Julian Sanchez header image 2

photos by Lara Shipley

A Little Late

August 17th, 2003 · No Comments

So one of the cloaks opponents of gay marriage use for their disdain for homosexuals (this is charitable: it would be more offensive to assume that they really believe their own flaccid arguments) is that it decouples (no pun intended) marriage from the goal of proceation and child rearing.

My reaction to this line of argument has always been… hello? what century is this? you missed the boat on that one by a couple of decades! Now, I think plenty of people still think that if you’re going to have kids, it’s better to be in a longstanding monogamous relationship, which will often mean marriage. But it’s not clear that the connection runs the other way. Don’t know if I’d bet money on this, but I suspect that if you did a poll of people under, say, 40, their conception of marriage is already pretty disconnected from childbearing. They’ll probably agree that wanting to settle down and have kids is one reason to get married. But I very much doubt that a majority would identify it as the only, or even the primary reason.

Now, conservatives are probably right to be concerned that childbearing be, at least in most cases, connected to marriage. That is, they want the link “If having children, then marry.” But there’s no particularly good reason to suppose that it’s important for the link to run in the other direction: “If marrying, then bearing children.” In logician’s terms, they’re confusing an “if” with an “if and only if.” Which is a common enough mistake for first year logic students, but a bad reason to deny civil rights to a broad class of people.

Tags: Uncategorized