Arts & Entertainment
Dievendorf On AG Schuette's Bedroom Duty
Originally printed 9/26/2013 (Issue 2139 - Between The Lines News)
Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette is demonstrating the state's desire to regulate bedroom relations, with his most recent filing in the case of the Hazel Park women seeking to marry and jointly adopt their children.
In his Sept. 9 filing, the Attorney General's office stated that "one of the paramount purposes of marriage in Michigan - and at least 37 other states that define marriage as a union between a man and a woman - is, and has always been, to regulate sexual relationships between men and women so that the unique procreative capacity of such relationships benefits rather than harms society."
He stated that, "Responsible procreation and childrearing are well-recognized as legitimate State interests served by marriage," and further argued that, "Before 2004, when the Massachusetts courts decided to redefine marriage to include same-sex relationships, it was commonly understood that the institution of marriage owed its very existence to society's vital interest in responsible procreation and childrearing. Undoubtedly, that is why the Supreme Court has long recognized marriage as "fundamental to our very existence and survival."
He also sites a 1962 book called Sex, Culture and Myth by Bronislaw Malinowski that stated, "[T]he institution of marriage is primarily determined by the needs of offspring, by the dependence of the children upon their parents," and also an 1852 text that defines marriage to meet his view.
Emily Dievendorf of Equality Michigan responded to the brief stating, "This absurd overreach is a desperate move by a man with too much power. Attorney General Schuette's insistence on government in our personal lives is hypocritical, and in conflict with the Supreme Court of the U.S. Ten years ago when the U.S. Supreme Court struck down sodomy laws, and this past summer when it ruled against DOMA, it found that regulating sex for the purpose of procreation is not a role for our government. Marriage is about more than just procreation, as the Supreme Court said this June, 'marriage is a way for couples to define themselves by their commitment to each other.' Suggesting the benefit of marriage is limited to just producing children is more insulting and damaging to the institution of marriage than anything Schuette fears. The notion that people who cannot, or choose not to, have children are not worthy of committing their life to another person is preposterous.
"If it were not so harmful, it would be amusingly ironic that an attorney general whose party supports deregulation and smaller government is demanding this larger regulatory role for government in our daily lives. This brief also flies in the face of any family values platform. In the U.S. the share of unmarried couples has increased by 25 percent over the last decade and in 2012 there were 56,315 marriages and 39,892 divorces in Michigan - both statistics largely representing opposite-sex couples. If Attorney General Shuette wishes to preserve the institution of marriage, he should be allowing and encouraging both same and opposite-sex couples to opt in. The attorney general is fooling nobody on this most recent attempt to stop progress for LGBT families. In truth, as long as the law is tied to marriage the lack of marriage equality creates instability on every level and that is no good for anybody."
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