Gay Marriage

Utah's Defense of Gay Marriage Ban Now Even Less About Actual Gay People


How does this marriage stuff work? Tell me, oh great state of Utah!
Credit: Jason Stitt |

Utah's ban on recognizing same-sex marriages, struck down by a federal judge last year, is now before a three-judge panel at the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. To keep us all in suspense, one judge appears friendly to the state's argument, one appears to want to strike the law down, and one had tough questions for both sides.

I've previously noted the creepy statist paternalism of Utah's defense of its gay marriage ban; several of their arguments revolve around the state giving heterosexual women the proper messaging that they're supposed to marry men and have children, and somehow letting gays marry screws that all up. Their defense just got a little bit stranger and even less about actual gay people.

Utah originally drew from the controversial study from Mark Regnerus, whose report that children of gay parents are less happy than children of straight parents has been attacked for poor methodology. (I explained the problems previously here.) Michigan also used Regenerus' study and brought him in as a witness to defend the state's ban. But a judge blasted his research and struck the state's ban down.

So this week Utah sent a notice to the court attempting to de-emphasize the role of the Regenerus study in its defense of a same-sex marriage ban. This is what they say as they downplay the importance of Regnerus to the state's case:

As the State's briefing makes clear, the State's principal concern is the potential long-term impact of a redefinition of marriage on the children of heterosexual parents. The debate over man-woman versus same-sex parenting has little if any bearing on that issue, given that being raised in a same-sex household would normally not be one of the alternatives available to children of heterosexual parents.

The italics are in the original letter. BuzzFeed has the whole short but amazing letter posted here. I will be curious to see how the court might respond to the argument that a ban on gay marriage recognition has nothing to do with gay families at all.

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  1. one had tough questions for both sides

    but did he upload them on YouTube?

  2. Oh…. my….. god…..

    It’s only slightly more coherent and topical than the Chewbacca defense. Slightly…

    1. the potential long-term impact of a redefinition of marriage on the children of heterosexual parents.

      And this is?

      1. Sodomy.
        More sodomy.

        1. sodomie, encore de l’sodomie, toujours de l’sodomie.

      2. Yeah, it seems like that part is even more missing now that they admit the Regnerus study is irrelevant.

    1. The Gods of Irony working overtime.

    2. Maybe she should have checked the Obamacare website. The final page might be there.

      1. She did. It told her she could not connect right now and to check back later, then the page was stolen by a group of Russian hackers.

    3. Maybe it’s one of the pages she dropped when she threw her shoe at Hillary?

  3. Gay marriage in Utah now! Reeducation camps for anyone who ever publicly opposed it next year!

  4. given that being raised in a same-sex household would normally not be one of the alternatives available to children of heterosexual parents

    Can someone translate this for me, or is it, as I suspect, a bunch of words strung together meaning nothing?

    1. It means that, if you are a child with heterosexual parents, it’s unlikely that you’re going to somehow become a child with homosexual parents.

      1. So, nothing, unless the implication is that being raised by a same-sex couple is somehow an advantage for some children that needs to be forbidden.

        1. No, sorry, it makes (sort of) more sense if you’re more familiar with the Regnerus study, I guess. The study purported to show that kids raised by heterosexual married couples had better outcomes than kids raised by same-sex parents. So Utah is saying that really, that study isn’t that important to their case, because even if the study is right, it’s not like kids generally flow between the two situations.

          1. Yeah, I get the bullshit study part, but how does that jive with the earlier part about this being about the hetero married people?

            1. The state’s original argument was that allowing gay marriage would somehow interfere with the state’s compelling interest in instructing heterosexuals in how to get married and have kids, because without such instruction, kids are born into broken homes and society falls apart (this is literally the most charitable reading of their idiotic nonsense that I can muster).

              In support of this, they raised several arguments, including the supposed worse outcomes for kids raised by homosexuals, as supposedly illustrated by that study.

              Now that the study has been thoroughly discredited, the state has come back and said, well, yeah, but we actually didn’t need to make that argument in the first place, because this isn’t about improving outcomes for the kids of gay parents, it’s about stopping the kids of straight parents from being born into broken homes.

              Which is a long way of saying that yes, their statements are nothing more than a bunch of words strung together, meaning nothing.

              1. This.

              2. Shakespeare said it with more brevity: “a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing”

      2. And — that is *so* unfair!

    2. I think the direct translation is: Derp da derp da tiddly terp.

    3. Translation: We’re just throwing shit at the wall right now in hopes something somehow sticks. We’ve got nothing.

      (SLD, yadda yadda yadda, government shouldn’t be involved in marriage at all, but to the extent they are, there’s no reason gay marriage shouldn’t be allowed)

  5. Although it is now known to be creepy, women marrying men and having children was for some centuries a folk custom among those we call the “lesser developed classes”. Given the long time this quaint folkway existed, it will take the lower orders some time to reach proper enlightenment. Incidents like the Utah letter are to be expected to arise as part of the learning process but are easily dealt with by the judiciary. There is no cause for alarm.

    1. Wat?

      1. Don’t worry about the Utah thing. The lower classes just need to get up to speed on the new concept of marriage, and anyway, the judges will ensure that the will of the people is enforced.

        1. So you’re actually one of those people that thinks that gay people getting married is going to cause a collapse in the heterosexual family?

          1. No, I don’t think that at all. One thing does not influence the other.

            1. Then what is the point of your odd rambling about the lower classes learning not to marry (and in the context of an article about gay marriage)?

              1. I begin with the phrase in Mr Shackford’s article that it is creepy to expect women to marry men and have children. I tried to explain, perhaps badly, that the notion that women should marry men and have children has been deeply rooted for a long time among certain of the population. It will therefore take time, patience and education to convince these people that women marrying men to have children is, in fact creepy. Once they realize this, opposition to same sex marriage will cease.

                Failing that, the courts will ensure that same sex marriage is fully accepted anyway.

                1. No it’s creepy for the state to be telling people how to properly pair up like they’re all a bunch of stupid little children who don’t know how to manage their own affairs.

                  1. The state is mostly in the business of treating us like stupid little children unable to manage our affairs of any kind. What else is new?

                    1. Ok, so why are you equating opposing that with criticism of male-female marriage?

                  2. So, Scott S, is it creepy for the state to forbid someone to marry their father, sister, all of the Octomom’s kids or the neighbor’s 3 year old daughter?

                    When does creepy end and sensible begin?

                    1. Are you simple? The state argued that gay marriage must not be allowed so adult men and women are encouraged to marry someone of the opposite gender. Scott was calling the paternalism inherent in that statement “creepy.” What the fuck do any of your examples have to do with that? And if you can’t see the difference between the state forbidding child molestation and sexual relations between adults, then I don’t know what the fuck you’re doing on this website.

                2. I thought you were being sarcastic, but now I’m thinking perhaps you’re not good at writing or logic or something.

                  1. Directed at Homple, not Scott S.

                3. That’s how you interpreted that line? WTF? That’s even weirder than the argument I thought you were making. I thought it was pretty clear what Shackford meant, which is what he stated in his comment here.

      2. … or was the answer you want “Tyler”?

    2. lol! You’re right to be alarmed. After all, it’s the government’s job to institute and promote only certain types of relationships which are approved by a particular religious devotion.

      1. I’m not at all alarmed, the lower orders are.

        And I want even more progress. For some reason, the government is still kowtowing to the traditionalists who wish to limit the number of participants in a marriage to two. It’s time to get the influence of the Dualarchy out of our bedrooms.

        1. ^^This^^

          I wonder when the gay marriage proponents are gonna switch gears and break down the next barrier to equality?

          Or will they say, “fuck it, we got ours!” and go home?

          1. You already know the answer to that, sloop.

            1. Clicked too soon. Not only that, they will either be parroting, or sitting silent while, many of the arguments against gay marriage are recycled against polygamy.

        2. Seriously, what’s with the “lower orders” bullshit? Do you really believe the fantasy that this is all just some coastal elitist persecution of “real” Americans?

          1. No, you miss my point, or I fail to make it clear. Opposition to same sex marriage is concentrated among the less enlightened segment of our population who need their ideas and mores adjusted to the realities that prevail in these days of modern times. By court order, if necessary.

            1. Oh, Homple. I knew dealing with reality was something libertarians had trouble dealing with but I hadn’t realized it was this bad! 😉

              And I had no idea how persecuted the Christian minority in the US (they’re only 80% of the population you know) has been. I mean forget the routine murder and assaults committed (often by or with tacit approval of law enforcement), the Christians of America are the real victims.

              1. SusanM, how did allegations of persecution of American Christians suddenly pop into this discussion? I certainly said nothing about it and, for the record, have no evidence of any such persecution.

                1. Who else seems to have a problem with gays and SSM but the Christians? Who else pulls that “elitist” victimization fantasy you’re whittling on about?

                  The reason you have no evidence is that there is none. Oh, sure, there are a handful of people who’ve been treated unjustly and I, personally, do not in anyway support what’s happened to them. But that pales in comparison to the hundreds every year in the LGBT community whom the law goes out of its way to harass, assault, arrest, prosecute and jail for no better reason than bigotry.

                  So, spare me your sarcastic whining about how your sense of squick makes you or anyone else some sort of noble victim.

                  1. Susan, read above where Homple explains why he’s been on this tangent. He seriously thinks Shackford was calling male-female marriage “creepy.”

                    1. Point taken, Cali. And I’m sorry for the broad brush about libertarians. But, you know what? The idea that straights think they’re being persecuted when they’re only being inconvenienced at worst is a real berserk button for me. I don’t know anyone who’s openly gay or trans who hasn’t been harassed by the law to some serious degree. Even I’ve been arrested for walking-while-trans and hauled up in front of a municipal judge who told me that I wasn’t “decent” enough to be a resident in the town where four generations of my family lived. It’s no joke. Nor is the long-outdated stereotype of gays being effete urban dandies.

                    2. Susan, no need to apologize.

                      It’s a common theme around here to criticize the victomology promoted by SJWs with regards to race, sex, sexual orientation, etc. And most of the time, it’s a fair point, those kinds of people on the left often stretch the concept to ridiculous lengths to promote absurd conclusions. That said, if there’s anything more pathetic than left-wing Minority/Female Victimology, it’s the Cult of the Poor Oppressed Straight White Christian Man. I don’t see it too much around here, but it’s really common on Reddit, for example, although you can also find plenty of the opposite insanity (or any form of insanity, really) there as well.

        3. Ok, great, why not? It’s their life, not mine

          1. So we are on the same page now, yes?

  6. To be clear, I have no objection to gay marriage, or even polygamy – assuming all involved are competent, consenting adult humans. I do point out that there is a long precedent in law and custom for one man one woman marriage (in Western society) and one should expect kickback when overturning this.

    That said, I hope to live long enough to see polygamous multisexualpreference marriage made official because the first LGBTQ mass divorce will be the most entertaining case in judicial history.

  7. I recall when the Supreme Court gave its Windsor decision and Rand Paul said the decision was all about federalism. Then we get a bunch of lower courts applying that decision to strike down state laws.

  8. The issue of “marriage” has no place in government, and government no business in marriage.
    I don’t know why Reason Mag thinks it’s worthy of so much energy, I’m trying to get government out of *heterosexual* marriage, and now the clamor for government control over the bedroom?

    Marriage was always for the children, else the guys would leave the kids around. With Uncle Same footing the bill, in fact, they started getting away with it.

    In fact, in the shadows are those who hate Christianity and tradition and like Karl Marx, want to dissolve the bonds of matrimony altogether. So taking a hint from Saul Alinsky, they embrace the hell out of it and where they’re going with it is for anybody, any group any time, brief shack-ups one-minute marriage and one-minute divorce.

    Christians have me irritated for missing the point about state licensing (aggression) and now this?

  9. It’s very telling that the only openly pro-pedophilia organization is the North American Man-Boy Love Association, but there is apparently no equivalent advocacy group for heterosexual men interested in underage girls (despite heterosexual males being 95% of the population).

    1. NAMBLA has not been active in years, and it is questionable that it was ever more than a few extremists in the 70s. It’s very telling what your mind set is if this is the only argument you can bring up against marriage equality.

  10. Homple was basically saying that we’re smarter or more enlightened because we support gay marriage. Not sure why no one else got that.

    1. Or more smug and sanctimonious.

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  12. The biggest problem with taking the marriage equality debate to courts, is the weak argument that poor public policy decisions by states are unconstitutional.

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