Ridiculous, Tired Responses to Appeals Court Blow to Virginia Same-Sex Marriage Ban
Houston Mayor Annise Parker (right) at her recent wedding to her long time partner.
Photo by Richard Hartog
In what has become a "second verse, same as the first" kind of response, another appeals court upheld challenges to a states's ban on same-sex unions on Tuesday. In this case, it was Virginia's voter-approved ban that was shot down on pretty much the same grounds many others (Utah, Oklahoma) have been rejected recently: They unfairly discriminate against Americans.
All of this is heading for a showdown in the Supreme Court, which last year killed the U.S. governments Defense of Marriage Act and will likely shatter the hopes of conservatives later this year by striking down state bans as well. With now a majority of Americans, according to polls, agreeing that same-gender unions should be allowed, the die has clearly been cast in this fight.
Still, some of the same tired arguments emerge at every defeat. The Virginia ruling was no different and, in a couple cases, ridiculous.
The 2-1 decision in Virginia had a lone dissenter, Paul V. Niemeyer, and his reasoning was, well, as antiquated as it was bizarre.
"It fails to take into account that the 'marriage' that has long been recognized by the Supreme Court as a fundamental right is distinct from the newly proposed relationship of a 'same-sex marriage,' " he wrote.
Niemeyer said the case was not analogous to Loving, which held that race could not be the basis of a marriage restriction. "To stretch Loving's holding to say that the right to marry is not limited by gender and sexual orientation is to ignore the inextricable, biological link between marriage and procreation that the Supreme Court has always recognized," he wrote.
So, in his world, plain old marriage and this new fangled "same-sex" version are inherently different because babies? According to him, if married couples cannot or, I'm assuming, refuse to have children, they are, in the eyes of the nation's highest court, not really married? This sad old chestnut about how marriage is only the domain of the childbearing is as stupid as it is horribly unromantic. And while it may be historically accurate to a degree, that is only if you ignore the last 100-plus years of unions in this country and countless others.
But, that was the judge. What about supporters of the ban?
"Virginia's laws have always rightly reflected the true and complementary nature of marriage," said Victoria Cobb, president of the Family Foundation of Virginia. "It's unfortunate that the court rejected the right of Virginians to define marriage consistent with their concern with what's best for children and society as a whole."
Ah, yes, think of the children. Of course, gays can adopt now in most places and society has managed to survive. There are even same gender couples in the animal kingdom and yet, as Jeff Goldbum's character in Jurassic Park put it, life finds a way. This utterly stupid notion that letting gays marry will suddenly destroy the fabric of society needs to end. Hetero couples are doing a perfectly fine job of ruining society through marriage, or divorce given the rate of a marriage surviving is substantially lower than not. Want to fix society, Ms. Cobb, try looking in the mirror.
But, she wasn't alone. Naturally, the Catholic Church chimed in.
"Marriage has survived for countless generations because it uniquely benefits the common good by recognizing the union of two different but complementary individuals -- that is a man and a woman -- who, by their union, may create a family," Bishops Paul S. Loverde of Arlington and Francis X. DiLorenzo of Richmond said in a joint statement.
Who exactly are these guys kidding? First, they don't marry, so they aren't exactly in a position to lecture the rest of us on the topic. Most importantly, this notion that marriage has survived for generations based on creating families is correct if you consider Game of Thrones-style nation building an accomplishment. Marriage, up until really the turn of the last century was, by and large, arranged. Sure, it was about making a family, but frequently for all the wrong reasons. Now, suddenly, everyone is engaged in collective had wringing to save the sanctity of an institution that has been about building a family in only the loosest possible sense.
Another loss and the inevitable creeps ever closer, but opponents continue to trot out the same arguments. Fortunately, it appears fewer and fewer are paying attention.