Legal & Financial

Straight spouses advocate same-sex marriage

“Here is my situation, if gays and lesbians were more accepted, I wouldn’t have married a closeted lesbian.” This comes from a 47-year-old chemical engineer in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The Sacramento Bee reports: Of all the constituency groups that advocate allowing gay couples to wed, none is perhaps more counterintuitive than the heterosexual spouses of gay men and lesbians.

Yet as the issue plays out in the nation’s courtrooms and statehouses, some of the wives and husbands who learned that their partner was attracted to other women or men are making their voices known in the often-polarized debate.

“We are the unacknowledged victims of the victims of homophobia,” said Amity Pierce Buxton, the founder of the Straight Spouse Network, a New Jersey-based support and advocacy group with 52 U.S. chapters. “When gays and lesbians feel they have to get married to be accepted and to have kids, that hurts not only gays and lesbians, but straight spouses and kids.”

For Carolyn Sega Lowengart, 61, who lives outside Washington, D.C., it came after 31 years of marriage. Lowengart thinks if her husband had not seen his sexual orientation as a stigma, both of them would have been free to pursue other relationships.

After her husband moved out, “I asked him, ‘When did you know'”‘ He said, ‘When I was a teenager.’ I said, ‘Why did you marry me?’ And he said, ‘Because I didn’t want to be (gay),'” she said.