Washington State Marriages – Children Required

February 6, 2007 by
Filed under: Life, Religion, Shoot Yourself in the Foot 

(My alternate title:  The Gay Rights Movement Loses A Supporter Again)

The gay rights folks in Washington State have gone too far.  Once again, they have found a way to piss off straight supporters in their bid for gay marriage.

The Washington Defense of Marriage Alliance is proposing a ballot initiative (957) that would:

  1. Require that heterosexual couples prove that they are able to have children before they can receive a marriage license, and
  2. Automatically annul any Washington marriage that fails to produce children within 3 years, and
  3. Require proof that couples married outside of Washington state file proof of procreation within 3 years of their wedding, or be labeled “unrecognized”, and
  4. Establish a process to prove procreation, and
  5. Make it a crime for people in an “unrecognized” marriage to receive marriage benefits.

Thank God I took that first-aid course.” “What did you do?” he asked. “I sat down and put my head between my knees to keep from fainting!” We’ve all heard of it and know that it is a successful sex power booster which safely raises the stimulation without causing any dangerous side- effect on the brand cialis price human body. Take the medicine with water only Another problem people tend to face when consuming cipla cialis italia check is they take it as per the physician’s prescription. You must reboot your brain sildenafil cialis and reprogram your mind for success. A woman might feel it is somehow her fault generic pharmacy cialis that she can’t keep him turned on and question her own desirability. This is clearly aimed at invalidating a ruling by the Washington Supreme Court that upheld the ban on gay marriage.  That ruling declared that a legitimate interest existed for the legislature to limit marriage to those couples that could produce children.

Carolyn and I have decided not to have children, for reasons that I don’t feel the need to go into here.  This would directly affect us if we lived in Washington.

The WDOMA folks clearly recognize that this is absurd.  They are hoping that challenges to this law would cause the Washington Supreme Court to overturn their previous ruling.

What this move fails to do is take into account the degree to which gay rights folks can anger their straight supporters.  Making my marriage illegal in order to try to make yours legal is not a good strategy.  It angers me.  I’ve been a strong supporter of gay rights, but if this type of move were to propagate across the country, I would drop that support – because MY marriage would be under attack by those whom I support.

Let’s face it – homosexual people are at most 10% of the population.  In order to have laws changed to support gay marriage, the support of a significant portion of the straight population is required.  This move – by directly attacking all heterosexuals INCLUDING YOUR SUPPORTERS – is doomed to fail.  Worse than that, it will erode the support of the gay rights movement among straight people.

Drop this attempt.  You are dangerously close to losing my support.  You NEED the support of straight people in order to achieve your agenda.


16 Comments on Washington State Marriages – Children Required

  1. Alan on Tue, 6th Feb 2007 11:43 am
  2. Mark, I think you’re taking this far too seriously. It is simply an attempt to force the far right to own up to what they’ve been saying for years: If you don’t have kids, you’re not really married. I’m sure you’ve heard that almost as many times as I have.

    This is the gay marriage equivalent of some Congressman pushing for a military draft in order to show how thin support for the war is. It’s a stunt. I think it’s a silly political stunt, and I wouldn’t take it personally if I were you. I think you give them far too much credit. 🙂

    You and I both know this won’t pass … it won’t even get on the ballot. And then it will be used to show the far right for the bunch of hypocrites that they are. They’re not really for marriage, they’re simply against gay people, and their definition of marriage, which includes procreation, is simply their attempt to justify their prejudice.

  3. Arthur Woodling on Tue, 6th Feb 2007 11:43 am
  4. Mark,

    Clearly you understand the point they are trying to make, so why should it bother you? You should only be bothered if the proposal is actually adopted as law (a hopefully silly notion).

    BTW, my wife and I won’t be having children either. Maybe I’ll be exempt since I adopted my Wife’s 29-year-old son last year (always my son at heart). Hmm… Maybe gay couples have heard of adoption too. Oh drat! Maybe I’m not so safe after all. For the sake of my own marriage I should sponsor an initiative that would bar gays from adopting. Oh wait… Alabama effectively already did that. 😉


  5. Mark on Tue, 6th Feb 2007 11:55 am
  6. Yes, it’s a stunt.

    However, it’s a stunt that could potentially become law. As such, a bad move.

    Besides, I think you missed my point. This proposal hits home with the “you can’t be married because you can’t have children” anti-gay folks. Unfortunately, it also targets pro-gay folks who are married and have no children. We’re collateral damage, we’re hit by friendly fire.

    I really have a problem with anyone attacking my marriage. As in “hungry lion protecting cubs” problem.

  7. Alan on Tue, 6th Feb 2007 12:24 pm
  8. Mark,, I totally understand what you’re saying…and I’d be mad too….IF the writers of this amendment really meant it. It’s a stunt…political satire.

    Maybe if more people felt like you do, some of the anti-gay stuff wouldn’t get passed. However, you also need to realize that there are probably lots of straight people who don’t have kids that still spout the same anti-gay crap we hear from the fundies about marriage and procreation. Maybe something like this will jar them.

    The failure of the anti-gay marriage amendment in Arizona showed us that, in fact, we do indeed need straight people as allies. Unfortunately it also showed us that the majority of straight people can only be bothered to be our allies when their own benefits are on the line. Those are the people this stunt targets.

  9. Andy Heyman on Tue, 6th Feb 2007 1:03 pm
  10. Mark,

    You are missing the fact it was the Washington State Supreme Court (in a desperate political move) that tied marriage and child-bearing together. So it was they, and the Christian right, that attacked your marriage.

    The initiative is merely an attempt to point-out the absurdity of that decision. I can understand that you are angry, but I would remind you that that anger is exactly why government should stay out of people’s private lives.

  11. gannetgirl on Tue, 6th Feb 2007 1:09 pm
  12. So ~ theatre of the absurd?

    I’m guessing that for gay people, the Washington court and religious right’s approach to marriage seems like theatre of the absurd, as well.

    I have to admit, this gave me a Handmaid’s Tale kind of feeling when I first read it.

  13. Quotidian Grace on Tue, 6th Feb 2007 4:13 pm
  14. You make great points, Mark, and I think they are more compelling when made by a supporter of gay marriage rights like yourself.

  15. Classical Presbyterian on Tue, 6th Feb 2007 5:09 pm
  16. I would like to see some citations of sources who make claim that marriage is ONLY for having children. None of the conservatives that I have heard of have made that assertion.

    I’m sure that if you look long and hard enough you can find someone who will make that claim, but I think that it is making a straw man fallacy for these pro-gay marriage groups to assert that conservatives limit marriage to child bearing alone as a defining quality.

    If there are mainstream, thoughtful conservatives who espouse that view, I don’t know them. I would like to see what evidence there is to back up the claim of the rhetoric.

  17. Classical Presbyterian on Tue, 6th Feb 2007 5:24 pm
  18. John McNeese thinks this initiative is a joke. I’m not so sure.

    What do you think?

  19. Alan on Tue, 6th Feb 2007 5:41 pm
  20. “If there are mainstream, thoughtful conservatives who espouse that view…”

    If they were mainstream and thoughtful, then they probably wouldn’t espouse that view, right? I mean, aren’t you basically defining any relevant examples out of existence? 🙂

  21. kairos on Wed, 7th Feb 2007 7:28 am
  22. I just posted about this initiative, having seen it on Classical Presbyterian’s page. I take a somewhat different position than yours, Mark, since I think there is an interesting point here, mainly because I also think its really an attempt to force those “defenders of traditional marriage” who principally argue from a “marriage is fundamentally for children’s sake” to clearly articulate the implications of the logic they are using. Contrary to Classical’s comment here, while this is rarely the ONLY argument advanced, it is the most solid non-theological argument advanced, and is almost-always the principle argument (other than revelatory positions) used by “defenders of traditional marriage.”

    However, like almost everyone else, I’m not concerned at all at this law passing.

    You’re upset, and should be, but that’s part of the point I gather: the logic isn’t truly shared by the authors of the bill (making it stupid, theoretically dangerous, and ultimately incoherent, I grant, for them to advance it), but rather by those they are combating. Insofar as this is theatre, its working, since the point is to get straight folk (those other 90 percent who are, lets face it, making the law that impact those other 10 percent) to react to the restrictions of the law in a way that they also feel. If part of your anger is directed at these folks for proposing this law, it seems that another (perhaps larger) part of your anger ought be directed at the larger matter as well.

    My only other comment is that I’m not sure how much this tactic relates to the broader gay-rights movement, and I’d caution throwing the baby out with the bathwater (bad pun, sure.)

    The broader question is this: what really is marriage about? What interest does the state have in marriage, if anything? What interest does society have in the institution? How does it help couples? We can talk about Marriage as being perhaps the most beneficial place for the raising of children (there is some empirical evidence for this, and note that I’m not saying that ipso facto other arrangements aren’t totally awesome too–working just fine, frankly), and still talk about (as Augustine did) other goods of marriage that themselves broaden the institution beyond those who can or will procreate. Doing that, however, eviscerates the ostensible “natural ordo” argument, since that’s what is distinguishing straight couples from same-sex couples: the potential to bear children. And science itself is doing that, anyway, in some other cases…

    Anyway, good fodder for thought. Thanks for posting about it!

    Be well…

  23. Mark on Wed, 7th Feb 2007 8:42 am
  24. I’ll try to answer some of these in order:

    First, Classical Presbyterian asks about a conservative voice that claims that marriage is only for having children.

    From the Washington Supreme Court Lead Ruling in Andersen, et al vs. King County et al:
    “Under this standard, DOMA is constitutional because the legislature was entitled to believe that limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples furthers procreation, essential to survival of the human race, and furthers the well-being of children by encouraging families where children are reared in homes headed by the children’s biological parents. Allowing same-sex couples to marry does not, in the legislature’s view, further these purposes.”

    It doesn’t say ONLY for procreation, but it makes the argument that procreation is the central defining point for marriage. Beau Weston is a Presbyterian conservative who has made more or less the same argument at his website http://gruntledcenter.blogspot.com/ a few weeks ago.

    Of course, I don’t agree.

  25. Mark on Wed, 7th Feb 2007 9:01 am
  26. Kairos, Alan and others:

    For a long time, I have been turning my anger at the 2nd class status forced on gay people into support of the gay rights movement.

    However, I don’t expect that same group of people to CAUSE me anger. That’s a “bite the hand that feeds you” situation. I’ve written before on how anti-Christian attitudes shown by professed Christians can cause good people to turn away from Christ. This is the same thing – the gay rights movement is actively attacking their straight supporters (at least some of us) in order to make a point.

    This is not the first time this has happened to me. In the late 1980’s and early 90’s I served as the Presbynet coordinator for Presbyterians for Lesbian and Gay Concerns. Towards the end of that period (it’d have to be 1993-95, because I remember which apartment I lived in), shortly after they started the ACT-UP style disruption of communion at General Assembly meetings, a divide in the group was created over whether or not to pursue a prophetic (“in your face”) strategy or a more congenial (“work within the system to change the system”) strategy. I figured that as a contributing part of the group I had the right to provide input, and I argued for the latter. This got me branded as homophobic and incapable of understanding their situation by the prophetic wing – to the point where my input was so marginalized that I was no longer contributing. So, I turned my responsibilities over to someone else and left.

    Here, I feel the same way. A minority group that has a cause that I believe in and that I actively support is attacking me personally (or at least a definable group of people that includes me – married with no children) for their gain.

    Why would I support a minority group’s cause, which will NEVER benefit me, while they are attacking me?

  27. kairos on Wed, 7th Feb 2007 9:54 am
  28. Thanks for the further thoughts, Mark.

    Gruntled would call himself a moderate, but on this point he really is a conservative, you’re right. He defines Marriage as “the complementary union of a man and a woman to make and raise children” but he himself talks about it as an ideal, rather than as a strict principle, and likewise doesn’t follow the logic through about what it means to permit deviation from that ideal.

    However, there are other conservatives who make this very case. The best reader on this, in my opinion, is Andrew Sullivan’s book Same Sex Marriage: Pro and Con, which offers strong arguments on both sides, going beyond the theological realm into the public policy, legal, social scientific, and so on.

    The point is that either marriage is for raising children period or it is for some larger set of things: perhaps including rearing children but also including other goods. (I like to refer to Augustine here to point to not only a good Christian reflection on the topic but to underscore how long theologians have been thinking about it…). If it is some larger set of things, and that permits others-without-children into Marriage, then logically same-sex couples are not excluded ipso facto. (There might be other arguments that can be raised, but not that one…)

    The legislation is only attacking you in the sense that it is calling for fairness, in my judgment. Its not fair, is it, that heterosexual couples without children are allowed to marry and same-sex couples without children aren’t: given the criterion is that marriage is principally for rearing children. Its calling for equal application of the principle involved.

    In fact, if the court’s position is ever equally applied, it would impact you in the very way that this legislation would. And, constitutionally, there is an argument why such arguments must be equally applied.

    I too find distasteful the scorched-earth method here, but the underlying idea makes sense to me. I’d be more concerned if there was a possibility of it being passed, but I guess my tendency is to put my energy into the broader point. I always support the change-from-within strategy, too.

    To answer your question: Why would I support a minority group’s cause, which will NEVER benefit me, while they are attacking me?: I’d answer that because their cause is ultimately your cause. And, I gather, that you could, like me, distinguish between the wacko maneuvering of one subset of a community you support and the broader effort. Michael Moore doesn’t define the Left; Michelle Malkin neither the right. Both often make good points within their respective domains, along with some more blatently stupid ones…

    And, again, I don’t think that this group is on exactly the same page as the larger gay-rights movement.

  29. Alan on Wed, 7th Feb 2007 10:47 am
  30. Again, Mark, I totally understand your anger. But as kairos points out, it is important to distinguish this group from the gay rights movement as a whole. In fact HRC and other organizations have decided to refocus their efforts toward employment non-discrimination and other areas rather than marriage. So, this effort in Washington is not, as I see it, part of a larger movement, but is specific to the ruling by the courts there.

    So, I think there is a place for you to continue your support. I’d hope that you not paint the entire movement for marriage equality with one brush, based on this stunt in Washington.

  31. Alan on Wed, 7th Feb 2007 4:18 pm
  32. Sorry to post twice in a row, but I’ve been thinking about this all day, and I’m starting to see your point more clearly, Mark. Yes, I still think this is a stunt and isn’t going to be passed, but stunts are only fun when no one gets hurt. I don’t think you’ll be hurt by this, because it won’t pass… but here’s why it’s beginning to bother me …

    As a believer in non-violent disobedience on these issues, I believe there are situations that call for voluntary redemptive suffering to call attention to the involuntary suffering of others. Unfortunately in this situation (hypothetically anyway) straight married couples w/o kids are being asked to suffer involuntarily to call attention to the involuntary suffering of others. In that way, I totally see your point, and regardless of whether or not this thing has a snowball’s chance in heck of passing, I’m starting to see it as less amusing than I did. Thanks for helping me look at it in another way.

    Even so, I still want to emphasize that this is a small group of people in Washington. I urge you to let your feelings be known to them … but at the same time, don’t hold the rest of us responsible. As I’m sure you’re aware, there isn’t really anything like a cohesive gay community in this country that plans all these things out.

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