Thursday, June 24, 2010
Prop 8 Trial Exposes Flaws in Marriage Equals Children Argument
In my google search to catch up on the latest news on the Prop 8 case I came across Nan Hunter’s blog titled Hunter of Justice. Nan is a professor at Georgetown Law in DC and has also been following the progress of the Prop 8 same-sex marriage case in California. In her blog post, Hunter points out that the argument that children are integral to a marriage made by David Blankenhorn, founder of the Institute for American Values, at the Prop 8 trial, comes at the same time that U.S. trends show a weakening of the cultural assumption that marriage equals children.
Hunter offers an excerpt of a NY Times commentary written by Tara Parker-Pope who pointed out that while Blankenhorn makes the argument in federal court that: “Extending marital rights to couples who cannot conceive children would change marriage from 'a child-based public institution to an adult-centered private institution' and 'weaken the role of marriage generally in society’” US couples are spending less of their married years, or none at all in our case, raising children, according to a Rutgers’s report called “Life Without Children: The Social Retreat From Children and How It’s Changing America.”
And as revealed in a 2007 Pew Research Center survey, “only 41 percent of respondents said children were important to a happy marriage, down from 65 percent in 1990.”
So what is happening? Increasingly, more people are choosing to remain childless in early adulthood and/or choosing to have less children, resulting in many more years of “childfreedom.” No longer is the bulk of our adult experience consumed with raising children. So for Blankenship to suggest that we will weaken the institution of marriage if we allow same-sex couples who can’t conceive children to marry, he is essentially ignoring the millions of couples, gay and straight, who are proving him wrong and finding strength, stability, and happiness in their childless marriages or are choosing to use surrogates or donor sperm, or be adoptive parents.
In my opinion, Blankenhorn’s argument is a weak one, unsupported by evidence, and I hope and believe that Ted Olson and his team will prevail and prove that a ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.
What do you think?
Flickr photo by Jamison Wieser