Opinion: Texas’ ludicrous legal procreation argument against gay marriage


Does the attorney general of Texas have so little of worth to say against same-sex marriage that he’s reduced to the nonsensical argument that the state can ban it because there’s a legitimate public interest in encouraging procreation?

Well, yes, probably he doesn’t have anything of worth to say. Opponents of same-sex marriage have clearly had a tough time. It’s frustrating when they can’t come up with a single rational argument to present to a judge. They already were unable in court to identify a way in which gay marriage harms traditional heterosexual marriage, though they cling to that claim anyway. The good-parenting argument collapses on its own illogic -- even if there were clear proof that children fare best in a traditional mommy-daddy household, and there isn’t. We don’t prohibit others from marrying based on whether they would make good parents, even though we have pretty good evidence that domestic abusers and alcoholics have less-than-ideal parenting skills.

But this argument by Texas Atty. Gen. Greg Abbott is so specious on so many levels, I can only imagine he privately cringed with embarrassment when he used it in an actual court case.


To start with, as Abbott surely knows, marriage doesn’t necessarily have much to do with procreation. Gay and lesbian couples are going to have or adopt children if they want them, and won’t if they don’t, whether or not they are married. If anything, one could argue that the ability to wed might have a slight positive impact on procreation because these couples would foresee their families having the same social status as all other families.

Unmarried straight people have children. And many heterosexual couples don’t. Does Abbott want to ban postmenopausal women from marrying? Men who can’t produce viable sperm? If the state indeed has a valid legal interest in procreation -- though I’d suggest it keep its nose out of people’s family business -- then doesn’t it have an obligation to provide low-cost child care so that women can afford to go to work so that they could afford to have more children?

Though if the state feels it needs to keep growing its population, there’s a quick way it could probably do that -- by offering to provide a welcoming home for the children fleeing other countries who have shown up in such large numbers along its border.

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