I’ve not had time to prepare a new post but, as I’ll soon be posting on the argument that marriage is about children soon, I may as well put this old bit of info out there.
Even ignoring the fact that many gay couples are adopting and producing children with aid, there is not one law I can find that makes children, parenting ability, or the ability to have children a requisite for marriage (if you know of one, let me know). The laws handling children’s rights and parent’s obligations are handled separately and for good reason.
Even convicted and incarcerated pedophiles who’ve preyed on their own children have the right to marry (as long as it’s heterosexually) by law, and yet no one in their right mind would say their children “deserved” them as parents. In fact, in the laws of the US, the best I can find for a legal connection to the ability to have children is found in laws that forbid a couple from marriage if they are able produce children.
a marriage between first cousins is not prohibited if: both parties are 50 years of age or older; or (ii) either party, at the time of application for a marriage license, presents for filing with the county clerk of the county in which the marriage is to be solemnized, a certificate signed by a licensed physician stating that the party to the proposed marriage is permanently and irreversibly sterile;
two (2) individuals may marry each other if the individuals are:
(1) first cousins; and
(2) both at least sixty-five (65) years of age.
first cousins may marry if both are sixty-five years of age or older or if one or both first cousins are under sixty-five years of age, upon approval of any superior court judge in the state if proof has been presented to the judge that one of the cousins is unable to reproduce.
First cousins may marry under the following circumstances:
(a) both parties are 65 years of age or older; or
(b) if both parties are 55 years of age or older, upon a finding by the district court, located in the district in which either party resides, that either party is unable to reproduce.
that marriage may be contracted between first cousins where the female has attained the age of 55 years or where either party, at the time of application for a marriage license, submits an affidavit signed by a physician stating that either party is permanently sterile.
There is no law I can find forbidding infertile couples from marriage, or women who are old enough to be past menopause, or the intersexed, or anything like that. But here the states (Utah among them, of course, for irony’s sake :-)) make a special exception for certain couples in order to give them marriage rights and obligation, only if they cannot produce children. They even make the couple (if they are young enough to be fertile) get a letter from a physician.
This notion that marriage is all about having children, is a relatively new political argument, used to keep gays from marriage (though you can find it in the more distant past, and a variant of such was used during the debate over interracial marriage). I know many sincerely believe it, and with good intentions. It's tough not to heed when someone yells the old "Think of the children!" But the benefits to the public for giving marriage rights to infertile and life-long childless couples have been clear for a long time (Many of them listed here, here, and here), and only recently has the goalpost moved into this emotion laden territory of deep and yet debasing concern for other's families. I watched the argument crafted over many months and tested, and it worked here, even though gays do have children, in far greater numbers than most understand.
I mean, how many know Utah is in the top 3 of states in the percentage of gay headed homes raising children? Clearly Utah’s laws don’t stop these children from being born or adopted. And yet, all through our amendment debate one side somehow convinced the public that to help our children they had to solidify their family’s invisible and second-class status in our constitution.
But I'm getting ahead of myself :-).