Candidate for Texas Governor is Arguing for a Ban on Marriage Among Older People

Filed a Brief Claiming Only Unions that Can Result in Pregnancy Should Be Allowed

oldermarriageOne of the dearest moments during the wedding of my friends Cathy and Warren came when the minister accidentally stumbled into the part of the vows where he often asked those gathered to support the couple as they raised any children resulting from their union. A stunned silence was followed by Cathy saying, “Um, we can skip that.”

At the time, Cathy was 56 and Warren was 68. Both of them widows, their children from their previous marriages — all in their 20s and 30s, some with children of their own — led the laughter.

Abbott: ‘Same-sex marriage does not advance the state’s interest because same-sex unions do not result in pregnancy’

But according to the “traditional” marriage crowd, Cathy and Warren shouldn’t even have been allowed to marry. Instead, they claim marriage should be reserved for those who plan to conceive and raise children. So older folks, the infertile, and all who chose to remain childless should be barred from legal marriage. Being “partners,” “companions,” or as gay couples used to have to call themselves, “lifelong friends,” should be enough.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott (R), who is running against Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis (D) to replace Rick Perry as governor, said exactly that in a brief filed before an appeals court to uphold the Texas ban on same-sex marriage.

Texas’s marriage laws are rationally related to the State’s interest in encouraging couples to produce new offspring, which are needed to ensure economic growth and the survival of the human race.

By channeling procreative heterosexual intercourse into marriage, Texas’s marriage laws reduce unplanned out-of-wedlock births and the costs that those births impose on society. Recognizing same-sex marriage does not advance this interest because same-sex unions do not result in pregnancy.

Lots of other unions don’t result in pregnancy but as long as one member of that couple is female and the other male, Texas has always married them. This means Texas has never upheld the “state interest” Abbott claims as the basis to deny marriage equality.

This leaves two options.

  1. Texas can establish a new test for those applying for marriage licenses which would require the applicants to swear they plan to conceive and raise children together. Both would be required to furnish proof of fertility, and women beyond the age of menopause would automatically be barred from marrying.
  2. Texas can admit it is only trying to prevent people of the same sex from marrying, and go back to the drawing board to try to come up with a justification that explains why one group of taxpayers should be allowed to marry the person they love (who is of the age of legal consent) but another group should not.

Good luck with option two, Attorney Gen. Abbott.

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