New York's Court of Appeals -- the state's highest court -- heard arguments Wednesday in a gay marriage case that pools several suits, including one against the New York City official who issues marriage licenses. That case had previously been decided in favor of same-sex marriage, but was appealed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who supposedly supports same-sex marriage but wanted to appeal the favorable ruling to the highest court to clarify the decision. (He must feel he has friends in high places -- they also have granted him permission to unilaterally decide to ignore laws giving domestic partner benefits to same-sex couples.) Thanks, Mike.
In the coverage of the current hearing, something stood out to me -- something that couldn't help but bring to mind the words of the great courtroom orator Fielding Mellish, "I object, your honor! This trial is a travesty. It's a travesty of a mockery of a sham of a mockery of a travesty of two mockeries of a sham." Specifically:
During the two and a half hours of oral argument, the judges on the Court of Appeals grappled with essential questions of social values, asking tough questions without tipping their hands as to their ultimate decision.
They wanted to know whether there were studies showing that children raised by mothers and fathers turned out better than those raised by same-sex couples, and they wanted to know whether opening the door to gay marriage would also open the door to bigamy or polygamy.
Let's put aside for the moment the fact that this is a question for an AM talk show, not for the highest court in the state. Let's dismiss, for now, the fact that the argument that marriage is only for the purpose of raising children is on its face absurd. And let's forget, temporarily, that the studies to which we're referring have been thoroughly discredited as far as I know.
Let's just pass by all of that right now and imagine it were true -- imagine that children raised by same-sex couples actually were, on average, somehow less well-adjusted. Is that seriously a path this court would want to go down? Are you telling me this court is ready to start withholding rights from individuals based on the average behavior of the class to which they belong?
Because I'm wondering how the studies will read, that look at whether children raised by Christian parents "turned out better" than the ones raised by Jewish parents. I'm wondering how the studies will read, that look at whether children raised by Democratic parents "turned out better" than the ones raised by Republicans. I'm wondering who else the court would be ready to declare unfit for marriage.
In particular, I'm looking forward to the study that examines how children "turn out" who are raised by married straight bigoted homophobes.