Texas Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott has proven once again that GOP politicians do not understand how the whole same-sex vs different-sex thing works: by seriously arguing that same-sex marriage bans somehow decrease "out of wedlock" births and that legalising same-sex marriage in Texas would lead different-sex couples to avoid marriage and children.
Abbott's office filed a brief defending Texas's same-sex marriage ban on Friday, stating that the laws which make up the ban "are rationally related to the State's interest in reducing unplanned out-of-wedlock births." Unsurprisingly, Abbott has a very different understanding of what constitutes rationality than, well, most everyone else. Including, you know, the courts.
Texas's marriage laws are rationally related to the State's interest in encouraging couples to produce new offspring, which are needed to ensure economic growth and the survival of the human race.
Well, now, see we agree with that, to a degree. Obviously we're not forcing people to get married, have sexy times, and get to the baby making, but it does seem that the State has a legitimate role in making sure that option is available. And if State marriage laws make that easier for those who wish to follow such a path, then great! However, something tells me that's not where you're going with this.
By channeling procreative heterosexual intercourse into marriage...Texas's marriage laws reduce unplanned out-of-wedlock births and the costs that those births impose on society. Recognizing same-sex marriage does not advance this interest because same-sex unions do not result in pregnancy.
Oh. Okay. So, see, you're claiming the State has a rational basis for making sure the only real option being made available is for all those slutty mcslut containing different-sex couples out there to get married so they'll have kids within your moral framework. And you think that's the only reason marriages exist in Texas. So, of course, same-sex marriages do not advance that interest.
Guess what? Neither do a lot of different-sex marriages. How about the the DINKs? Double income, no kids. How about marriages where one partner is infertile and the couple decides not to have children? How about couples who get married late in their lives, maybe remarrying after previously losing spouses to death or divorce, and no longer have the ability to provide a space for children in their lives? These marriages also do not "advance this interest because" these "unions do not result in pregnancy." And yet I don't see you demanding injunctions every time one of these couples wishes to get married in Texas.
So, uh, you're just lying.
There is no 'fundamental right' to same-sex marriage...Texas's marriage laws do not expressly classify based on sexual orientation.
Oh, okay, see, now here you're arguing that the laws which ban same-sex marriage are constitutional because they don't address the issue of orientation, but rather are based on genitalia and one's ability to procreate with each other. So what you're saying here is, "hey, you know, a lesbian and a gay man can marry and have kids, that makes this totally fair. It's equal protection. I mean, straight people can't marry their same-sex best friends, either!"
I'm going to stop you there. Actually, there is plenty of precedent in other states and other circuits, as well as in previous Supreme Court rulings that marriage is in fact a fundamental right. Rather, to be more specific, marrying the person of your choice is a fundamental right. You want to stake out here that these previous precedents somehow only apply to everyone having the fundamental right to different-sex marriage. The problem with that argument, however, is that such a view would be looking at a group or a collective right to a marriage format—but this isn't about that. This is about a history of individual rights. Each individual has a right to marry the person of his or her (or their!) choice, and if this is about individual choice, then each individual has the fundamental right to choose any other individual who also chooses them. Sex cannot be a factor, in fact, we sort of frown on that in the law.
So, we're dealing here with a historically oppressed class—queer people. Who, at the very least, deserve heightened scrutiny (which makes it harder for the State to claim to have a compelling interest). And we have a fundamental right, that of the individual right to marry a person of that individual's choice. And that likely requires strict scrutiny (which makes it the hardest for the State to claim to have a compelling interest). Rational basis? Right out the window.
One concept that GOP politicians often seem to have issues grasping is that granting marriage rights and benefits to same-sex couples will not have any effect on heterosexuals. Really, it doesn't. More likely, you're going to see the supposed interest of the State, that of providing children with stable homes, actually advanced by same-sex couples who choose to have children, either biologically or through adoption of children from those "out-of-wedlock" scenarios the GOP seems to hate so much.
So, guess what, Abbott? Same-sex marriages actually advance your claimed wider agenda of aiding a stable society. ...Except that's not really your agenda at all, is it?
Image via AP.