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“Now you must raise your children up in a world where that union of man and box turtle is on the same legal footing as man and wife…”
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Posts for October, 2012

Minnesota for Marriage: They’re Coming After Our Children

Jim Burroway

October 25th, 2012

Minnesota for Marriage, the group fighting to deface that state’s constitution with the stain of discrimination, has released this ad today predicting that if Amendment 1 fails — which, if it did, nothing in Minnesota would change — but if Amendment 1 fails, next thing you know they will be teaching homosexuality in schools. Massachusetts’ David Parker is the face of this ad. He’s the guy who failed in his demands that he be given advance notice each and every time his son might be exposed to anything related to marriage and gay families — even if it was just a classmate reading an essay about her two mommies for Mother’s Day.

Minnesota for Marriage are running this ad because this message has proven to be very effect in past campaigns, particularly in Maine and California. This has become an essential campaign tactic for our opponents. They know two things: 1) they know that most voters are more motivated to on something according to how it affects them personally over how it affects other people abstractly (and anyone who is someone else is always an abstraction), and 2)  very few voters actually care personally about same-sex marriage, but they do care much more personally about what is happening in their schools. Those two reasons taken together are why these ads are so effective. It changes the topic from something very few people personally care about to another topic that they do personally care about.

I argued last year that because we knew this was coming — we did know it was coming, right? –  we needed to either come up with a response or go home. So I don’t know about you, but I’m on the edge of my seat to see what marriage equality proponents have come up with to blunt this. They’ve had four years to prepare, so I’m sure it’ll be good.

For the Record, I Believe Men Should Be Able to Marry Women. Now Can We Move On?

Rob Tisinai

May 31st, 2012

Yesterday I slammed a Minnesota for Marriage video. It promised to give us a rational basis for banning same-sex marriage, but in fact it just made a cause for allowing the bio-parents of a child to marry. Somehow, M4M just took for granted that this means same-sex couples shouldn’t have marriage rights without bother to make a rational case for this leap.

Apparently that’s a common failing.

When the 1st Circuit Court struck down DOMA today, it addressed some of the arguments Congress had used to justify the law. Here’s what it says about House of Representatives stated goal of “defending and nurturing the institution of traditional, heterosexual marriage.”

Although the House Report is filled with encomia to heterosexual marriage, DOMA does not increase benefits to opposite-sex couples–whose marriages may in any event be childless, unstable or both–or explain how denying benefits to same-sex couples will reinforce heterosexual marriage.  Certainly, the denial will not affect the gender choices of those seeking marriage.  This is not merely a matter of poor fit of remedy to perceived problem…but a lack of any demonstrated connection between DOMA’s treatment of same-sex couples and its asserted goal of strengthening the bonds and benefits to society of heterosexual marriage.

Exactly. No one is working to eliminate opposite-sex marriage, and legalizing same-sex marriage won’t keep one mother from marrying the father of her child. Our opponents can fill the air with praise for hetero-coupling until there’s no air left to fill. But that still won’t explain why I shouldn’t be allowed to marry my partner Will.

I Do Not Think Rational Means What They Think It Means

Rob Tisinai

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.