Southern Methodist University hosts a debate between Dr J (invited by the Federalist Society) and Dallas attorney (invited by OutLaw) on the legal definition of marriage.
Here is my snarky summary. Just bear in mind that Dr. J’s opponent is a lawyer, so I want to be clear that I am caricaturing and satirizing her speeches deliberately for humor, and these are not factual statements about what she said at all. So don’t sue me.
I do think you should listen to her actual words to see what factual arguments she makes, and whether her reasoning about what marriage is is compatible with polygamy, incestuous marriage, and anything else involving loving, committed consenting adults. And it you like this debate, you can find other debates on the Ruth Institute podcast. Jennifer Roback Morse is the William Lane Craig of the marriage issue.
Dr. Morse opening speech
No-Fault divorce as a case study:
– studies were produced to show that as long as divorced parents were happy, the divorced children would be fine
– but that research was wrong, children do suffer from divorce
– when you change the understanding of marriage, you change the way that generations relate
– you have to wait for one or more generations to see the effects of the change
The essential public purpose of marriage:
– to attach mothers and fathers to their children and to one another
– marriage exists in virtually every known society
– societies need marriage in order to allow children to develop over a period of time
– human babies have a long period of dependency, and we need parents to sick around for the duration
– there are many private reasons to get married, but we are insterested in the public purpose
– marriage identifies two people who made the child as having responsibility for the child
Marriage and the law
– currently there is the presumption of paternity – the woman’s husband is presumed to be the father
– the presumption of paternity is being changed to the presumption of the parent
– now, the other partner is presumed to be the other parent
– but if same-sex marriage were legal, the partner is never the child’s biological parent
– so, if you redefine marriage, then you are necessarily re-defining parenthood as well
– the children of same-sex unions are not being treated equally
– the children of same-sex unions are not going to have the same access to their biological parents
– children have a right to know who their mother and father are
– in general, children need a mother and father when they are growing up
– we have lots of data from single parents, divorced parents, divorced/remarried parents to show it
Biological parents and the state:
– in countries that redefine marriage, the state determines who the parents are
– the state creates criteria independent of biology to decide who parents are
– this is too much power for the state to have.
Opponent’s opening speech:
Marriage is about people having feelings of love, not the rights of children:
– marriage has no definition outside of what the state says it is
– there are lots of children being raised in same-sex households
– marriage is not necessarily about parenting, because old infertile people get married
– it doesn’t matter what children need or want, so long as adults feel happy
– lots of liberal organizations say that same-sex parents are BETTER than married bio-parents
– a family can be anything that we decide it is
– marriage has no basis biologically, marriage is assigned by the state with a civil license
– there are lots of rights and responsibilities that married couples have that same-sex couples don’t
– for example bereavement leave, property inheritance, visitation rights, joint tax returns, etc.
Same-sex marriage is the same as multi-racial marriage:
– men and women are indistinguishable and interchangeable
Keep your morality off my selfishness:
– it’s nobody else’s business if children don’t grow up with their mothers and fathers
Dr. Morse’s rebuttal:
– your statistics on the number of children in same-sex households are false: here are the actual numbers
– interracial marriage IS marriage: it produces children and requires parents be attached to those children
– a better solution to same-sex couples with children is adoption, not redefining marriage
You’re a meany!
– if you don’t like same-sex marriage, then you opposed desegregation
– if you don’t like same-sex marriage, then you opposed women getting the right to vote
– I believe in justice, equality and civil rights, you don’t
– Yay social justice! I’m on the right side of history!