Sunday, January 27, 2013

Paul Clement: Deny Gay Marriage Because Heterosexuals Are Sexually Irresponsible

A column in the Los Angeles Times looks at a perhaps overlooked aspect of the briefs filed by anti-gay forces in the Prop 8 and DOMA cases now pending before the U. S. Supreme Court.  Paul Clement, counsel for the HOP House members defending DOMA - who is ripping off American taxpayers to the tune of $3 million to date -  argues that the Court should uphold DOMA because it is rational that heterosexuals have special marriage rights because they are in essence sexually irresponsible and without marriage society would be faced with burdens associated with unwanted pregnancies and single parent families.  In Clement's bizarre world, he never quite explains how giving same sex couples civil marriage rights would somehow take away marriage rights for straights or encourage increased irresponsible, sexually promiscuous behavior by straights.  Nor does the argument give any consideration to the millions of children being raised by same sex couples who suffer as a result of their parents' lack of marriage rights.  The whole argument demonstrates the contortions the far right is going through trying to avoid any mention of the real reason they oppose gay marriage: religious based discrimination.  Here are column highlights:

Marriage should be limited to unions of a man and a woman because they alone can "produce unplanned and unintended offspring," opponents of gay marriage have told the Supreme Court.
By contrast, when same-sex couples decide to have children, "substantial advance planning is required," said Paul D. Clement, a lawyer for House Republicans.

Conservative attorneys did not argue that gays or lesbians engaged in "immoral" behavior or lifestyles. Instead they emphasized what they called the "very real threat" to society posed by opposite-sex couples when they are not bound by the strictures of marriage.

The traditional marriage laws "reflect a unique social difficulty with opposite-sex couples that is not present with same-sex couples — namely, the undeniable and distinct tendency of opposite-sex relationships to produce unplanned and unintended pregnancies," wrote Clement, a solicitor general under President George W. Bush. "Unintended children produced by opposite-sex relationships and raised out-of-wedlock would pose a burden on society."

"It is plainly reasonable for California to maintain a unique institution [referring to marriage] to address the unique challenges posed by the unique procreative potential of sexual relationships between men and women," argued Washington attorney Charles J. Cooper, representing the defenders of Proposition 8. Same-sex couples need not be included in the definition of marriage, he said, because they "don't present a threat of irresponsible procreation."

In the lower courts, defenders of the traditional laws struggled to explain why committed couples of the same sex should be denied the benefits of marriage. The plaintiffs include same-sex couples who are raising children.

Clement and Cooper do not address that issue directly. Instead, they argue that it is reasonable for the law to steer opposite-sex couples toward marriage, including by giving them extra benefits. "It was rational for Congress to draw the line where it did," Clement said, "because the institution of marriage arose in large measure in response to the unique social difficulty that opposite-sex couples, but not same-sex couples, posed."

What makes Clement's argument all the more laughable is the reality that the Christofascists have spent millions of dollars arguing that it is gays, not straights, who are irresponsible, promiscuous sex fiends who jump from bed to bed.  Again, they will go to any lengths to avoid religious based bigotry as the real reason for same sex marriage bans.  But then, honesty is not one of the strong suits of the far right and the Christofascists.


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