There is nothing I like better than to peer through my neighbor’s bedroom window to make sure he’s having sex the way I think he should. Okay, I’m just kidding. Unfortunately, Michigan does seem to think it has some place monitoring the sexual relationship of consenting adults.
In its latest filing in defense of the state’s discriminatory marriage laws, Michigan argues – presumably with a straight face – that the actual purpose of marriage is to regulate sexual relationships:
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.
Oh where to begin? I guess I could start with the low-hanging fruit. There is no evidence that children raised by gay parents are any worse off than children raised by straight parents. Not only that, a major study claiming that gay parents are worse has been thoroughly demolished.
That’s old news. Can we talk for a minute about how skeevy this whole statement is?
Think about it. The argument Michigan is making, while an old one, is possibly the grossest anti-gay marriage argument out there, regardless of your sexual orientation. Evidently, when you put that ring on your finger, you are granted access to a whole new set of activities that your poor single friends aren’t privy to. Big Daddy Government has finally granted you permission to have sex.
This argument, of course, holds no water at all. It’s 2013! You can have consensual sex with whoever you want, however you want (at least since 2003). That’s one of the benefits of being an adult in a free country. Maybe marriage used to perform that function, but let’s be honest. It hasn’t been necessary for even this pretext for a while.
There are a lot of reasons why this argument is just wrong, but I’ve always wondered why more people weren’t completely icked out by it, as well. If we are to believe the Michigan attorneys, one of the main reasons marriage exists in its current form is because the government is oh so interested in who you’re having sex with that it needs an official record of it, even if you’re not planning on having children. Just in case, you know?
Maybe the most disgusting thing about this argument is that it actually reduces marriage down to the least significant thing about it. Most people don’t get marriage so they can finally get some touch. They get married because they love each other and want to officially entwine their lives. Yeah, they probably sleep together, too. However, I know few married couples who would split if one of the partners spontaneously lost their genitalia because there is something else holding them together.
Ironic, isn’t it? The very argument being used to supposedly halt the devaluation of marriage is, in fact, devaluing marriage.
I don’t mean to get too sappy. There are plenty of reasons couples choose not to marry, which is a totally legitimate life decision. Just don’t tell me that marriage exists because two people might accidentally have a baby. That’s not how the world works anymore.
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