Same-Sex Marriage and State Interest
From The Wittenberg Door archives . . .
Our state now recognizes that an individual's capacity to establish a loving and long-term committed relationship with another person and responsibly to care for and raise children does not depend upon the individual's sexual orientation," George wrote for the majority. "An individual's sexual orientation -- like a person's race or gender -- does not constitute a legitimate basis upon which to deny or withhold legal rights.
According to the California Supreme Court, marriage rights should be conferred upon same-sex couples because they can establish loving, long-term, committed relationships. Not to do so would be the same as denying fundamental rights to citizens based solely upon their skin color.
Loving, Long-Term, Committed Relationships
I love Frank Capra’s 1944 adaptation of Arsenic and Old Lace. It’s one of my favorite movies. So it's with great trepidation that I add this modern twist: What if the Brewsters lived somewhere in California instead of Brooklyn, New York; and one day, the sisters, Abby and Martha, hear on the radio that same-sex, loving, long-term couples can now receive the same benefits that married couples receive. Seeing as how they are of the same sex, they love each other, and they have pledged to spend their lives together, they must be eligible, right? Not so fast.
There’s a problem—they’re not having sex. The government is not interested in their loving, lifelong, same-sex relationship unless the wild mambo is involved. So out came plan B: Elaine.
Elaine, the minister’s daughter, moves in with the Brewster sisters; and since Elaine is looking to offset some gambling losses (she was sure Michigan could take North Carolina), she’s willing to have sex for money (i.e., tax benefits).
“But wait,” says the government! “We have some arbitrary rules to apply: sisters don’t count, and it can’t be three people, and Elaine is already married to Mortimer, so she’s out ...”
“But we love each other! Isn't it all about love?"
As this little exercise in reductio ad absurdam reveals, the court’s ruling is logically vacuous.
Is Homosexuality the Same as Ethnicity?
As the Los Angeles Times points out, “The ruling cited a 60-year-old precedent that struck down a ban on interracial marriage in California.” In the court’s mind, ethnicity and homosexuality are on the same moral plain. But is this the case?
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s ethnicity is white. He was born that way and can do nothing to change it. His ethnicity is intrinsic to him. Consequently he had—and has—no choice in the matter. Those with homosexual desires, on the other hand, have a choice as to whether or not to act upon those desires. The latter is morally relevant, while the former is not. Thus ethnicity and homosexuality are not on the same moral plain (one involves choice and the other does not—one is intrinsic and the other a behavior). And since the state should only treat equals equally, it is in fact immoral to judicially conflate the two.
State InterestThe State’s only interest in marriage is that it is the best way for it, the State, to perpetuate itself. Mommies and daddies are from where the next generation of citizens will come. And the best environment for the raising of responsible citizens is a married, monogamist, heterosexual household. Married and monogamist because that brings stability to the home; heterosexual because both the mother and the father bring something in particular to the childrearing enterprise.
This unit is the best way to secure society’s future. Therefore, the State has an interest in favoring and protecting marriage between a man and a woman. It has no such interest in same-sex unions