Michigan Says Its Same-Sex Marriage Ban Helps Boost Population Growth

Without the ability to regulate sexual relationships, how can a state survive?

Margaret Miles, right, celebrates with wife Cathy ten Broeke, left, after they were married at the Minneapolis Freedom to Marry Celebration and Weddings, Thursday, Aug. 1, 2013 at the Minneapolis City Hall. The couple were the first women legally married in Minnesota.
National Journal
Matt Berman
See more stories about...
Matt Berman
Sept. 18, 2013, 9:29 a.m.

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 »
BACKING OUT ON BERNIE
Trump Won’t Debate Sanders After All
5 hours ago
THE LATEST

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.”

TAKATA RECALLS COULD TAKE YEARS TO COMPLETE
Airbag Recalls Target 12 Million Automobiles
8 hours ago
THE LATEST

"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."

Source:
INVESTIGATION LEADS TO LEAKER’S RESIGNATION
Secret Service Disciplines 41 Agents Over Chaffetz Leak
8 hours ago
THE LATEST

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.

Source:
#NEVERTRUMP’S LONELY LEADER
Romney Talks Cost of His Futile Anti-Trump Fight
10 hours ago
THE LATEST

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.”

Source:
CONGRESS DIVIDED ON DEBT CRISIS PLAN
Puerto Rico Relief Stalled on the Hill
10 hours ago
THE LATEST

"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."

Source:
×