So today, the Supreme Court heard arguments about the constitutionality of California’s ban on gay marriage. I have never understood why this is such an issue for opponents of gay marriage since really, how does it affect anyone other than the people getting married? I mean, I am a straight person and I am married, but if I were still single, it’s not like I would worry that that gay guys would take all the straight guys out of the marriage market. In other words, it wouldn’t affect me at all. And I guess, according to recent polls, more and more Americans are coming to the same conclusion.
But what really made me crazy today was reading what Charles Cooper had to say about the definition and purpose of marriage – according to him, it’s procreation. Really? Just having babies and we’re done? Justice Kagan responded humorously about how that would affect older couples getting married, since the assumption would be that they would not be procreating past the age of 55. Cooper’s response was it would not be constitutional to ban older people from marrying. OK then.
And, of course, there are the couples who marry and choose not to have children. What about them? Would they still be allowed to marry in this insanely narrow definition of the institution of marriage? Would you have to fill out a form with questions about your procreative plans before being handed a marriage certificate?
But ultimately, the thing that is a very personal, hot-button issue for me is, what about those of us who are unable to produce biological children? If you carry this argument to its logical conclusion, after a certain number of years and fruitless procedures, should our marriage be dissolved? I was unable to conceive. So, at what point do you tell me that I should not have been allowed to marry? That my marriage isn’t really a marriage? That there should have been some kind of test given to me at the time of our engagement to see what my level of fertility was. And, if I didn’t pass, I’d have to return the ring, and hang my head in barren shame. Fortunately, we don’t live in Mr. Cooper’s world, and my husband and I were able to adopt our beautiful children. The same as many other couples. Does this make any of us any less a family?
Basically, I feel that a person who loves another person should be allowed to marry that person. And then one day realize they married a slob. Or a control freak. And then wake up and suppress a scream the first time they see that person without makeup. And deal with their snoring all night. And fight over money and the kids and in-laws. After all, why should heterosexual couples keep all that joy just for ourselves?
Copyright Nancy Machlis Rechtman, all rights reserved