Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Utah can't make up its mind

From the NY Times, a review of the shifting, incoherent arguments that Utah is trying to oppose marriage equality:

The state’s first argument, made before Judge Robert J. Shelby of the Federal District Court in Salt Lake City, was that “the traditional definition of marriage reinforces responsible procreation.” ... 
Judge Shelby agreed, saying the argument was true as far as it went. Encouraging marriage would make it more likely that the children of heterosexual couples would have parents who were married. 
But there was no reason, the judge went on, to think that allowing same-sex couples to marry would change that. To the contrary. By forbidding gay and lesbian couples from marrying, he wrote, “the state reinforces a norm that sexual activity may take place outside of marriage.”

Hmmm, not so effective.  So, they cited discredited studies to argue that children "do better" with opposite sex parents.  When the lawyers on the equality side pointed out that every national health care organization involved in the welfare of children disagrees,
Utah responded that it would not be swayed by “politically correct trade associations,” referring to, among others, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association and the American Psychiatric Association. “We are not ruled by experts,” the state’s brief said.
Okay then.  

Still not giving up on children,
“By holding up and encouraging man-woman unions as the ‘preferred’ arrangement in which to raise children,” the state said, “the state can increase the likelihood that any given child will in fact be raised in such an arrangement.” 
Judge Shelby had rejected the argument as illogical and counterproductive. Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage, he wrote, “does not make it any more likely that children will be raised by opposite-sex couples.” But it certainly demeans and humiliates the thousands of children being raised by same-sex couples in the state, he said.
Now, another shift:
“The state does not contend that the individual parents in same-sex couples are somehow ‘inferior’ as parents to the individual parents who are involved in married, mother-father parenting,” the state said. 
But, drawing on Supreme Court decisions endorsing the value of diversity in deciding who may attend public universities, the state now said it was pursuing “gender diversity” in marriages. “Society has long recognized that diversity in education brings a host of benefits to students,” the brief said. “If that is true in education, why not in parenting?” 
Is it just me that finds this completely illogical?

The problem they all have is that no marriage equality statute has anything to do with raising children.

First of all, there is no requirement for fecundity in marriage.  We have already decoupled child bearing and marrying.

Second, lots of gay couples already have children.  And they aren't going to stop having children just because they are denied marriage.

Third, gay people aren't suddenly going to go steal children of unsuspecting straights just because they get a marriage license.

As we saw in the Prop8 case, there are really no good arguments that the opponents of equality can make that don't involve their own view of religion.


Glenn Ingersoll said...

"gender diversity"

I laughed aloud when I read that. If it's important in a school, why not in a marriage?

I imagined myself on the bench getting to say stuff like, "According to the diversity argument you consider it appropriate for states to mandate mixed marriages? So Loving should have held, not that interracial marriages must be allowed but that interracial marriages should be the only kind? This would apply to religion as well? Perhaps each parent should speak a different language? If a little diversity is good - two sexes - wouldn't more diversity be better?"

IT said...

They are having an issue with logic, and consistency, out there in Salt Lake. Maybe for their $2mil they think they will buy some better arguments.