I’m making a list, and checking it when the spirit so moves me. It’s a list of unanswered questions I and others have posed to NoVA Townhall contributor Sophrosyne, who appears to be the more or less “official” spokesperson for the Marshall/Newman amendment on that blog.
There’s getting to be quite a backlog of unanswered questions, some of them asked four or five times now. These are not difficult questions that should require hours of research, just simple ones that a knowledgeable advocate of the amendment should be able to answer. I don’t think I’m asking for anything unreasonable.
For instance, I and others have asked for a definitive list of the “rights, benefits, obligations, qualities or effects of marriage,” since the proposed amendment would prohibit the recognition of a “legal status” to which these things are “assigned.” What, exactly, are they? If Virginians are being asked to permanently prohibit themselves from accessing these things, they certainly have the right to know what they are, I would think. And yet, requests for this information are met with silence.
I have also asked, numerous times, for an explanation of the curious and frequently used phrase “the two complementary parts of the human organism.” This, as I’ve pointed out elsewhere, sounds suspiciously like the Victorian idea that individual men and women are incomplete, and each must be sexually united with a person of the “opposite” sex in order to become fully human.
This belief is otherwise (meaning when the pretense of a secular argument is not needed) known as “God’s design.” It is a purely religious argument about sex, namely that people should only engage in sexual activity within marriage and for the purpose of procreation.
The “incomplete organism” idea goes quite a bit beyond opposition to same sex marriage. It strongly suggests the belief that unmarried people of any sexual orientation are substandard and leading inferior lives. Logically, such incomplete non-people should not be entitled to the same rights and privileges as The Favored Ones – which, lo and behold, would be the result of the Marshall/Newman amendment. The very broad wording of this amendment is not an accident.
Sophrosyne also likes to talk about a “slippery slope.” Fair enough. There is, in fact, a very slippery slope involved here. Given that the above belief is the underlying impetus for the amendment, it’s fair to ask: What’s next?
What other rights that unmarried people currently have will be challenged, using the amendment language as justification, or perhaps even by future amendments? We’ve already seen attempts by Delegate Marshall to prohibit unmarried women from using assistive reproductive technology. If, as Sophrosyne and her friends like to say, “every child deserves a mother and a father,” what’s to stop the next amendment from prohibiting divorce if a couple has children together? Why not mandate that any woman who gives birth be forced to marry the father?
How about passing a law that prohibits unmarried couples from living together? (That was a trick question. There are already places where this is illegal, such as here, and formerly, here. Not coincidentally, the court that overturned the North Carolina law cited the finding in Lawrence v Texas that “the government has no business regulating relationships between two consenting adults in the privacy of their own home.” It is a slippery slope, indeed.)
And why stop with unmarried people, since the objective is to ensure that every single one of us has been adequately conformed to God’s Design for the Parts of the Human Organism? Mandatory Viagra!
A new curious phrase has been introduced to the conversation: “The grounding foundation of marriage–the unique psychosomatic unity possible only between one man and one woman in conjugal sex.”
If this is the grounding foundation of marriage (as opposed to the usual one of a promise to care for each other, for better or for worse, until death do you part), then we need to be having bedroom checks to make sure this is actually what’s going on. Apparently, there are married men and women who are having sex for purposes other than procreation, and are having sex in ways that I’m guessing do not embody a “unique psychosomatic unity.” I know this because Virginia still maintains laws prohibiting these things, despite such laws’ evident unconstitutionality.
I have the feeling that Sophrosyne and Co. are reading much of what I’ve suggested as the next steps down this slope, and are nodding their heads in agreement that these are wonderful ideas for “defending the family.”
But darn, those pesky facts are getting in the way again. The fact is that people are not interchangeable widgets who can be shoehorned into what is essentially a theocratic, one-size-fits-all model of family. Any attempt to do so will inevitably harm real people and real families. There is no way of getting around that reality.
There is one more question, from a commenter (although I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for an answer):
You never answer my question – why we can’t all co-exist with equal protection. Why must it be man-woman marriage with children or nothing?? That leaves no room for compromise, something many of us have always been willing and eager to pursue. Why must we risk our lives, homes, benefits, etc. to make your marriages safe?? Why should we trust the same activist judges you are worried about to protect our rights in a lawsuit from a distant, hostile family member. Especially since you don’t hate us…
It’s simple. We aren’t fully human to them.