One of the driving forces behind the efforts to maintain bans on gay marriage - beside outright anti-gay animus - is the Christofascists' obsession with all things sexual and their burning desire to regulate the sex lives of everyone. As federal court after federal court invalidates such state level bans, the arguments of the Christofascists and elected officials only too ready to prostitute themselves to such extremists have become more and more insane and bizarre. Earlier this week at the oral arguments before the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago, perhaps the most bizarre argument of all was once again made, namely that because straight people get drunk and pregnant, while gay people do not, gays don't need marriage. This argument seemingly got trashed by all three of the judges hearing the cases. Here are highlights from a piece in Salon:
One of the most fascinating things about the same-sex marriage battle has been the evolution of the arguments against gay unions. Not long ago, gays and lesbians were not only considered unsuitable parents; they were an active danger to children, child molesters and abusers. Kids raised by same-sex couples were said to fare worse than those raised by heterosexual couples.
No such arguments were made in Chicago on Tuesday, where lawyers for Wisconsin and Indiana did their best to defend their states’ bans on same-sex marriage before a three-judge panel of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. Their line of attack against gay marriage was quite the opposite: Gay parents are too responsible to need marriage.
That’s right — lawyers for Indiana and Wisconsin claimed that because a “fleeting moment of passion” can produce offspring, straight people need marriage as an incentive to stay together and raise their “unintended children.” Gay people, on the other hand, have to think and plan a lot harder if they want to be parents, so marriage doesn’t concern them. In other words, because an ill-considered, alcohol-fueled romp between two straight people can lead to a baby, gays shouldn’t be able to marry.
Judge Richard Posner, a Reagan appointee, could only respond with sarcasm. “Would you criminalize fornication?” he said. “It sounds like a way of dealing with this unintended child problem.”
The absurdity of Indiana and Wisconsin’s justifications for banning gay unions — which are really something if you listen to the audio — highlights the central problem for opponents of same-sex marriage: As traditional justifications for anti-gay discrimination have lost legal ground, defending gay-marriage bans increasingly requires logical acrobatics.
The case against same-sex marriage made a lot more sense when lawyers could rely on prejudiced assumptions about gay people. Quite simply, banning gay marriage would be perfectly reasonable if having gay parents were indeed harmful to children, if homosexuality were a psychological disorder, and if the law considered gay sex to be an immoral act worthy of sanction by the state.
[I]t has only been recently that courts have stopped considering gays to be psychologically damaged. But now that it has, opponents of same-sex marriage have been left with very little material to work with.
These arguments are cute, but anyone with half a brain can see that they’re nothing more than logical gimmicks. By definition, restricting marriage to “one man, one woman” is restricting it to straight couples, and everyone knows the intention behind these laws is to stop gay marriage.
Far from presenting gay people as a threat to kids, the questions from the bench Tuesday focused on the harm done to the children of gay couples who are not allowed to marry.
For us gay folk, it’s still quite something that the judge here is talking about anti-gay discrimination and not gay people themselves.