Why do homosexuals want to be able to get married to another person of the same sex -- but older heterosexual couples seem more comfortable living together and not getting married at all?
I'm no expert, so I can only guess why homosexuals want the opportunity for same-sex marriage. For one thing, I suppose it legitimizes their sexual orientation -- that marriage between two gay people makes those people feel "just as good" as two heterosexual people. And maybe there is also a monogamous impulse among gays, just as there is among heterosexuals -- although at least in males, the monogamous gene is counterbalanced by the well-documented urge to have sex with many different partners, especially if those partners are pretty and younger than you.
Anyway, most people naturally (biologically?) feel that they want to have children. In my day, gays typically got married to a person of the opposite sex; produced children, and then "came out" as gay after they'd been married for a while, in their 40s or even 50s. But today, people recognize their sexual proclivity earlier in life. So gays are not as likely to go through that heterosexual stage. If they want children, therefore, they would adopt them rather than create them, either by themselves or with a partner. And in all ways it's easier to adopt a child with a partner than by yourself.
Finally, there are the economic factors. A lot of gay people want to get married for the health benefits they can enjoy through a covered partner. Plus the life insurance, the social Security benefits, and whatever other economic benefits accrue with marriage.
So, yeah, I can see how gays would at least want the opportunity to get married. Not the obligation, but the opportunity.
One reason may be children from a previous marriage. A new marriage might upset the delicate family balance among the children, and in some ways it might be more delicate with older children than with younger ones.
Some people might simply be gun shy. They were married once or twice, and it didn't work out, so they're reluctant to try again. If you're a widow or widower, there might be feelings of fealty toward the dead spouse. Might some people think it's a betrayal to get married again? I don't know. I've never studied it, and I myself have only been divorced, never widowed.
Finally, there are the economic factors. Seniors are more likely to lose economic benefits rather than gain them, when they get married. They may lose a life insurance benefit from a diseased spouse; they may lose Social Security benefits.
In my case, my ex-wife has told me more than once that she will never get married again. I don't think that's because she still has any love left for me, or that her experience with marriage was so terrible she would never think of subjecting herself to that again. I think it's because the Social Security benefits she gets from me are higher than those she'd qualify for on her own.
There are other financial issues as well. A wealthy person may be reluctant to marry a poorer person -- and I think that situation is more likely to occur later in life. Or, merging two incomes of older, established people might push them into a higher tax bracket. And, obviously, if both people are on Medicare, there are no medical benefits to be gained by getting married.
I haven't reached any conclusions here about the advisability of marriage, for either gay couples or older couples. But it does seem like a strange situation, doesn't it? I don't know. I'm just thinking out loud. So go ahead, tell me why I'm wrong. I usually am.