Gay marriage in Michigan, children, and divorce

So last week, a U.S. District Judge ruled that the amendment to Michigan’s state constitution which defines marriage as a union of one man and one woman, passed by voters in 2004, to be unconstitutional.

The state, in defending the gay marriage ban, repeatedly argued that children do best in a two-parent household with a mother and father. From the linked story, “the state also argues that it has a ‘legitimate’ interest in preserving the traditional family structure because — it claims — children thrive best when raised by married moms and dads.”

So if conservatives-- or in this case, “the state”-- truly believe this to be true, why aren’t they passing legislation to ban divorce? Surely, divorce leads to more children being raised in non-mother-father households than gay marriage ever would, right?

Also, from a conservative’s perspective, why should the state be telling people who is best qualified to raise children and how they should be raised? Doesn’t this go against the idea that the individual, not the government, needs to be making these sorts of decisions?

It is extremely hypocritical to claim to be the party of individual freedom, but then have the government tell people who is best qualified to raise their children. It is also hypocritical to ban gay marriage because it puts kids into homes without both a mother and a father, while at the same time ignoring the fact that divorce does the exact same thing, probably in greater numbers.

If you’re the party of a hands-off government, then stop legislating who is allowed to get married. If you’re concerned that children won’t be raised in a household with both a mother and father, then pass a law making divorce illegal.

Because even though the “great Jesus” actually spoke out against divorce and said nothing about gay marriage, there is still the fact that it would make the GOP really unpopular. And hypocrites.

This question has been raised approximately seventy-four zillion times.

The answer, provided roughly the same number of times, is that when a legislature passes a law, it’s presumed to be constitutional. Unless the law impinges on a suspect class, a law must only survive “rational basis” inquiry.

The method of rational basis analysis does not ask if the law is the best way of achieving whatever government interest is being offered, and it does not test the truth of the claimed interest by pointing out that other laws could be passed to support that same goal but have not been. It simply asks: “Is there a rational relationship between a legitimate government goal and the law in question?”

Perhaps conservatives truly believe it, but realize they would never muster the votes to pass a law banning divorce. Perhaps they feel that passing such a law would be political suicide. Perhaps they feel that divorce is acceptable because a warring home life is even worse for children than being raised by a single parent.

This is not remotely a contradiction, in other words.

Yes. But most conservatives agree that some measure of government involvement is appropriate. Only the most hard-core libertarian would say, “The government should keep out of people’s lives, even if they are murdering their children,” for example.

No. Your argument is a combination of the fallacies of equivocation and strawman.

Equivocation occurs when you try to use the same words with different meaning, as in the classic:

Stale bread crumbs are better than nothing.

Nothing is better than a thick, juicy steak!

Therefore, you must believe that stale bread crumbs are better than a thick juicy steak.

In this case, you capitalize on the ambiguity of the phrase “hands-off government.” No serious political commentator literally supports anarchy. To suggest that conservatives favor a literal hands-off government is a strawman.

I’d say it’s far more calling out the absurdity of the label - much like “If you’re really pro-life, why don’t you support programs to help children in poverty?” That’s not a straw-man of the pro-life position, it’s pointing out that the name “pro-life” is absurd. Similarly, it’s ridiculous to call yourselves “hands-off government” while simultaneously intruding into the lives of adults and refusing to let them raise children with little or no justification. I mean, the OP doesn’t even get into how absurd and stupid it is to make the claims they make about child-raising given the evidence we have.

Holy shit, those fuckers actually brought Regnerus to the stand. :smiley:

The judge’s response in his opinion was glorious:

Awesome. Just awesome.

Those aren’t rebuttals to it being a contradiction, though. Those are excuses to explain the contradiction.

Maybe, but we don’t live in some Platonic world of forms. Even if you think banning divorce would be the best thing to do, if there’s no way that’s going to happen, you’re just wasting your time pushing for it. You have to fight the battles you can fight.

Well, the ability to fight against SSM in the U.S. looks like a long-term loser. About time, really.

Probably, but at least, for them, it’s a long-term loser. And fights like that, you never know. You can always buckle down and pray for a miracle. At the very least, you can slow it down, make it harder, give you time to come up with alternatives or let people who are in favor of the change cool off. It worked for the segregationsts, to an extent. Schools are integrated now legally, but they managed to stop busing, get charter schools set up, and defacto segregation is still in effect. The anti-SSM people probably hope they can do something similar…hope that, when and if the case goes to the Supremes, that they rule against national SSM, and then fight it on the state and local level, and generally slow it down and make it harder for gay couples to marry, adopt, etc.

Anti-divorce, on the other hand, is a short term loser. An attempt to ban divorce wouldn’t get off the ground; it’s become so accepted. So there’s a difference there.

Sure, but then you’re obliged to drop the points you’d use to argue one way or the other that you’d then be putting political concerns over, because you’re already dropping them for political concerns. You follow the arguments where they lead, and if they lead somewhere you don’t like, you don’t have to follow them, you can drop them, but you have to drop them across the board, lest you be a hypocrite and/or simply be using those arguments as a smokescreen.

Why does being idealistic mean you have to be ineffectual? It’s not a question of following the arguments where they lead, it’s realizing that you can’t always get what you want. During the debate over health care, there were a bunch of people, even a bunch of Congresspeople who wanted single payer universal health care. That obviously didn’t happen, and some of the people, even the ones who were strongest for it, like Dennis Kucinich, still voted for Obamacare, even while they were critical about the bill not going far enough. Was Kucinich a hypocrite? I don’t think so. He realized the bill, even though it came short of what it should have been, was better than what we had before, and that if Obamacare couldn’t pass, there was no way universal coverage could pass.

It’s the same with these groups. They might want an end to divorce, but if it’s a choice between focusing on that and focusing on a gay marriage ban, they’re going to pick the more realistic option.

It ends up looking like legislative bullying. “We can’t fight people who want divorces; there are too many of them and they’ll kick our butts. But gays are fewer and weaker, so we can write all the laws we want to trample their rights.” It’s still hypocrisy…and it’s also something worse.

It’s hard to summon sympathy when the position is “instead of unnecessary interference in the private lives of citizens Plan A, I’ll focus on unnecessary discriminatory practice Plan B because it’s easier.”

Isn’t that part of the problem, though? You don’t like their goals and think that their set of beliefs is morally wrong, so you’re going to judge their tactics by a different, harsher standard than you would a group that you don’t dislike so much. What’s tactics when a more sympathetic group does it becomes hypocrisy when they do it.

What difference does my opinion of their tactics matter when I’ve already concluded their goals are wrong?

Heck, even if they put as much effort into banning divorce as they do into banning SSM… so? Their goals are still wrong. It’s not hypocrisy that’s the issue - it’s the sheer illogic of trying to ban SSM using unproven premises even when it is obvious that it will harm no-one and be consistent with the concept of equal treatment under the law.

Reread the OP. Thats what the thread is about…not the validity of their goals, but the hypocacy of the position.

<comments withdrawn pending rewrite because the issue is more nuanced than my first response indicates>

Well, it’s not much of an accusation - lots of people want individual freedom as they define it, with other practices banned or restricted since they perceive it won’t affect them. The reasons for opposing SSM specifically are as specious as for any issue I’ve seen in my lifetime. I’d be tempted to call for a ban on calling for a ban on SSM (since it wouldn’t affect me) but there are larger issues at stake.

If their belief is that all children should be in a 1 man 1 woman household, and believe the government should use their powers to require that household makeup of parents, then the reality is that most people don’t like their goals and think their beliefs are wrong.

Gays have been marginalized long enough that these folks can still garner occasional limited-scope wins for their views, but it doesn’t change the essential wrongness of it all.

Being idealistic doesn’t mean you have to be ineffectual. Being conscious of political realities, and choosing them over your ideals, means you have to stop being idealistic. And I don’t mean that in terms of wide-eyed naivety; I mean that if your ideals lead you to somewhere that you still feel is correct but that you’re not willing to actually do because of some other concerns that take precedence - then it’s time to say “Alright, I actually don’t hold strongly to those ideals, because if it means keeping my job, if it means pleasing my constituents, if it means i’ll lose, then i’ll drop them like a hot potato.”

To put it another way; what it means is that, if those same concerns were in place when it comes to those things they actually are willing to service their ideals for, they’d equally be left by the wayside. Why should I care about someone’s opposition to gay marriage when, as proved by their hypocritical stance based upon political realities, should a situation come about where people are against gay marriage opponents to a similar extent as they are divorce opponents, they’ll presumably equally likely drop those?

And of course, with things like this, there’s often a religious reference, which brings whole new issues of what “success” would mean in terms of idealistic stands.