I resent being used as a prop, I really do. Especially in a political debate, especially for the side I vehemently disagree with.
So there I was, having a screwed up morning that caused me to be driving to work much later than usual. And there it was, on my radio, a talk show on NPR discussing the California Supreme Court decision on the legality of same-sex marriage. And there he was, the anti-gay marriage guest, Douglas W. Kmiec, Professor of Constitutional Law at Pepperdine University School of Law, sounding all reasonable. He was impressed, he said, with the integrity of the Justices in the majority. He disagreed, he said, with their decision, but it was, he said, well argued and well reasoned, and while reasonable people can disagree, he said, you can see how they got there. Hm, I thought, this commute might not suck today.
But then... There is always a then, isn't there? Then he was asked to explain why it was that he thought the decision was incorrect. He started, sounding all reasonable again, about how there are benefits of marriage that are undeniable, this, that, and the other thing, then got slightly less reasonable when he suggested that people who view marriage as a religious institution should be accommodated (um, say what? nobody is making those people marry a person of the same sex, are they?). And then the rails and the train parted ways altogether as the good professor turned to a point on how even if we leave the religious considerations out of it, there is a compelling state interest in keeping marriage as an institution between a man and a woman.
Can you guess what that interest is? Can you, can you, can you? Because it's not that I have never heard this one before. It's just that he sounded so... well, reasonable, before, that it took me by complete surprise to see him fall back onto this ridiculousness. It's the children, people. Our future. Favoring the unions open to natural procreation is that compelling state interest. Procreation, procreation, procreation. Cause there are places, you know, where population is declining. And what does that do to the social security problem? And of course, if you look at Western Europe... and so on, and so forth.
I knew there was no way I would get on the air, but I still dialed. A number of times, actually, while driving. Which is something I try not to do, btw. Busy signal every time. I didn't get to listen through the end of the program, so I don't know whether anyone else got on to make my points, but since I am still boiling over here, even two work meetings later, I think I'd better put them down in pixels. So here we go.
1. 12.5% of the population is infertile. Which doesn't mean 12.5% of couples, since sometimes two sub- or infertile people marry, but let's round it out to maybe one in twelve couples. I think that's generous, but what the hell? I am feeling generous here. So, are we going to start having fertility profiles as part of the application process for marriage licenses? And are we, as a result, going to simply notify the other party, or are we actually going to deny the licenses to the infertile partners? Or will we allow licenses but only upon proof of insurance coverage for infertility?
2. Speaking of which, should I expect to see Professor Kmiec among the leading supporters of the universal insurance coverage for infertility? Because if the state interest in us procreating is so compelling, I think leaving out one in twelve couples (generous, remember?) is dumb public policy. But no, quick google search shows that the only context in which Professor Kmiec talks about infertility is in his 2004 paper where he argues that that acceptance of the procreative state interest does not depend upon excluding from marriage those who cannot physically procreate because of age or infertility and that adoption and asexual reproduction by homosexual couples do not substantially affect procreation rates. Hm, really? Because one in twelve seems like a big deal to me. Not while being able to procreate depends on how much money you have, of course. But if we had that insurance coverage.... Perhaps a study of mandated coverage states vs. not might be in order.
3. So, while we are at it, should we deny marriage licenses to women over, say, 45? Or should they be able to visit their beloved in the hospital, but only if said beloved is of male persuasion? If grandma and grandpa, in the waning years of their lives meet and want to spend the rest of those years together, is it ok? Because it's beautiful and touching, and doesn't affect the population so much. But if it's grandma and grandma, that's a problem, right? Or, heaven forbid, grandpa and grandpa? Eeeewwww, gross... Right?
4. And finally, does Professor Kmiec really believe that denying homosexual males the right to marry another male is going to cause them to, en masse, pick a female, marry her and have children? And because I happen to know how much lawyers in general, and law professors in particular love hypotheticals, here's one-- would the good professor wish a husband like that for his daughter? Just asking, you know, because the state interest is so very compelling.
I am an immigrant, an academic, a Volvo-driving latte-lover, an infertile or a subfertile, depending on how you look at it, and a mother of a dead baby. I am sure there are many prop masters out there who would love to use me in their scenarios. They better make sure I don't hear about it, though. Cause I also have a big mouth and a temper.
Blog abandonment was entirely non-intentional-- just burning the candle at both ends and from the middle in the past week. But I do have things to say-- one from all the way last week, and one that I have been mulling over since this morning, a sad thing, that needs more time and patience to articulate itself. So this week may be the flood to last week's drought. See you around.