Sack on Marriage Equality - Star Tribune
by Steve Timmer
Mar 11, 2013, 2:30 PM

Katherine Kersten has lost all interest in Muslims!

After dousing herself with Obsession®, Katherine Kersten sat down and wrote yet another column on gay marriage; it ran in the Sunday Strib. As the opponents of gay marriage have all seemed to do lately, she has pretty much dropped the Leviticus claptrap that was much in evidence as late as last summer; it apparently wasn’t working very well.

General Mills boycott in July 2012

General Mills boycott in July 2012 – LeftMN photo

Just as the case of Teresa Collett, Kersten wasn’t interested in a conversation about gay marriage last fall: she just wanted it banned. Now she wants to negotiate — think Collett again — reminiscent of Saddam Hussein when he was discovered in the hole.

But this column is poisonous, even by Kersten standards.

But a look at SF925 reveals that something much more insidious than advocates let on is underway. This bill would strip the words “mother” and “father” of meaning [emphasis added] under Minnesota law. Henceforth, the bill states, these words — among the most beloved and culturally freighted in the English language — “must be construed in a neutral manner to refer to a person of either gender.”

Here’s the language in the bill that Kersten refers to:

When necessary to implement the rights and responsibilities of spouses or parents [emphasis added] under the laws of this state, including those that establish parentage presumptions based on marriage, gender-specific terminology, such as “husband,” “wife,” “mother,” “father,” “widow,” “widower,” or similar terms, must be construed in a neutral manner to refer to a person of either gender.

Perhaps Kersten is just too hysterical about this to read an entire paragraph. Nobody is going to cart you off to jail for calling somebody a “soccer mom” or a “stay-at-home dad.” Nah, she isn’t hysterical; she’s just being her usual calculating, demagogic self.

The language is just a way of trying to treat all person, all spouses, and all parents in an equal way. That’s not so bad, is it?

Kersten also makes the same worn out, silly, and yes, bigoted arguments in the talking points she got somewhere a long time ago.

First, if marriage is merely about emotional intensity, marital norms based on male-female complementarity — like sexual exclusivity and permanence — no longer make sense, or at best become optional. People can have a number of emotionally close relationships at the same time [emphasis added], and when the intensity fades, so does the reason to stay together.

Why, people love their dogs! Kersten’s trying to be subtle here, but it never works for her, and what she is obviously trying to imply is that all kinds of multiple and man/dog relationships will result if we head down the gay marriage path. It is just willful ignorance about long-term gay and lesbian couples, and the power of their relationship against some pretty long odds, in terms of the lack of societal support.

Second, if emotional attachment is all that’s required, the logic for limiting marriage to two people — or even to people in sexual relationships — disappears. It becomes difficult to distinguish marriage from friendship, which the government does not regulate. That’s why some prominent commentators are already calling for government to “get out of the marriage business” altogether.

Let’s say, a gay couple that has been together for twenty-eight years in a state that doesn’t recognize their union, on the one hand, and two guys who go to the ball game and drink beer a couple of times a summer, on the other. Gosh, Katherine, you’re right: they’re indistinguishable!

Third, making marriage “gender-neutral” would radically alter parenthood. Children need both a mother and a father, who bring different and complementary qualities to child-rearing. Two lesbians or two gay men (or two lesbians and a sperm donor), no matter how loving, cannot replicate this.

Most important: Redefining marriage as a unisex institution would decisively delink marriage from procreation and child-rearing in the public’s mind. Our marriage culture is already seriously frayed, and our children are paying a devastating price. Same-sex marriage would accelerate this trend, by telegraphing that government is now wholly indifferent to whether a child’s mother is married to his father.

This is Kersten’s (and the Catholic Church’s, too) “a mommy and a daddy argument.” It’s a libel on all the successful single parents out there, never mind the gay couples we all know who have perfectly well-adjusted children. Watching the two pressers (one DFL and the other the Leviticus party) that took place on February 27th, the day the announcement of the introduction SF925 was made, is instructive. There were many gay couples with kids at the DFL presser, and they looked pretty happy to me.

This argument of Kersten’s is just more babble from the font of bigoted ignorance. The child of a single lesbian woman may not have two parents who are obligated to support him, but he can if his mom is married.

Kersten is right; the institution of marriage has seen better days. But I submit that argues for making it available to more persons, not fewer.

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