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Pity the poor Onion writers

[ 134 ] January 29, 2013 |

I’m pretty much entirely neutral about how marriage for same sex couples is legalized; our political system provides multiple pathways for working to bring about such change, and I’m not interested in pretending that some are inherently more ‘legitimate’ than others. You take the positive social change where you can get it. That said, I did find the popular victories of last November unusually satisfying, as they a) gave me the opportunity to feel warm and fuzzy about my fellow citizens, and b) badly punctured on of the most cherished narratives of the bigots.

On the other hand: social change via the courts is not without its charms. In particular: our opponents are forced to attempt to make actual, non-BS arguments for denying gays and lesbians equal rights. As various strategies fail, the arguments are getting increasingly bizarre, which contributes to the all-important task of discrediting these fools. A report on legal strategies in California:

WASHINGTON — Marriage should be limited to unions of a man and a woman because they alone can “produce unplanned and unintended offspring,” opponents of gay marriage have told the Supreme Court.

By contrast, when same-sex couples decide to have children, “substantial advance planning is required,” said Paul D. Clement, a lawyer for House Republicans.

This unusual defense of traditional marriage was set out last week in a pair of opening legal briefs in the two gay marriage cases to be decided by the Supreme Court this spring.



Comments (134)

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  1. Slocum says:

    Why can’t gays get married? Non sequitur, that’s why!

  2. […] parenthood. Not even Scalia, world’s biggest hack, could find that argument persuasive. (via) Share this:TwitterFacebookEmailLike this:LikeBe the first to like […]

  3. rea says:

    Sounds like an argument for banning hetero marriage.

  4. Winchester says:

    Same-sex couples should not be allowed to “pro-create”, to “have children”.

    I mean — would you be happy to have two fathers? Pouah. Isn’t the mere thought of it disgusting, revolting?

  5. Jeff R. says:

    I had to follow the link to see what the context of the argument was. It didn’t seem to help. As near as I can make it out, the argument is marriage should be limited to opposite sex couples because same sex couples can’t have a shotgun wedding. Am I missing some subtlety to the argument?

    • sibusisodan says:

      It’s a v weird argument. The idea seems to be that we can trust same sex couples to plan a family appropriately, so they don’t need this marriage thing.

      Whereas hetero couples may sprog at any moment, causing the downfall of society, cats and dogs living together and children out of wedlock. So they need marriage to corral them into stability for the good of the nation.

      Marriage: a necessary evil for the heteros. Gay people are too good for it, and it would only sully them, which we’re too kind hearted to wish on them.

      It’s a novel, creative and thoroughly adorable line of argument. This will be fun.

  6. Winchester says:

    Oh, my hairdresser is so CUTE, and he always tells me how cute my outfit is. I can’t judge him for being a sodomite! And my nephew is such a sweetie, and he always played with dolls, even when he was little. How dare you say he can’t jam his penis into another man’s feces-laden colon and mouth!

    • BigHank53 says:

      Do you always spend this much time thinking about gay sex? Before breakfast? Not that I’m implying anything, mind you, but this seems to really matter to you, and you might want to ask yourself why.

      Alternatively, of course, you’re just trolling. Badly. Have a nice day!

    • dave says:

      This comment somehow manages to be absolutely adorable and utterly hateful all at the same time. It’s a dessert topping and a floor wax!

    • FLRealist says:

      I see you’ve thought about this a lot.

    • rea says:

      How sad–he doesn’t seem to realize that this is about love, not sex.

    • DrDick says:

      How I pity anyone who knows you and has to deal with you on a daily basis. You know you would be much less angry and tense if you just embraced your own sexuality and desires.

      • The Dark Avenger says:

        Dr. Dick, he’s obviously afraid of this:

        In May of last year, the worst conservative fears had come true — our president announced that he didn’t care if gay people got married. You or I might call that apathy, or maybe basic human decency. Fox News, of course, called it a War on Marriage. Brave husbands around the nation took one last look at their wives before devouring one another’s defeated yet eager penises. The straights had lost the war, and with it their right to an uncocked mouth. “I never knew unconditional surrender could feel so good,” the straight husband said through frothy lips still moist from their first bite of dick. His words were given only a whisper of a response. .. the heterosexual husband tongue probing his butthole remained as silent as a garden slug.

        There’s no real cute way to break down the main conservative argument — that same-sex unions somehow cloud the concept of traditional marriage. They obviously don’t. If some guy married a baseball glove full of Jell-O, they’d still recognize you and your wife as the regular married couple and him as the maniac arguing with a gooey catcher’s mitt. How ugly is your wife that you need to oppress millions of innocent people in order for us to tell the difference?

        Conservatives have proud traditions in this country that they “fight” to protect, and what that basically means is that they think they can still be racist and homophobic if they do it carefully. Nobody at Fox News truly cares about “attacks on traditional marriage.” If they did, they’d spend all their time complaining about divorce, which is fucking exactly that every time it happens. If you’re not complaining about divorce or interracial marriage or why you’re not allowed to shut your woman up with a stick, then you don’t care about marital traditions. You just hate gay people. Or more specifically, devoted, loving gay people. If you deny that, yet still want to deny them rights, then fine — I guess you’re saying all men are created equal except for homos. Most of us can’t pretend to be that stupid simply to protect our unconfronted homophobia, though.

        I don’t want this article to spark a lot of shallow political arguments. I know some of you out there want to ruin the lives of gay couples for noble, non-political reasons. If you’re one of those people and reading this now, I respect what you’re doing for this nation. And I’m sure your mother’s abortion doctor is relieved to know that the “biggest mistake of his career” defied the odds and learned to read.

    • spencer says:

      I can’t judge him for being a sodomite!

      No, you really can’t. Mainly because it’s none of your goddamn business.

      And my nephew is such a sweetie, and he always played with dolls, even when he was little. How dare you say he can’t jam his penis into another man’s feces-laden colon and mouth!

      My nephew is now a fully-grown adult, with an education and a career and everything. He can do what he wants – and yes, that includes having sex with his boyfriend.

      You know what else? My nephew is a teacher. I hope that enrages you and brings you just a little bit closer to having that inevitable stroke.

    • ChrisTS says:

      Holy Whatever. You are serious!

  7. Ken says:

    So legalizing same-sex marriage would remove the only thing that makes us different from cats and cockroaches.

    • Spud says:

      Cats are better than most human beings. They are not duty bound by their owners (aka their staff) and they leave their poop in the box. My cat already Pavlov’ed me when it comes to feeding time.

      Anyone who understands urban planning knows that cities are better suited for the habitation of roaches than humans. We are their servants not their betters

    • redwoods says:

      If that’s how you view marriage, one desperately hopes you haven’t seen fit to partake.

      • Ken says:

        Hmm, I hadn’t intended it to be read that way, but I suppose it could. Let me rephrase:

        The people who argue that marriage should be restricted to couples that can produce unplanned offspring are idiots. Cats and cockroaches can produce unplanned offspring; humans should aspire to something better.

  8. Greco says:

    So… I couldn’t get married because I’m sterile?

  9. TT says:

    Marriage should be limited to unions of a man and a woman because they alone can “produce unplanned and unintended offspring,” opponents of gay marriage have told the Supreme Court.

    Reminds me of that episode of Larry Sanders where Hank sleeps with Larry’s ex-wife but then later confesses, pleading that it was an “accident”. Larry says, “What, did she trip and fall on your penis?”

    • TribalistMeathead says:

      Dr. Dre and Eminem did it better.

      “There’s probably a good explanation for all this…”

      “What, she tripped, fell, landed on his dick?!”

    • Hogan says:

      Sure, sure, I know… it just happened. Coulda happened to anybody. It was an accident, right? You tripped, slipped on the floor and accidentally stuck your dick in my wife. “Whoops! I’m so sorry, Mrs. H. I guess this just isn’t my week.”

      The Last Boy Scout, 1991

  10. Scott S. says:

    So it’s an argument based on hatred of contraception, basically. It doesn’t count as a real marriage unless you’re gonna get stuck with unplanned children, just like they don’t count the marriage if your wife is on the pill. “You only have two children? WHORE!

  11. cer says:

    I’m curious about the claim this is a novel or new argument. The “accidental procreation” or “responsible procreation” argument dates back at least to 2005 in Morrison v. Sadler (in Indiana). Dan Savage described it as the straight people falling down drunk and getting up pregnant argument.

  12. c u n d gulag says:

    “By contrast, when same-sex couples decide to have children, “substantial advance planning is required,” said Paul D. Clement, a lawyer for House Republicans.”

    Then, shouldn’t Conservatives be FOR gay marriage, since it takes all of that “advance planning?” (They make deciding to have a child sound like planning for retirement).
    Conservative are all about “advanced planning,” arent they? Like estate and retirement planning, voter suppression, and changing the Electoral College rules only in certain states.
    You don’t just wake up one morning, and say, “Hey! Let me suppress that black couple down the block’s right to vote today – it’s Election Day!”

    And no “unplanned and unintended offspring,” means, no, or less, abortions – amarite?

    With all of that “advanced planning,” Gay marriage sounds very Conservative to me.

    • Michael says:

      I think its something like the “state has an interest in children being raised in 2-parent households. Homosexuals are extremely unlikely to end up with an unplanned pregnancy, resulting in a single-parent household. Heterosexuals, however, do end up with unplanned pregnancies, and therefore the government could rationally offer them an incentive to stay together (marriage) that’s not extended to homosexual couples.”

      It’s a bad argument that proves too much…why offer marriage to anyone prior to their pregnancy then? Why allow individuals who can’t procreate to get marry? Etc.

      • djillionsmix says:

        Homosexuals are extremely unlikely to end up with an unplanned pregnancy, resulting in a single-parent household.

        the birth of children to people in gay marriages results in single parent households?

    • CD says:

      Clearly you haven’t been following arguments about climate change.

      God will take care of you! Any effort to think ahead is an insult to Him.

  13. MAJeff says:

    As ridiculous as Clement’s argument is, as I recall, the Washington State Supreme Court adopted it when they rejected a marriage equality challenge. (About 2005ish, as I recall.)

  14. Erik Loomis says:

    I now oppose gay men getting married because I can force neither to carry a child inside their bodies against their will.

  15. NonyNony says:

    If I’m getting the LA Times article correctly, the Republican lawyers are basically using the “Timmy gets more X-box time than Sally because Mommy and Daddy know that Sally won’t take a razor blade to their furniture when she gets bored the way Timmy will” defense of the unequal treatment between straight and gay couples. I wonder what that kind of defense is called in Latin.

    Given that everyone here is an adult, I’m not sure that kind of defense actually works. But it is interesting how they’ve moved the bar away from “marriage is a sacred institution that will be destroyed if gays are allowed to marry” to “marriage is a method the state uses to control its unruly population” in an eyeblink. (What’s Latin for “whatever works”?)

  16. Snarki, child of Loki says:

    Well, it’s clear that the USSC isn’t going to resolve this whole gay-marriage issue until a case comes up with as awesome a name as “Loving v. Virginia”.

    (q: did Virginia get their state motto ‘Virginia is for lovers’ before or after this?)

    As for the “kids with two fathers” argument, please keep in mind that the new testament has that dude Jesus with two dads (okay, custody issues, but still), AND the genealogies for Joseph give him two dads. So, wait? Doesn’t that PROVE that kids can catch Teh Gey from their “parents”? Better ask a fundamentalist, I’m sure they’ll have an interesting take on the situation.

  17. NorthLeft12 says:

    This unusual defense of traditional marriage was set out last week in a pair of opening legal briefs in the two gay marriage cases to be decided by the Supreme Court this spring.

    Your tax dollars at work.

  18. RSP says:

    As at least one other person noted, this isn’t new or unusual. This basic argument was accepted by the NY Court of Appeals in 2006 (and I believe the courts in Maryland and Washington may have agreed as well but it’s been a while). I loved having my conservative Mormon students read the NY case and get outraged at the idea that their “real” marriages were necessary because heterosexuals are inherently unstable and need the state to prop them up.

    • cer says:

      In particular the phrasing implies that marriage is the only thing that keeps men from impregnating women and wandering off, as if men were all Savage Man as conceived by Rousseau. The HvR ruling also distinguishes itself by saying that it’s cool to assume that children need a father and a mother in spite of having absolutely no evidence to support this (and this ruling will ensure a two-parent home) because MAGIC!

  19. Julian says:

    I think Clement, who is not stupid, knows the argument is silly, but he also knows that in order for Kennedy to vote against a right to SSM, Kennedy will a fig leaf to excuse it – because even if the Court finds that this law merits mere rational basis review, they need SOME kind of facially logical argument.

    I know, and Clement knows, that Kennedy wrote Lawrence v. Texas, but he’s praying that Kennedy does not extend the logic of that decision all the way to a right to marry.

    I haven’t read the briefs, but it seems to me that even if you accept these insane premises, there’s a logical flaw – why does offering marriage to SS couples in any way reduce the effectiveness or availability of straight marriages? I can imagine an argument, something like “marriage’s tax benefits reduce state income, so marriage costs the state money, so we can limit its availability,” but I’m not sure he’s making that argument.

    • NonyNony says:

      why does offering marriage to SS couples in any way reduce the effectiveness or availability of straight marriages?

      Not a lawyer, and obviously haven’t read the briefs myself, but this sounds more like a strategy to change to conversation. The argument that the gay-marriage advocates want to have is “marriage is a way that the state is choosing to privilege some couples in a discriminatory manner over other couples, and that should end – equal access is the right way to end it” (or some variation on that).

      This seems like an attempt to change the argument to “marriage isn’t a privilege, it’s a tool that the State uses to achieve a particular end. And since the State has an interest in keeping child-bearing couples together and no interest in keeping non-child bearing couples together, the State can draw that line wherever it feels like it, so this line is as good a point as any and you should leave it up to individual states to decide where exactly they want that line to be drawn”.

      To me, it looks quite cynical. And I’d love to have some freedom loving Republican come and tell me whether or not this particular form of Statism is approved by the Ghost of Imaginary Ronald Reagan or not.

  20. KeithOK says:

    This also explains their opposition to Planned Parenthood.

  21. John says:

    These people believe, I assume, that post-menopausal women should not be allowed to marry.

    • TribalistMeathead says:

      Part of a conversation a rabidly left-wing friend had with the rabidly right-wing mother of a mutual friend:

      “Well, gays shouldn’t be able to marry because they can’t have children”

      “But you can’t have children and you just remarried”

      “Yes, but I could have children at one time”

    • rea says:

      And you know, gays are perfectly capable of having children, I assure you. These four we have came from somewhere, after all . . .

    • Karen says:

      They don’t think post-menopausal women should be allowed in public, where we could assault their innocent eyes with our wrinkles, grey hair, and bigger than size 2 bodies. Remember, with conservatives, EWWWWWW GROSSSSSS constitutes brilliant argument.

  22. Jameson Quinn says:

    But what about the Virgin Mary?

  23. DocAmazing says:

    Look, this is perfectly logical, and of a piece with conservative thought. Bear with me: Socialism is bad, right? And what’s one of the defining features of socialism? Centralized planning, and a planned economy. So by extension, planning of pregnancies interferes with the Free Market–it gets in the way of Adam Smith’s Invisible Pecker.

    It all makes sense, sorta.

  24. Njorl says:

    You can argue that the Onion is being squeezed out of the market by genuine crazy conservatives, but a new market is opening up. They can now run whacky stories about conservatives being reasonable!

  25. Joe says:

    The NY Court of Appeals, rightly ridiculed by Dan Savage, accepted this stupid argument which at most means sex and sexual orientation discrimination shouldn’t meet heightened scrutiny. It should, but that’s just one problem with the argument. It in effect belittles marriage, making it very small.

    • dave says:

      I agree with this. I am a strong proponent of same sex marriage and this argument strikes me as the most logically defensible argument. Ironically, the very premise of the argument utterly devalues marriage as an institution. If successful, this argument itself would do more to destroy marriage than same sex marriage ever could.

  26. Crackity Jones says:

    I don’t feel like I’d be missing out if I never had a male or female parent. I had only unmarried aunts, so I never had an uncle by blood or marriage. No first cousins either. I don’t feel like I’m missing out, and I don’t feel like I would have missed out if raised by two moms and two dads. Every child should be so lucky to have two parents. This isn’t the argument, I know, I was just reminded.

  27. […] Via Lawyers, Guns, and Money. Rate this:Share this:TwitterFacebookEmailMoreRedditDiggPinterestTumblrStumbleUponLinkedInPrintGoogle +1Like this:LikeBe the first to like this. Posted in Crazy Conservatives, Law, LGBTQ?, Marriage, Reproductive Rights, Weird Stuff, You can't make this up. Tags: Abortion, Children, Contraception, Gay marriage, LGBT, LGBT rights, Marriage, Marriage equality, Parenting, Planned Parenthood, Reproductive Rights, Same-sex marriage, Supreme Court of the United States, Teen Pregnancy. Leave a Comment » […]

  28. Erin says:

    Of course post-menopausal women are allowed to marry, it’s just not an attack on the sanctity of marriage when the man decides to trade in for a younger model at that point. Call it the Gingrich Doctrine.

  29. […] new rationale for opposing gay marriage: Gays only get pregnant if they choose to! LGM weighs in here. •Are the Pentagon’s proposed new cyberwarfare capabilities about protecting us, or making […]

  30. […] in the DOMA case is probably just a sign that no good arguments against gay marriage remain. (As djw points out, one of the unintended benefits of deciding these matters in the court is making bigots […]

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