As I’m sure most of you are aware, the US Supreme Court is set to decide in the coming days on the case of Obergefell v. Hodges, which has the potential to establish same-sex marriage at a federal level and end the practice of state-enacted discrimination against same-sex couples.
I’ll readily admit here that I know next to nothing about high level court proceedings or constitutional law or whatever, but I was just clicking around SCOTUSBlog and found the list of all the...briefs(?) submitted to the court in support of the petitioner or the respondent (There’s even one from Deadspin contributor/footbaw kicker Chris Klewe, which I think is just awesome!). Anyway, because I’m a masochist sometimes, I clicked through a few of the arguments against same-sex marriage - it reads like a “who’s who” of right-wing dingbats, such as Mike Huckabee, The Concerned Women of America (wut?), and the Institute of Marriage and Public Policy - but one really caught my eye.
It’s called “Brief of Same-sex Attracted Men and their Wives in Support of Respondents & Affirmance” and it’s a brilliant, shining example of how convoluted and distorted political debate can be with civil rights issues. What, you ask, do “same-sex attracted men and their wives” have against gay marriage? Well, I’ll let them explain:
Amici support the rights of democratic bodies to extend marital privileges, rights, and responsibilities to same-sex couples. Through the deliberative and experimental process of representative democracies, truly diverse solutions can emerge. But if this Court were to prematurely terminate the democratic debate over how best to recognize and respond to the complex reality of same-sex relationships by constitutionalizing a right to same-sex marriage, it would finalize and federalize this message—for the same-sex attracted, marriage to a member of the opposite sex is an impossibility, even meaningless, and only same-sex marriage can bring gays and lesbians the personal and family fulfillment and happiness that is the universal desire of the human heart. That one-size-fits-all message is false, and the Court ought not to send it.
To give some background, here’s how these “same-sex attracted men and their wives” describe themselves:
Unlike petitioners, however, amici choose to build their families on the foundation of marriage between a man and a woman. Most questioned, at some point, whether it was possible for them to have a successful marriage with a woman in light of their physical and emotional attractions to men. Some married decades ago when the pursuit of legal samesex relationships was never an option. Others married more recently, when they could have chosen same-sex relationships with significant social and cultural support. All agree that marriage between a man and a woman is inherently unique, and all have chosen to marry and remain married to their wives—notwithstanding their attractions to men— because of their realization that such marriages bring joy and happiness to themselves and to their spouses, children, grand-children, and communities...And rather than choose the culturally acceptable and popularly celebrated “traditional” same-sex relationship, these same-sex attracted men instead have chosen marriage to a woman.
I’M SORRY WHAT? Yeah, same-sex relationships are so accepted and celebrated that we have to have a whole SCOTUS case deciding whether state legislatures can pass laws that specifically discriminate against them!
BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE!
Worse still, a Constitutional right to same-sex marriage can only come at the cost of marginalizing and demeaning the marriages and families of amici and many others like them. Petitioners premise their equal-protection and due-process arguments on the assumption that man-woman marriage laws prohibit, foreclose, disqualify, and exclude gay men and lesbians from marriage and disfavor and demean their very identities and existence. But that could only be true if the marriages of amici and others like them are fakes and shams, so contrary to nature as to be entirely undesirable. Petitioners argue, in essence, that the pursuit of a same-sex marriage is the only way for the same-sex attracted “to be true” to themselves; by insisting so, they demean and disparage amici and their families.
Guise, this is all from the FIRST THREE PAGES! There are 46 more for you to enjoy, including the bit where they include quotes from “same-sex attracted men” (but not “their wives”) about how the perception that their marriage (to a woman!) was a “sham” effectively doomed their relationship to failure.
Gee, isn’t that a convenient thing!? If same-sex attracted men can have stable marriages to women, then why are gays so fussy about being able to marry each other? If same-sex attracted men can’t have stable marriages to women, it’s because us homos ruined it for them! Not at all because they were trying to sustain a relationship with someone while depriving themselves of relationships that would fulfill them on an emotional and physical level! Nope, it’s just us greedy poofs and lezzies DESTROYING THE INSTITUTION OF MARRIAGE!
They’re suggesting that we’re pushing for marriage equality because we believe it is unnatural or impossible for gay people to build relationships with members of the opposite sex. They’re arguing that we think man-woman marriage shouldn’t be available to people attracted to their own sex. Who the fuck is actually saying that? What I want is to be able to choose who I marry without regard to their sex or gender. As a trans woman who is exclusively attracted to women, I identify as a lesbian, but until I’ve finished my transition and all the paperwork has gone through, I can freely marry my partner in each and every US State without discrimination. Changing the “M” to an “F” on my passport doesn’t change who I am, or who my partner is, and yet would preclude me from marriage in 14 states! How on earth is one scenario a grave threat to the institution of marriage and the other not?
I’ve heard some bollocks over the years when it comes to the gay marriage debate, but I honestly think this wins the award for most bollocky bollocks to have ever been bollocked. Seriously.