Re-defining marriage

Bill Donohue is the president of the Catholic League. I don’t claim that he speaks for all Catholics, since I know too many Catholics who disagree with him, but he claims he does; for some reason all the media keep inviting him back on to their shows as an expert on the topic when same-sex marriage comes up.

And this interview is a fascinating insight into his mind, the mind of the (not-insignificant) number of Catholics who DO agree with him, and the mind of the people presenting the cases before the Supreme Court regarding marriage.


“The whole purpose of marriage is to have a family. It’s not about making people happy. It’s not about love.”


Now let’s compare that to the brief presented by the petitioners for the Hollingsworth v. Perry case (regarding Prop 8) before the Supreme Court: in that brief, the lawyers representing the group of citizens that stepped in to defend Prop 8 after California officials refused to, argued that the state’s interest in marriage was procreative only. In other words, the state should only be interested or involved in marriage in the sense that it creates more citizens for the state. A similar argument to the above, a slightly different angle, but with the same foundation: marriage is not about love.

The Prop 8 brief doesn’t mention the word “love” once in 65 pages.

And compare that to Paul Clement’s brief in U.S. v Windsor supporting the DOMA in the other same-sex marriage case currently before the SC: marriage, as described in that case, is for taking care of “whoops! babies!”. The argument used in that brief was that marriage is necessary NOT because people love each other, but because two people with particular combinations of sex organs might accidentally produce an unplanned baby, and therefore they should be married in order to provide stability for that baby. And that is ultimately the state’s primary interest in marriage: generating more citizens.

The DOMA brief doesn’t mention the word “love” once in 60 pages.

Never mind that the only reliable way to have a stable family and give it the highest opportunity for happy, healthy children is for that family to be based on the love of the two people that were there first.

I would like to ask Bill Donohue and Paul Clement exactly how many marriage vows he has heard in his lifetime that don’t include the word “love” somewhere. I wonder how many marriage ceremonies has he attended where no one says “look how in love they are!”, instead preferring the utilitarian “see how fertile they look! They will be very procreatively productive!  Won’t the state be happy!”

I was married for 9 years before we had a kid, but apparently those years I spent falling in love with my wife over and over don’t count as really being married.  And the years we spent building a stable, healthy relationship into which a child could be welcomed and raised were probably just a waste of time because we weren’t popping out kidlets like ping-pong balls to keep the state happy.

But marriage isn’t about love.

Let that sink in.

“The whole purpose of marriage is to have a family. It’s not about making people happy. It’s not about love.” – Bill Donohue.

A man who just happens to be divorced, by the way: a state of affairs (not pun intended) that is mentioned multiple times in the Bible as being completely unacceptable to God, if that’s who your authority on moral issues is.  I assume it is for Bill, but I have to wonder.

The people fighting against same-sex marriage cannot use religion as the basis for their legal arguments, since they would run into obvious separation of Church and State issues by doing so.  So they have to come up with alternative, secular reasons, and the well there is… pretty dry.  So the argument becomes that the whole reason marriage exists is so that citizens can become baby-making machines to benefit the state apparatus, presumably as a source of new tax income.

And yet somehow it’s same-sex couples who are redefining what marriage means.