|Traffic | Weather | Your account||Movies | Restaurants | Today's events|
Bizarre rationale for bias
Seattle Times staff columnist
A gay neighbor of mine once summed up the drive for gay marriage simply: "We just want what you have," he said.
What he meant, I think, is that he hoped someday to be accepted as legitimate in society, automatically and without reservation. As I am because I have a wife and kids. Sorry, gays and lesbians. You can't have what I have.
You can't have it because you're inferior to heterosexual breeders like me. At least when it comes to being parents.
Make no mistake, that's what the state high court ruled Wednesday. Some of the five justices said they may not accept this rationale themselves. But they said it's OK if the Legislature believes that.
The ruling blithely sanctions discrimination and is oblivious to the complexities of modern families. It's also absurd — frightening even — if carried to its logical ends.
Gays and lesbians can't have what I have because they can't procreate, the court said.
It's the state's business to further procreation because it's "essential to survival of the human race." So it's OK to bar homosexuals from marriage because they can't have kids.
First off, we humans breed just fine without government oversight, thanks very much.
But the notion that marriage and procreation are necessarily linked is truly archaic. No doubt it comes as news to lesbian mothers who have given birth. And it will surely be a shock to all you marrieds who are infertile or who — gasp! — choose not to have kids.
What's next? Mandatory pre-wedding fertility tests?
That's right. The court says it was OK for the Legislature to believe that a ban on gay marriage "furthers the well-being of children" because it encourages parents to raise their own biological children.
Say what? Barring someone else from doing something in no way encourages me to do anything. But worse than the reasoning is the potential fallout. It practically urges the state to ban adoption by any gay or lesbian parent.
Some states have done this. Maybe ours is next. Using this court's reasoning, the state could take away the kids of all lesbian moms and gay dads, including, I guess, my daughter's classmate, whose two moms are on the school PTA.
Sound far-fetched? One of the justices, Jim Johnson, wrote that the "binary biological nature of marriage" gives it an "exclusive link" with "responsible child rearing." If a kid didn't spring from your loins, you have no business raising it.
As long as we're giving biological litmus tests, why stop with gays? Ban all adoptions. Ban step-parenting. Ban any family that isn't tidily nuclear.
Of course none of that will happen. We're only putting gays and lesbians in this box. Not because of this blarney about procreation and parenting. We're doing it because they're different. And because we're the majority, so we can.
That's classic discrimination. The kind that usually can be fixed only by the courts.
One of the justices said someday we'll look back at this period with regret and shame. There's no reason to wait.
Danny Westneat's column appears Thursday and Sunday. Reach him at 206-464-2086 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company