Yes, that’s right. During closing arguments for the Prop 8 trial in California, defense attorney Charles Cooper said:
I really think the state’s main concern or certainly among the state’s main concerns in regulating marriage, in seeking to channel naturally procreative sexual conduct into stable and enduring unions is to minimize what I would call irresponsible procreation. It’s not a good term, but I can’t think of a more serviceable one.
And that is procreation that is—that isn’t bound by the kinds of obligations and social norms that the marital relationship is, and that often leads to children being raised by one parent or the other or sometimes neither parent. That is a phenomenon that is uniquely centered on naturally procreative sexual relationships between men and women. It is not a phenomenon that the state has to be concerned about with respect to same-sex couples. For a same sex couple to procreate it by definition has to be responsible. It can’t be by accident. That’s the key point.
Same-sex parents are by definition responsible. Straight from the mouth of a Prop 8 defender. Wonder if that tidbit will come up in any of the cases challenging bans on adoption by gay men, lesbians, or “unmarried couples” (and for “unmarried couples,” read “gay men and lesbians but we have to phrase it this way or it might be seen as discriminatory”).
It would also seem to follow that opposite-sex couples who have fertility problems and adopt or use assisted reproduction are also responsible by definition, and thus don’t need the right to marry.
Not to mention that if Cooper really wants to stamp out “irresponsible procreation,” the only solution is to say that same-sex couples and opposite-sex ones who use assisted reproduction or adopt are the only ones who should parent—or to enforce penalties against heterosexual intercourse out of wedlock. Yeah. Like that’s gonna work.
There wasn’t much about the defense’s argument that seemed to make sense. Judge Vaughn Walker was all over Cooper’s main argument, “marriage is for procreation,” challenging him about whether opposite-sex couples who don’t have kids should be allowed to marry. Kate Kendell of the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) told journalist Lisa Keen that plaintiff’s attorney Ted Olson “cleaned Cooper’s clock.”
Is that the tick-tock of time running out on inequality? It could be, but we still have to get through the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and then, presumably, the U.S. Supreme Court. That is, unless one of the pending federal cases in Massachusetts gets there first.