Wednesday, March 9, 2005

So much stupidity....

From The Seattle Times' Gay-marriage fight in state high court,

But attorney Steve O'Ban, representing the intervenors, a group of legislators and religious leaders, told the justices that no court has ruled that marriage is a fundamental right. "And we have made the determination that the optimal environment for raising a child is in a household headed by a man and a woman."

This paragraph jumped out at me, because I noticed that their legal argument is a shameless lie. The United States Supreme Court decided marriage was a fundamental right back in 1967. From the transcript of Loving v. Virginia:

Marriage is one of the "basic civil rights of man," fundamental to our very existence and survival. Skinner v. Oklahoma, 316 U.S. 535, 541 (1942). See also Maynard v. Hill, 125 U.S. 190 (1888). To deny this fundamental freedom on so unsupportable a basis as the racial classifications embodied in these statutes, classifications so directly subversive of the principle of equality at the heart of the Fourteenth Amendment, is surely to deprive all the State's citizens of liberty without due process of law. The Fourteenth Amendment requires that the freedom of choice to marry not be restricted by invidious racial discriminations. Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by the State.

The second sentence quoted from (and by) the Seattle Times is less of a lie, but still disingenuous. I'm sure that they "have made the determination that the optimal environment for raising a child is in a household headed by a man and a woman"; the question is, has any impartial source come to the same conclusion? I linked to a New York Times article a while back which said "experts say there is no scientific evidence that children raised by gay couples do any worse - socially, academically or emotionally - than their peers raised in more traditional households." And the Human Rights Campaign also provides some a compilation of various organizations' findings on the influence of sexual orientation in child rearing.

But HRC is not exactly a disinterested party in this debate, and I have heard people swear that there are studies proving exactly the opposite (though as one of these people is Bush, I'm not sure how much faith I can put in their accuracy). So I shall graciously give these people the benefit of the doubt, because their argument is completely irrelevant anyways. We don't test parental qualifications for anyone else seeking to get married; we don't even set out to ensure that they want to raise children. And in this case, their argument is contradictory. Observe:

In defending DOMA [Defense of Marriage Act], the state must convince the justices that the statute can pass the so-called "rational review" test, by showing that it serves a legitimate state purpose.

William Collins, the senior assistant attorney general who argued for the state, told the justices that rational basis stems from the fact that "only sexual relations between a man and a woman can create children — planned or unplanned."

So the state is trying to argue that they want to prevent gays from marrying because they cannot have children (though I'm still unclear as to why they think it's the government's business to encourage married couples to have children); yet in the same case they argue that gays shouldn't be allowed to marry because children would not fare well under a same-sex couple. Which begs the question: where do these people think those children will be coming from? That having same-sex parents is "worse" for the child than having opposite-sex parents is only relevant if you think that gays will be kidnapping children from heterosexuals and subjecting them to deficient familial standards. But the ways gays are most likely to obtain children--assisted fertility or adoption--either create a new child that never would have the option of "normal" parents anyways, or take a child out of conditions that are worse for hir growth than even the fiasco of same-sex parents.

(As an aside, am I the only one who thinks that the state's argument in this case--that it is the state's responsibility to encourage birth of optimal babies--taken to its logical conclusion serves as a cry for eugenics programs?)

That's all I have to say about that article. Turning now to HeraldNet's Gay marriage opponents, activists turn out in force, I find this gem:

"It's a slippery slope," said Daryl Bursch, a Spokane resident and event director for Mayday for Marriage. "They're not just asking for a license to marry, they're asking for tolerance."

Well, Heaven forfend that anyone should want to be tolerated!

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