This little tidbit from yesterday’s appellate court hearing regarding California’s Proposition 8 caught my eye. The following statement was made by attorney Charles Cooper, who represents the pro-Prop 8 folks:
“Society has no particular interest in a platonic relationship between a man and a woman no matter how close it might be, or emotional relationships between other people as well, but when the relationship becomes a sexual one, society has a considerable interest in that. Its vital interests are actually threatened by the possibility of an unintentional and unwanted pregnancy.”
This position is hugely problematic. If the state’s only concern is sexual relationships that involve the “possibility” of procreation, then the state has no business marrying heterosexual couples who are infertile, past the childbearing years, or simply uninterested in having children. If this attorney is correct, such heterosexual couples have no more right to marriage than do homosexual couples.
But the state sanctions heterosexual marriages, whether childbirth is possible or whether the marriage is nonsexual and platonic (those types of marriages do exist). My uncle, for example, was widowed in his sixties and remarried to a woman roughly the same age. By the logic expressed by the two attorneys, the state should have denied them the opportunity to marry, as the state has “no particular interest” in such a relationship where no procreation is possible.
The state does have an interest in stable, committed, nonprocreative marriage relationships; otherwise instead of a blood test, couples would be required to submit to fertility tests before becoming eligible for marriage.
If this is the best they can come up with, I’d be surprised if they prevail in court.