Ryan Anderson on Anti-Gay Discrimination: The Contradictions Continue

I had a long, intense twitter exchange with Ryan Anderson! I have to thank Michelangelo Signorile — he started the conversation and I jumped in. I used it as a chance to ask Ryan about his views on religious freedom, racial discrimination, and anti-gay discrimination — a contradictory mess that he and his colleagues have failed to sort into a coherent argument.

Let me recap their dilemma and the resulting incoherence. They oppose discrimination laws protecting gays, but they can’t appear anti-gay, because policy motivated by animus is vulnerable to a court challenge. Instead they speak of “religious freedom” and the principle that no one should have to serve a customer in violation of their beliefs. However, they don’t apply this principle when it comes to race; that would make them pariahs to the mainstream public. They explain this away by saying racism is wrong, but this leaves them open to the charge that they only want to protect the religious freedom of those they agree with, a position they fiercely reject.

It’s a logical swamp.

In our twitter exchange Ryan tried a different justification: that religious liberty is not an absolute right, but must be weighed against other measures of the common good. He directed me to his statement:

Legislators should enact commonsense religious liberty protections that would prevent the imposition of substantial burdens on sincere religious beliefs unless the government proves that imposing such a burden is necessary to advance a compelling government interest (and does so by the least intrusive or restrictive means).

Such religious liberty protections would not justify blanket discrimination, as some wrongly claim. For example, one does not hear of any sincere religious beliefs that would lead a pharmacist to refuse to dispense antibiotics to any patients. Furthermore, it has long been recognized that the government has a “compelling interest” in protecting public health by combating communicable diseases.

That’s reasonable. But it presents Ryan with a couple problems. First, it contradicts what he wrote elsewhere:

Indeed, a regime of free association, free contracts, free speech, and free exercise of religion should protect citizens’ rights to live according to their beliefs about marriage…

Private actors should be free to make reasonable judgments and distinctions — including reasonable moral judgments and distinctions — in their economic activities. Not every florist need provide wedding arrangements for every ceremony. Not every photographer need capture every first kiss.

There’s nothing in that piece about balancing religious freedom against the common good. I do understand that free exercise of religion should protect citizens’ rights to live according to their beliefs about marriage is more bumper-sticker-catchy than: free exercise of religion should protect citizens’ rights to live according to their beliefs about marriage, except for when it shouldn’t, and sometimes it shouldn’t, though sometimes it should, and it, well, it — it depends on a bunch of factors that I won’t go into now.

Except that Ryan isn’t writing for bumper stickers. He’s making a lengthy argument, one that doesn’t align with his other writings.

A second problem is that he merely begs the question, Why does the “common good” override religious liberty when it comes to discrimination based on race but not when based on sexual orientation?

That’s a tricky question. You can’t answer, Because gays are bad! — that lands you in the animus trap, with your law overturned in the court. Instead, Ryan sent me to this:

Today’s debates about religious liberty and marriage are profoundly different [from debates about interracial marriage]. First, as argued above, marriage as the union of man and woman is a reasonable position; bans on interracial marriage were not. Second, as also argued above, marriage as the union of man and woman is witnessed to repeatedly in the Bible; prohibitions on interracial marriage were not.

But these two points are irrelevant, of course, even according to Ryan’s own standards. As he wrote in this piece:

The right to religious freedom is for everyone, not just for those with the “right” beliefs.

So it doesn’t matter whether your racist religious views are reasonable or Biblically sound, because religious freedom is also for the wrong. It’s for everyone.

But things really go awry with his next point:

Third, to be argued below, while interracial marriage bans were clearly part of a wider system of oppression, beliefs about marriage as the union of male and female are not.

But it’s not “argued below.” Or rather, he does argue the point about interracial marriage bans, but never establishes the part about same-sex marriage. Probably because he can’t — probably because it isn’t true.

Our history of blacklisting, imprisonment, official exclusion from federal employment, and lobotomization obviously indicate a history of oppression. Granted, excluding same-sex couples from marriage was not originally a tool of that system; it was the result. Gays were seen as such sick and twisted perverts that few thought about giving us marriage rights. Still, it was part of that system, and it did indeed become a tool of oppression with DOMA and the various state constitutional amendments designed to “protect” marriage from those who don’t deserve it and to express moral disapproval of us deviants.

Frankly, it’s astonishing that Ryan attempts this argument — and that he doesn’t even make a token effort to justify it.

So now we’re back where we started. Ryan still hasn’t explained why religious liberty requires that bakers be free to turn away same-sex couples but not interracial couples, even if their religion condemns them. His reasoning is still an incoherent mess. All he’s done is add yet another layer of contradiction.

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74 comments to Ryan Anderson on Anti-Gay Discrimination: The Contradictions Continue

  • 51
    Anonymous says:

    incorrect chris mc coy . . . incorrect. go back to con law and reread your Loving, Perez v. Sharp, and the history of case law going back to the days of English colonialism and the common law. procreation is not a REQUIREMENT of marriage . . . but it is its ESSENCE! mr. and mrs. loving had 2 kids per their relationship that the state of virginia COULD NOT deny them simply because of a racist statute to maintain white supremacy where as no hypothetical mr. and mr. loving can procreate. nor can a mrs. and mrs. loving.

    that’s the difference.

    i know supporters of SSM try and read that fundamental fact of evolutionary biology which precedes the custom and practice and recognition of marriage out of existence but the fact that doesn’t make it any less true.

    inconvenient, but not true.

    why else would marriage have ever come about in the first place if not for children? and not here in the united states but the world over going way back thousands of years???

    property and inheritance purposes you might say. yes, and what special feature about inheriting property (land or chattel) is particular for purposes of marriage laws???

    the fact that people are going to die one day and generally (not always) want to bequeath, devise and pass off their estate usually . . . to their children to pass on to the next generation and the next generation.

    children are the essence of marriage and all of its incidentals.

    when two men (or two women) can become parents to the same child, i will heartily endorse same-sex marriage.

    i don’t think that day is coming any time soon.

    next?

  • 52
    Cosmio says:

    “when two men (or two women) can become parents to the same child, i will heartily endorse same-sex marriage.”

    you aren’t that important that your endorsement matters.

  • 53
    robtish says:

    I have time for a few more points, I guess. First, it’s ludicrous to claim that any given set of same-sex parents are inferior to any given set opposite-sex parents, and I hope you’re not saying that. Research hasn’t even been able to show, in fact, that opposite sex parents are even better on average than same sex parents.

    Also, anyone who thinks procreation is the essence of marriage has to explain long-standing laws in some states allowing first cousins to marry only if they can demonstrate they can’t procreate.

    Then there’s this incredibly offensive bit:

    when two men (or two women) can become parents to the same child, i will heartily endorse same-sex marriage.

    Offensive because it reduces “parent” to “biological originator.” Go ahead and tell opposite-sex adoptive parents that they aren’t parents. Hell, I wish my Mom were still alive so you could tell her that she’s not really a parent to my adopted brother. Man oh man, you would have one angry, conservative Catholic, fierce mama grizzly to contend with!

    Seriously, you’re just offering up the same talking points that have been refuted again and again. If you’re really serious about this debate, then you have to look beyond the talking points you’ve been taught and start engaging the real arguments on our side. If you’re sincere, then start here: http://wakingupnow.com/blog/category/robert-george/what-is-marriage (scroll down and page back until you get to the first entry).

    Until then, you’re just wasting our time.

  • 54
    robtish says:

    BTW, I’m not sure what type of effect you’re reaching for when you write “next?” at the end of an inadequate post, but I bet for most of us, all you’re evoking is amusement at your expense, along with a suspicion that you’re desperate to move on to some other point.

  • 55
    Chris McCoy says:

    And yet the words “child” or “children” are not contained in either the syllabus our the majority opinions of either case you mention.

    The ability to procreate is not a reason to deny marriage, as marriage between infertile people and the elderly are legal.

    Also, thru in vitro fertilization, two women can indeed have a child that is entirely their own generic code, and gestated by one if the two women. So I guess you have to allow lesbian marriage now.

    Keep trying. Your penis-in-vagina fantasy requirement has no basis in legal fact.

  • 56
    Anonymous says:

    chris mc coy . . . “two women can indeed have a child that is entirely their own generic code, and gestated by one if the two women.” if it’s gestated by 1 of the 2 women and not both it IS NOT BOTH their child but only one of them. i’m going to go out on a limb and suggest there had to be a man or at least male sperm to fertilize the egg in the process.

    the 2d woman/lesbian didn’t do that.

    nobody has 2 moms (and no dad) or 2 dads (and no mom) but 1 of each.

    next???

  • 57
    Anonymous says:

    rob tish if you really (as you seem to) think that men and women are interchangeable then try this one for me . . . is/was it possible to replace your mom with a 2d mom to live with your biological father and still produce you?

    or take the other side of the coin and imagine substituting your father with a 2d woman to live with your biological mother and would they have still made you???

    the answer is no and no.

    rationalization is the darnedest thing.

  • 58
    Anonymous says:

    rob tish you keep making up facts (with no links or evidence) to claim that same-sex parents are every bit as much as good as a man and woman as a mother and a father.

    of all the things that are disputed and unproven in the social sciences, THIS ONE TAKES THE PRIZE!

    it’s utter vacuous nonsense.

    don’t tell me about studies or second and third hand sources of studies (none of which cite actual studies themselves, they merely repeat assertions and conclusions) because they don’t exist.

    and here’s why.

    an honest supporter of same-sex marriage (which apparently you are not) would admit that in the annals of human history is pretty new. and that while the fact of homosexuality is millenia old couples living together as same-sex couples with children is a fairly recent phenomenon. there are FAR MORE homes with single parents raising kids than same-sex couples raising kids as a couple. much less as a recently married couple.

    the SAMPLE SIZE therefore to research and attempt to draw any conclusions are nil to non-existent. they may exist. one day. in the future.

    then again, to be representative of the whole they can’t be SELECTIVE AND UNREPRESENTATIVE but RANDOM AND REPRESENTATIVE which is to say more than just mostly middle-aged lesbian women with college educations well within the top 10% of national income groups but of gay men (of which there are a dearth of representative studies), college AND non-college educated couples and those in the middle and bottom income groups as well. AND EVEN THEN the length and time that said kids who have been living with the gay or lesbian couple must be of sufficient age and time to be representative of anything when compared to their single-parent raised and traditional male-female/father-mother households.

    until then . . . and that day is a long way off, your claimed studies are mere agitprop.

    next???

  • 59
    Anonymous says:

    i don’t know how old you are rob (and i’m not asking) but if you are 30 or more you might remember the TV show “murphy brown” back in the early 90′s. back then single parenthood was considered no better and no worse (what’s the big deal!) than kids who lived with mom and dad. and the conventional wisdom by our media and cultural and professional elite back then was saying what those are saying today regarding same-sex parenting of children.

    well, 20 years later the evidence is in and kids absolutely (by every conceivable metric) do better with mom and dad than they do with a single mom or dad. there was evidence 20 years ago but there is an ocean of it today proving this.

    i suspect when the fad of “marriage equality” passes from conventional thinking and the next fad comes along (because there’s always a next one!) we’ll have an ocean of hard data to disprove the silly theory that kids don’t need a mom and a dad.

    yes. they. do.

    (http://www.citizenlink.com/2010/06/17/30-years-of-research-that-tells-us-a-child-deserves-a-mother-and-a-father/)

    P.S. you’ll notice that while the link is a summary the actual research from books to scholarly articles to government reports are included below. the list is pretty long. and both bipartisan and spanning the ideological span.

  • 60
    robtish says:

    cmh, you’re using studies about single parenting and unstable opposite-sex family structure and pretending they apply to stable same-sex families. That’s so wrong it borders on dishonest.

    Also, I’ve noticed that the debate with you is a bit like “whack-a-mole.” You say one thing, it’s refuted, and instead of defending it you just leap on to some other point. For instance, instead of dealing with whether adoptive parents can be actual parents (which you seem to deny), you leap to the subject of same-sex parenting.

    Which of course has nothing to do with the original post or your original comment.

  • 61
    robtish says:

    By the way, your whole shell game with studies on single parenting is dealt with in the material I referred you to. We’ve indulged you for 60 posts. If you’re not willing to get up to speed on rebuttals that have already been offered on this site to arguments you’re making on this site, then there’s really no point.

  • 62
    Anonymous says:

    no rob tish. no. first of all, i’m not talking to the peanut gallery but to you.

    you were the one impleaded me on twitter via your repetitive (and tiring) slandering of ryan anderson, NOM and others who simply refuse to bend to your will.

    neither will i.

    second of all the BIG LIE isn’t that kids need a mom and a dad but that they don’t or that single parents are just as good as two (conventional wisdom then) or that 2 men (and no mom) or 2 women (and no dad) are the conventional wisdom today.

    sorry to burst your bubble but conventional wisdom tends not to remain conventional for very long.

    did you even click on the link??? why do i doubt you did. correct me if i’m wrong.

    it doesn’t merely compare kids from broken homes (like me) with those from intact mother/father ones, it aggregates over 32 academic and scholarly sources on the consequences of family and marital breakdown.

    don’t take my word for it . . . “Most researchers now agree that…studies support the notion that, on average, children do best when raised by their two married biological parents… Research indicates that, on average, children who grow up in families with both their biological parents in a low-conflict marriage are better off in a number of ways than children who grow up in single-, step or cohabiting-parent households.” the center for law and social policy.

    “two married biological parents” can only be the mother and father rob. not a man and a 2d man or a woman and 2d woman.

    2-”An extensive body of research tells us that children do best when they grow up with both biological parents in a low-conflict marriage… Thus, it is not simply the presence of two parents, as some have assumed, but the presence of two biological parents that seem to support child development.” -child trends

    again, the reference, this time in italics for emphasis! on biological parents is overwhelming.

    no? you think a self-selected, unrepresentative sample size of upper middle class lesbians in the top 10% of the income strata overcomes this documented fact OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN?

    wishful thinking rob. wishful thinking.

    3-”If we were asked to design a system for making sure that children’s basic needs were met, we would probably come up with something quite similar to the two-parent family ideal. Such a design, in theory, would not only ensure that children had access to the time and money of two adults, it would provide a system of checks and balances that promote quality parenting. The fact that both adults have a biological connection to the child would increase the likelihood that the parents would identify with the child and be willing to sacrifice for that child and it would reduce the likelihood that either parent would abuse the child.” -sarah mclanahan, princeton university

    but we have such an ideal of the two-parent family ideal . . . it’s called mother and father as husband and wife. it’s THE state’s interest in marriage rob, not protecting your sex/love life.

    i could do this all night (there’s that much research) that while taken at different times (some of the links cite books and research going back to the 1980′s) all the way up to the today.

    it’s overwhelming rob.

    just admit that we’re about to embark on an unprecedented social experiment in child-making and rearing and hope but have 0 idea how it will turn out and are simply hoping for the best.

    if not . . . the carnage of troubled and confused kids and broken homes and broken hearts is on you my friend.

    sleep on that.

  • 63
    robtish says:

    no rob tish. no. first of all, i’m not talking to the peanut gallery but to you.

    Don’t know what prompted that.

    you were the one impleaded me on twitter via your repetitive (and tiring) slandering of ryan anderson, NOM and others who simply refuse to bend to your will.

    Serious allegation. Can you quote the bits where I slandered Ryan?

    did you even click on the link??? why do i doubt you did.

    Perhaps because you’d rather believe something untrue that reinforces your prejudice than something true that does not. I did look at the link.

    it doesn’t merely compare kids from broken homes (like me) with those from intact mother/father ones, it aggregates over 32 academic and scholarly sources on the consequences of family and marital breakdown.

    Exactly, which has nothing to do with children raised in stable, same-sex homes. And that sentence is contradictory btw (it doesn’t deal with broken homes but with family breakdown — huh?.

    studies support the notion that, on average, children do best when raised by their two married biological parents

    Studies that compared those children to children with single parents or an opposite-sex step-parents, not studies that compared them with kids who were raised in stable, same-sex families.

    Thus, it is not simply the presence of two parents, as some have assumed, but the presence of two biological parents that seem to support child development

    This quote — this exact quote! — is dealt with in the material I’ve sent you to, where I make it clear that people using this quote in the way you’re trying to use it are either ignorant of the full context or attempting to deceive with it. Find that here: http://wakingupnow.com/blog/reply-to-george-xii-the-dishonest-truth-about-same-sex-parenting

    Perhaps you can see now why I have no reason to think you have anything but the same tired, already-refuted talking points to offer.

  • 64
    Kimberly says:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/1431489.stm
    Two women CAN have a baby with no sperm…

  • 65
    Anonymous says:

    no rob, you simply don’t want to hear.

    the peanut gallery are your followers. they did’t implead ME on twitter. you did!

    we went back and forth sometime last weekend (which is how i came to your blog here in the first place) because you sent it to me!

    you clicked on the link. good for you. and you say what?

    the comparisons rob AREN’T between kids from broken homes and those from intact mother/father homes BUT the larger breakdown of the family, marriage and its effect on everything from social mobility (do the 99% v. the 1% class warriors not realize that one of the greatest indicators of poverty and downward social mobility is a broken home, out of wedlock birth rates and the decline of the marital standard/norm? all they seem to want to do is hate on rich people and raise tax rates . . .)

    no-fault divorce laws to same-sex marriage are part of a continuum that has broken the mother/father norm down to the point that the majority of women today under 30 years old who have kids do so out of wedlock. in the black community it’s over 70%.

    to paraphrase james carville, “it’s the CULTURE, stupid!”

    you keep citing me the same silly link to another post on your own blog, not to any legitimate study, citation or source. it’s akin to the trial lawyer who can’t get the statement made out-of-court into evidence because it’s hearsay so he cites a 2d and then a 3d person who repeated it as if more secondary and tertiary sources make it legit when all that does is get him FURTHER AWAY from the original source. cite me the actual source, link or study right here rob, not via other posts on your blog. BTW, i clicked on it and all it is is more opinion from you with no sources contained in it itself. you must like hearsay on hearsay.

    don’t try that in court rob. it won’t work.

    the 32 sources I CITED YOU all of which are taken from scholarly books and articles and research reports (each of which has their own footnotes and citations (probably many more than 32) do not reinforce any prejudices other than your own rob. i said several hours ago that kids deserve a mom and a dad. you had a mom and a dad. don’t you think all kids deserve what you had or what is it that makes rob tish so special??

    you have yet to say anything coherent (and to be fair to you, no advocate of SSM has anything intelligible to say on that question) because they all cite the same panned unrepresentative and small and incomplete surveys of upper-class lesbians living in the top 10% of american society from which your conclusions are drawn. of the many things that group is rob, representative of america as a whole IT IS NOT.

    garbage in, garbage out.

    you cite me back a snippet from a quotation in the link and that i quoted in full to you rob but WHAT YOU OMIT is revealing and that is the repeated (not just in the 3 i highlighted for you but in almost all the research on family/marital breakdown) role that the BIOLOGICAL parents (both mom and dad, not dad and stepdad or mom and stepmom) play in child development.

    you seem to be stuck on the comparison between single-parent v. intact home comparison as if this outcome hinges on that comparison.

    IT DOESN’T.

    ill try again “Research indicates that, on average, children who grow up in families with both their biological parents in a low-conflict marriage are better off in a number of ways than children who grow up in single-, step or cohabiting-parent households.” -CLASP

    the comparison is to all kinds of non-nuclear family alternative rob, not just single parents. co-habiting-parent household and step-parent households are not single parent but lack either both the biological mom and dad (stepparent households) or a married husband and wife (cohabiting parent households).

    why do you suppose that is?

    there must be something about both the biological parents AND both parents being married to each other that does far more for long term family stability than anything else rob.

    you make up claims about “stable same-sex homes” with kids (again with no citations or evidence) but this is null and void on its face. no same-sex home features both mom and dad but the biological dad and his gay live-in/married partner who isn’t mom but legally and ethically and familialy more akin to a stepdad. ditto for a home with a biological mother and her live-in/married partner who isn’t dad but more akin to a stepmother.

    sorry rob but a home that intentionally omits one-half of the persons who made you isn’t stable at all but broken. the only difference between a traditional broken home where the parents got married, had kids and then divorced (like mine) and the former is that the former was broken BEFORE kids existed and was NEVER WHOLE to begin with.

    you can prattle on (and on and on and on like you have most of the day) but you haven’t said anything new since around noon.

    next????

  • 66
    Anonymous says:

    kimberly, you might want to actually READ the article you cite. at the top, in middle and at the bottom are the words “may” or “hope to” per the stated and hoped for intentions not an after-the-fact baby whom was created, much less lived (and lived healthily and well) because of this.

    let’s assume the presumption (a big if at this point) proves true. that still doesn’t help rob and other gay males out since that would only biologically unite women together as the parents of the same child. gay men have no hope for such procreation without a woman.

    all kids need a mom and a dad. perhaps some can only need a mom and another mom. none need only a dad and a dad. sucks to be gay and male i guess.

  • 67
    robtish says:

    cmh, if this is the best you can do, there’s not much point in doing it. Take care of yourself.

  • 68
    Anonymous says:

    you have nothing more to say counselor. dismissed.

  • 69
    JCF says:

    “you and he can have sex every day (all day)”

    LOL. Typed w/ one hand, Anonymous? You and your fantasies!

    [P.S. I'm still waiting for the answer to Rob's question, if you weren't heterosexual when you were a virgin.]

  • 70
    Cosmio says:

    “you can prattle on (and on and on and on like you have most of the day) but you haven’t said anything new since around noon.”

    “no rob, you simply don’t want to hear.”

    how so aptly applied to yourself there anon.

  • 71
    LW says:

    Rob,

    These fatuous arguments made by ‘anonymous’ have all been dismissed as far as educated people are concerned.

    In my own country, (the UK) every single one of the arguments made in the comments above wer discussed extensively, and they were all dismissed. Marriage equality was then passed by both chambers of The Houses of Parliament in one of the largest, and most popular votes of my lifetime.

    The fact that, for some people, the legal state of being married is ‘about children’ does not mean that the state should prohibit same-sex couples from marrying. It really is as simple as that, and no amount of retrograde, (usually) religious arguments can change that.

    If any of these homophobes genuinely cared about children, they would be rescuing them from the clutches of extreme religious groups before they can suffer the painful brainwashing that so many of them are afflicted with.

  • 72
    Regan DuCasse says:

    @ ANONYMOUS: As far as legit research has gleaned TWO parents are best for children, gender and orientation are NOT the deciders as to quality. MARRIED parents are best for children, again, whether ss or os the outcomes given the SAME opportunity are close enough.
    For very obvious reasons: Gender in a marriage or parenting, the qualities and character of INDIVIDUALS in a marriage or parenting partnership cannot be ensured or enforced by the gov’t.

    Couples, whether parents or not, are free to utilize their personal virtues as the means of success in their relationship.
    And because people are different according to that individuality, NOT their gender, this is called ‘common law’ under which they are protected.
    Even STATUS for the most part, isn’t a legal restriction in civil law. A couple can be of disparate religious,economic,proximal, criminal and physical ability (infertility being only one of them).
    The restrictions in place, protect individuals and kinship status. NOT marriage itself.
    In the case of ss couples marrying, it’s the same requirements. NO less, no more.
    A gay couple is marrying as people of the SAME sexual orientation. As presumed that an op sex couple is.
    ALL ELSE is the same.
    So all of your arguments, all of the time you put in, doesn’t hold for that simple reason.
    And you insult ALL non parent adults as if they make no other contributions worthy of social support, OTHER than making babies.
    Something that any ANIMAL can do.
    Mating is NOT the highest calling in life.
    And it might surprise you how many married couples, either through physical disability, asexual orientation or some other factor, ARE CELIBATE.
    So the gov’t can’t ensure or enforce sexual activity between a married couple either.
    But a gay couple caring for EACH OTHER and assuming responsibility for each other, is not and never was a DETRIMENT on society.
    Any more than adults who never bore children are.
    However, gay adults adopting and caring for children, despite not being your IDEAL of what a parent is, have that duty.
    So THEIR children need married parents as much as the children of os couples do.
    It’s about the support and security marriage brings to ALL children.
    Regardless the two parents who are raising them at the time.
    It’s about marriage being the good thing to have and aspire to.
    Not who is good enough TO marry.

  • 73
    clayton says:

    Rob–never try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and annoys the pig.

  • 74
    John Howard says:

    Wow a discussion about same-sex reproduction taking place unprompted by me! Progress! It’s unfortunate though that Anonymous doesn’t respond to Kimberly by pointing out that attempting to create offspring of a same-sex couple is not a right, would be too expensive and unethical to allow, and should be prohibited with a federal law.

    Those infertile first cousins are not allowed to marry if there is a chance they might be fertile, showing that the reason they are prohibited from marrying is because the state considers first cousins to not have a right to procreate together, because their procreation would be unethical. Other states however disagree. So some states decided to compromise in ways that they thought preserved their family cultural norms while at the same time made compassionate arrangements for older couples who aren’t going to reproduce and could marry out of state so why not just let them. The reason we can’t make the same arrangement for same-sex couples is because they demand to be allowed to procreate, they demand equal rights as all marriages, not as first cousins who cannot procreate (but who still are given the right to procreate when they marry). Perhaps the Natural Marriage and Reproduction Act would require Utah to revisit their laws regarding infertile first cousins, because no state would be allowed to declare married any couple that is prohibited from procreating offspring together, but one way is simply to allow them to procreate but assume they won’t, like other states do.

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