Today, closing statements began in the Prop 8 trial. Prior to the closing arguments, Judge Walker submitted numerous thought provoking questions to both sides. Both sides answered all questions, although many of the questions were directed only to one side of the issue. The Defendant-Intervenors (the ones who oppose marriage equality), responded, in my opinion, very poorly to all questions, but one stood out. Judge Walker’s second question asked:
Aside from the testimony of Mr. Blakenhorn, what evidence in the record supports a finding that same-sex marriage has or could have negative social consequences? What does the evidence show the magnitude of these consequences to be?
The equality opponents essentially provided three summary answers on the negative social consequences of same-sex marriage:
- same-sex marriage will change the public meaning of marriage;
- a change in the social meaning of marriage will unquestionably have real world consequences;
- whatever those consequences are, the will be momentous.
They then quote Professor Cott’s explanation of what will happen if same-sex marriage is adopted: “One could point to earlier watersheds, but perhaps none quite so explicit as this particular turning point.” So, what are those watersheds Professor Cott refers to? Here are the examples given:
‘there can be no doubt that the recognition of gay marriages will affect as great a transformation in the nature of marriage as that from polygamous to monogamous or from arranged to unarranged marriage.’ (Quoting Joseph Raz)
‘Same-sex marriage is a breathtakingly subversive idea.’ (Quoting E.J. Graff)
‘enlarging the concept [of marriage] to embrace same-sex couples would necessarily transform it into something new.’ (Quoting William Eskridge)
‘the shared societal meaning of marriage… has always been the union of a man and a woman. To alter that meaning would render a profound change in the public consciousness of a social institution of ancient origin.’ (Quoting from Lewis v. Harris, 908 A.2d 196 (N.J. 2006)
It sounds like they have no answer, right? They cannot give one specific example of a real consequence to allowing same-sex marriage and resort to the tactics of declaring marriage about children and procreation, not love and commitment. In fact, they even admit that they can’t answer the question, stating, “Professor Cott also admits that it is not possible to predict with precision the consequences that will flow from same-sex marriage.” They then go on to grasp at more straws and declared that allowing same-sex marriage will “change its focus from the needs of children to the desires of the adult partners…”
Anyone else hear the gong?
As if that isn’t painful enough, they begin relying on marriage statistics that have no bearing, or are so insignificant that they can’t possible be a proper litmus test, including an annual 0.7% decrease in marriage from 2000 – 2008 in the Netherlands after an annual 0.2% increase in marriages in the years from 1994 – 2000. Note that there is no consideration given for economic factors, such as a severe global recession – it’s simply the fault of gay marriage.
But perhaps most significantly, what is likely a “typographical error” in their submission, the anti-equality folks state, “Refining marriage to include same-sex unions…”
Yep… making marriage equal would certainly “refine” marriage. I’m very happy we found a point of agreement.
NOTE: For more of the column, Stupid Things People Say About Gays, click here.
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