Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, who is also the Republican nominee for governor to replace Rick Perry, has filed the state’s primary brief in the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals case challenging the ban on same-sex marriage. His arguments are every bit as bad as one would expect.
Writing in a brief filed to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday, Abbott said the state was not obligated to prove why gay marriage might be detrimental to the economic or social well-being of Texans. It was only required to show how opposite-sex marriage would be more beneficial for its citizens.
“The State is not required to show that recognizing same-sex marriage will undermine heterosexual marriage,” the brief read. “It is enough if one could rationally speculate that opposite-sex marriages will advance some state interest to a greater extent than same-sex marriages will.”
Uh, why? If the state decided that farming was better for the state than, say, being an artist, would they then be allowed to ban art? Of course not. They would have to show that allowing B would somehow affect A, which they can’t do. And all of the arguments for why straight marriages are good for children — it encourages commitment and stability and provides legal protections — apply just as well to gay marriages.
The new filing largely reiterated the same “responsible procreation” argument Abbott made in July, when the state first appealed a a February district court’s ruling overturning the Texas gay marriage ban. In it, Abbott argued marriage among heterosexual partners is more beneficial to society because it encourages married couples to have children and provides an example for other couples to do the same.
“First, Texas’s marriage laws are rationally related to the State’s interest in encouraging couples to produce new offspring, which are needed to ensure economic growth and the survival of the human race,” Abbott wrote.
He added, “Second, Texas’s marriage laws are rationally related to the State’s interest in reducing unplanned out-of-wedlock births. By channeling procreative heterosexual intercourse into marriage, Texas’s marriage laws reduce unplanned out-of-wedlock births and the costs that those births impose on society. Recognizing same-sex marriage does not advance this interest because same-sex unions do not result in pregnancy.”
But if you can’t show that allowing same-sex marriages will have any effect on those things at all, you don’t have a rational justification for prohibiting them and refusing to recognize them. It’s the same old dumb argument: marriage is good so gay marriage is bad. It’s a giant non-sequitur, the conclusion simply does not follow from the premise.