Sunday, January 18, 2015

New York Times summarizes the arguments for marriage equality before SCOTUS, but glosses over one point

The editorial in the New York Times Saturday, Jan. 17, 2014, “The justices and marriage equality” (link) covers two important points.

One is that Justice Scalia, in “Lawrence v. Texas” had reasoned, in his dissent it states lost the ability to express abstract moral condemnation for homosexual conduct through sodomy laws, they would have no basis for denying marriage licenses to  couples “exercising the liberty protected by the Constitution.”  And the NYT writes “Precisely” (in a separate one-word paragraph).

Then the NYT mentions the “responsible procreation” argument, limiting it to encouraging stable marriages for children “accidentally” conceived by heterosexual encounters.
That seems to cut the argument short.  The practical effect of “traditional marriage bias” has been to provide some coercive support.  There is no logical way to provide extra support to married people without expecting unmarried people to help pay for it.  Before marriage, this effectively forced homosexuals (except those who “passed” and married in the “my husband’s not gay” world) to help support heterosexuals.  Another way to see it is the “anti-schizoid” idea.  It takes a certain self-giving and psychological risk to enter a “in sickness and in health” intimate relationship, and even more, presumably, when complementarity is required.  But the social support for marriage, and coercive pressure on the unmarried, was viewed by many as providing an environment that made it easier for married couples could remain loyal.  It’s easier if “everyone else has to do it” and other alternatives aren’t morally permissible. Today, this somehow sounds like Vladimir Putin’s concern about low birth rates in Russia.

Had I had the opportunity to enter a single life-long marriage to a same-sex partner “till death due us part” could I really have done so and kept it? 
My whole adult life, I perceived a cultural and economic battle between “families” and “individuals”.  Now it is a three-way fight.  

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