Friday, August 04, 2006

"The backlash against gay marriage has produced strong passions and weak arguments."

Taking a break from my beach preparations (has packing for vacation ever dragged on this long?) I got online to check my email and the news, only to see this outstanding op-ed piece by Ellen Goodman of the Washington Post Writers Group.

Surely you know by now that I am strongly in favor of equal treatment for homosexual persons and their relationships. Well, I am just as strongly opposed to bad arguments, and, as Goodman points out in her piece, some seriously bad arguments against equal rights for homosexual have been advanced lately, by people who really should know better.

Rather than doing what I am generally wont to do and going through Goodman's op-ed piece paragraph by paragraph, offering excessive commentary and making sure that you know that I could have written her piece at least as well as she did, if only she hadn't thought of it first; I'm just going to let her words stand for themselves since, let's face it, she's better at this than I am, no matter how much I want to deceive myself.

Here, as Tyler would say, is the "money quote":

Against this evolving backdrop, the courts had to reach pretty far to find some explanation for banning gay marriage other than old-fashioned discrimination. Even so -- as Justice Mary Fairhurst wrote in her Washington dissent -- neither court actually explained why "giving same-sex couples the same right that opposite-sex couples enjoy (would) injure the state's interest in procreation and healthy child rearing." After all, as Chief Judge Judith Kaye of New York wrote in her dissent, "There are enough marriage licenses to go around. ... No one rationally decides to have children because gays and lesbians are excluded from marriage."

Anyway, the piece is well worth the five minutes or so it should take you to read it, so check it out.

1 comment:

PamBG said...

The court wasn't just ruling against same-sex marriage. It was ruling in favor of ``procreationist marriage.''

As a heterosexually-married person who was not able to have children, I'm really starting to get worried by arguments like this. Maybe I just feel it more because of being childless, but I'm tired of the church making me feel like a second-rate human being; I don't need the civil government doing it as well. Should we have annulments for those individuals who find out that their spouse is infertile? Or maybe prevent women potentially past the child-bearing age from marrying in the first place? *rolls eyes*

As the "money" paragraph said, its ludicrious to think that a heterosexual couple would decide not to get married because a homosexual couple were allowed to get married.

The "post-modern ethical crisis" that traditionalists are worried about is upon society, but that crisis precisely means that the old approach of "This is the way we've always ordered society, so shut up and do as you're told" won't work.

It seems to me that the really sensible thing is to demonstrate the value of stable, committed relationships for all couples. I'm pleased that we've been able to establish civil partnerships for same-sex couples in the UK civil legal system, even if we stopped short of calling it "marriage" . What benefit does it serve to deny homosexual couples legal rights?