Mixed-orientation Marriage

For a variety of reasons (religious beliefs, family or social expectations, the desire to have children, hopes of changing sexual orientation, etc.), some people who experience same-sex attraction choose to enter marriage with an opposite sex heterosexual partner.  Although many such couples prefer simply the label of “marriage,” in some politically charged contexts the term “mixed-orientation marriage” has also been used.

Some who enter these relationships are religiously conservative people who choose to refrain from sexual activity with a member of the same sex, and instead wish to channel the spiritual energies of their sexuality into what they consider to be a divine--and deeply personal--vocation to enter into a marriage with a member of the opposite sex.  People who enter into such marriages (often without any expectation of “change” in sexual orientation) believe their faith provides the spiritual guidance and community support necessary to envision and live out a life not defined or delimited by same-sex attraction--a life open to the joys of naturally procreative family life and complete faithfulness to the teachings of their faith church.

Some in the LGBT community are strongly averse to these marriages for a variety of reasons, often seeing them as a capitulation to unenlightened or oppressive religious or social mores; or as not conducive to human happiness, citing personal experiences, anecdotal evidence, and research that suggests high-rate of failure in marriage fulfillment, stability, and longevity. (These same numbers are contested by others - who claim the numbers are both unrepresentative and intentionally inflated in a highly charged socio-political context).

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