Leave it to the folks in Utah to come up with one of the lamest, but most highly predictable, responses to the issue of gay marriage.
A recent federal court decision struck down that state’s ban on same-sex nuptials because the prohibition was, of course, unconstitutional. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,400 gay couples got married before the U.S. Supreme Court put a hold on the decision, pending further arguments before the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Attorneys for the state, which is dominated by the Mormon church, filed their arguments in a bid to uphold good, old-fashioned man-woman marriage, and they’re doing it for the children.
That’s right. It’s all about protecting the kids of Utah.
“As between mutually exclusive models of marriage, the man-woman model is simply the one the state and its people believe is best for children,” the state attorneys said in their filings this week.
According to an Associated Press report, the lawyers “argued that the risks to children from same-sex marriage include the emotional toll of growing up without a father or mother because their parents would be of the same gender. It also suggested birth rates in Utah might decline due to adults opting for same-sex unions instead of procreating.”
We assume a large segment of Utah’s populace would endorse this approach, but any thinking person can poke holes the size of a sperm whale in these arguments.
First, there’s absolutely no credible evidence children of gay couples are any worse off than children born to heterosexuals. In fact, one could argue gay parents, because of the difficulties they confront in order to have children, whether biologically or through adoption, might very well be more committed to the tasks associated with raising kids.
The American Pediatric Association and American Psychiatric Association are among the notable groups who dismiss the idea that gay couples are somehow at a disadvantage when it comes to raising socially and emotionally sound offspring.
The second part of the Utah attorneys’ argument is even more foolish.
Gay people will not magically be converted to heterosexuals, marry members of the opposite sex and begin producing children just because Utah drags its feet in the face of the inevitable and maintains a ban on gay marriage for the time being. And do they truly expect heterosexuals, if gay marriage were legalized, would suddenly “choose” to be gay and drop their plans for man-woman marriage, a house with a white picket fence and 2.5 children?
Gay couples already have formed families all across this country, even in Utah, and they do all the same sorts of things that heterosexual couples do in their daily lives, just with the handicap of being treated like second-class citizens. Many of them already have children, and if there were any real evidence that they were, collectively, doing a poor job of parenting, we are sure the opponents of gay marriage would be trumpeting it from the mountaintops. Much like the notion of pernicious voter fraud, it simply doesn’t exist.
We hear constantly from the “defense of marriage” crowd we should not be “redefining” marriage, but should adhere to what their supreme being intended.
A meme making the rounds on the Internet addresses that rather succinctly. It says, “The fact that you can’t sell your daughter for three goats and a cow means we’ve already redefined marriage.”
Religious arguments – and that’s what most of the opposition to gay marriage really boils down to – should have no place in a debate over who should be allowed to wed in this country. Marriage is a civil function, plain and simple.
An unintended consequence of Utah’s court appeal could be the U.S. Supreme Court ultimately might use the case to invalidate all state bans on same-sex marriages.
We pray that’s the way this plays out.