In response to Julian Bauer’s June 14 letter (“Supporters of gay marriage confuse facts with opinion”), let me point out some incontrovertible evidence that marriage equality will not cause the collapse of civilization as we know it.

The first country to institute marriage equality, the Netherlands, has seen little change in the number of marriages or the number of divorces. In 2000, the last year that only heterosexual couples could marry in the Netherlands, there were 7 million marriages in a total population of 15.8 million (44 percent) and a total number of divorced people of 800,000 (5 percent). By 2011, the Dutch population went up to 16.6 million, with 7.7 million (46 percent) married persons and 1.1 million (6 percent) divorcés. (Dutch Bureau of Statistics: http://statline.cbs.nl/StatWeb/publication/?VW=T&DM=SLNL&PA=37556&LA=NL.)

Massachusetts, which has allowed same sex marriages since 2004, has a rate of marriage of 5.6 per 1,000 people residing in the state for both the years 2003 and 2010. The number of divorces per 1,000 is 2.5 for both years. For Mississippi, the divorce numbers are 4.6 and 4.3, respectively. For Wyoming, hardly a liberal state, the numbers are 5.4 and 5.1, respectively. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvss/divorce_rates_90_95_99-10.pdf and http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvss/marriage_rates_90_95_99-10.pdf)

Keep these numbers in mind as you vote on the Civil Marriage Protection Act in November!

Nicoline Smits

Ellicott City