Thursday, March 14, 2013

The absurdity of trying to make secular arguments against marriage equality through an Opus Dei organ

Bear with me. I'll get there. Public Discourse is the organ of Witherspoon Institute. Witherspoon Institute is an Opus Dei organization founded by Luis Tellez (an Opus Dei numerary) and Robert George. George, of course, is chairman emeritus and one of the founders of National Organization for Marriage. Tellez sits on the board of NOM. Sean Fieler, who makes enormous contributions to NOM, is on the board of both Witherspoon and George's American Principles Project where he is also chairman of the board.

Ryan Anderson is the editor of Public Discourse. Ryan Anderson is also Robert George's co-author of the marriage discrimination treatise What Is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense. Ruth Institute is a division of National Organization for Marriage. Therefore, when Ruth makes a reference to a polemic written by Ryan Anderson on Public Discourse it is an inter-office memorandum. This is the case with We Don’t Need to Redefine Marriage to Fix Policy Problems written by Anderson and William W. Beach (late of Heritage Foundation and now a Republican US Senate Staffer).

First and foremost, everything that emanates from Public Discourse is in support of ultra-conservative Catholic principles.

Anderson and Beach, therefore, turn scholarship ass backwards. They start with a conclusion and then find "evidence" and argument to support the preordained result. They write:
When the Supreme Court hears oral arguments on the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) later this month, many casual observers will focus on what they call the fairness of redefining marriage. Interestingly, though, the dispute at the heart of the DOMA case could have been avoided had Congress enacted fairer tax reform years ago.
They go on to explain that the problem is not that some individuals are not receiving equal protection under law. Oh no. The real problem is the inheritance tax that gay survivors have to pay because they are not married.

This is intellectually dishonest rubbish. They overlook the fact that legally married gay couples are unmarried in the eyes of the federal government. Convicted murderers who are inmates (for life) at penal institutions can marry while imprisoned and have their marriages recognized by the US government. No other couples are excluded from federal recognition. Ah, but the gay     that's different. Why? Because the Catholic Church pretends that gay people do not exist. We are people who sometimes experience same-sex attractions. Sure. Further down the page:
By contrast, nothing is unfair about government recognizing marriage as a union of a man and a woman (as a new Heritage report makes clear). Every marriage policy draws lines, leaving out some types of relationships; fairness forbids arbitrary line-drawing. Determining which lines are arbitrary requires answering two questions: What is marriage, and why does it matter?
Oh, here we go. You are not allowed to marry your mother, a household appliance or your dog. The problem with that argument is that no state will not license a marriage with your mother, a household appliance or your dog. If you life in the right state, however, they will issue a marriage license to a same-sex couple and it is those legally married couples that are at issue. They conclude with a verbose flourish:
Redefining marriage does not really “expand” the existing understanding of marriage. It rejects the anthropological truth that marriage is based on the complementarity of man and woman, the biological fact that reproduction depends on a man and a woman, and the social reality that children need a mother and a father. Redefining marriage to abandon the norm of male–female sexual complementarity would also make other essential characteristics—such as monogamy, exclusivity, and permanence—optional. But marriage cannot do the work that society needs it to do if these norms are further weakened.
All that verbiage cannot demonstrate a single way in which same-sex marriage has any effect on marriage in general. Has marriage run amok in Massachusetts? Divorce? How about Spain. After seven years of marriage equality, has it caused harm in any way?

We now have enough experience with same-sex marriage to be able to demonstrate its harms with example and specificity. Could the dearth of evidence indicate that those supposed harms are nonexistent?
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