little says

    So something other than gay marriage is causing the decline, hmmmm It’s got to be a combination of the Kennedy assassination, Apollo project and climate change.

  12. Chiroptera says

    Whoa! They were right: miscegenation does lead to a break down of traditional marriage and families!

  13. blf says

    Hang on, wait a moment, don’t they have it backwards?: The decline in marriage rates is what’s causing Teh Gays to start marrying!

    Ah, but wait, that means Teh Gay is trying to “save” marriage. So, nope, can’t be right. Back to the crayons…

  14. A Hermit says

    1960 is the year teh SOCIALISTS! took God out of the schools11!!11! All that is evil had it’s birth that year `cause they can’t force other people’s children to say their chosen prayers anymore…

    It’s also the year I was born.

    But that’s just a coincidence….

    …really… >;-}

  15. poxyhowzes says

    Gregory #7

    Post-WWII was also the time when divorce laws were being loosened up, ultimately to “no-fault” divorce, or “divorce on demand.” Not only did that probably change the “definition’ of marriage more than anything NOM is likely to see today, but it certainly had an influence on the percent of people who are married at any given point in time.

    pH

  16. blf says

    How valid is the data? I haven’t searched very hard, but Marriages and Divorces, 1900–2009, which unfortunately is in tabular form (not a graph) and using a different measure, doesn’t seem to tally very well with the their graph. That table appears to say (just eyeballing) that the rates (defined as total number (not based on skin colour or age) per 1000 population) actually increased slightly after 1960 and held steady-ish until the mid-1990s, after which it went into free-fall.

  17. blf says

    I assume that these people also think that global warming is caused by a lack of pirates.

    No no no. It’s caused by increasing year number.

    Fix therefore, is to reset the calendar. Again. So, next year is not 2014 CE but 1 RBE (Reality Bites Era).

  18. otrame says

    If we assume, just for the fun of it, that that chart is even remotely accurate (I know, but work with me here)’ then it seems to me that the failure of black people to get married is the major cause of the overall downward trend. So the best way to save marriage is for black people to marry white people. That will bring the percentage right up.

    And I bet the percentage of gay people who marry opposite sex partners has gone way down in the past 50 years for a number of reasons, so if we let gay people marry the percentage will go even higher.

    I note that there are no Hispanics listed at all. Are they included in “white” or are there no married Hispanics? We should look into that. It couldn’t be because the marriage rate of Hispanics is higher than whites, could it? It couldn’t be because including them would make their decline in marriage look a little less dramatic. They wouldn’t be deliberately deceptive like that.

  19. acroyear says

    and, of course, there’s the obligatory left-axis trick of trimming the range to make the results look more dramatic than they are. If the graph went 0 to 100, the casual drop of 70 to 55 wouldn’t look nearly so ominous.

  20. scienceavenger says

    The average age of those getting married has been increasing for years, so let’s see the same graph for people over 30. I’m sure I’m not the only one that mostly sees getting married before that as a negative for society, rather than a positive, especialy at the extreme end. Do we REALLY want more married 15-17 year olds?

  21. TGAP Dad says

    …the downward trend began way back in 1960…

    Must’ve been “kicking god out of the schools” that did it…

  22. says

    Well, everyone knows there no gays in the 1950s. Just look at the historical documents from the era, “Ozzie and Harriet” and “Leave it to Beaver.” They only started appearing in the 60s (Obama was allegedly born in 1963. Coincedence?), so clearly, the mere existence of teh gays caused the decline of marriage.

  23. Doug Little says

    Must’ve been “kicking god out of the schools” that did it…

    Nah the decline started right around the time that computers went transistor based and the first computer nerds became socially awkward.

  24. mudskipper says

    That must be a chart that keeps on giving for the right-wingers. They can use it to flog any variety of social movements they hate, chief among them feminism and liberal birth control laws. In fact, I’d bet you that the same chart has been used to blame feminism, not same-sex marriage, for undermining marriage.

    But we can also be sure that they won’t ever tie it to economic trends happening over the same time–for example, the decline in union membership and the decline of working class real wages.

  25. baal says

    Assuming the graph is relatively correct, I wonder how much of the black male marriage is depressed due to the wholesale arrest and incarceration of them. I think it may be that depressing.

    Also, right wing is not only anti-science and anti intellectual but also anti-causality. Things with no reasonable connection cross cause each other (Obama goes to Africa, stock prices tumble!) or like here, later in time things (gay marriage! ack! marriage rates drop in the 60′s!) cause earlier things.

  26. Doug Little says

    Things with no reasonable connection cross cause each other (Obama goes to Africa, stock prices tumble!) or like here, later in time things (gay marriage! ack! marriage rates drop in the 60′s!) cause earlier things.

    Your feeble little mind cannot possibly comprehend the intricacies of the intertwining of events throughout not only space but time. This is it people, the new world order is upon us.

  27. escuerd says

    blf @20:
    I haven’t checked either, though it passes the smell test for me. Note that while the marriage rate did hold quite steady in the data you present, the divorce rate went up (which is an inevitable consequence of no-fault divorce, but easily outweighed by the positive of not being legally stuck in abusive or dysfunctional marriages.

    Scienceavenger @24

    The average age of those getting married has been increasing for years, so let’s see the same graph for people over 30. I’m sure I’m not the only one that mostly sees getting married before that as a negative for society, rather than a positive, especialy at the extreme end. Do we REALLY want more married 15-17 year olds?

    This.

    Of course, in the ideal society of many Christian conservatives, being married for life by the late teens would be the norm, since the only socially acceptable channel for sexuality would be a single partner for life with the intent of producing children, and also because you have to take advantage of those prime child-bearing years. That’s what traditional marriage is all about. Love is optional. A happy and fulfilling life is optional.

    The only essential point is to keep making more children as early and often as possible. Deferring this not only ensures that one will produce fewer little footsoldiers for God’s Army, but increases the chances that one will have time for education, reflection, and self-determination all of which will only further undermine traditional values.

  28. thumper1990 says

    Are they really that irrational or are they just counting on the fact that their supporters are?

    Neither, they are maths illiterate morons.

  29. Stacy says

    Are they really that irrational or are they just counting on the fact that their supporters are?

    Yes.

  30. rakatosh says

    I think its perfectly obvious that the gays invented a time machine in 2025 and are working backward through time to destroy marriage.

  31. says

    Well, this chart clearly shows the results of having allowed interracial marriages. Should gay marriages be allowed, we can expect marriage rates to plummet even further obviously.

    It’s that or the bigots against marriage equality are just morons…let me go ask Occam.

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