It’s a slippery slope. First, a state allows same-sex couples to wed. Next, the state loses the ability to monitor sexual conduct, everyone stops having babies, and the state becomes a veritable ghost town.
That may sound a bit crazy, but it’s roughly the defense that lawyers representing the state of Michigan are making as part of a case alleging that a law banning same-sex adoptions is unconstitutional. Attorneys for Michigan state and Gov. Rick Snyder say the state’s constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman is vital and that, without it, the state wouldn’t be able to “regulate sexual relationships.” Which would, you know, lead to nobody having sexual relationships anymore, and then the population declines.
In the attorneys’ words, as filed in a recent motion:
One of the paramount purposes of marriage in Michigan — and at least 37 other states that define marriage as a union between a man and a woman — is, and has always been, to regulate sexual relationships between men and women so that the unique procreative capacity of such relationships benefits rather than harms society. The understanding of marriage as a union of man and woman, uniquely involving the rearing of children born of their union, is age-old, universal, and enduring. As illustrated by a plethora of research, social scientists have consistently recognized the essential connection between marriage and responsible procreation and childrearing.
The attorneys continue:
In traditional marriage, there is then both a mother and a father to serve as role models for the children, and the potential for the children to be the offspring of the married couple. Every child has a mother and a father.
The thing is though, defining marriage as between a man and a woman hasn’t really led to this kind of traditional life in Michigan. The rate for divorce and annulment in the state in 2011 was 6.9 percent, a bit lower than the national average of 8.0 percent. In 2012, an estimated 30,052 children were involved in divorces or annulments in Michigan, for an average of about one child per divorce.
And it’s not just divorce rates that skew away from the state’s traditional standard. A 2011 report found that the rate of births to single women was on the rise in Michigan, with a 20 percent increase in such births between 2000 and 2009. Two of every three births to Michigan women ages 20-24 were to single mothers.
So, sure, perhaps a same-sex marriage ban helps Michigan regulate sexual relationships, at least in so far as all sexual relationships occur only among married couples. But the idea that the ban helps preserve some kind of idyllic, traditional life is flawed. Because that state-approved idyll doesn’t exist.
What We're Following See More »
Democrats in the House are threatening to shut down the government if Republicans expedite a vote on a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, said Democratic House Whip Steny Hoyer Thursday. Lawmakers have introduced a one-week spending bill to give themselves an extra week to reach a long-term funding deal, which seemed poised to pass easily. However, the White House is pressuring House Republicans to take a vote on their Obamacare replacement Friday to give Trump a legislative victory, though it is still not clear that they have the necessary votes to pass the health care bill. This could go down to the wire.
Members of Congress are eyeing a one-week spending bill which would keep the government open past the Friday night deadline, giving lawmakers an extra week to iron out a long-term deal to fund the government. Without any action, the government would run out of funding starting at midnight Saturday. “I am optimistic that a final funding package will be completed soon," said Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-N.J., chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.
"President Trump informed Mexican President Pena Nieto and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Wednesday afternoon that he will not pull the U.S. from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) despite reports earlier in the day that he had considered doing so. ... The three leaders agreed to proceed quickly with renegotiation plans as the initial review process comes to a close."
"A new bill to revive a permanent nuclear waste repository in Yucca Mountain, Nev., fails to address the concerns of Nevada lawmakers, suggesting the latest attempt may not resolve a 20-year impasse over the issue." The state's congressional delegation "shared their opposition to the nuclear waste policy amendment during a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing focused on the legislation," and promised that Gov. Brian Sandoval would oppose it at every turn. "The new bill aims to finally use some $31 billion that has accumulated in the Nuclear Waste Fund, set aside in 1982 to collect specifically for a permanent repository."