Sunday, March 03, 2013

Court hears arguments on marriage

A Republican brief for same-sex marriage has been filed with the US Supreme Court, saying:
Amici do not believe that measures like Proposition 8 rest on a legitimate, fact-based justification for excluding same-sex couples from civil marriage. Over the past two decades, amici have seen each argument against same-sex marriage discredited by social science, rejected by courts, and undermined by their own experiences ...

In particular, marriage makes it immeasurably easier for family members to make plans with and decisions for each other, without relying on outside assistance from lawyers. Married individuals can make medical decisions together (or for each other if one spouse is not able to make a decision) and can make joint decisions for the upbringing of children; they can plan jointly for their financial future and ...
None of this is true. Unfortunately, marriage does not make lawyers unnecessary, and does not enable joint decisions for the upbringing of children. Furthermore, Prop. 8 has no legal effect on any of these things.
Marriage also benefits children. “We know, for instance, that children who grow up in intact, married families are significantly more likely to graduate from high school, finish college, become gainfully employed, and enjoy a stable family life themselves[.]” ...

“Children who grow up with cohabiting couples tend to have more negative life outcomes compared to those growing up with married couples. Prominent reasons are that cohabiting couples have a much higher breakup rate than do married couples, a lower level of household income, and a higher level of child abuse and domestic violence.”
What the research actually shows is that kids do better under joint custody of mom and dad, and worse with LGBTQIA couples.

The upcoming ruling on Prop. 8 is mainly symbolic, as no kids will be directly affected. It is annoying that so much attention and political influence has gone to this cause, when millions of kids are cut off from their own parents. There is no fact-based justification for 90% of the child custody orders today, or even the whole idea of having child custody trials. Surely the legal relationship between kids and their natural parents is much more fundamental and important than the Prop. 8 issues. And if the briefs are going to quote the social science research, they should get it right.

The brief says:
B. Social Science Does Not Support Any Of The Putative Rationales For Proposition 8

Proponents of laws like Proposition 8 have advanced certain social-science arguments that they contend support the exclusion of same-sex couples from civil marriage. The proponents’ main arguments are (1) deinstitutionalization: that allowing same-sex couples to marry will harm the institution of marriage by severing it from child-rearing; (2) biology: that marriage is necessary only for opposite-sex couples because only they can procreate accidentally; and (3) child welfare: that children are better off when raised by two parents of the opposite sex. Each of these arguments reflects a speculative assumption rather than fact, is unsupported in the trial record in this case, and has in fact been refuted by evidence.

Thse Prop. 8 arguments are correct. A whole sequence of lawa and court decisions have severed marriage from child-rearing, and our kids and society are very much the worse from it. Marriage is useful for protecting kids who result from accidental procreation. And the scoial science studies do show overwhelmingly that kids do best under the custody of their natural parents. The same-sex marriage movement is driven largely by lesbians who are trying to drive natural dads out of the picture, and that makes kids worse off.
For those who choose to marry, the rights and responsibilities conveyed by civil marriage provide a bulwark against unwarranted government intervention into deeply personal concerns such as medical and child-rearing decisions. See, e.g., Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 268 U.S. 510, 534-535 (1925) (affirming “the liberty of parents and guardians to direct the upbringing and education of children under their control”); Meyer v. Nebraska, 262 U.S. 390, 401 (1923) (recognizing “the power of parents to control the education of their own”).
I wish that were true, but today's courts consider those 1920s decisions anachronisms, and intrude into deeply personal parenting decisions all the time. The LGBTQIA lobby never speaks out against these intrusions.

LGBTQIA rights are off-topic for this blog, and I am not expressing any opinion on that. My concern here is that Republicans and others have been duped by bogus social science arguments that kids do not need a mom and dad, and by political arguments that redefining the family to sever biological ties to kids will be good. These arguments are false and destructive.


Anonymous said...

Prop 22 was passed by Californians in 2000 and overturned by the state Supreme Court by a vote of 4-3. Then Prop 8 was passed by Californians in 2008 and overturned by a vote of 1-0 in federal court and 2-1 in the 9th Circuit appellate court. If the U. S. Supreme Court votes 5-4 against it, then same-sex marriage will become the settled law of the land. That's democracy in America -- the majority rules.

George said...

If that 2-1 vote is upheld, then Californians and no others will have a constitutional right to same-sex marriage. That does not seem very democratic to me, but it could happen.