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 »
Trump, in a statement: “Based on the fact that the Democratic nominating process is totally rigged and Crooked Hillary Clinton and Deborah Wasserman Schultz will not allow Bernie Sanders to win, and now that I am the presumptive Republican nominee, it seems inappropriate that I would debate the second place finisher. ... I will wait to debate the first place finisher in the Democratic Party, probably Crooked Hillary Clinton, or whoever it may be.”
"The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration identified on Friday the makes and models of 12 million cars and motorcycles that have been recalled because of defective air bag inflators made by Japanese supplier Takata. The action includes 4.3 million Chryslers; 4.5 million Hondas; 1.6 million Toyotas; 731,000 Mazdas; 402,000 Nissans; 383,000 Subarus; 38,000 Mitsubishis; and 2,800 Ferraris. ... Analysts have said it could take years for all of the air bags to be replaced. Some have questioned whether Takata can survive the latest blow."
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson says 41 Secret Service agents have been disciplined in the fallout of an investigation over the agency's leak of personnel files. The leaker, who has resigned, released records showing that Oversight and Government Reform Chair Jason Chaffetz—who was leading an investigation of Secret Service security lapses—had applied for a job at the agency years before. The punishments include reprimands and suspension without pay. "Like many others I was appalled by the episode reflected in the Inspector General’s report, which brought real discredit to the Secret Service," said Johnson.
Mitt Romney spoke in an interview with the Wall Street Journal about his decision to challenge Donald Trump. “Friends warned me, ‘Don’t speak out, stay out of the fray,’ because criticizing Mr. Trump will only help him by giving him someone else to attack. They were right. I became his next target, and the incoming attacks have been constant and brutal.” Still, "I wanted my grandkids to see that I simply couldn’t ignore what Mr. Trump was saying and doing, which revealed a character and temperament unfit for the leader of the free world.”
"A bill to help Puerto Rico handle its $70 billion debt crisis is facing an uncertain future in the Senate. No Senate Democrats have endorsed a bill backed by House Speaker Paul Ryan and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, while some are actively fighting it. ... On the Republican side, senators say they’re hopeful to pass a bill but don’t know if they can support the current legislation — which is expected to win House approval given its backing from leaders in that chamber."