“YOU! No Marriage for YOU!”

Self-described Catholic blogger Brandon Vogt recently published “Rebuttals to arguments for same-sex marriage.” He tries to disprove 10 common same-sex-marriage arguments, but merely highlights the most common mistakes of his own camp. I’m addressing each of his 10 points in separate posts as a kind of back-to-basics review of our opposition.

This time Vogt tries to deal with weakest link in “traditional marriage” reasoning. But the weakness is fatal, and he can’t raise the dead.

Vogt writes:

6. If same-sex couples can’t marry because they can’t reproduce, why can infertile couples marry?

This argument concerns two relatively rare situations: younger infertile couples and elderly couples. If marriage is about children, why does the state allow the first group to marry? The reason is that while we know every same-sex couple is infertile, we don’t generally know that about opposite-sex couples.

Really? That’s the reason? You’re saying you let infertile couples marry simplybecause you don’t know it? That if you did know, then you’d be happy to ban their marriages?

You’re saying if it weren’t for those pesky medical privacy laws, you’d go up to women who’ve had hysterectomies and say, “You! No marriage for you!” When would you do this? When they’re in their hospital beds recovering? A form letter when they got home? Or would you let them get all the way to city hall before you turned them away with a scoffing laugh?

Surely you don’t mean this. Surely you’re not saying the only reason you aren’t so callous and cruel is that it’s not practical!

Oh, but apparently you are:

Some suggest forcing every engaged couple to undergo mandatory fertility testing before marriage. But this would be outrageous. Besides being prohibitively expensive, it would also be an egregious invasion of privacy, all to detect an extremely small minority of couples.

Another problem is that infertility is often misdiagnosed. Fertile couples may be wrongly denied marriage under such a scenario.

I get it. I can hardly believe it, but I get it. You’re willing to let this “extremely small minority of couples” to marry only because stopping them would inconvenience the worthy couples.

But, no, I still don’t buy it. Not only would you have to be a sadist, but there’s also this: you’re willing to let elderly couples marry when we know they’re infertile, so you must not be the monster you appear.

Or are you?

But why does the government allow elderly couples to marry? It’s true that most elderly couples cannot reproduce (though women as old as 70 have been known to give birth). However, these marriages are so rare that it’s simply not worth the effort to restrict them.

Face Palm
Credit: dancerher@deviantart.com

So now you want us to believe you’d be perfectly fine going up to your widowed grandmother and saying, “You! No marriage for you!” and the only reason don’t is that…”it’s simply not worth the effort to restrict them.”

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. That’s — wait…

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

That’s funny. Start with the logistics: We already check people’s identification and age when they apply for a marriage license, so there’d be no extra effort there. City clerks might even be relieved — they could just say, “Sorry,” and get back to the rest of their work. One less form to process. Also, if the restriction were enforced, elderly folk might stop showing for licenses altogether. Restricting marriage rights for the elderly would end up saving us a good deal of effort.

At this point I think Vogt is just making up crap in desperate attempt to plug the biggest and leakiest hole in his boat. I’m not saying he’s dishonest. I bet he believes this crap he’s making up, but once again I have to wish: if only we had a word for an aversion to homosexuality so powerful that it interfered with one’s ability to reason!

To be fair, Vogt doesn’t stop there.

Also, elderly marriages still feature the right combination of man and woman needed to make children. Thus they provide a healthy model for the rest of society, and are still capable of offering children a home with a mother and a father.

Okay. To start with, elderly couples are exactly the wrong combination of man and woman needed to make children. I’m not just playing with his words here. If the point is to model the appropriate marital couple for procreation, especially for the next generation, this fails completely. Suppose young children ask, “If marriage is about making babies, then why can grandma marry her boyfriend,” and they’re told “Because grandma and her boyfriend are the right combination for making children.” A sensible child will shut that down with a solid, “Nuh uh!” And a less sensible child will merely be confused — which is exactly what Vogt was trying to avoid in the first place.

As for this notion that an elderly couple is capable of offering children a home with a mother and father, I have to ask: How many of these couples? And for how long? Vogt needs to remember that every single time his side offers us a study on the dangers of same-sex parenting, it turns out the study didn’t analyze same-sex households, but is instead based on opposite-sex households that didn’t hold together, households where the parents were split up by divorce, separation, or death. The science our opponents rely on actually suggests it would be best to place children in a home with a low risk for instability, which means an 80-year-old newlywed straight couple has no advantage over two 35-year-old same-sexers in a long-term relationship.

Perhaps I’ve mocked Vogt too much on this one. To confess, it’s one of my favorite topics: nowhere do our opponents expose their inhumane, ridiculous nonsense as when they’re trying to explains why infertile straight couples can marry while infertile gay couples cannot.

Tomorrow: Will same-sex marriage hurt children?

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18 comments to “YOU! No Marriage for YOU!”

  • 1
    Spunky says:

    I love that Vogt says about elderly couples, “these marriages are so rare that it’s simply not worth the effort to restrict them,” yet doesn’t use the same logic for gay couples. 
    According to *http://www.match.com/magazine/article/6801/i-dont-want-to-get-married/* there are 16 million unwed women over 50 in the U.S. We have at least 15 million infertile, single women. Now, if we assume that everyone who identifies as LGBT in the U.S. gets gay-married, then that’s only 9 million people (see http://gaylife.about.com/od/comingout/a/population.htm). Smells like a double standard to me.
    I could point out all the drawbacks to having a baby when you’re older (like the fact that 60% of women over 40 who get pregnant have abortions; see http://www.epigee.org/menopause/pregnancy.html), but I think it’s beside the point.

  • 2
    Marcus says:

    Sheesh. It’s not exactly arcane knowledge that 70-year-old women who give birth need egg donors at the very minimum to make it happen. No different from same-sex couples.

  • 3
    Jim Stone says:

    Someone really needs to send this joker a copy of the DVD “The Right to Love an American Family.’  It is about my friends Jay and Bryan and their struggles during Prop 8.
    Jay and Bryan got married before Prop 8 and they adopted two beautiful children that no opposite sex couple wanted.  They are giving them a great life full of love.
    This guy I am sure is a closeted gay man.  They are the worst. I think that they are so miserable with their own life choices they become very angry and hateful when they see a gay couple who are in a relationship and happy.

  • 4
    Chris M says:

    Vogt omits the fact that some states allow certain marriages on the condition that the couple NOT have children:

    “First cousin marriage is allowed in these states under the following circumstances:

    Arizona- if both are 65 or older, or one is unable to reproduce.

    Illinois- if both are 50 or older, or one is unable to reproduce.

    Utah- if both are 65 or older, or if both are 55 or older and one is unable to reproduce.

    Wisconsin- if the woman is 55 or older, or one is unable to reproduce.

    How can Vogt justify preventing same-sex couples from marrying anywhere because they cannot spontaneously reproduce when there are existing marriage laws in some states that allow marriage ONLY if the couple cannot spontaneously reproduce? Maybe he will cover the movement to ban first cousin marriages in another section. But I doubt it.

  • 5
    Marcus says:

    And what of trans folk? Wouldn’t it be an invasion of privacy to ask a same-sex couple if one of them is trans? So, by Vogt’s argument, young same-sex couples should be allowed to marry since there is a possibility that they are “fertile.”

  • 6
    Spunky says:

    @ Chris M
    That is a great point! Maybe Vogt is against those laws as well; anything else would lead to a contradiction in logic.
    @ Marcus
    Also great point! I never thought of that.

  • 7
    Christopher says:

    Believe it or not I actually had a debate with someone who insisted that while he believed infertile couples should be allowed to marry (his argument was that the cost of checking every couple would be prohibitive–he didn’t care about privacy) he still felt such marriages were “inferior”, and technically not deserving of being granted all the benefits of marriage. I had to give him a point for consistency.
    @5 Marcus: I’m glad you mentioned that. As I understand it in the state where I live, Tennessee, transgendered individuals are not allowed to change their gender on their birth records, driver’s license, or any other legal document. So a transgendered person who was declared a woman at birth but is a man and is living as a man cannot marry a woman. That is an invasion of privacy. And I consider it another in a list of very good reasons why the respective genders of two people who want to marry shouldn’t matter.

  • 8
    Regan DuCasse says:

        The essential restrictions on marriage are age minimum, consent and kinship based. Otherwise, the qualifications to marry are very open and generous.
    There are no limits to how many TIMES you can marry, or how many children you can have. Even if you’ve been convicted of harming both or abandoning both by divorce or some other factor.
    Health status, hasn’t been a concern of the state to marry for a long time. Other than an infectious disease (which either potential spouse might not be aware of), there is no restrictions because of one’s prior or current state of health and ability to not just have children. But to have sex or live long.
       There is a charity in this country, that provides formal weddings for the terminally ill. A wedding was featured in the NYTimes of a couple that had a wedding through this charity and the groom died two months later.
     A risky lifestyle or any other risk factor to one’s life, is no grounds for marriage discrimination. As what used to occur against soldiers.
    Vogt, and the other anti gay cohorts, invite the slippery slope by demanding there be laws against gay people for reasons that don’t exist for those reasons now against anyone else.
    They are counter productive and counter intuitive.
    The gov’t cannot ensure or enforce a child has a mother and father, any more than it can ensure and enforce the quality of sex that produces a child in the first place.
    I mean DUH!

  • 9
    NastyAlaskan says:

    So, at best, infertile straight couples get a pass because they look like people who could, theoretically, reproduce.  For the young ones, at least.  But if marriage were honestly about actually creating children, why would it make a difference whether or not it looks like procreation is possible?  And if it’s not about having children, then how is “looking similar to a particular group’s personal impression of an ideal (fertile) couple” important enough to form our entire basis for determining which marriages to allow?  Are we really going to legislate marriage based on something so vague and so loosely connected to any practical concerns?
    This is where homophobes wind up cramming their feet into their mouths the hardest.  They want us to believe that they’re not homophobes.  That they hold some noble ideal of what marriage should be, and that this ideal requires universal standards, and it’s just an unfortunate coincidence that gays don’t meet them.
    But of course, they don’t apply these supposed standards universally; only when gay people come into the picture.  They claim that marriage is about procreation, but they have no qualms with infertile and post-menopausal straight couples getting married.  They claim that a child’s biological parents need to raise him together, but they make no effort to ban divorce or adoption.  Then they claim that, instead, it’s all about gender roles- children need to learn masculine roles from male parents and feminine roles from female parents; yet they make no effort to ban women in the workplace or stay-at-home dads, nor do they require single parents (such as widows) to remarry and replace the absent parent ASAP.
    When forced to explain why these concepts only seem to become important when violated by gay couples, embarassingly incoherent screeds like that written by Vogt are the result.  If homophobia truly weren’t their motive, then homosexuality wouldn’t be the one common denominator behind all the marriages they wish to ban. They would be banning infertile and elderly marriage, divorce, re-marriage, marriage while on birth control, marriage involving feminine men or masculine women, working moms, househusbands, etc. 
    Instead, procreation is only important when gays can’t do it.  Adoption is only inferior to biological parenthood when gays are doing it.  Violation of traditional gender roles– men being masculine bread-winners and women being feminine homemakers– is only a problem when gay couples do it. They focus entirely on gay marriage for one reason: they’re irrational homophobes. They think gays are icky and they want to make life more difficult for gays. That’s their only honest motivation for the nonsense they push.
    If only they’d be honest about this, I’d respect them a bit more.  Well, actually… I’d DISrespect them a bit less, rather.

  • 10
    Matthew says:

    I’m surprised he did not make the body parts don’t fit argument for why its allowed for the elderly and infertile.  REally, it all comes down to Penis in Vagina sex.  Anything that falls into that category is fine. 

  • 11
    Bilstr says:

    What about the relatively high percentage of young couples and much higher of middle-age second marriages where there is no intent of procreating?  All these marriages should be disallowed.  How about making marriage license applicants sign a pledge of intent to breed?

  • 12
    Deeelaaach says:

    Above, Nasty Alaskan pointed out that these folk want to convince us they are not homophobes; not only do they want to convince others they are not ignorant or bigots or homophobes, they also want to convince themselves of the same.  Once convinced, they can spew anything they can think up, no matter how contorted. 

  • 13
    Regan DuCasse says:

     See, slippery slope is more euphemism for LUDICROUS.
    It’s impossible for the gov’t to ensure or enforce exactly what these anti gay people expect it to. The gov’t can’t ensure a mother and father for a child. The role of a man and woman in the marriage or as parents. Nor ensure or enforce the kind of sex that will produce the child, or that the couple has sex at all.
      This is ALL territory that the gov’t does not tread into and cannot for obvious reasons that are not to those trying to use those reasons to discriminate against gay couples only. Those reasons don’t even APPLY do gay people any more than they would to a hetero couple.
      There are only a few of these reasons that have legal precedents attached. But there have only been a few that needed them. Because otherwise the rest of it, is running into again, the territory that the gov’t cannot and should not tread into.

  • 14

    […] again, this is the same man who said we let infertile and elderly couples marry because “it’s not worth the effort to restrict them,” so who knows what kind of nonsense he’s […]

  • 15

    […] again, this is the same man who said we let infertile and elderly couples marry because “it’s not worth the effort to restrict them,” so who knows what kind of nonsense he’s […]

  • 16

    […] “YOU! No Marriage for YOU!” […]

  • 17

    […] “an infertile couple still endorses the ideal” is just wishful thinking. It’s pathetically easy to refute. But did you catch that word in the middle: “fails”? If you’re trying […]

  • 18

    […] “an infertile couple still endorses the ideal” is just wishful thinking. It’s pathetically easy to refute. But did you catch that word in the middle: “fails”? If you’re trying […]

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