Wednesday, March 27, 2013

My Marriage is Not Legitimate. . .

I've been trying to follow the discussion as SCOTUS decides whether or not to permit gay marriage. As a supporter, I hope they see reason. As a cynic, I have moments of doubt. My faith in our government, and particularly in some of the supreme court justices--Antonin Scalia, for instance--is fairly low. But yesterday, amid the debate, defenders of "traditional marriage" in the anti-gay rights camp made the argument that gay marriage can never be legitimized because marriage is for purposes of procreation. This is where they about lost me.

If marriage is solely for the purposes of procreation, then my marriage is not legitimate either. And neither are the marriages of every infertal or child-free couple who cannot, or will not, be bringing lives into our already grossly overpopulated world. If that's the best they've got, they're not taking into account all of the American citizens who don't have children. They're theoretically de-legitimizing a lot of unions so they can make a point that's bigoted and hate-filled. It's astonishing to me the lengths people are willing to go to in order that they might defend "traditions" that are ugly and dehumanizing.

Thankfully, SCOTUS seems to think it's just as ridiculous as I do. Justice Kagan slapped that argument down by asking the council whether he thought it would also be constitutional for marriage's to be denied couples who're 55 or older on the grounds that they cannot procreate. The anti-gay marriage lawyer, Charles Cooper, agreed that it would not. And even Antonin Scalia, whom I have almost no faith in, jumped in. He recognized the unconstitutionality of depriving marriage on the grounds that it's traditional purpose is procreation, saying, "I suppose we could have a questionnaire at the marriage desk when people come in to get the marriage — you know, Are you fertile or are you not fertile? I suspect this Court would hold that to be an unconstitutional invasion of privacy, don’t you think?” Yes, I do, and so does every other rational mind.

Ultimately, the point is that love is love. It has nothing to do with whether or not you can procreate, what sex you are, what color you are, or any number of other artificial criteria people try to force on an institution that's based on affection. And even though it's currently shrouded legal jargon and formalities, I think SCOTUS will ultimately see that, too--or at least I hope they do. But just for the record, a lot of gay couples do have children whether through adoption, surrogacy, or IVF. There are gay couples with kids and straight couples without. Procreation is hardly the point. Love is the point and gay couples are just as capable of engaging in loving, committed relationships as straight couples. Love is love.