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Straight Spouses Back Marriage Equality


As the marriage equality battle rages on, advocates for same-sex marriage have picked up a huge vote of support from unlikely sources -- the former spouses of closeted gay men and women.

According to ABC News, the board of the volunteer-run Straight Spouse Network -- an organization based in New Jersey with 52 local chapters -- has adopted a policy to oppose laws that limit marriage to a man and a woman.

The SSN's decision to back marriage equality started after founder Amity Pierce Buxton (pictured) wrote an impassioned opinion piece last fall to voters in California urging them to vote against Proposition 8.

"We are the unacknowledged victims of the victims of homophobia," Pierce Buxton told ABC News. "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."

From ABC News: "To be sure, not all mates who discover they are in what has become known as 'mixed-orientation marriages' are so sanguine. [Wah Cheong, a lifelong Republican and the soon-to-be-divorced father of two teenage boys,] who was married for more than 17 years when his wife told him she thought she was a lesbian, said he knows other straight spouses who voted for California's same-sex marriage ban 'out of spite for their exes, nothing else.'"

Regardless of where they are on the acceptance scale, each spouse can pinpoint devastating moments of discovery or disclosure that rendered their marital relationships unrecognizable, if not shattered.

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.

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