March 26, 2013

The phrase "voice of these children" seems to reveal the deeper thoughts and intuitions moving Justice Kennedy.

At today's oral argument in the Prop 8 same-sex marriage case.

Justice Kagan pushed the lawyer Charles J. Cooper to give some reason for excluding same-sex couples from marriage. Cooper seems to be trying to answer, saying that it's "reasonable" to think that "redefining marriage… as a genderless institution" could undermine marriage, making it less effective as a way to enforce "procreative responsibility." Seemingly unsatisfied, Justice Kennedy breaks in to say: "you should have to address Justice Kagan's question."

Cooper talks about how "it is impossible for anyone to foresee the future accurately enough to know exactly what [the] real-world consequences would be" if "this age-old bedrock social institution should be fundamentally redefined." This seems to be the interest in not changing anything until you have pretty good evidence that the change will be for the better. Justice Scalia tries to help, saying that if gay couples were married, there might also be a requirement to permit adoption. Even though California already permits same-sex couples to adopt, so how can California rely on the idea that it's bad for children. Scalia says that the requirement might apply to other states, and there is "no scientific answer" to the question whether having same-sex parents has a “deleterious effect" on children.

At this point, Justice Kennedy says this — boldface added:
I think... that there's substance to the point that sociological information is new. We have five years of information to weigh against 2,000 years of history or more. On the other hand, there is an immediate legal injury or legal -- what could be a legal injury, and that's the voice of these children. There are some 40,000 children in California, according to the Red Brief, that live with same-sex parents, and they want their parents to have full recognition and full status. The voice of those children is important in this case, don't you think?
The "Red Brief" is the respondents' brief under the Supreme Court's document preparation rules, but that's not the source of the "voice of the children" phrase. Searching the briefs, I found it in the amicus brief of the Family Equality Council:
The voices of children raised by same-sex parents — those who live every day within the family structure at the heart of these lawsuits — are too often unheard in the debates about same-sex couples and marriage. Their stories are too often missing from discussions of "traditional" families or "family values," and their personal experiences too often discounted as irrelevant. Although those who oppose marriage for same-sex couples frequently make assumptions about the quality of the children's family lives, the children themselves are rarely asked to explain what they actually experience.

This habitual omission is unfortunate because these children are uniquely qualified to speak about how their families look, feel, and function and how the availability — or unavailability — of marriage as an option for their parents colors their daily lives. These children are also among those persons most directly affected by both the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and Proposition 8.

The voices of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth are also too frequently disregarded in these debates. The laws banning marriage for same-sex couples or limiting federal recognition of such marriages leave these young people to question their own dignity and self-worth. This stigmatization has a profoundly negative impact on their self-esteem, sense of purpose, and well-being that threatens to burden them for the rest of their lives.

This brief presents the voices of these children.
If you want to know where Justice Kennedy's heart is. I think it's here.

Cooper stressed the lack of "data" about whether there's "any incremental beneficial effect” to the children in calling it marriage as opposed to just civil unions, but that's only saying there might not be a reason to include same-sex couples. Kagan's question was very specific: "So you have sort of a reason for not including same-sex couples. Is there any reason that you have for excluding them?" Kennedy demanded an answer to that question, and though he acknowledged the lack of information, he leaped from that to the injury to the voice of the children. Obviously, he meant there's an injury to the children and we need to listen to the voice of the children. There was something odd about that leap and the way it was phrased that makes it feel revelatory of the deeper thoughts and intuitions moving Justice Kennedy.

115 comments:

Jay said...

The voice of those children is important in this case, don't you think?

No, but hey we've descended way, way past the point of sanity on this topic.

So why not?

rhhardin said...

Listen to nonsense.

rhhardin said...

You don't know where your heart is until it's in a child's shoes.

rhhardin said...

The voices of the childrens' dolls ought to be important too.

They have marriages too.

rhhardin said...

It's the Moron court.

The Godfather said...

Gosh (and I say this as a supporter of gay marriage) this seems like an awfully insubstantial basis on which to resolve a constitutional issue!

I haven't read the briefs, but I suppose that scores of children of gay parents testified at trial about how important it is for them to know that the law in CA calls the union of their parents "marriage" rather than "civil"? And they stuck to their guns on cross?

Or is this "voices of the children" just the usual bullshit?

MnMark said...

Do you really expect children to say that their homosexual parents have harmed them?

How would a child - say, young teenager - even have the awareness or life experience to be able to compare their situation to what it would have been if they'd been raised in a normal home?

I imagine if you asked children in most bad child-rearing situations whether they loved their parents and wanted them to be thought well of, they would say yes.

Fortunately we haven't usually let children decide whether to throw out universal, age-old customs before.

mccullough said...

Maybe Kennedy should impose marriage on the baby mommies and baby daddies. We know how well single moms wdependent on government assistance because of absentee dads has worked for those children.

edutcher said...

Considering there does seem to be evidence that kids raised in a homosexual environment have problems, that's an argument against allowing homosexual couples to adopt, rather than marry.

I think Kennedy may be coming to see something I've thought for a long time - the Court makes a lot of lousy law.

We shall see.

MadisonMan said...

Do it for the Children!

That's not a persuasive argument.

Jay said...

The voices of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth are also too frequently disregarded in these debates. The laws banning marriage for same-sex couples or limiting federal recognition of such marriages leave these young people to question their own dignity and self-worth

If only the silly bigots fighting for their rights at those Stonewall riots who later said they wanted nothing to do with gay marriage had thought of this!

garage mahal said...

Maybe Kennedy should impose marriage on the baby mommies and baby daddies


Actually gay couples really don't have that particular problem with unwanted children that heteros have will they?

X said...

if it's for the children, what's the rationale for excluding single moms of the "status" of benefits? should they be allowed a tax free inheritance too? there are millions of them.

mccullough said...

Outside of the fourth, fifth, and sixth amendments, Justice Kennedy is the most liberty minded of justices. I think he'd vote to strike down marijuana laws, polygamy bans and a slew of other nanny state laws. He certainly was ready to toss Obamacare out the window.

Lem said...

Did Toys R Us have a brief?

Dante said...

What happens if there is a serious risk factor with homosexual couples not present in heterosexual couples? It makes sense that both male and females have evolved distinct child rearing capabilities to maximize the chances of their progeny surviving.

Someone was telling me once that women tend to see things softly, more carefully, through a child's eyes, but men tend to lay down lines and rules. That certainly matches my experience, and much as I hate to be defined, I have to accept my humanity.

Now you rob children of a mom or a dad, how will that affect the children?

And what really concerns me the most about gays and lesbians raising kids is that it robs the child of the most intimate form of diversity: having both a mommy and a daddy. I don't understand how the rainbow coalition can stand for this homogeneity as a good way to raise children aware of diverse viewpoints, in this case a male and female viewpoint.

Mark O said...

The "children" are usually the last refuge of authoritarians, unless they are, say, unborn children or even recently born in an abortion clinic.

3% of the US population is driving this.

Olson so diminished himself with his snarky response to Scalia's question wondering when bans on such marriages "became" unconstitutional. To that he asked when "interracial" marriage became unconstitutional. He must not have gone to see Lincoln or forgot the dates of the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments.

If theses cases are decided on someone's heart, we are worse off than even I imagine.

mccullough said...

Garage,

Good point. But then they'll just divorce at the same rates as self-centered heteros.

If we thought about the kids, no-fault divorces would be gone.

Dante said...

Actually gay couples really don't have that particular problem with unwanted children that heteros have will they?

do they, I think you mean.

Clever point.

Jay said...


Justice Kagan pushed the lawyer Charles J. Cooper to give some reason for excluding same-sex couples from marriage.


Justice Kagan told the Senate Judiciary Committee in Feb 2009 that there is no constitutional right to gay marriage.

Lem said...

The voices of children have been neglected for far too long...

Its time children be given the right to vote, just as adults.

Children Suffrage... Stand with the children.

edutcher said...

garage mahal said...



Actually gay couples really don't have that particular problem with unwanted children that heteros have will they?


No, just unwanted microbes.

The latest is meningitis.

Erika said...

I wonder about the inner conflict and harm to children who have same-sex parents and who really, really want a parent of each gender but would never hurt their parents by saying so.

Balfegor said...

Cooper seems to be trying to answer, saying that it's "reasonable" to think that "redefining marriage… as a genderless institution" could undermine marriage, making it less effective as a way to enforce "procreative responsibility."

If that's the best he can do, he clearly didn't think about it enough. In the Anglo-American tradition, there are three justifications often given for the institution of marriage:

First, It was ordained for the procreation of children, to be brought up in the fear and nurture of the Lord, and to the praise of his holy Name.

Secondly, It was ordained for a remedy against sin, and to avoid fornication; that such persons as have not the gift of continency might marry, and keep themselves undefiled members of Christ's body.

Thirdly, It was ordained for the mutual society, help, and comfort, that the one ought to have of the other, both in prosperity and adversity
.

Ignoring all the religious bits, that boils down to: (1) procreation, (2) restraint of lust/avoidance of fornication, and (3) mutual comfort.

(1) certainly doesn't have any relevance to homosexual couples, because any children are going to have to come from outside the marriage.

Superficially, (2) looks like it might relate to homosexual couples, but if you think harder about why (apart from religious reasons) one ought to have an institution to channel peoples' sexual incontinency, the answer is obvious: bastardy. You set up a form and incentivise people to use that form to try and arrange things so that those children who are born are born into married families, rather than to single mothers, with all the difficulties and disadvantages that can bring. And that's an incentive that's also irrelevant to homosexual couples because their sexual union is sterile.

The fact that he was apparently talking about "procreative responsibility" suggests to me that he is approaching it from the 180 degrees the wrong direction, and is probably hampered by a solidly respectable middle-class upbringing. People will procreate whether or not they have marriage. It's only when the institution of marriage is strong and taboos against premarital and extramarital strength are strong that anyone could instinctively view marriage from the perspective that people can't fulfill their procreative responsibilities without marriage.

Now, obviously the Book of Common Prayer doesn't have the status of law. But if you're trying to argue about what underpins marriage as an institution in the Anglo-American tradition, it does a better job of summing up why the government ought to promote marriage than most marriage advocates today.

That said, these two rationales (procreation and avoidance of fornication) don't necessarily mean we shouldn't have gay marriage. They're just irrelevant to gay marriage. Rationale (3) -- mutual comfort -- does provide some support gay marriage, but it supports a lot of other relationships too, and is easily the weakest justification for marriage as a unique institution distinct from deep friendships, close sibling relationships, etc. It applies to basically any close relationship you could possibly have.

mccullough said...

Dante,

More than 40% of kids are born to single moms and rising. Nearly 75% of blacks are born to single moms. Blacks are 12% of the population. Gays are about 3% of the population.

Solution: all blacks born to single moms must be turned over to married gays to be raised.

creeley23 said...

Kennedy does sound like a sentimental moron here.

If the "voice of the children" mattered with regard to marriage, no-fault divorce would never have happened.

So, this is the Supreme Court we have now. Has it always been this way?

I think it's time for term limits on the SC.

Balfegor said...

Re-reading more charitably, perhaps by "procreative responsibility" he just meant "procreating responsibly," i.e. avoiding fornication and bastardy. But he didn't want to talk like that in front of the Supreme Court because modern people are ashamed to uphold traditional sexual morality. Makes you seem judgmental, after all.

Paul Zrimsek said...

"So you have sort of a reason for not including same-sex couples. Is there any reason that you have for excluding them?"

I wouldn't fancy trying to answer this question without a better idea of what sort of distinction Kagan is trying to draw between "not including" and "excluding".

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Well, that's it then. We are fucked as a society when we let the 'voices of children' decide public policy. Kids really understand the differences, nuances, penumbras and delicate shadings of the law and the ramifications of social engineering.

In otherwords.... just throw temper tantrums and get your way.

It's for the cheeeeldreeeen.

We are so screwed.

fivewheels said...

There is a logical/political problem with making the argument that it harms children to withhold from their parents the status of marriage, that it is harmful to children for their parents to be together but unmarried.

The people who might want to make that argument have been making the opposite argument for decades, starting with unmarried hetero couples. Hey, no family structure is better than any other! It's all good!

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Well, that's it then. We are fucked as a society when we let the 'voices of children' decide public policy. Kids really understand the differences, nuances, penumbras and delicate shadings of the law and the ramifications of social engineering.

In otherwords.... just throw temper tantrums and get your way.

It's for the cheeeeldreeeen.

We are so screwed.

chickelit said...

sad and ironic that the "supply" of unwanted children comes mainly from unintended or failed heterosexual parenting at home or from gender imbalances abroad.

Lem said...

Did you know that children aren't even allowed to work and earn a living?

What kind of future can these children look forward to, when they aren't even allowed to work?

Shame!

Dante said...

More than 40% of kids are born to single moms and rising. Nearly 75% of blacks are born to single moms. Blacks are 12% of the population. Gays are about 3% of the population.

How about we unwind the last 40 years of leftist ideas, return to the idea that out of wedlock children is a bad idea, and phase out AFDC?

Assume that in twenty years, families go back to male/female couples, and the risk factors children of single parents suffer disappears. Would you be willing to do it?

Just, Assume it.

Balfegor said...

Re: garage:

Actually gay couples really don't have that particular problem with unwanted children that heteros have will they?

Yeah, that's one reason gay marriage is kind of pointless, as a legal institution.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Children only know what they are exposed to, or raised with.

Those children who are horribly abused and end up warped for life.... many of them continue to love their abusers and make excuses for the abuse.

Listening to the voice of the children is about as smart as deciding how to run your household by divining what the cat wants.

Titus said...

Did pubic can procreate in his second marriage?

How about Roberts did he fuck and have a kid?

BarrySanders20 said...

Oh for fuck's sake. It's for teh childrens. What a farce.

This coming from someone who doesn't give two shits if gays marry or not.

Lem said...

I wonder about the inner conflict and harm to children who have same-sex parents and who really, really want a parent of each gender but would never hurt their parents by saying so.

What are you talking about?

Children don't know squat.

viator said...

How about the voices of children of polygamous and polyandrous adults?

Mark O said...

Someone should have told Kennedy that it is the object of all children to be embarrassed by their parents. Gay or straight.

EMD said...

What about the Koresh Kids? What about their voices huh?

Again, support SSM, but this is a dumb tack to take.

Lem said...

Listening to the voice of the children is about as smart as deciding how to run your household by divining what the cat wants.

Yea.. a dog lover would say that.

You are just heartless... why don't you just face it ;)

chickelit said...

Lem said...
Did you know that children aren't even allowed to work and earn a living?

Not for a "living wage" but I started working when I was 12 and so did both my kids.

Shouting Thomas said...

What the fuck!

I'm gonna go do something sensible. Play some music for some people.

Get the hell away from this infernally stupid drivel.

Lem said...

Kennedy is right... the children are the future... we should do everything in our power to make their lives pain free.

The Greatest Love of All

chickelit said...

Just think of all the hope for grandchildren it gives parents of gay kids. They too can feel the subtle pressure.

Balfegor said...

Re: Dante:

Assume that in twenty years, families go back to male/female couples, and the risk factors children of single parents suffer disappears. Would you be willing to do it?

Willing to do what? Sire some bastards? Uh, no.

Or do you mean change into a world where single motherhood and bastardy are seen as shameful and people view marriage as a binding union? Because I think no matter what, we are heading back to that world. Maybe not in 20 years, but I think probably within 50. The excesses of the Regency period are corrected by the Victorians.

Among the upper middle classes, a neo-Victorian morality is already on the rise, even if it's expressed mostly as a kind of revese hypocrisy in which hardworking, chaste men and women pay lip service to the ideal of libertine incontinence. Within 50 years, though, I don't think they'll need to hide behind the mask.

The people who struggle are the middle and lower classes -- there are people in those classes who want to promote sexual morality and self-restraint, but they're still fighting against the tide of mockery and libertinism. They'll make it eventually, though. Some of them.

Calypso Facto said...

Have these vocal children even READ the Constitution? What the children (ANY children) say should be wholly irrelevant to Justices whose ONLY JOB is to interpret what the Constitution says.

Locomotive Breath said...

If you think a child growing up without a father doesn't miss that father then ask any one who grew up without one. Same with a mother.

Substituting two "fathers" or two "mothers" doesn't correct that deficiency. (Want to really rile a gay couple, ask, " which of you is the man and which the woman?")

I thing two consenting adults should be able to do what they want but the kids DON'T consent to be deprived or experimented upon.

Mark O said...

I think we should all Google "We Are the World" and sing.

Inga said...

The children of gay couples deserve the same protections of law that children of legally married couples do. It's that simple.

Lem said...

chickelit said...

Not for a "living wage" but I started working when I was 12 and so did both my kids.

I believe today we are all children.

Icepick said...

Hey, how about all the children in California whose parents aren't married and don't want to get married? Aren't their voices important too? They don't want to be stigmatized by having their parents' status be different than any other parents.

Therefore the only thing to do is to force all married people to get divorced and ban the entire institution going forward.

Balfegor said...

Re: viator:

How about the voices of children of polygamous and polyandrous adults?

Honestly, I think they're in a different position. On some level, there's no need for them to go complaining about how unfair it is that their parents' marriages not being recognised by the law. Their marriages are already viewed as real and legitimate by a much more important authority, whether religious or cultural -- they don't need to bootstrap their idea of marriage up with scraps of paper. They already have something better.

Where they do potentially have a complaint is that, say, the son of the second wife is going to be disadvantaged vis-a-vis his brother, the son of the first wife, because the law gives his brother certain benefits which he does not get. But that's not a complaint about the definition of marriage. They already won that fight thousands of years ago. They have marriages -- they're just not acknowledged by the officious rabble in charge of the US today.

And of course, in the past, they also had the complaint that the US was kind of trying to exterminate them. But that's more or less ended now.

rhhardin said...

The Voice of the Turtle ought to be heeded as well.

Lem said...

Therefore the only thing to do is to force all married people to get divorced and ban the entire institution going forward.

Gun ban... marriage ban... curry ban...

That's it... I'm moving to India.

Balfegor said...

Re: Inga:

The children of gay couples deserve the same protections of law that children of legally married couples do. It's that simple.

So why all the fuss about calling it "marriage" if all we're concerned about is the substantive protections of law?

I'll reiterate, I don't object to gay marriage, and in fact I'm mildly in favour of it (since a lot of my fellow citizens seems to want to married to their gay/lesbian lovers very badly). It's just all these rationales for why they're entitled to it are mind-bogglingly idiotic and unpersuasive.

Rusty said...

Titus said...
Did pubic can procreate in his second marriage?

How about Roberts did he fuck and have a kid?

You should maybe do a little less of what you are currently on before ya post. 'cause that made no sense at all.
very unlike you.

garage mahal said...

Have these vocal children even READ the Constitution? What the children (ANY children) say should be wholly irrelevant to Justices whose ONLY JOB is to interpret what the Constitution says

That's open to interpretation and subject to change.

Shouting Thomas said...

Steve Sailer provides a good summary of how this attempt to reform promiscuous gay male behavior after the AIDS crisis was redrawn into yet another scapegoating campaign against straight men:

Now, a theory I've long entertained is that the gay marriage brouhaha reflects a fundamentally healthy movement among gays to push more restrained lifestyles on themselves after their catastrophic debauchery in the 1970s following Gay Liberation caused the AIDS epidemic.

But, it's just expressed triple bankshot-style through today's Who? Whom? conceptual vocabulary.

These days, you see, it doesn't pay to upbraid your own kind to behave in a more traditionally moral manner, and perhaps apologize to society in general for your misdeeds and promise to act better in the future so as not to cause another horrific venereal disease epidemic. That's so ... Victorian! What did the Victorians ever accomplish? (I mean, besides building all those to-die for Victorian houses in the Castro district?)

We don't live in the Victorian Age, we live in the Victim Age. So, gays admitting that AIDS was their own fault was never on the table. So, AIDS had to be ... uh ... Ronald Reagan's fault!

Similarly, gays can't admit that they need moral reform even when they realize it themselves. Instead, they have to be victims of oppression denying them the right to something they had never noticed they lacked in the past.


Gay men couldn't admit that they just screwed up magnificently. They had to scapegoat straight men. That's sort of the national pastime. To Althouse's eternal discredit, she's joined in this shameful scapegoating campaign. You've shown no fucking sense here, Althouse. Same shit you did as a kid with feminism. You seem incapable of learning the lesson.

Good night folks!

Michael said...

28. 28 angels can dance on the head of a pin.

Bill said...

Maybe it's just that I frequently disagree with them but Kennedy, Ginsburg, Kagan, and Sotomayor really come across as intellectual lightweights sometimes. The Supreme Court justices should be smarter and more rigorously logical than me and yet it often doesn't seem that way.

edutcher said...

Inga said...

The children of gay couples deserve the same protections of law that children of legally married couples do. It's that simple.

I'm willing to bet they do. Any homosexual can designate what's to be left to any adopted child in his/her will.

As usual, the She Devil of the SS is opening her mouth and only a smell comes out.

ken in sc said...

I don't think this case is about why SSM should prohibited. It's about if there is a right for it in the constitution. There's never been one there before. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary justification.

jr565 said...

On the other hand, there is an immediate legal injury or legal -- what could be a legal injury, and that's the voice of these children. There are some 40,000 children in California, according to the Red Brief, that live with same-sex parents, and they want their parents to have full recognition and full status

unless there is some biological restriction concerning invest, polygamy, bigamy harems and even underage marriages that prevents them from having kids, shoudnt we take into consideration the kids feelings there too?
At least there the people in the relationships are actually having their kids (though in the case of polygamy ou could argue that the kid has one or more spouses that are not biologically related to the child. But so what? One parent in the gay couple will not be biologically related by default.

What does the kid think? Don't deprive the kids of these relationships their loving parents simply because of social bigotry.
Baby has 9 mommies. What do you want to deprived her of 8 of her mommies?
Baby's mommy is also her sister. Why deny baby of her mother AND her sister?

mtrobertsattorney said...

If children of same sex parents suffer from a poor self-image and feel a loss of dignity, then that must come as a great surprise to Ted Olsen and the Respondents. They cited studies in their brief showing the exact opposite.

The danger of this line of argument for proponents of same sex marriage is that, if true, it will be argued by the other side that the source of these psychological problems is the lack of a mother and a father.

Carol said...

The poor kids, even more marital politics to navigate than when I was treading the line between mom and stepmom, dad and mom's BF.

You never wanted to talk too kindly of the stepmom, when mom is asking about her. And don't tell dad all the times the BF sleeps over or they leave town together. That was the olden days of course.

Now, don't say you'd like both a mom and dad..somewhere.

Lem said...

@Erika..

I'm just being a kid ;)

Michael said...

ShoutingThomas. Thanks for the Sailer piece. Living as I did in SF in the 80s I witnessed the metastasizing of AIDs and the urgent agenda to make it a heterosexual disease as well as a homosexual one. Since everyone was screwing everyone the actuaries were predicting a massive outbreak of the disease across all sexual preferences with catastrophic death tolls on the horizon. Alas, and happily, it was proven to be very hard indeed to get AIDs if you were hetero. The agenda of the gays was always to avoid coupling their profligate sexual antics with the dire outcome.

Michael said...

28. 28 angels can dance on the head of a pin.

fit2post said...

I am a child who says, "My two bisexual mommies want to marry Mr. Right," and the Justice says, "That sounds fair" and "We cannot stand in the way of love." If my new daddy is also bisexual, I may end up with two mommies and two daddies; because I don't think the court should stop people who are in love from marrying.

Dante said...

Willing to do what? Sire some bastards? Uh, no.

I'm saying unwind the disastrous leftist ideas of the last 40, 50 years and return to a society of values, personal responsibility, with the nuclear family at the core.

All this fairness stuff is really unfair to future Americans.

Palladian said...

Why don't you Steve Sailer fans do us all a favor and hang out at that moron's site instead of here? The moron to non-moron ratio here in the Althouse comments section has been really unbalanced towards the morons lately.

Sadly, all these "gay marriage" threads lately have made me realize that many of the commenters that I usually respect and like harbor an intense animus against me as a queer, and seem to delight in repeatedly ascribing all manner of crimes against humanity against me, again for being a part of that demographic.

I don't support government-sanctioned gay marriage, because I believe that the government has no legitimate right to regulate any sort of marriage. But if we're going to allow the State to continue to usurp this power, then erring on the side of loosening restrictions on the qualifications required to enter into civil marriage seems to be the best option, one that may more quickly lead to the end of government control of what should be a solely religious and/or private, personal institution.

Palladian said...

"Think of the children" is, however, a really lame argument, in almost any circumstance.

CptParlay said...

And when the children demand ice cream cones and ponies, or better yet unicorns, will it still be important that the voices of these children be considered as dispositive?

Just an aside, don't forget that adolescence has been extended to age 26 under Obamacare, so For the Children (TM) goes so much farther than it used to.

Icepick said...

Sadly, all these "gay marriage" threads lately have made me realize that many of the commenters that I usually respect and like harbor an intense animus against me as a queer, and seem to delight in repeatedly ascribing all manner of crimes against humanity against me, again for being a part of that demographic.

Yes, because being against SSM is EXACTLY the same as wanting to drive around at night looking for fags to bash. Please.

Palladian said...

Yes, because being against SSM is EXACTLY the same as wanting to drive around at night looking for fags to bash. Please.

I said nothing about people who reasonably oppose State-sanctioned same-sex marriage. But there's a big difference between that and the tenor of a lot of the commentary here lately. I'm not conflating reasoned opposition with "hatred".

Palladian said...

Please.

Basil said...

This is LEGAL argument made by a Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States??? God help us.....

phx said...

I think, like many of you obviously, that the importance of the single-female 18-30 vote is vastly overrated. Republicans can and will do very well without it!

Palladian said...

I think, like many of you obviously, that the importance of the single-female 18-30 vote is vastly overrated. Republicans can and will do very well without it!

Are you bragging that your party has power solely based upon its willingness to cater to the whims of young women? While it may be true, it's not something I'd brag about, dude.

Calypso Facto said...

That's open to interpretation and subject to change.

What it SAYS isn't. Only what people WANT it to say is.

gutless said...

The Family Equity Council pulled the 40,000 children number out of its ass.

phx said...

While it may be true, it's not something I'd brag about, dude.

Who said anything about bragging? And what's with the 'dude' thing? Are we in high school?

phx said...

It is what it is. A favorite high school aphorism that's apt.

Michael said...

Palladian. Could care less about your sexual preferences. Unlike you I am for gay marriage. Sailer's piece is not moronic and you do yourself no favor by refering to those who may admire some of his work as morons. You are too young to have winessed the debacle of AIDs in the early years but would do well to go beyond the usual sources to learn of the insnity surrounding the denial of cause and effect and its consequences on a generation.

chickelit said...

And what's with the 'dude' thing? Are we in high school?

A Spicoli reference? Too young to remember Liberty Valance?

n.n said...

Homosexual couplets, as well as other forms and kinds of unions, can exist as guardianships, where either none, one or more, but no combination, is a parent. A homosexual couplet necessarily excludes the formal commitment of both parents, and preemptively introduces a third party. This is an artificial or extra-normative structure, which may be tolerated but offers no advantage which merits normalization.

R.C. said...

The GOOD of these children is vastly more important than their VOICE, when they're minors.

It is the duty of the state to protect persons' rights.

Among the unalienable rights of adult persons are life, liberty, and property.

But among the unalienable natural human rights of children are:

- The right to know the identity of and to initiate a relationship with both their biological father and their biological mother, if not deceased;

- The right to be fathered by their biological father or a man he or his representative/delegate selects to take over the duties of fathering the child;

- The right to be mothered by their biological mother or a woman she or her representative/delegate selects to take over the duties of mothering the child;

- The right to be nurtured and raised in a family formed by the cohabitation of their male and female guardians, their biological siblings, and their other relatives by blood and law.

The above are unalienable natural human rights, intrinsic to human childhood. When a child is deprived of fathering or mothering or family-ing by tragic accident, it is of course no crime.

But when adults take positive action knowing that they thereby deprive a child of their unalienable natural human rights, it is a human rights violation and ought to be a crime...or at the very least it ought to be strongly disincentivized by the state, which has a duty, not to say a compelling state interest, in deterring situations which violate the rights of children.

I'm looking at you, no-fault divorce.

But I'm also looking elsewhere; e.g., gay adoption, anonymous sperm donation, anonymous-donor in vitro, et cetera.

We've gone rather too far in making a decidedly child-unfriendly society from about 1930 onward. ("Child-unfriendly" in much the same way that the antebellum South might have been called "negro-unfriendly" by some contemporary wag.) "Don't worry," we say, "kids are resilient. They don't mind the broken homes, the choice between visiting Dad or Mom at Christmas -- they get extra gifts to make up for it! They suffer no injury from having two mommies..." -- which is to say, a mommy and a woman who acts like a daddy, inasmuch as these things tend with few exceptions to produce role-based behavior for efficiency reasons if for no other.

No, no, no, my friends. Take a fish that evolved for brackish water, and they may be able to survive in fresh or salt, but they won't thrive. And a fish is just a fish; a child is a child. By virtue of their inherent human dignity, the child has rights.

Time we stuck up for them, as a society.

I've no beef at all with any two men or two women -- be they law partners, tennis partners, or mutual masturbation partners -- setting one another up as heirs or with power of attorney, or sharing living space. Certainly I hold that the state has no business outlawing such legal arrangements on account of any of those kinds of partnerships, be they temporary or lifelong.

But kids have rights. Natural, unalienable ones. And we adults have been happy-a**holing our way around town prattling about the rights of adults to pursue happiness and invent their own meaning and the like for eighty years now. None of that is completely rubbish, but none of it is as important as not institutionalizing violations of the rights of children.

Icepick said...

A Spicoli reference? Too young to remember Liberty Valance?

LOL!

Carl said...

That's the stupidest line of reasoning I've ever heard from a technical adult, let alone a judge. Kennedy must be in the early stages of Alzheimer's.

Listen to the voices of the children? If we did that, there would be no mandatory schooling, no minimum driving or drinking age, and the military would spend all its R&D money trying to create Transformers.

The children don't know what the hell they're doing, or what's good for them in the long run. They're children, duh. If you want to be responsible to the children -- a very, very different focus -- that is, you want to take your own role as a parent or at least parental-age person seriously, then you need to disconnect your own narcissistic desires to be praised by children and do what is right for them in the long run.

A vain hope, I expect. We live in a narcissistic age, when instant gratification -- the roar of approval from the Colisseum stands -- is everything. Why expect the Supreme Court to be any different, to have any greater sense of obligation to pursue responsibility at the expense of popularity?

tim maguire said...

These children consider themselves to be in a family. They are aware that their family is different, but it's not that important.

Whether their moms or dads are married is immaterial to them. So far as they know, their parents are married, or at least married in every way that matters to them as children in the household. They only care about the politics of it if they are a bit older AND their parents bring the politics home.

Palladian said...

n.n can make even bigotry seem pedantic and boring.

Homosexual couplets? I think Shakespeare wrote a few of those...

chickelit said...

Was Shakespeare gay and married but not gay married?

Palladian said...

Was Shakespeare gay and married but not gay married?

People can't even agree that Shakespeare was Shakespeare.

I certainly hope that Will and Anne had a gay marriage.

Nick Carter M. said...

I foresee a future where homosexuality does not exist, so I don't worry too much about this.

viator said...

Balfegor said...

"How about the voices of children of polygamous and polyandrous adults?

Honestly, I think they're in a different position. On some level, there's no need for them to go complaining about how unfair it is that their parents' marriages not being recognised by the law. Their marriages are already viewed as real and legitimate by a much more important authority, whether religious or cultural -- they don't need to bootstrap their idea of marriage up with scraps of paper. They already have something better."

Not true, they miss out on all kinds of government programs, tax benefits, health care, welfare, etc. The same arguments found in gay marriage.

Further the voices of children of polygamy are even more woeful since their parents are not part of a class of legally privileged individuals.

Balfegor said...

RE: R.C.:

I'm looking at you, no-fault divorce.

No fault divorce is, for me, the shining example of why conservatives who want to restore traditional sexual mores have to avoid getting caught up in these stupid legal battles and focus on what really matters: the culture. Even if you can persuade a judge or a legislature, that doesn't matter one whit if you can't bring along the public -- all you're doing at that point is using the terrible power of the state to inflict your opinions on those who disagree with you. This is all very well for Leftism and Progressivism, which are creatures of power, but it is antithetical to conservatism. Conservatives should see themselves as the heirs and custodians of a tradition and a culture which precedes mere law and regulation, and which sustains itself by something other than the mere brute force of the police and the courts.

Even if conservatives could get a court or a legislature to abolish no-fault divorce, it wouldn't change a thing. It's the ephemeral, surface reflection of a much, much deeper change.

Palladian said...

No fault divorce is, for me, the shining example of why conservatives who want to restore traditional sexual mores have to avoid getting caught up in these stupid legal battles and focus on what really matters: the culture.

Why do something difficult like that when you can expand government power to do it for you!

There is no difference between State-power-seeking social conservatives and socialist-style progressives. One wants Big Government to do the work of the church and God, and the other wants Big Government to do the work of the family and the individual.

Balfegor said...

Re: viator:

Not true, they miss out on all kinds of government programs, tax benefits, health care, welfare, etc. .

Yes, that's why I said:

Where they do potentially have a complaint is that, say, the son of the second wife is going to be disadvantaged vis-a-vis his brother, the son of the first wife, because the law gives his brother certain benefits which he does not get.

But that's different from a complaint that their parents' unions are not called "marriage." Part of the current dispute over gay marriage is, as I understand it, that gay marriage activists aren't satisfied with something that in every respect walks like a marriage and talks like a marriage, but is called a civil union rather than a marriage. That is -- it's at the purely symbolic level, rather than anything substantive level. My point is that polygamy is well enough established that they really don't need to reassure themselves that their marriage is real by forcing a bunch of officials to sign and stamp a scrap of paper. Their complaint would likely be substantive, rather than symbolic.

That said, I did leave out the bit where polygamists are occasionally prosecuted and imprisoned by the authorities. One would imagine that hurts the children a lot more than their parents' union not being called a "marriage" on an official form somewhere in a drawer.

Palladian said...

I foresee a future where homosexuality does not exist, so I don't worry too much about this.

I foresee a future where you don't exist, which will come far, far sooner than a homosexual-free future, so I don't worry too much about this.

An anti-gay comment from someone named Nick Carter? Really? LOL.

Michael K said...

Interesting article in the WSJ today.

One excerpt:

There has been only one study using a large randomized sample, objective measures of well-being, and reports of grown children rather than their parents. This research, by Mark Regnerus, a sociologist at the University of Texas Austin, found that children raised in a household where a parent was involved in a same-sex romantic relationship were at a significant disadvantage with respect to a number of indicators of well being—such as depression, educational attainment and criminal behavior—compared with children of intact biological families.

One might expect this work at least to raise a caution flag, but it has been vociferously attacked on methodological grounds by the same organizations that tout the value of politically congenial research that suffers from more severe methodological shortcomings. This is what one expects from activists, not scientists.


No surprise there.

Emphasis said...

In 2010 I wrote a letter to the then Attorney General of the State of Florida in connection with what was then known as the “Gill adoption case”. The letter was not intended to advocate a position, instead, it asked questions about issues I felt were important and had never been widely discussed, they still have not:

Before a decision is made in the matter of the adoption of children by homosexuals there are questions that as a society we should insist the homosexual community answers. Questions like:

1.- What explanation do you give these children when they ask why did they come to be adopted, and why they don’t have a “conventional” adoptive mother or father?

2.- When you speak to them, do you refer to heterosexual couples as the norm, or do you encourage them to follow on your footsteps?

3.- They say that a parent’s love for their children is the most unselfish love there is. Parents normally want the best for their young, they want for them a better life than the one they led; they normally try not to place their children in situations in which they are going to be embarrassed, teased, or made uncomfortable. If love is what drives your desire to adopt a child, how do you justify putting them through spiritual and emotional confusion throughout their lives?

4.- How do you feel about a religious upbringing?

There are also questions that we as a society must answer. Questions like:

1.- Is adoption a right? Is it a privilege subject to specific requirements and having as its main goal the best interest of the children?

2.- There are countless stories of heterosexual couples that have gone to Latin America, to Russia, to Eastern Europe, or even to China to adopt a child. Why have they had to do so? What can we do to change this situation? Should we first try to correct this state of affairs before resorting to homosexual adoptions as a solution?

3.- Should we re-examine the nature of our society based upon the fact that we live in one that denies adoption to thousands of heterosexual parents, while allowing homosexuals to adopt? Why should homosexuality be acceptable, but bigamy and polygamy not? Are these less natural relationships than those of homosexuals?

4- Should we revisit our position as a society with respect to laws dealing with prostitution and adult consensual incest among others, in addition to the ones mentioned above?

5.- Do we expect children reared in a homosexual environment to later in life function normally in a heterosexual relationship?

6.- Should we as a society make it mandatory that children reared in a homosexual environment receive special training in the way of heterosexual couples? Should this training be neutral, or should the heterosexual way of life be encouraged or shown to be the preferred or normal way of mankind? Who should pay for the cost of this training?

7.- What traumas, if any, are we fostering on these children?

8.- What responsibility if any will homosexual couples that separate have with regards to the child society has placed in their care? What rules if any is society to dictate with regards to the children of heterosexual couples when either the husband or the wife chooses to embrace homosexuality?

9.- To what extent by allowing homosexuals to adopt children are we forcing society, for the love and welfare of those children, to preach and accept homosexuality as a normal behavior?

This is not a simple matter, the only objective must be to help the child, as a society we have a duty to make the right decision.

Balfegor said...

Re: Palladian:

Why do something difficult like that when you can expand government power to do it for you!

. . . cos it won't work?

I know you're being flip and I'm just belaboring my point here, but I do see conservatism and progressivism as kind of mirror images of each other -- conservatism as 親民 and progressivism as 新民, as it were. I really do think conservatives should be concerned first and foremost with 禮 (the rites). If the people follow 禮, then they will not need 法 (the law). 法 should operate at the margin, deterring and punishing exceptional transgressors. If 禮 is disregarded, then society will be in disorder, and 法 will not be effective.

Palladian said...

Before a decision is made in the matter of the adoption of children by homosexuals there are questions that as a society we should insist the homosexual community answers.

Why do you think the so-called "homosexual community" needs to answer questions so that homosexual individuals may adopt children? Is it some sort of Hillary Clinton "It Takes A Village" collectivism? Pretending for a moment that the "homosexual community" and a "heterosexual community" actually exist (they don't), why don't you think your list of ponderous questions should be asked of potential heterosexual adopters as well?

Palladian said...

Balfegor, I was being flippant, but you've made an interesting comparison between Confucian concepts and the American political system.

William said...

I think lenient divorce laws have done far more to undermine the institution of marriage than gay marriage ever will. Ditto with non-marital cohabitation. But that's where we are..... Over the course of a lifetime, how often do people screw for procreative reasons? Procreative screws represent a tiny fraction of one's sex lives. Sex has become a kind of flywheel. A lot of energy is expended in making the wheel turn, but the wheel does not engage any of the other gears.....I would guess that gay adoption has advantages over a Somali orphanage, but in most other cases I would cast a weather eye on the institution. OK, a conscientious gay couple can probably do a better job than some straights, but my guess is that lots of them are not all that conscientious. And the media will never report the failures. I would wait for more data before pronouncing gay adoptions an unmitigated boon to the children.

phx said...

I would guess that gay adoption has advantages over a Somali orphanage

Don't worry what your Republican friends say - they don't have the open mind you do.

phx said...

Well, maybe they do.

jr565 said...

balfegor wote:
That said, I did leave out the bit where polygamists are occasionally prosecuted and imprisoned by the authorities. One would imagine that hurts the children a lot more than their parents' union not being called a "marriage" on an official form somewhere in a drawer

exactly! i dont see Anne or Inga or too many gays speaking up for polygamists who are imprisoned for simply trying to marry the people they love.



Bryann mcgrew said...

Interesting post , I am going to spend more time learning about this subject
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Nini said...

I don't know if the psychological harm to the biological children of someone in homosexual relationship or to the adopted children of homosexual couple caused by their parents not able to obtain marriage license is worst than the effect of their parents' homosexual lifestyle and psychological make-up in the first place.

The shaky science behind same sex marriage
A commentary on the brief.

The social and behavioral sciences have a long history of being shaped and driven by politics and ideology.

.......There is now a body of new evidence—based for once on recognizably scientific methods—arising from a study using a large randomized sample, objective measures of well-being, and reports of grown children rather than their parents. This study found that children raised in a household where a parent was involved in a same-sex romantic relationship were at a significant disadvantage on several objective measures of wellbeing. This obviously implies nothing conclusive about the effects of same-sex marriage, about which there is too little data from which to draw any clear inferences at all. But neither can its possible implications be dismissed, especially in light of the weaknesses of the earlier research that tended to find little or no difference in the outcomes for children raised by same-sex couples. The earlier research was based on severely biased data. One prominent study, for example, relied on a sample recruited entirely at lesbian events, in women’s bookstores, and in lesbian newspapers. Others relied on samples as small as 18 or 33 or 44 cases. And most of them relied heavily on reports by parents about their children’s well-being while the children were still under their own care.

This is hardly the stuff from which scientifically valid conclusions could possibly be drawn.

Doug said...

If same sex marriage becomes the law of the land, will two brothers - born to the same mother and father - be able to marry? Assuming yes, would a father in Idaho be able to legally wed his 16 year old biological daughter (age of consent in ID is 15)? If enough parents legally wed their biological children, will there be any court or law enforcement agencies willing to prosecute parents having "consensual" sex with their children?

Anglelyne said...

Palladian: Why don't you Steve Sailer fans do us all a favor and hang out at that moron's site instead of here?

Speaking of "commenters that I usually respect"...

Sorry, Palladian, but your reaction to the Sailer piece is mindless butt hurt. It is indisputably the case that there was a large, loud contingent pushing the line that AIDS deaths were all the fault of Ronnie Ray-gun and the "haters", not microbes and behaviors that were subject to the same laws as any other microbes and the irresponsible behaviors that spread them. If you wish to take this recollection of fact as a personal insult and a slur on the character of gays who did not engage in that bullshit back in the day, well, I had a better opinion of you than that. Still do; just think your perspective fails sometimes regarding this issue.

As for Sailer - hey, I'm a Sailer fan and I'm an Althouse fan, and I think I'll continue to enjoy both if you don't mind. (It'd be nice if all the people who dismiss the former as a moron would actually enlighten us with something beyond "point and sputter".)