Wednesday, March 20, 2013

FRC's Peter Sprigg (ineptly) redefines marriage and Lawrence v Texas

The religious right has a logic problem. Well, they have many problems with logic. But I digress. They have redefined marriage as a union designed to crank out children. This gets incorporated into their "responsible procreation" theme whereby the purpose of marriage is to provide an incentive for couples to have children in wedlock.

Of course, one of the problems that they have is that we allow people to marry who cannot or do not choose to ever have children. In their reply brief in Perry, they have gone so far as to essentially suggest that, for example, an infertile couple usually has one fertile partner who might not have sex outside of marriage because of the risk of creating pregnancy.

Even Scalia has to scratch his head from this mountain of mildewed manure. 

Peter Sprigg is one of the reasons that Family Research Council is designated a "hate group." Today, he has written a remarkably moronic piece about marriage. Insanity meets inanity.  Just for starters:

Isn’t marriage whatever the law says it is?

No. Marriage is not a creation of the law. Marriage is a fundamental human institution that predates the law and the Constitution. At its heart, it is an anthropological and sociological reality, not a legal one. Laws relating to marriage merely recognize and regulate an institution that already exists.

So all those laws that prohibit gay marriage are irrelevant? For civil purposes, marriage is defined by law. A few things have happened since Adam and Eve. In case Mr. Sprigg hasn't noticed, we have gone from polygamous to monogamous. Our laws clearly define who can marry. Aside from gays, the law extends to things like age and familial relationships.

The State of Florida defines in explicit terms who can get a marriage license. Also, according to the law; "The state has a compelling interest in promoting not only marriage but also responsible parenting, which may include the payment of child support." Note responsible parenting in contrast to responsible procreation. Furthermore, according to state law no marriage may be solemnized without a marriage license.

After some additional BS, Sprigg concludes:

All right—but if you add a sexual relationship to love and companionship, isn’t that what most people would consider “marriage?”

It’s getting closer but is still not sufficient to define marriage.

In a ruling handed down June 26, 2003, the U. S. Supreme Court declared in Lawrence v. Texas that sodomy laws (and any other laws restricting private sexual conduct between consenting adults) are unconstitutional. Some observers have suggested that this decision paves the way for same-sex “marriage.” But in an ironic way, the Court’s rulings that sex need not be (legally) confined to marriage undermine any argument that sex alone is a defining characteristic of marriage. Something more must be required.

It's a false theme because nobody has suggested that sex alone defines marriage. Lawrence decriminalized homosexuality, determining that sodomy laws are unconstitutional. It's an important milestone in gay rights and a precursor of marriage equality.

What marriage is:

Marriage is a legal contract between two eligible people. Implicit in the contract (and explicitly included in every state's marriage laws) is the consequence of divorce. These laws include provisions for alimony and child support. Married people and their children, if any, provide the common family structure. Marriage is considered the best environment for raising children. The marital contract creates a marital estate. This provides a structure for the transfer of assets in the event of dissolution or the death of of one, or both, spouses.

The issue is not the definition of marriage. Rather it is the determination of who is eligible to enter into marriage.



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