Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Notes from the Last Post:

1. There is a reason to prefer married couples for adoption, insofar as in most cases (though not all) they either are already raising children or have married in preparation for the task, and as such are likely to be committed to the idea of family. Preparing for a family is still the idea behind marriage for many; the concept that marriage exists primarily to legitimize the relationship of the two parties is a recent one. And the latter seems to be the predominant mindset of same-sex couples who want marriage.

2. Freedom from state interference in sexual matters between fully consenting adults, in lieu of serious physical harm, is a right currently guaranteed by the government, for good reasons including the ludicrous nature of trying to enforce restrictions on such behavior. (Note that the state can and does legislate with regard to consequences of said unions: child support, for instance.) However, the distance between noninterference and legal recognition of marriage is a wide one.

3. Should it be objected that the case is analogous to prohibiting interracial marriage, I disagree. For one, an interracial marriage is fruitful in itself (rather than requiring adoption) and thus the public good includes their children. Furthermore, the traditional institution of marriage has historically been color-blind, save for a few scattered Iagos. It's not the same as throwing our current institution on the scrap heap and building a new one as simply a validation of any legal sexual union.

4. And the existence of infertile heterosexual couples doesn't undermine the argument. Marriage is instituted for the public good, and so the small number of couples who can't have children is no concern (as they don't change the nature of the institution, either). Society deals with large numbers and averages where individual rights are not the concern. (Similarly, if welfare checks included some of those who were living at home and taken care of, it'd be a bit of a financial waste but not an indictment of the social good of welfare.)

More to be added if more comments spur more thoughts...

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