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05/28/2009

FRC: Fallacious Reproduction Citations

by Jeremy Hooper

Oh the poor, myopic Family Research Council. In a new bit that's attributed to FRC president Tony Perkins, the professionally anti-gay decry Ted Olson and David Boies' new case against Prop 8 by saying the following:

Ironically, the very first sentence of the Perry v. Schwarzenegger complaint includes an explanation of why marriage is defined as the union of a man and a woman. Quoting Loving v. Virginia, the 1967 case that recognized a right to interracial marriage, it says that "marriage is one of the 'basic civil rights of man,' fundamental to our very existence and survival." But marriage can only be called "fundamental to our very existence and survival" because of its role in encouraging and protecting the only type of relationship which results in the natural reproduction of the human race.
For Marriage, the Supreme Test [FRC]

A convenient thing for the "every 'I do' must be followed up by a baby" crowd to say. But if this is not a case of heavy-handed editorializing, then we don't know what is. For Loving v. Virginia's mention of the "basic civil rights of man" and the "fundamental" nature of marriage, which is quoted in the first line of Perry v. Schwarzenegger, in no way speaks to the non-required marital element known as reproduction. Loving v. Virginia speaks directly to the right of free people to pursue happiness. ALL people. To pursue their own marital freedom. Period:

The freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men.

Marriage is one of the "basic civil rights of man," fundamental to our very existence and survival. Skinner v. Oklahoma, 316 U.S. 535, 541 (1942). See also Maynard v. Hill, 125 U.S. 190 (1888). To deny this fundamental freedom on so unsupportable a basis as the racial classifications embodied in these statutes, classifications so directly subversive of the principle of equality at the heart of the Fourteenth Amendment, is surely to deprive all the State's citizens of liberty without due process of law. The Fourteenth Amendment requires that the freedom of choice to marry not be restricted by invidious racial discriminations. Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by the State.
Loving v. Virgnia [FindLaw]

Now, of course Loving v. Virginia is speaking to race, and there are some differences between this fight and our current one. But one undeniable connection? That then, just as now, the court is speaking to marriage for what it is: An institution involving two, consenting, qualified adults. You will not find chidlren or reproduction mentioned anywhere in Loving, because reproduction is not the be all and end all of loving. The kid argument is completely inadmissible in any fair-minded marital assessment.

Reproduction is not a concept with which we are struggling. What we are struggling with is in the area of protecting the fundamentals as they should apply to certain kinds of existences! FRC can fight the "basic civil rights of man" fight if they wish. However, if they keep making it about the "basic civil rights of only those men who inseminate a female," then they are going to lose even more quickly than they would otherwise.

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Your thoughts

Let's get a little hypothetical here. Suppose I am drugged and find myself in an ex-gay group. Suppose that in my weakened state, they are able to delude me into thinking I am no longer gay. I then go out to find a hypothetical wife. However, if the hypothetical wife I find is my age, she may well be beyond child bearing years. Even if she were still able to have children, it would probably not be a good idea at her age. Now according to Tony, it would not be a marriage because it would not produce offspring. I might as well stay with the hubby. However, I'm certain that Tony will be happy to hear that the hubby and I will keep trying to make a baby.

Posted by: Mike in the Tundra | May 28, 2009 8:45:47 AM

But can a gay couple reproduce? That is what is meant by 'fundamental to our very existence and survival'. You need a man and a woman to conceive. When a man can get pregnant or a woman can get pregnant by another woman that is the day this will be accepted.

Posted by: B Bill | May 28, 2009 2:57:51 PM

Right, we get what FRC (and you) are trying to say, B Bill. We are saying we reject it.

The fact is that Loving v. Virginia DOES NOT speak to the issue of reproduction. So you and Tony Perkins can editorialize around the "fundamental to our very existence and survival" line all you want -- but it not what the justices responsible for Loving said. There are other fundamentals that make marriage a benefit to society that don't involve children at all.

Posted by: G-A-Y | May 28, 2009 3:03:13 PM

I wish infertile straight people, childfree straight people, and straight people who reproduced just fine without a marriage certificate would understand that the Right clearly doesn't care for them, either. It's so easy to see that by these arguments!

Posted by: GreenEyedLilo | May 28, 2009 3:19:06 PM

If the reicht's so insistent and focused on breeding, then they wouldn't mind if the law required all straight couples to attend counseling sessions, and physicals. This way if the couple says they aren't going to have kids, or if the physical reveals if the woman is infertile, then the couple cannot marry.

The reicht should also require all couples to breed by the second year of marriage. If they cannot, then they are immediately divorced, and the woman forever banned from marrying again (because we all know the fault is *never* with the male!).

Posted by: Marlene | May 30, 2009 12:23:55 PM

And THEN what? How many MILLIONS of people who never had a biological child support society in OTHER ways? Support children in other ways?
Reproduction is something the most brutal animal can accomplish. The stupidest most irresponsible human being. It takes NO qualifications to do it, no restrictions either, regardless of physical or mental, or economic situation.

And here we are, with abortions, thousands if not millions of children languishing in neglect, abuse and poverty.
How many children require welfare? How many in foster care that NEVER had parents and aged out of the system to the further outrage of more poverty and a rudder and loveless condition?

How many married parents divorced and abandoned their offspring, and how many times serially?

How many whole families have been wiped out from custody battles and domestic violence?

What's the point in procreation when what happens after the baby arrives puts them in harm's way?

I chose NOT to have children, and you would have thought that MY life was otherwise useless, unproductive and unworthy of consideration of an alternative contribution.
This stigma is especially harsh against women.
How many women ARE pressured against their better judgment, self respect and self esteem to produce a child for the sake of others getting out of their business?

Indeed, isn't the fertility and IVF industry fueled by infertile heterosexuals?
How many have conceived irresponsibly like Nadya Suleman, aka 'octomom'?

And in a world of nearly 7 billion AND COUNTING, and dwindling resources to sustain that many people: procreation ISN'T the problem.

The natural order of infertility, mortality and homosexuality have been nature's way of putting checks and balances on the human race proliferating too much.
That and the extremes of man/woman relations. The caring bridge of homosexuality and asexuality and transgenderism speak to that variance that ALSO sustains the human race.

Perpetuation of the species, fine. But it's homosexuals, asexuals and so on...who keep it civilized enough to survive too.

Posted by: Regan DuCasse | May 30, 2009 2:06:23 PM

I'm not trying to talk about being gay like it's just a condition I happen to be gay and am out of the closet; I believe that being gay could be an evolutionary safeguard against overpopulation. Think and you can see that homosexual animals come in a fairly standard ratio to heterosexual people in births. Maybe the ratio is as such that it causes a population of our massive size that could create a number of the species that would not give offspring as an assist to general population control.

Anyway just because we might be part of the species that is meant to keep humans from increasing in population so much we are still human and therefore have rights. Marriage is just what Tony Perkins said without the part that states that because we don't reproduce we can't be married. It is human nature to join a small group of people incredibly close to you such as a pack and to deny that basic human instinct to any species is denying your humanity as a whole.

Posted by: zacktheman72 | May 31, 2009 4:59:19 AM

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