Sunday, August 06, 2006

"Strong passions & weak arguments" mark recent court decisions on gay marriage

Applause for Ellen Goodman for pointing out the absurdity of the recent Washington state and New York high court rulings upholding same-sex marriage bans.

Goodman writes:
The backlash against gay marriage has produced strong passions and weak arguments.
In writing about the Washington decision, Goodman notes that it redefined marriage as nothing than a "procreationist" institution.
This is the heart of the opinion written by Justice Barbara Madsen: "Limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples furthers procreation, essential to survival of the human race, and furthers the well-being of children by encouraging families where children are reared in homes headed by the children's biological parents." In short, the state's wedding bells are ringing for procreators.

If that's true, isn't it time for the legislatures in Washington and in New York, which issued a similar ruling against same-sex marriage this summer, to follow their own logic? If marriage is for procreation, shouldn't they refuse to wed anyone past menopause? Shouldn't they withhold a license from anyone who is infertile? As for those who choose to be childless? Indeed, the state could offer young couples licenses with sunset clauses. After five years they have to put up (kids) or split up.

Of course the states' other interest is in families "headed by the children's biological parents." Why then give licenses to the couples who are raising 1.5 million adopted children? We can ban those blended families. And surely we should release partners from their vows upon delivery of their offspring to the nearest college campus.
This column is well worth reading. However, Goodman fails to note the very real harm that children in lesbian and gay families are suffering. These kids are forced to live in families without any legal protections. They can be torn away from loving parents by the whims of fate: an accident that kills the biological parent but leaves the co-parent alive, for example. Some estimates put the number of children in lesbian and gay families at 1 million. The prejudice of others should not be allowed to damage their lives.

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