Tag archives: California

Defining Marriage: Do Infertile Couples Undermine the “Procreation Argument” One-Man-One-Woman Marriage?

by Peter Sprigg

March 20, 2013

On March 26 and 27, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in two cases challenging the definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman. In Hollingsworth v. Perry, they will consider the constitutionality of the definition as enshrined in the California state constitution by voters in that state when they adopted “Proposition 8” in 2008 (effectively reversing the decision of the California Supreme Court to impose same-sex “marriage” earlier that year). In Windsor v. United States, they will consider the constitutionality of the same definition of marriage being adopted for all purposes under federal law through the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

In anticipation of those oral arguments, I am offering a series of blog posts with questions and answers related to the issue. Today, we look at the question of whether the fact that not all opposite-sex couples reproduce undermines the argument that the public purpose of marriage is related to procreation.

Are you saying that married couples who don’t have children (whether by choice, or because of infertility or age) aren’t really married? If we deny marriage to same-sex couples because they can’t reproduce, why not deny it to those couples, too?

A couple that doesn’t want children when they marry might change their minds. Birth control might fail for a couple that uses it. A couple that appears to be infertile may get a surprise and conceive a child. The marital commitment may deter an older man from conceiving children with a younger woman outside of marriage. Even a very elderly couple is of the structural type (i.e., a man and a woman) that could theoretically produce children (or could have in the past). And the sexual union of all such couples is of the same type as that which reproduces the human race, even if it does not have that effect in particular cases.

Admittedly, society’s tangible interest in marriages that do not produce children is less than its interest in marriages that result in the reproduction of the species. However, we still recognize childless marriages because it would be an invasion of a heterosexual couple’s privacy to require that they prove their intent or ability to bear children.

There is no reason, though, to extend “marriage” to same-sex couples, which are of a structural type (two men or two women) that is incapable—ever, under any circumstances, regardless of age, health, or intent—of producing babies naturally. In fact, they are incapable of even engaging in the type of sexual act that results in natural reproduction. And it takes no invasion of privacy or drawing of arbitrary upper age boundaries to determine that.

Another way to view the relationship of marriage to reproduction is to turn the question around. Instead of asking whether actual reproduction is essential to marriage, ask this: If marriage never had anything to do with reproduction, would there be any reason for the government to be involved in regulating or rewarding it? Would we even tolerate the government intervening in such an intimate relationship, any more than if government defined the terms of who may be your “best friend?” The answer is undoubtedly “no”—which reinforces the conclusion that reproduction is a central (even if not obligatory) part of the social significance of marriage.

Indeed, the facts that a child cannot reproduce, that close relatives cannot reproduce without risk, and that it only takes one man and one woman to reproduce, are among the reasons why people are barred from marrying a child, a close blood relative, or a person who is already married. Concerns about reproduction are central to those restrictions on one’s choice of marriage partner—just as they are central to the restriction against “marrying” a person of the same sex.

Although not every opposite-sex couple reproduces, most do—and those that don’t are still able to provide both a mother and a father to any children they may adopt. Same-sex couples, on the other hand, can never reproduce as a natural result of their sexual intercourse, and deliberately deny either a mother or a father to any child they may raise. These undeniable and immutable differences provide clear, bright lines which easily justify classifying such couples differently under the law.

As goes California…”

by Julia Kiewit

January 15, 2013

A recent Wall Street Journal article highlighted the challenges that will be facing California, due to

Declining migration and falling birthrates [that] have led to a drop in the number of children in California just as baby boomers reach retirement, creating an economic and demographic challenge for the nation’s most populous state.

California hasn’t always faced demographic challenge. The article continues:

In 1970, six years after the end of the baby boom, children made up more than one-third of California’s population. By 2030, they will account for just one-fifth, according to projections by lead author Dowell Myers, a USC demographer. “We have a massive replacement problem statewide,” Mr. Myers said in an interview.

Demographic decline is a subject the Marriage and Religion Research Institute has analyzed in detail. In his work on the decline of economic growth and population change, Dr. Henry Potrykus looks at the slowdown of GDP growth due to declining numbers of high-human capital wage earners, and he predicts that the U.S. economy will continue to see growth ebb over the coming years. “This slowdown,” Dr. Potrykus says, “is amplified by the retiring of a generation with significant human capital (the baby boom) and its replacement by a generation inadequate in population size to continue the expected and required growth of the macroeconomy.” In other words, the U.S. population will not be able to replace its retirees with an equivalent number of skilled adult workers, due in part to low birth rates.

As the Wall Street Journal Article notes,

[California’s] birthrate fell to 1.94 children per woman in 2010, below the replacement level of 2.1 children, according to the study.California’s rate is lower than the overallU.S.rate of 2.06 children in 2012, according to the Central Intelligence Agency.

This population trend is a significant problem nationally when close to two million people will retire each year for the next 20 years, according to Stephen Levy, director of the Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy.”

As goes California, so goes the nation. 

The Consequences of Instability: Children and Same-Sex Divorce

by Sharon Barrett

September 24, 2012

In my previous post, I asked this question:

Cohabitation and divorce both have significant negative effects on child well-being. Since marital instability is a commonly reported cause of divorce, should we place even more children at risk by legally redefining marriage to include same-sex partnerships?

The bisexual element in most same-sex households compounds the natural mutability of many same-sex relationships. Such instability is a strong predictor of divorce. Additional unforeseen consequences, however, arise from the unique circumstances that surround the child in a same-sex household.

A child enters a same-sex household via adoption, artificial reproductive technology, or one partners previous heterosexual relationship. When the relationship breaks up, who has a claim to the child: biological parent, donor or surrogate, or adoptive same-sex partner? What about the same-sex partner who never adopted the child because the other biological parent would not release his or her rights or the partners new boyfriend or girlfriend, who is helping raise the child?

While these situations may sound exaggerated or hypothetical, they could become legal reality in Californiaunder the triple-parent bill SB 1476, currently awaiting the stroke of the governors pen. In her article, Why Californias Three-Parent Law Was Inevitable, Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse documents the 2011 case that motivated state senator Mark Leno to propose the bill.

Melissa, the mother in In re M.C., was bisexual, like most of the same-sex parents surveyed in 2012s New Family Structures study: in 2008, after becoming pregnant by a man (Jose), she married a woman (Irene) and subsequently gave birth to a daughter (M.C.). When Melissa was sent to prison and Irene hospitalized, Jose requested custody.

Custody was denied, however, because under Californias Uniform Parentage Act the man to whom a mother is married when she gives birth is the childs presumed father. Irene, though not a man, was counted as M.C.s presumed mother despite the fact that she had lived with M.C.s mother for barely a month and had not adopted M.C. Rather than give the child to her father, the court placed M.C. in state custody so that she could be awarded to Irene at a later date.

Even without the problems of cohabitation and divorce, a child being raised by a same-sex couple inevitably has more than two parental entities involved in his or her life. Either they or the courts will determine how they may share access to that child. As Dr. Morse observes,

 

We cannot count on private agreements among the parties to solve all problems and manage all disputes. A subset of these cases is going to end up being settled by the family courts. Therefore, not only does same-sex parenting create an impetus to triple-parenting, it creates an impetus for state involvement in the ongoing management of these complex relationships.

The redefinition of marriage and the redefinition of parenthood that must accompany it creates a legal quagmire. As more disputes like In re M.C. enter the courts, more children are likely to be divorced from their parents and from the natural definition of family.

An Eternal Perspective on Cultural Disarray

by Rob Schwarzwalder

February 8, 2012

Proposition Eight, the California ballot initiative that declared marriage exists solely between one man and one woman, has been struck down by a federal court. President Obama is planning to compel religious institutions to pay for abortifacients and other contraceptives as part of their health insurance programs. New York City is about to prohibit churches from meeting in public schools.

Is the sky falling? Are the nation’s moral foundations so eroded that they are on the verge of collapse?

For two reasons, I will answer no. In the past year, in states across the country, there have been wonderful wins for the cause of life and family. Ultra-sound bills and abortion clinic regulations have been enacted and polls show that Americans are more troubled than ever by abortion-on-demand. There have even been some Supreme Court judicial rulings (e.g., Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. EEOC and Spencer v. World Vision) favorable to religious liberty.

These things should inspire us to keep working for faith, family, and freedom in the public square. Although the assaults on the Judeo-Christian moral tradition, the very nature of the family, and the religious and economic liberty we cherish are manifold, not to fight them would be to surrender our biblical obligation to work for justice and stand for the oppressed (Proverbs 31:8-9). For the sake of the Just One Himself, this we must never do.

Second, Jesus Christ is Lord of time and eternity. He is Lord when we rejoice and when we weep. He is the sovereign before Whom every knee shall bow (Philippians 2:9-11). Who sustains all things by the word of His power (Hebrews 1:2). And according to the Psalmist, God is unthreatened by the machinations of political man: (Though) the kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord and against His Anointed … He who sits in the heavens laughs, the Lord scoffs at them (2:2-4).

In other words, God is accomplishing His will in ways our limited human understanding might find puzzling but which are fully commensurate with His character and plan for humanity.

The Most High rules in the realm of mankind, we read in Daniels prophecy (4:2). He has called us to stand for righteousness and human dignity in every sphere of life. Whatever external wins or losses we might experience in the moment, these truths should sustain us in our efforts at all times.

PART 2Prop 8 Trial Transcript in the Spotlight: Plaintiff Destroys Born Gay, Cant Change Myth

by Peter Sprigg

September 19, 2011

This is Part 2 of a 2-part blog post based on the transcript of the Proposition 8 trial—the legal challenge to the state constitutional amendment, adopted by California voters in 2008, which defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

Today (Monday, September 19), Broadway will be the scene of a star-studded staged reading of a new play—one based on the transcript of the trial in the case of Perry v. Schwarzenegger (now known as Perry v. Brown). The unprecedented trial, presided over by the (then closeted, now out) homosexual judge Vaughn Walker, resulted in Walkers opinion in August 2010 declaring that the male-female definition of marriage violates the U. S. Constitution. The ruling is currently on appeal in the Ninth Circuit.

Yet the testimony of one of the actual plaintiffs in the case, Sandra Stier, undermines the argument by same-sex marriage advocates that gay people are denied the fundamental right to marry just because of who they are. It also directly contradicts Judge Walkers finding of fact number 51: Marrying a person of the opposite sex is an unrealistic option for gay and lesbian individuals. In fact, Stiers testimony undermines two of the most fundamental premises of the entire homosexual movement—the claims that people are born gay, and that a persons sexual orientation can never change.

Stier testified that she was married—to a man—for twelve years, and had two biological children with him. Even more startling is her admission that she did not learn that she was a lesbian until she was in her mid-thirties.

Part 1 of this post featured the beginning of attorney Ted Olsons direct examination of Stier, dealing with her marriage to her husband.

This, Part 2, features Stiers testimony about her relationship with her current lesbian partner, Kristin Perry.

Stiers testimony appears in bold; [my editorial comments are in bracket and italics].

 

Perry v. Schwarzenegger

TrialDay 1

1/11/2010 9:00:00 AM

 

Transcript pp. 163-167

… .

 

Q. When did you meet Ms. Perry?

A. I met Kris around 1996.

Q. And how did your relationship with her develop? And go ahead.

A. Well, when I first met Kris, of course, I hadn’t known her previously. I was teaching a computer class and she was a student in my class. So I just sort of knew of her, but then we started working together on projects at work and ended up being coworkers and became fast friends quite quickly. And we were friends for quite some time and I began to realize that the feelings I had for her were really unique and different from friends, feelings I normally had towards friends. And they were absolutely taking over my thoughts and my — sort of my entire self. And I grew to realize I had a very strong attraction to her and, indeed, I was falling in love with her.

Q. And tell us when you realized finally that you had fallen in love with her?

A. I really — I realized that in 1999, early in the year.

[Other anecdotal accounts of lesbian relationships suggest that this pattern is fairly typicalthey begin as friendships which grow more and more intimate emotionally, and only at the end become sexual. She does not report that she looked at her partner and immediatelyor even quicklyfelt a strong sexual attraction to her. Again, this undermines the claim that all lesbians have an innate orientation which makes them sexually attracted to women in general.]

Q. Did your falling in love with Kris have anything to do with the dissolution of your marriage?

A. My marriage was troubled on many fronts and had been in a very, very difficult state. And the end of my marriage was precipitated by my own extreme unhappiness, my ex-husband’s severe problems with alcohol and his inability to provide the type of support as a husband and a family person that I had to have.

[Since Stier realized in 1999, early in the year that she was in love with Kristin Perry, and her marriage also ended in 1999, it is somewhat difficult to give credence to this denial, whatever difficulties her husband may have had. Advocates of same-sex marriage often ask, What harm could same-sex marriage do to your marriage? In the case of Stiers marriage, it appears that societys growing acceptance of homosexual relationships may have made it easier for her to leave her husband. If same-sex marriage were legalized, and it were possible to go directly from a heterosexual marriage to a homosexual one, the incentive to break up the first marriage might be even greater. Thisthe breakup of some existing opposite-sex marriagesis a potential harm of same-sex marriage which is very real. However, it is impossible to predict in advance who will experience it.]

Q. Did your sexual orientation or your discovery of your sexual orientation have anything to do with the dissolution of that marriage?

A. No, it did not.

[Again, this is a fascinating admission. It would seem more consistent with typical homosexual propaganda for her to say, as noted above, I realized I was living a lie, or I decided it was time to be who I really am.

Judge Walker supported his Finding 51 with testimony from a witness who stated:

Some gay men and lesbians have married members of the opposite sex, but many of those marriages dissolve, and some of them experience considerable problems simply because one of the partners is gay or lesbian. A gay or lesbian person marrying a person of the opposite sex is likely to create a great deal of conflict and tension in the relationship.

Yet Sandra Stiers testimony clearly does not support this theory. She states flatly that her discovery of [her] sexual orientation did not have anything to do with the dissolution of that marriage. The implication seems to be that if her husband had not had severe problems with alcohol and had been able to provide the type of support as a husband and a family person that she needed; and if she had not met and fallen in love with Kristin Perry; she might well have remained married to her husband until his death, never learning that she was gay.]

Q. Your husband is no longer living, is that correct?

A. That’s true.

Q. Then tell us about how your relationship with Ms. Perry developed?

A. Well, my relationship with Kris, the romantic part of the relationship certainly started for me in a — just a very exciting place. I had never experienced falling in love before, and I think

Q. Are you saying that you weren’t in love with your husband?

A. I was not in love with my husband, no.

Q. Did you think that you were at some point?

A. I had a hard time relating to the concept of being in love when I was married to my husband. And while I did love him when I married him, I honestly just couldn’t relate when people said they were in love. I thought they were overstating their feelings and maybe making a really big deal out of something. It didn’t really make sense to me. It seemed dramatic. You know, when you grow up in the midwest and in a farming family — which is a really unique way to grow up, if anybody knows much about that — but there is a pragmatism that is inherent and it’s part of the fabric of life and an understated way of being that is just pervasive in terms of your development. And I remember as a young girl talking to my mom about love and marriage and she would say, “You know, marriage is more than romantic love. It’s more than excitement. It’s an enduring long-term commitment and it’s hard work.” And in my family that seemed very true.

(Laughter.)

[It saddens me that there was laughter in the courtroom at the statement that [marriage is] an enduring long-term commitment and it’s hard work. Truer words were never spokeneven with couples who were madly in love when they first married, and even with couples who still are.]

So I really thought that was what I was kind of signing up for when I got married; not that it would be bad, but that it would be hard work and I would grow into that love, and that I needed to marry a good, solid person and I would grow into something like my parents had, which was really a lovely marriage and still is.

[I am glad that she says that her mother and fathers marriagepresumably one that modeled that enduring long-term commitment and hard workwas really a lovely marriage and still is. It was also a fruitful onewithout the natural procreation possible only in opposite-sex relationships, Ms. Stiers life would never have begun. It is simply obtuse to deny that this is the central reason why marriage is a public institution, and why it is defined as a male-female union.]

Q. And then you were — I interrupted you. You were in the midst of describing what happened in terms of your own feelings as your relationship with Ms. Perry developed?

A. Well, with Kris my — so we have this wonderfully romantic relationship and — that just really grew and blossomed very beautifully. And not only were we in love, but we wanted we realized fairly soon that we wanted to build a life together. We wanted to join our families and live as a family. That we didn’t want to date. I was 36 or 37 years old, and Kris is a tiny about it younger than me, but we really wanted to build a family together and have that kind of life of commitment and stability that we both really appreciated.

Q. How convinced are you that you are gay? You’ve lived with a husband. You said you loved him. Some people might say, Well, it’s this and then it’s that and it could be this again. Answer that.

A. Well, I’m convinced, because at 47 years old I have fallen in love one time and it’s with Kris. And our love is — it’s a blend of many things. It’s physical attraction. It’s romantic attraction. It’s a strong commitment. It’s intellectual bonding and emotional bonding. For me, it just isn’t love. I really, quite frankly, don’t know what that would be for adults. I don’t know what else to say about it.

[She has fallen in love one time and its with Kris. This seems a rather limited data point on which to base any claim that she has an innate lesbian identityan enduring pattern of sexual attraction toward other women.]

Q. Why are you a plaintiff in this case?

A. Well, I’m a plaintiff in this case because I would like to get married, and I would like to marry the person that I choose and that is Kris Perry. She is a woman. And according to California law right now, we can’t get married, and I want to get married.

[This is a succinct and accurate statement of her situation under the current law. And some peoplepeople who feel there is nothing morally wrong with engaging in homosexual conduct; that the definition of marriage has nothing to do with the procreative potential of opposite-sex relationships; that being raised by both their mother and father provides no advantage to children; and that changing the definition of marriage would have no impact at all on the institution of marriagemay sympathize with it and wish to see Stiers desire to marry Perry be fulfilled.

However, this provides no basis whatsoever for claiming that Californias definition of marriage violates the United States Constitution. Thwarting a persons desires is not at all the same as violating a persons constitutional rights.]

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