Andrew Sullivan nominates this Douglas Kmiec editorial for his Malkin Award, which is given “for shrill, hyperbolic, divisive and intemperate right-wing rhetoric.” (see here) Mr. Sullivan quotes this:
“In a depopulating world, the claim that there is a universal right to marry regardless of gender becomes a frightening ally of a claimed universal right to access to genetically engineered children.”
Strangely, there is nothing to build to that anywhere in the essay. Nor does Kmiec word the next sentence – his concluding sentence – correctly to argue for what he wants. Perhaps it’s not an intentional “mistake”. Judge for yourself:
People should reject this claim by returning traditional marriage to its rightful place.
No one is removing traditional marriage from its allegedly rightful place. To achieve accuracy, though, the proper assessment is to request that people reject this (again, unsupported) claim by returning marriage to its traditional place. The use of “traditional” still assumes a history of marriage that is not based in facts, but it would get to the debate a smidge better.
The rest of the essay is a rather ridiculous example of the form, which is surprising since it comes from an attorney. Has Kmiec never studied the concept of rights independent of the majority? He doesn’t give any basis for rejecting that concept other than to make a feeble bow at the altar of mob rule. That’s not enough. For example:
Voting to overturn the court’s ruling should not be misunderstood. Gay and lesbian individuals are within the humanity acknowledged to be created equal and worthy of respect in the Declaration of Independence, but that responsible reaffirmation of equality of citizenship does not deprive the community of making a necessary and reasoned distinction for its own survival.
The community, apparently defined as America, will not survive if we grant equal rights to all citizens. “You’re equal, don’t get me wrong, but you understand that we don’t want to die out, right? It’s not personal?” It gets more pathetic, though:
Beyond correcting the court’s disregard of the separation of powers, insisting upon preserving the link between marriage and procreation: 1) promotes the orderly continuation of the species; 2) avoids the uncertainties of single-gender effects on children (most parents readily recognize the distinctive contributions of male and female in child rearing); and 3) takes respectful account of the difficulties of accommodating religious freedom that arise subsequent to the legal acceptance of same-sex marriage. Oddly, and incompletely, the California Supreme Court managed to ignore these important issues in its 170-plus page opinion.
People will not stop having children because gays and lesbians can marry. If you decide that two gay men marrying means you no longer wish to have children, you’re mistaking cause and effect because you’re an idiot. You retain your choice. If you make the choice not to have children, it’s still your choice, one that is not forced upon you.
If you wish to avoid uncertainty, do not have children. Children change the lives of their parents in unpredictable ways.
There is no difficulty in accommodating religious freedom that arises from the legal acceptance of same-sex civil marriage. That’s all that’s under discussion. An attorney should understand that, so Kmiec is either ignorant or shameless.
For good measure, Kmiec throws this out:
When carefully assessed, the acquisition of unnatural reproductive means often advances the interests of the very affluent through a libertarian exercise that would threaten all hope of democratic equality.
First, our Constitution is not based on democratic equality. Those two words do not complement, they compete. We get one or the other as a default. If we get the latter from the former, it’s a happy accident. I’m not inclined to organize the state around praying for happy accidents.
Second, is a married couple using a surrogate to carry an embryo created from the couple unnatural? What if they raise the child in Kmiec’s Catholicism?
Kmiec wants to run from the non-looming end-of-the-human-race slippery slope he fears. In doing so, he sets himself on the non-looming forced-child-rearing slippery slope. That’s better?