The Hidden Message of Same-Sex Marriage

 

shutterstock_219219871The four dissenters in Obergefell v. Hodges lucidly expressed the profound offense against constitutional law and representative democracy the ruling represents. In short, five lawyers, accountable to no one, chose to legislate on a profoundly consequential matter that the people were just beginning to address through democratic means. As Chief Justice Roberts wrote: “Who do we think we are?” If justices cannot resist the urge to legislate, let’s drop the pretense that constitutional law is guided by neutral principles and at least give the people the option to vote justices in (and out).

That the court has struck a blow for gay rights is true enough (and treating homosexuals with respect is long overdue). Unfortunately, the claim that this ruling also strengthens marriage is almost certainly false. To understand why is also to answer the question so often pressed as a taunt by gay marriage supporters: How can extending marriage to gays possibly affect your marriage? The answer lies in the hidden message.

The road to gay marriage began with feminism. Feminists argued that there were no important differences between the sexes. Thus, mothering and fathering were interchangeable. The word ‘parent’ became a verb. If mothers and fathers bring nothing unique or complementary to their roles, then it logically follows that two mothers or two fathers should be just as good. Talk of three or more parents misses the mark. The relevant number is one. If fathers are no different from mothers, then single women needn’t pause before embarking on “parenthood” solo – and they aren’t.

Along with feminism, the past few decades have featured a widespread retreat from the idea of family duty. Long before gay marriage was spoken of, we had already enshrined the idea of marriage as a matter of personal fulfillment for adults rather than first and foremost as a stable environment for children. Because marriage came to be seen as primarily about adult happiness, divorce boomed in 1960s and 70s. It has drifted down in the 21st century, but remains double what it was in 1960.

At the same time, the idea that marriage is a necessary precondition for parenthood is withering. Marriage today is treated as optional by many parents, just one of many available paths. As Justice Alito noted in his dissent, fully 40 percent of American births are now to unmarried women. Additionally, more than half of all children will spend some part of their childhoods in a non-nuclear family.

Heterosexuals managed this assault on marital stability without any help from homosexuals, but gay marriage ratifies it.

Requiring that same-sex unions be treated exactly the same as traditional marriages carries an implicit message: It confirms the view that the sexes are interchangeable. Every homosexual couple that raises a child together is choosing to deny that child a parent of the other sex. How will that social experiment turn out?

We have no idea. The social science literature is no help, because same-sex couples have not been studied long enough to make fair comparisons. (The cases studied so far are usually children whose same-sex parents began their married lives in different, heterosexual families.)

What the literature does show unequivocally is that children do best when raised by their married, biological parents. No other family structure, including stepfamilies, comes close. While death and divorce sometimes deny one or both parents to children; and while many single parents are able to raise happy, healthy citizens notwithstanding this hardship; we cannot honestly claim that it makes no difference. Children who lose their mothers or fathers grieve for the loss – often even when they never knew the missing parent. Some children raised by same-sex couples have written of their pain at being separated from one biological parent, despite their love for their same-sex parents.

Adoption is probably the most successful social program we’ve managed to devise, and most adoptees grow up healthy and happy (my husband and I raised one ourselves). Yet few would argue that adoption makes no difference. An adopted child must grapple with feelings of abandonment. We wouldn’t impose adoption on a child if it were possible for his natural parents to raise him, would we?

When a man and a woman marry, the natural outcome is biological children related to both parents. When homosexuals marry, any child raised must lose one natural parent. With gay marriage now the law, the message to heterosexuals is to continue to devalue the biological and social importance of mothers and fathers, and to discount the needs of children.

If there’s a way, post-Obergefell. to convince heterosexuals that, on the contrary, mothers and fathers are indispensable, I’d love to hear about it.

Published in Law, Marriage
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  1. Basil Fawlty Member
    Basil Fawlty
    @BasilFawlty

    AIG:

    Basil Fawlty:

    Sorry. I’d rather be ruled by a mob than by five fools in black robes.

    Being ruled by the mob is the definition of “left wing”.

    And which wing is defined by being ruled by five fools in black robes?

    • #31
  2. Lucy Pevensie Inactive
    Lucy Pevensie
    @LucyPevensie

    MarciN:In the absence of studies of quantifiable known outcomes for adopted kids, for the moment it will have to be your experience versus mine, I guess.

    I read a story a while back in the New York Times about children of divorce trying really hard to avoid divorce for their own kids. I read another story years before that about kids who had been put in daycare centers avoiding them for their own kids. I’m predicting adoptees will be avoiding it for their own children.

    Actually, adoption has always been around throughout all human history (unlike, for example, same-sex marriage), so there are lots and lots of studies on the effects of adoption.  Here’s a link to a brochure from the Family Research Council summarizing research on adoption.

    In fact, I know many adopted kids who became adoptive parents, some who also had biological kids but wanted to replicate their adoptive family circumstances.

    • #32
  3. Palaeologus Inactive
    Palaeologus
    @Palaeologus

    If I wanted to condescend to people who disagreed with me, I’d repeatedly recite portions of their arguments in “scare quotes,” and simultaneously suggest that they aren’t faithful to their own ideals.

    Then again, I’m a crank. YMMV.

    • #33
  4. AIG Inactive
    AIG
    @AIG

    Basil Fawlty:

    And which wing is defined by being ruled by five fools in black robes?

    The wing that says we’re a nation of laws, not men.

    Whether you agree with their decision or not is a separate issue. But in a nation of laws, that is precisely their job. And they’re under no obligation to rule in ways you find acceptable.

    Palaeologus: If I wanted to condescend to people who disagreed with me, I’d repeatedly recite portions of their arguments in “scare quotes,” and simultaneously suggest that they aren’t faithful to their own ideals.

    I’ll put a trigger warning next time.

    • #34
  5. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @Sash

    It is not really just marriage that has been dumbed down to mean a legal document that assures rights… it is the whole definition of what being a human means.

    There have always been people attracted to the same sex.  It was not a different form of being human.  In fact, in many cases, who some people engaged in sex with was dependent on the people available: sailors who were male lovers at sea, but who found female prostitutes on shore, for instance.  These people fit in the scale of what it meant to be human.  Once upon a time there were only two genders, and no matter what the behavior, they were still fundamentally a male, or a female.  They were simply humans with urges.

    Now it is somehow essential to define a person by who they engage in sex with.  This seems to have less dignity to me, rather than more.  Because essentially the human body is still male or female, but it is the behavior that makes the rules about one’s humanity.  That seems degrading to me, to be reduced to a merely sexual being.  And to publically declare that you are defined merely by your urges. Now you are a urge that happens to be human.

    • #35
  6. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    Lucy Pevensie:

    MarciN:In the absence of studies of quantifiable known outcomes for adopted kids, for the moment it will have to be your experience versus mine, I guess.

    I read a story a while back in the New York Times about children of divorce trying really hard to avoid divorce for their own kids. I read another story years before that about kids who had been put in daycare centers avoiding them for their own kids. I’m predicting adoptees will be avoiding it for their own children.

    Actually, adoption has always been around throughout all human history (unlike, for example, same-sex marriage), so there are lots and lots of studies on the effects of adoption. Here’s a link to a brochure from the Family Research Council summarizing research on adoption.

    In fact, I know many adopted kids who became adoptive parents, some who also had biological kids but wanted to replicate their adoptive family circumstances.

    I know most adoptions work out. And it’s a great thing.

    • #36
  7. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @Sash

    My family is an example of very successful adoption.  My husband is adopted and precisely because it was such a positive family experience we searched out a child to adopt and add to our biological children.

    Of course there are issues of abandonment.  But that was happened before we came along.

    That son is taking longer to marry and have a family (he is 27) but he’ll get there.  And he is still part of our daily life and will be forever.  As my husband’s parents and siblings are a huge part of our daily lives.  Actually the two adopted children in my husband’s family are very close, as are our adult children with their cousins.

    Adoption works.

    • #37
  8. Ryan M Member
    Ryan M
    @RyanM

    Your closing sentence is almost too poignant, Mona.

    • #38
  9. Ryan M Member
    Ryan M
    @RyanM

    @ Sash, et. al. Yes, adoption works, but only as a second-best option in the face of already bad circumstances. I fully support it (my wife and I both work in that field). But adoption doesn’t always work, and part of that is managing expectations. One of my least favorite parts of my job is representing kids whose adoptive parents are essentially trying to un-adopt them… Same thing with foster parents. Good ones are fantastic, but when people go into it for the wrong reasons or with misplaced expectations, the results are devastating.

    • #39
  10. Big Green Inactive
    Big Green
    @BigGreen

    AIG:

    Yes. And doesn’t that hint at some underlying reason why these things have changed? Which have little to do with social movements or rhetoric?

    Just as these things may have seemed “necessary” given the economic conditions of the time they were enacted, but no longer seem necessary today…so the same applies to the arguments on marriage in general.

    The 20th century bought economic changes for the individual that were unprecedented before. The need which necessitated in most cases the existence of the “traditional relationship”, is for most people no longer there. And people’s choices reflect that.

    And it is not important to say what people prefer. Preferences and needs are different. The preference for marriage and long-lasting ones may still be there. But the need isn’t there anymore.

    Sure, to some extent.  You are absolutely right the economic advances over the past 150 years are likely a direct cause in the changes of the some social norms.  However, you harping on the hypocrisy of the “conservative” case also ignores the role that government itself has played in bringing about some of those changes.  Do you think single motherhood (to pick just one example) would be seen as a perfectly viable option in the absence of a welfare state?  Your zeal to find hypocrisy and inconsistency leads you down some strange roads.

    • #40
  11. user_82762 Inactive
    user_82762
    @JamesGawron

    Sash:It is not really just marriage that has been dumbed down to mean a legal document that assures rights… it is the whole definition of what being a human means.

    There have always been people attracted to the same sex. It was not a different form of being human. In fact, in many cases, who some people engaged in sex with was dependent on the people available: sailors who were male lovers at sea, but who found female prostitutes on shore, for instance. These people fit in the scale of what it meant to be human. Once upon a time there were only two genders, and no matter what the behavior, they were still fundamentally a male, or a female. They were simply humans with urges.

    Now it is somehow essential to define a person by who they engage in sex with. This seems to have less dignity to me, rather than more. Because essentially the human body is still male or female, but it is the behavior that makes the rules about one’s humanity. That seems degrading to me, to be reduced to a merely sexual being. And to publically declare that you are defined merely by your urges. Now you are a urge that happens to be human.

    Sash,

    Surely the Supreme Court can confer Dignity upon these creatures. No, on second thought, all it can do is mouth meaningless ‘fortune cookie’ aphorisms and then empower the most tendentious elements in society to attack those who still exhibit the behavior that expresses Dignity. Now everyone will be equally perverse or at least the perverse will tell themselves so.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #41
  12. Howellis Inactive
    Howellis
    @ManWiththeAxe

    Tommy De Seno: Could anyone imagine the issues in Loving v Virginia being left to the states or a popular vote?

    I don’t find Loving v. Virginia to be all that relevant to the case of homosexual marriage. Loving was essentially an equal protection case, in which the due process clause of the 14th amendment was mentioned almost in passing. The equal protection clause of the 14th amendment was adopted to eliminate invidious racial classifications and discrimination. Thus, the actual written Constitution addresses the question that arose in Loving.

    Not so in Obergefell. There is no provision of the Constitution whose purpose is to address the rights of homosexuals.

    The impetus behind the adoption of the 14th amendment was the very fact that the states could not be trusted to treat the freedmen fairly. Whether the states can be trusted to treat homosexuals fairly or not has never been addressed by the constitutional amendment process.

    • #42
  13. AIG Inactive
    AIG
    @AIG

    Big Green:

    Sure, to some extent. You are absolutely right the economic advances over the past 150 years are likely a direct cause in the changes of the some social norms. However, you harping on the hypocrisy of the “conservative” case also ignores the role that government itself has played in bringing about some of those changes. Do you think single motherhood (to pick just one example) would be seen as a perfectly viable option in the absence of a welfare state? Your zeal to find hypocrisy and inconsistency leads you down some strange roads.

    Sure, I have no problem accepting that minus the welfare state there wouldn’t be as many…single…mothers.

    But it then doesn’t necessarily follow that not being single, those mothers would be better mothers than they currently are.

    I don’t consider “conservatives” believing this or it’s opposite as hypocrisy. I consider hypocrisy not recognizing that “we” ourselves are engaged in social engineering without having very many facts to back it up, other than our normative assumptions.

    My main argument was simply that times have changed very drastically…organically…and there’s no reason why changes in “traditions” ought to be viewed as something nefarious. Change in traditions when the underlying conditions change, is perfectly fine and natural.

    • #43
  14. Howellis Inactive
    Howellis
    @ManWiththeAxe

    AIG: Neither side made much use of “law” here. So it’s not as if the dissent made a more coherent argument. Second, it is irrelevant what the referendum or the law of a state says. If it is found to be in violation of the Constitution, of course 5 judges can invalidate such laws or referendums.

    What is not irrelevant is what the Constitution says, although one reading the majority opinion would think otherwise.

    Your use of the passive voice, “If it is found…” makes it seem as if there is some objectivity to what the five justices are doing.

    But that objectivity is lacking when there is nothing in the text of the Constitution to support that finding. It is further lacking when there is nothing in the historical record of the Constitutional provision in question to support that finding. The further the justices get in their opinion from the written text the less legitimacy their conclusions have.

    It seems beyond question to me that the five justices invalidated the state laws defining marriage as between a man and a woman only because they didn’t like those laws, not because of anything in the Constitution.

    • #44
  15. AIG Inactive
    AIG
    @AIG

    Man With the Axe: Your use of the passive voice, “If it is found…” makes it seem as if there is some objectivity to what the five justices are doing. But that objectivity is lacking when there is nothing in the text of the Constitution to support that finding. It is further lacking when there is nothing in the historical record of the Constitutional provision in question to support that finding. The further the justices get in their opinion from the written text the less legitimacy their conclusions have.

    That’s a fine opinion to have. But that wasn’t what I was addressing.

    What I wrote referred to the notion or accusation that what SCOTUS did was not the “right way”. That the “right way” is to do it by referendum etc. Seems to me its perfectly the “right way” to do it. That’s why the question went in front of them.

    It’s their job to determine if the law in a State passes Constitutional muster or not. Whether they reach the right decision or not is always open to debate. But it’s also irrelevant…because if SCOTUS had reached a decision to “our” liking, we wouldn’t be talking about 5 evil judges in robes, would we?

    I.e., there can be complaints about their decision, or complaints about the fact that SCOTUS gets to decide. I was addressing the latter complaint.

    • #45
  16. Howellis Inactive
    Howellis
    @ManWiththeAxe

    AIG: It’s their job to determine if the law in a State passes Constitutional muster or not.

    Says who?

    • #46
  17. Basil Fawlty Member
    Basil Fawlty
    @BasilFawlty

    AIG:

    Whether you agree with their decision or not is a separate issue. But in a nation of laws, that is precisely their job. And they’re under no obligation to rule in ways you find acceptable.

    No, their job is to interpret the constitution, not to legislate according to their personal preferences.  And so, while I disagree with the outcome of the decision, I’m absolutely appalled by the arrogation of power it represents.   And you should be too.

    • #47
  18. Ralphie Inactive
    Ralphie
    @Ralphie

    In order to make hetero/homo marriage equal, you have to determine definitions. Marriage has traditionally resulted in the creation/adoption of children,  so it is a major consideration in making the components of these marriages equal. Because the sexual copulation all homosexual couples always results in no children, it must be assumed all heterosexual marriage results in no children. That is setting the lowest common denominator.  One of the strongest motivators to get married is to create a family, and that generally means children.  In every homosexual marriage, at least one parent is always adoptive.  I would assume that the children are aware of the biological parent, so it would be informally a step parent arrangement.

    I have read that in some places, legal parent A and legal parent B are the way the law identifies parents so gays aren’t insulted. So instead of mother and father on a birth certificate, which implies strong biological rights (as well as responsibilities) to have and raise a child, it seems the biological parents would be subject to the state’s benevolence in determining how to raise that child (children).  If homeschooling is frowned upon by your local child welfare office, perhaps your status of legal could be changed.

    The legal status of children seems the most contentious part of divorce.

    How does homosexual marriage effect a heterosexual marriage is yet to be seen, but I can imagine future legal challenges to be more like divorce than marriage.

    • #48
  19. Autistic License Inactive
    Autistic License
    @AutisticLicense

    AIG:Neither side made much use of “law” here. So it’s not as if the dissent made a more coherent argument.

    Second, it is irrelevant what the referendum or the law of a state says. If it is found to be in violation of the Constitution, of course 5 judges can invalidate such laws or referendums.

    This is precisely the purpose of the Constitution. Both to limit the ability of the government, but also to limit the ability of the “mob”. The “mob” can’t simply vote in a referendum whatever it wants, if what it votes violate the rights of citizens.

    Conservatives need to stop making this argument. It’s a very “un-conservative” argument. It’s argument for mob rule.

    I’d say that those issues not covered in the Constitution are decided by the states.  (And the states, I believe, would eventually come around.)  This decision is another Roe v. Wade:  regardless of how you feel about the issue, the decision process will assure that the rancor goes on for decades.  It makes the Court look like another political tool.  It doesn’t help to have mobs outside the Court holding signs and it shouldn’t change things one way or the other.  But it did.  Lawfare against bakers didn’t help matters either.  If we could restore the right of association, many of these issues would fix themselves.  The Court is not there to referee:  it’s there to read and interpret.

    Of Mona’s argument, I’m sorry — I just don’t see anything new there.

    • #49
  20. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @FrontSeatCat

    It never made sense to me that gays married in one state move to a different state and are not married? Stupid.   Civil unions guaranteed SSM all rights under law. What I think is under assault is what is “Holy”.

    Who defined marriage? All major religions have marriage so it was created from God and defined in ancient holy texts – read the language. If humans did not define it, how can humans redefine it? It is a sacrament. There are sacraments and covenants in religion – different from man-made laws. Example-God made a covenant with the Jews giving them the land of Israel – there is 4000 years of historical, physical, written documented proof. All of the countries surrounding it are not Israel, but  Arab.

    Traditionally major religions do not recognize SSM. Some churches and rabbis will perform marriage. Every gay person (couple) is protected under the law  Try being gay in Russia or N. Korea. In fact, you can be an idiot and burn the country’s flag here; try that in Red Square or N. Korea or China. We have Freedom of Religion under the law too. It is under assault worldwide.

    People are trying to re-write history – dismantle it – replace it. A military chaplain cannot say Jesus, Jews are afraid in Europe. We cherish freedom and as we approach the 4th, need to teach what it means again. The words husband and wife have meaning, to rear children, but also to represent something holy to humanity.

    • #50
  21. Big Green Inactive
    Big Green
    @BigGreen

    AIG:

    Sure, I have no problem accepting that minus the welfare state there wouldn’t be as many…single…mothers.

    But it then doesn’t necessarily follow that not being single, those mothers would be better mothers than they currently are.

    I don’t consider “conservatives” believing this or it’s opposite as hypocrisy. I consider hypocrisy not recognizing that “we” ourselves are engaged in social engineering without having very many facts to back it up, other than our normative assumptions.

    My main argument was simply that times have changed very drastically…organically…and there’s no reason why changes in “traditions” ought to be viewed as something nefarious. Change in traditions when the underlying conditions change, is perfectly fine and natural.

    Well…saying that it doesn’t necessarily follow that those same mothers would  be better mothers than they currently if they weren’t single is entirely pointless because no one is making that argument.

    The point is that they wouldn’t have to be “better” mothers in a standalone sense.  There would be two parents, responsibilities can be shared, a father at home is likely better, etc (as would be case with a single father).  I am not saying this is true in all instances (as I know you will instantly move into an argument about a potential “bad” husband, etc.).

    If you can’t see that, not sure what to tell you.

    • #51
  22. iDad Inactive
    iDad
    @iDad

    Basil Fawlty:AIG:

    Whether you agree with their decision or not is a separate issue. But in a nation of laws, that is precisely their job. And they’re under no obligation to rule in ways you find acceptable.

    No, their job is to interpret the constitution, not to legislate according to their personal preferences. And so, while I disagree with the outcome of the decision, I’m absolutely appalled by the arrogation of power it represents. And you should be too.

    And here you put your finger on it – many of those who agree with King Kennedy and his four social engineers have no problem with them “doing their job” and discovering a federal right to homosexual marriage.  They’re not appalled – they applaud.

    • #52
  23. Ricochet Moderator
    Ricochet
    @PainterJean

    Passing laws that forbid gays from getting married would be coercion or is it urging and arguing?

    Gays have been free to marry — they can devise their own vows or find a church that will perform the ceremony. The question has been whether or not that marriage is recognized by the state.

    Yes. And doesn’t that hint at some underlying reason why these things have changed? Which have little to do with social movements or rhetoric?

    The welfare state has made it possible for individuals to make poor choices but not be economically devastated by them. They might not thrive, but they’ll be taken care of. The loss of social stigmas regarding being on the public assistance and having a child out of wedlock mean that there won’t be any social price to pay either.

    Contraception has played a huge role in the changing view of marriage.

    • #53
  24. Herbert Woodbery Member
    Herbert Woodbery
    @Herbert

    ((((Passing laws that forbid gays from getting married would be coercion or is it urging and arguing?

    Gays have been free to marry — they can devise their own vows or find a church that will perform the ceremony. The question has been whether or not that marriage is recognized by the state.)))

    Yes you are correct… I should have said passing laws that forbid state recognition of gay marriages……

    • #54
  25. Ricochet Moderator
    Ricochet
    @PainterJean

    Yes you are correct… I should have said passing laws that forbid state recognition of gay marriages……

    The state recognized heterosexual marriage for the simple reason that, because of its procreative nature, the state had a stake in it — a stable society requires stable families, and no better institution for raising children — the future — has been devised than a married mother and a father and their children. Homosexual relationships are by nature sterile, so the state had little or no interest in it. That’s why they weren’t recognized. So there’s neither coercion or urging or arguing — it’s simply not a marriage, as previously understood.

    • #55
  26. Herbert Woodbery Member
    Herbert Woodbery
    @Herbert

    ((((The state recognized heterosexual marriage for the simple reason that, because of its procreative nature, the state had a stake in it — a stable society requires stable families, and no better institution for raising children — the future — has been devised than a married mother and a father and their children. Homosexual relationships are by nature sterile, so the state had little or no interest in it. That’s why they weren’t recognized. So there’s neither coercion or urging or arguing — it’s simply not a marriage, as previously understood.))))

    Is there anything in the legislative history that supports your assertions?

    • #56
  27. Howellis Inactive
    Howellis
    @ManWiththeAxe

    Painter Jean: Homosexual relationships are by nature sterile, so the state had little or no interest in it. That’s why they weren’t recognized. So there’s neither coercion or urging or arguing — it’s simply not a marriage, as previously understood.

    It strikes me that the more likely explanation for the failure to include homosexual marriage in the definition of marriage (one way or the other) is that in a society in which homosexuality itself is a crime punishable by death or imprisonment, it would be a waste of good ink and paper to bother with mentioning something as unthinkable as homosexual marriage.

    • #57
  28. Herbert Woodbery Member
    Herbert Woodbery
    @Herbert

    (((It strikes me that the more likely explanation for the failure to include homosexual marriage in the definition of marriage (one way or the other) is that in a society in which homosexuality itself is a crime punishable by death or imprisonment, it would be a waste of good ink and paper to bother with mentioning something as unthinkable as homosexual marriage.))

    Yep

    • #58
  29. Ricochet Moderator
    Ricochet
    @PainterJean

    Is there anything in the legislative history that supports your assertions?

    The institution of marriage as a union of the two sexes predates any “legislative history” in this country.

    It strikes me that the more likely explanation for the failure to include homosexual marriage in the definition of marriage (one way or the other) is that in a society in which homosexuality itself is a crime punishable by death or imprisonment, it would be a waste of good ink and paper to bother with mentioning something as unthinkable as homosexual marriage.

    But if this were the case, then one could expect that in cultures in which homosexual behavior was approved of, or at least not looked upon as criminal, homosexual “marriages” would be recognized. But that’s not the case. Marriage has always involved the two sexes because of the procreative nature of their union. If humans reproduced by giving birth to children who could go about their merry way shortly after birth, like sharks and turtles, we wouldn’t have marriage because we wouldn’t need marriage.

    • #59
  30. Howellis Inactive
    Howellis
    @ManWiththeAxe

    Painter Jean:… one could expect that in cultures in which homosexual behavior was approved of, or at least not looked upon as criminal, homosexual “marriages” would be recognized. But that’s not the case. Marriage has always involved the two sexes because of the procreative nature of their union. If humans reproduced by giving birth to children who could go about their merry way shortly after birth, like sharks and turtles, we wouldn’t have marriage because we wouldn’t need marriage.

    I agree with your explanation of why we need marriage. But consider a hypothetical debate on a bill introduced in 1880 banning homosexual marriage. Why spend even one minute debating the issue? It wasn’t necessary. Everyone understood what marriage was and what it wasn’t.

    Here is a quote from Baker v. Nelson, a 1972 Minnesota case that addressed this issue. Two men sued when denied a license to marry each other:

    Petitioners contend, first, that the absence of an express statutory prohibition against same-sex marriages evinces a legislative intent to authorize such marriages. We think, however, that a sensible reading of the statute discloses a contrary intent.

    Minn.St. c. 517, which governs “marriage,” employs that term as one of common usage, meaning the state of union between persons of the opposite sex. It is unrealistic to think that the original draftsmen of our marriage statutes, which date from territorial days, would have used the term in any different sense.

    • #60
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