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.
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.
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?