Researchers at Portland State University have carried out a study that has revealed that same-sex marriage will not affect straight marriage rates.
The study has thoroughly detailed the number of straight marriages from all 50 states and the District of Columbia from the years 1989 to 2009, alongside recording the straight marriage rates from the 13 states and Washington; this comparison was then used to analyze any differences in the results between areas that have legalized same-sex marriage and the ones that haven't.
If you want to take a look at the findings for yourself, it's published online at PLOS ONE, and is quite an interesting read regardless of your opinion of marital traditions.
Who knows, it might even have you taking a leaf out of Clint Eastwood's book and get you not caring about the whole gay-marriage scene at all.
The researchers found that there was no difference between the rates of straight marriage in the locations that had legalized gay marriage, in comparison to the ones that hadn't, during those time periods.
Although this won't surprise many LGBT readers, it will undoubtedly help quell fears that straight couples are 'at risk' should marriage equality be introduced.
Despite the researchers concluding these findings, it's worth bearing it mind that studies are still intended to be carried out to determine how same-sex marriage will affect straight marriage after gay marriages are legalized across the board; this is so that they can analyze the length of all marriage/partnerships, as well as the rates of divorce that might occur after legalization.
The only reason they were unable to carry out this section of the study this time round is because of the 'missing data' from same-sex marriage; they are still called civil unions in the majority of places after all, and therefore aren't classed as marriage in the eyes of the law.
Even though this study has, in many ways, tried to end the debate raging about whether gay marriage will affect straight marriage, it seems unlikely that the results will suddenly stop the ongoing topic.
Though who knows, maybe by New Year's Day 2014, we will all be at ease with these values and opinions, after all it was only this New Year's that we acknowledged that new laws, such as gay marriage, would finally get passed.
But for now, lets just try and appreciate this same-sex marriage study for what it is, at least before all the critics start to pick apart the findings and the debate picks up pace once more.
[Image via Wikimedia Commons]