Why we ask this question: Queerphobia

Q: “I’m comfortable with my child being gay.”

Let's start by stating that we at Marriage Pact are in full support of our LGBTQ+ friends and do not support discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation (queerphobia) in any form. And while surveys show that almost everyone in college shares our support, we also recognize that queerphobia does exist in our world.

As such, an important responsibility of the Marriage Pact questionnaire is to identify incompatible views privately so that students will not experience discrimination when connecting with their matches.

The unfortunate truth is that, even today, queerphobia exists in the world—whether those views are informed by religion or by the culture in which the people who hold these views were raised. Discrimination is real, even here, where people come from all corners of the country and many different parts of the globe.

The Marriage Pact looks to find the best match possible for each person here on campus. How devastating would it be if a queer student were matched with someone who were homophobic toward them?

Confronting the existence of systemic discrimination is difficult, but we thought that experiencing homophobia firsthand (like a homophobic slur on your first socially-distanced walk with your match) would be worse.

This question’s presence in our questionnaire in no way represents an endorsement of different respondents’ views. It’s included currently because we think that it would be irresponsible of us to pretend queerphobia doesn’t exist, or do nothing to avoid preventable situations of overt or covert discrimination when matches come out.

We know questions like this one are deeply personal to queer students and can be difficult to encounter. The Marriage Pact aims to be an inclusive event that everyone can enjoy; we can always do better.

If you’re open to it, we would love to talk with you—or any deep thinkers on this topic who you know—to learn about how to make Marriage Pact better and more inclusive. If you have any questions or suggestions, please reach out to us at inclusion@marriagepact.com.

Context that informed our perspective

Just ten years ago, in 2011, the majority of US states had voter-approved constitutional bans on same-sex marriage. Still today, the queer community doesn’t have the same range of social rights as others—for example, since 1983, the American Red Cross has banned blood donations from men who’d had a same-sex encounter.

An animated map showing the legal status of same-sex marriage in all 50 US states during every year from 1995-2015.

How the United States reached full marriage equality (via .Mic) Sources: Human Rights Campaign, Pew Research Center, and National LGBTQ Task Force.

Progress has been made in our lifetimes—such as the Supreme Court’s 5–4 decision in Obergefell (2015), which legalized same-sex marriage everywhere in the US. And even more recently, in June 2020, the Supreme Court ruled 6–3 that employers could not discriminate against employees on a basis of gender identity or sexual orientation.

But the truth is, a sizable number of people in college today grew up in all of those states, and had parents who voted for those constitutional bans. Others grew up in a country where a religious or cultural majority imposed those laws as matters of faith and cultural homogeneity. Still more simply hold these beliefs themselves.

Today, we respect the queer community and its allies not by pretending these deeply-held beliefs aren’t held by any of our peers—but by creating an effective means of identifying them, so participants in the Marriage Pact won’t be victims of covert or overt discrimination when they reach out to their match for the first time.

We can always do better. If you’re passionate about these topics, or have insights or ideas about how we can make the Marriage Pact more inclusive, please email us at inclusion@marriagepact.com.