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Dan Savage’s Silver Lining

Jim Burroway

August 1st, 2006

I’ve always agreed with conservatives when they say that protecting marriage is in children’s best interests. It’s partly why I want to protect — or more properly, extend — marriage to everyone, including gay and lesbian couples, because their children deserve these same protections.

But marriage isn’t just about children; people who cannot procreate get married all the time. But if opponents to same-sex marriage insist on putting all their eggs into a single child-filled basket, they’re bound to find more than a few of their eggs crushed.

Columnist Dan Savage has an excellent op-ed piece in last Sunday’s New York Times about the recent rulings on same-sex marriage in New York and Washington. He believes that both courts’ reliance on arguments about procreation is the key to turning these setbacks into future victories:

A perverse cruelty characterizes both decisions. The courts ruled, essentially, that making my child’s life less secure somehow makes the life of a child with straight parents more secure. Both courts found that making heterosexual couples stable requires keeping homosexual couples vulnerable. And the courts seemed to agree that heterosexuals can hardly be bothered to have children at all — or once they’ve had them, can hardly be bothered to care for them — unless marriage rights are reserved exclusively for heterosexuals. And the religious right accuses gays and lesbians of seeking “special rights.”

Even if you believe that marriage plays a special role in the lives of heterosexuals with children (another point I’m happy to concede), can it not play a similar role in the lives of homosexual couples, whether they’re parents or not? Marriage, after all, is not reserved for couples with children. (Perhaps it will be soon, if courts keep heading in this direction.)

Read the whole thing while it’s still available.

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