Quote of the Day

06.01.2012, 9:00 AM

From the First Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling finding the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional:

“A second rationale of a [put forth in justification of DOMA] is to support child-rearing in the context of stable marriage. The evidence as to child rearing by same-sex couples is the subject of controversy, but we need not enter the debate. Whether or not children raised by opposite-sex marriages are on average better served, DOMA cannot preclude same-sex couples in Massachusetts from adopting children or prevent a woman partner from giving birth to a child to be raised by both partners.

Although the House Report is filled with encomia to heterosexual marriage, DOMA does not increase benefits to opposite-sex couples–whose marriages may in any event be childless, unstable or both–or explain how denying benefits to same-sex couples will reinforce heterosexual marriage. Certainly, the denial will not affect the gender choices of those seeking marriage. This is not merely a matter of poor fit of remedy to perceived problem, but a lack of any demonstrated connection between DOMA’s treatment of same-sex couples and its asserted goal of strengthening the bonds and benefits to society of heterosexual marriage.”

That is, if children “do best when raised by their moms and dads” really was a prime reason for enacting DOMA, then it would have been logical for DOMA to (a) have prevented same-sex couples from raising children via adoption or reproductive technologies, (b) to have provided additional incentives for men and women to marry and remain married, (c) to have provided disincentives for unstable heterosexuals to procreate, and (d) to prevent childless couples and male-female couples unable to procreate from marrying.

DOMA did not, and does not, do any of these things. It “simply” prevents those in legal, same-sex marriages from accessing the federal benefits of marriage, available to male-female married couples, on the sole basis of the sex of their partners.

Thus, the DOMA “solution” to the “problem” that same-sex marriage allegedly presents society, namely the “deinstitutionalization of marriage,” is not a rational remedy for that “problem.”

Can those who oppose SSM nonetheless agree that DOMA does not represent a good, legitimate, or logical connection toward its purported goal of strengthening the bonds between children and their biological parents?

34 Responses to “Quote of the Day”

  1. Philip Cohen says:

    I look forward to reading Scalia’s attempt to rationalize denying states the right to grant their own citizens legal marriages.

  2. Closet Case says:

    Karen (presumably Karen Clark, an affiliate of this organization) posts a video that equates marriage equality with legalized pedophilia. A grotesque and demeaning argument. And one that has been used to defeat or try to defeat every nondiscrimination law relating to sexual orientation and to uphold sodomy laws as recently as Lawrence v Texas (2003). It does not comport with the idea of civility in any way. And yet, these arguments are permitted here by this organization. David Lapp, you asked “Can we be friends?”. This is an example of the impossibilty of it.

  3. Chris says:

    Seriously, Karen, how is that video relevant to this discussion of DOMA? It does not address the topic at all. If you have an argument against the points Fannie brought up here, make one.

  4. Closet Case says:

    And yet, you just posted a video opening with a comparison. It goes on to compare same sex marriage with incest, etc. Your statement together with your action is hard to believe.

    To confirm, you “Karen” are Karen Clark who blogs here, correct?

  5. Closet Case says:

    Karen, your question is very off topic. You brought subtle unrelated subject of incest in the video you posted. There is no relation between
    incest and DOMA, per Fannie’s post, and my and others comments. Perhaps, in accordance with the civility policy of this site, you might want to start another thread concerning fear of incest.

  6. Chris says:

    Karen, will you answer the question posed by Fannie at the end of this article?

    Can those who oppose SSM nonetheless agree that DOMA does not represent a good, legitimate, or logical connection toward its purported goal of strengthening the bonds between children and their biological parents?

  7. Chris says:

    Chris, yes, personally, very personally, I can answer this question. The “right” of man made law does not equal “do the right thing” by others. I’m apathetic to the laws of man.

    I don’t understand how this answers the question.

    And I’ve never said that DOMA is a singular issue that has nothing to do with anything else. But that’s the issue that Fannie chose to focus on in her article, and you are engaging in a derail by refusing to address it and trying to turn our attention to other, related issues on only your second comment.

  8. Closet Case says:

    Karen, I don’t understand your answer to Chris’ question. Do you agree or not that legal same sex and opposite sex marriages should be treated equally as marriages under federal law?

    If your family were being asked to sacrifice, I doubt you’d think it the question was “silly” or be apathetic to laws that directly concerned you and your family.

  9. Closet Case says:

    It must be nice to have that luxury, Karen.

    Since this post is about “the laws of man” and of the US, I wonder if anyone else who opposes SSM here will venture an answer to the question? Bueller?

  10. Closet Case says:

    Ok. But civil law still governs us, and since this law does not affect you, you have the luxury to ignore it and plight of families directly affected by it. It seems that you do not have enough interest in it to consider the married couples whose federal rights are the question at issue in this court decision. To consider what this means to these people, fellow citizens, in civil law and civil society. It seems no one (aside from the obvious supporters) here has any real interest in the plight or legal issues of these people. That interest is an essential part, the beginning really, of “good will”.

  11. Closet Case says:

    If you don’t believe in civil law, then no, nothing is a civil right.

  12. Closet Case says:

    Does anyone who believes in civil law want to weigh in on this judicial decision, pertaining specifically to civil law, that Fannie parses in this post.

    Belief in the law seems to be a prerequisite for discussing it.

  13. Jeffrey says:

    If one doesn’t listen to the laws of men, then how can they have an opinion on what is and isn’t a civil right? To have an opinion is to listen to the laws of men

  14. [...] [Cross-posted: Family Scholars Blog] [...]

  15. marilynn says:

    Y’all have to realize where Karen is coming from. I am very much in favor of SSM but it does not mean I can’t see where she and other donor offspring feel like they were born with half the rights of everyone else in this country and don’t believe that is ever going to change. They sincerely view SSM as opening the door to creating more half-spring, with half families and half rights and think they might stand a chance of preventing that from happening and they think its impossible to stop the millions and millions of heteros from doing it – they see it as insurmountable. I don’t, but she does and she feels like if she does not have a right to know who her bio parents are then like “F” rights, what are rights? Her point about incest is hard to get at first, it took me a few tries about a year ago to understand what she was saying but I think I can sum it up. (by the way I did not look at the video, I’m recalling earlier conversations about incest and why she thinks it relevant to this topic) Real genetic kinship is not recognized by law and the further and further we get away from the genetic meaning of kinship terms the more and more likely incest is to be, so that when you have families with children said to be brothers and sisters who are not actually related – them having sex is legally incest but having sex with one of their unknown 150 siblings or cousins or aunts or uncles or nieces or nephews or hell even a father we’ll call donor is treated legally like its not incest. They can get married to a brother or sister or 1st cousin and its not considered incest because legal family is not genetic. When they are in reunion with their genetic family they have no rights to stuff legal family has like helping a sibling immigrate or taking a leave of absence to care for a sick sibling, they can’t claim that sick sibling as a relative dependent on their tax return if they are permanently disabled and in their care. To them kinship and the way people define what makes a family can be very frustrating because they have no right to theirs and they see moves further and further away from genetic kinship definitions as very threatening.
    I understand how this can seem like a real stretch because the reality is that more heteros are involved in donor conceptions than there ever will be homosexuals and I understand that not every gay or lesbian marriage has the intention of creating kids that won’t know half their relatives.

    I think the position can best be summed up as “rights? when they grant me mine I’ll grant you yours. Prove to me that you respect my right to know my biological family and then I’ll respect your right to marry whoever you want” Stuff like saying a kid has no father but has two mothers just sets them into a tail spin understandably because fictive kinship is fictional and they’ve been told their whole lives that someone else’s right to lie trumps their right to the truth or that someone else’s desire to pretend trumps their right not to.

    So while I disagree with Karen on the issue of same sex marriage I fully understand the origin of her frustration and how she sees it as basically the end to recognition of genetic kinship – like love makes a family so its all over, nobody ever gets to know who their relatives are now.

    I think that its possible for all people to be treated equally; differential treatment anywhere for any reason is a threat to everyone’s freedom. Gay’s and lesbians looking to get married may be as appathetic towards her wanting to know her family as she is to them wanting to get married because its not personally of concern to them but in reality both are being denied the right to something that others freely enjoy the benefits of.

    The best thing to do would be to take away the thing that allows married people the right to claim to be parents of one another’s offspring when they are not actually related to that child, so that nobody can claim to be the parent of another person’s offspring and that parental rights to someone else’s offspring can only come through a court approved procedure like guardianship, adoption, foster care etc or through marriage as a step parent. The thing to do would be to allow people to adopt and make their sexual preference irrelevant to the task of raising a child, because it is irrelevant to the task of raising a child. Its relevant in making children but not raising them, so don’t take away the title of mother or father from the people who made them. Fix adoption to get rid of secrecy as well because incest is a problem there as well on a much smaller scale.

    Karen has had a lot of time to mull over the subtle connections between these issues that are not at all obvious to others and she’s viewing the whole thing from the position of not having the same rights as other people so she is not going to view rights in the same way as those of us that were born with half again as many. She has a real family that is not recognized on her birth record so forgive her if she is not all that wound up that you have a real marriage that is not recognized on a marriage certificate but from where I stand it looks like two groups of people with legitimate beef that oddly connects in the middle.

    I don’t know if that helped or not but as a born and raised San Franciscan Democrat with no religious affiliations since I was kicked out of catholic school whose also pro choice and totally in favor of SSM I understand her frustration with the dwindling importance of biological kinship and her general disbelief in the concept of civil rights since she was born with fewer than any of us will ever be denied.

  16. Closet Case says:

    Marilynn, let’s be clear about this: 80% of gay couple don’t
    have or want kids. Another 16% or 17% have kids from previous straight relationships or adoption. So 3% or 4% of gay couples use IVF.

    Marriage equality isn’t going to increase that and outlawing it does not stop it. Let me repeat that, if marriage for same sex couples were outlawed in every state, rates of IVF would remain the same.

    I have empathy for Karen, but she and others here never extend that to gay people. Though her loss (which is her parents doing) is unrelated to the sacrifice she demands from every gay couple – and only gay couples – in civil law.

    This sacrifice is required of all gay couples whether have or want children or not. Whether they intend to adopt or not. Even those couples who are absolutely doing a good thing, are penalized in the laws Clark, Marquardt, Blankenhorn, etc. favor and advocate. Requiring this of every gay couple in no way achieves the goals they profess. Even Judge Boudin, a very conservative Republican, points this out in the passage above. So, if it does not achieve the goal or forward it, what is the purpose of requiring this sacrifice of all gay people? Could the resulting stigmatization of gay people be a purpose, or is that just a bonus?

    When these rationales are unpacked, as they were in the Perry case, they become harder and harder to believe. It becomes harder to believe that the people who make those arguments believe them, particularly when you consider how few gay couples use IVF. There is not a rational relationship. If the goal was to stop donation, they would rationally focus on those laws, not on precluding childless couples from marrying.

    There is a word for irrational prejudice that is unrelated to a professed goal. I’ll let you guess what it is.

    Lastly, if you Marilynn believe that comparing a gay couple to pedophiles qualifies as “civil”, I am at a loss.

    Gay people have been demonized as pedophiles for decades. That this kind of thing is posted here seems par for the course, it happens a lot. It’s the conflicting “we don’t hate you, we think you are defective, deviant, etc.”. It echos the messages of NOM and that is no accident.

  17. Mont D. Law says:

    The only tragedy that concerns Karen is Karen’s. The rest of them only want to proctect children who’s parents they approve of. They are not concerned with results only with process. The fact the processes they are advocating won’t achieve the result they claim to want doesn’t concern them at all. This is how you can tell it’s at it’s heart a religious argument. There is no logic involved.

  18. fannie says:

    Well, here we are 30 comments into my post and, for some reason, people are talking about everything other than the valid, legitimate question I raised in my post.

    I post here to engage in civil dialogue about the topics of this blog- family and the laws and policies affecting this institution.

    For a commenter to post incredibly offensive, provocative, off-topic, and inflammatory videos and links without comment, as Karen has done here right away, while backing up with her hands in the air ordering us all to “think bigger picture” while herself claiming to be “apathetic” about a topic, a topic of this blog that I took the time to thoughtfully write about because it’s something that affects my everyday life is incredibly out of line.

    Once again, I’m going to directly request Karen not to comment on my posts unless it is in specific response to an issue I have raised in my post.

    If one is so uninterested in the “laws of man” [sic] and so very apathetic about the the topic of same-sex marriage, then what exactly, pray tell, is one doing in this comment thread about a legal ruling on same-sex marriage?

    I mean, really.

    Do you understand how rude you’re being, Karen?

    Can you try to think about that bigger picture? That maybe not every thread has to be about what you want it to be or what you most care about in the world, if you didn’t write the post?

    And that maybe, just maybe, we gay people have seen the propaganda-y videos and links you order us to read our entire lives and that we’re therefore not just twiddling our thumbs waiting for people like you to educate us about this so-called “bigger picture” that, honestly, is often hurtful for us to hear over and over and over again?

    Maybe it’s not us who needs to think “bigger picture.” Maybe. It’s. You.

    That you continually get poor feedback on this site where civil dialogue among opponents actually happens quite a bit should be a clue that maybe it’s your commenting strategy that needs to be re-thought.

    Because you know what? I can already predict that you’ll start accusing me and others here who are offended by your poor behavior of being “rude” or “hostile” or “bullying” of you.

    But, I really hope, I really really do, that you choose to reconsider how you interact with people, at least in the comments following my posts. Because lady, you are out. of. line.

    I don’t want to have contact with you. I don’t want you to email me. And I don’t want to have to deal with your self-centered, offensive derails every time I post to this blog about the very topics this blog purports to be about.

    And, I’ll leave this entire exchange up because, actually, I think it does a real disservice to the anti-equality side.

    I’m also pretty confident in how fair, reasonable people will interpret Karen’s behavior versus my own, when she chooses to start cursing the world at how “unfair” we’re all being to her.

    In the meantime, I hope others choose to engage the substantive question I have raised. Preferably not in one-line, unintelligible soundbites.

  19. fannie says:

    And from a substantive matter, DOMA does not prohibit same-sex couples or any couples from utilizing reproductive technologies.

    All it does is do things like prevent my partner and I from filing our taxes together and receiving Social Security benefits. It has absolutely nothing to do with gamete donation.

    Karen, if you want to tie my post to your favorite issue, care to address on what grounds you support DOMA, if you indeed support it?

    Prove to us that you understand what my post is even about.

  20. mythago says:

    I keep hoping that, someday, the civility and comments policy of this site will actually be applied to those who are FSB bloggers.

    Karen is not answering the question because there is no real answer to the question. DOMA does not rest on anything other than “we don’t want to give marriage to same-sex couples”.

  21. fannie says:


    I appreciate your attempts to mediate here.

    However, I’m not as willing to excuse Karen’s poor, unapologetic behavior here just because she has allegedly been wronged in her life and is frustrated.

    We have all been wronged in life, and that’s not an excuse to waltz into other people’s posts, claim to be apathetic about the topic of that post, and then dismiss everyone’s concerns because they’re not as important to her as her own concerns are.

    People seem confused by the fact that people can write their own posts and blogs about their favorite issues and talking points and that they don’t have to derail other people’s conversations.

    For you to suggest that we owe her time in this space following my post about an entirely different topic, as if we haven’t already listened to her before and aren’t familiar with her issue, is to further enable her entitled behavior.

    Really. I am incredibly resentful of your (and her) assumption that I haven’t heard what Karen has said before and that I have some sort of duty to read the offensive videos and links she regularly links to. I resent the assumption that I, or anyone else here, needs to “think bigger picture” as though we don’t already have that bigger picture in our heads.

    Unless you have access to my head and everything that I already consider, don’t tell me or anyone else what or who we need to consider, think about, watch, or read.

    The sad thing is that I am sympathetic about her issue. I really am. And, I suspect we have similar views about it, from a substantive/policy standpoint, (if she would ever clearly articulate those views instead of merely link to other people’s views).

    But will I engage with her? Nope. And everything I’ve said in these past few comments explains pretty clearly why.

  22. Matthew says:

    Thank you, Fannie.

    Judge Boudin’s observation regarding the DOMA’s “poor fit of remedy to perceived problem” is precisely what many of us have been saying about the entire focus of the “protect marriage” movement. If the problem is the deinstitutionalization of marriage or the failure of young people to marry or the large numbers of children born out of wedlock, then stopping gay people from marrying is not going to help. It is a weird thing for people on this blog to whine about how few people are marrying these days and in the same breath work to prevent gay people from marrying.

  23. JeffreyRO5 says:

    Too many people argue against same-sex marriage as if same-sex marriage is replacing different-sex marriage, rather than simply extending the right to marry to same-sex couples. Just so it’s clear: different-sex couples will still be allowed to marry, once same-sex marriage is legal everywhere. States where same-sex marriage is legal proves this: different-sex couples can still get married, and they do.

    I’ll go even further on the observation that DOMA does not accomplish what it purports to: denying same-sex couples the right to marry does not accomplish what the anti-gays say they want. That seems to be that all children have married biological parents. That doesn’t happen under straights-only marriage and won’t happen under a marriage equality regime, either. Single parents will still abound, and gay couples who want children will still raise them; they’ll raise them outside of marriage, which is a horrible circumstance to force on children.

  24. [...] the frustratingly futile discussion over at the Family Scholars blog, I was struck by the collision-of-worldviews aspect of the [...]

  25. aravind says:

    “To them kinship and the way people define what makes a family can be very frustrating because they have no right to theirs and they see moves further and further away from genetic kinship definitions as very threatening.”

    Marilynn, I think this is the problem – Karen seems to be only viewing those rights in relation to the biological family of an adopted/surrogate/etc person, and not in relation to the adoptive/surrogate family of that same individual. This cuts both ways – have the legal right to assist some one or otherwise exert influence that only legally recognized family members can is something that’s systemically denied to same-sex couples and their families in our society as long as SSM and same-sex adoption (as well as related rights) are stigmatized and denied legal recognition.

    I say this as the child of a same-sex couple (IVF not adoption) that was court-mandated to interact with the sperm donor and his family. Legal protections were denied to my non-biological mother which were extended to my biological father. In my experience, the problems we’re facing as a society are not a denial of legal rights to biological families but a refusal to extend the same rights to adoptive and surrogate families (especially same-sex couples and others that aren’t heteronormative).