May 30th, 2012
Minnesota for Marriage (M4M) is pushing for a state marriage amendment with a series of short videos. They’ve used a number of tactics, including deceit, but their latest effort is like an arrow that doesn’t even try to find the target.
The video claims to deal with this question:
Is it true that Minnesota’s marriage law has no rational basis and only exists because of moral animosity toward gays and lesbians?
The clip starts off with a nice, logic-free ad hominem attack on Judge Vaughn Walker, who struck down California’s Prop 8. Then it continues:
Minnesota’s marriage law defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman, just as the law in 44 other states, is not only rational, but is profoundly in the common good. It is motivated by a sincere and well-placed interest in ensuring that children born of the sexual union of men and women are known by and cared for by their own parents. Children need a mother and a father. Marriage is society’s way of channeling potentially procreative relationships between men and women into intact families that are the ideal environment for children. So this is not about animosity toward gays and lesbians; it’s about promoting healthy families.
Did you see what isn’t there? Look again — it still isn’t there. Nowhere in this statement does M4M explain why same-sex couples shouldn’t be allowed to marry.
This video makes a case for allowing a man and woman to marry, especially for allowing a child’s mother and father to marry. That’s all. It establishes why some couples should be able to marry — without addressing why other couples should not.
But Minnesota’s proposed marriage amendment doesn’t affect the right of opposite-sex couples to marry — and further, nobody I know is threatening that right — so the video’s argument is irrelevant. This amendment is all about keeping same-sex couples (and, I suppose, groups of more than two) from marrying, but the video offers no justification for that at all. Perhaps you can extend its reasoning and come up with something, but the people who spent time and money taping this didn’t bother.
The video stumbles its way into perfect irony. If you claim you’re going to prove a rational basis for your policy, and then offer an argument that ignores the policy altogether, you might as well shout to world, “We have no rational basis for what we do!”
* Meanwhile, M4M could use this video’s rationale to promote marriage between a sexually-involved brother and sister/mother and son/ father and daughter. And they still haven’t explained why marriage has to be just one man and just one woman. Really, M4M needs to work harder on its irrationales before committing them to video.
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Part 4: It Depends On How The Meaning of the Word "Change" Changes
Part 5: A Candid Explanation For "Change"
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