Idaho: But What About the Children???

The state of Idaho is appealing the court ruling that struck down their ban on same-sex marriage and trotting out the absurd “we’re doing it for the children” pretext. Funny how that only counts for the children of straight couples, the children of gay couples can go to hell.

Gov. Butch Otter’s petition, filed Tuesday, said the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals was wrong when it maintained that banning same-sex marriage violates couple’s equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment. Otter asked the Supreme Court to take up the issue once and for all, saying the state’s ban on same-sex marriage was not about discrimination against gay couples — rather, it was about the children.

“[Idaho’s] view of marriage is biologically based and primarily child-centered,” the petition reads. “And it holds that the principal (though not exclusive) purpose of marriage is to unite a child to his or her biological mother and father whenever possible, and when not possible, to a mother and father.”

“The time has come for this court to resolve a question of critical importance to the States, their citizens and especially their children: Whether the federal Constitution prohibits a State from maintaining the traditional understanding and definition of marriage as between a man and a woman,” the petition reads.

Otter’s argument against same-sex marriage, which has been legal in Idaho since the 9th Circuit’s ruling October, is that children benefit from the “salutary” effects of being raised by a heterosexual couple.

A nonsensical argument on multiple levels. First, because all of the legal and financial protections that help the children of straight couples apply just as well to the children of gay couples. Second, because an inability to get married simply does not mean that those children will be raised by straight couples. The argument is so absurd. Do they really think that if they don’t let gay couples get married, those gay people will magically become straight and marry someone of the opposite sex instead? Who could maintain such an idiotic position with a straight face?

POPULAR AT PATHEOS Nonreligious
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  • matty1

    Who could maintain such an idiotic position with a straight face?

    Well judging by the picture of him laughing on the linked article not Gov. Otter

  • Larry

    is that children benefit from the “salutary” effects of being raised by a heterosexual couple.

    And yet, that still doesn’t answer the question of how Mike and Eric being married, in any way at all, affects Martha and George’s ability to raise their own children.

  • AnatomyProf

    Idaho doesn’t even care about children. They have a horrible record of allowing religious parents to kill their children by denying them basic medical care.

  • dingojack

    Butch Otter can’t even facepalm correctly!

    Dingo

  • cptdoom

    “[Idaho’s] view of marriage is biologically based and primarily child-centered,” the petition reads. “And it holds that the principal (though not exclusive) purpose of marriage is to unite a child to his or her biological mother and father whenever possible, and when not possible, to a mother and father.”

    Except there’s not a shred of scientific evidence that the gender of the parent(s) has any impact whatsoever on the likely success of the child-rearing. That success is impacted, however, by the income level, educational attainment and emotional & physical maturity of the parent(s). Yet we don’t have, and would not constitutionally allow, marriages or parenting to be restricted to those who have high school diplomas or have an income above a specific level.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    First, because all of the legal and financial protections that help the children of straight couples apply just as well to the children of gay couples.

    Yes. That’s the problem.

     

    Second, because an inability to get married simply does not mean that those children will be raised by straight couples.

    We have to punish the children to protect the children.

  • John Pieret

    Of course, the real legal argument is whether there is a “rational basis” for the state (legislature and/or public referendum) to do what it did. But such a “rational basis” does not have to be, in fact, rational in any way. The test is only whether a legislature or the public might be able to somehow convince it/themselves that it might be rational. The courts, after finding that it is possible that they might believe that, are not supposed to go on and examine if it is really rational.

    Could someone think that giving certain benefits to heterosexual couples would encourage biological parents to maintain stable families? If you can think it is “rational” to believe the Earth is only 6,000 years old based on a book written by bronze-age shepherds, just about anything could be thought to be “rational.”

    The argument against that interpretation is to say, “Wait a minute, gays are people too … why are you treating them differently?” … and apply some heightened scrutiny standard to such disparate treatment.

  • eric

    the principal (though not exclusive) purpose of marriage is to unite a child to his or her biological mother and father whenever possible

    Can unmarried parents not see their kids? Does getting married to person B legally prevent you from seeing the kid you had with person A? Its absurd; the institution of marriage has nothing to do with uniting a child with his/her biological parents. The parents decide that no matter whether they are married to one another, to different people, or not married at all. The exception may be in nasty custody disputes, but that is also irrelevant because the institution of marriage per se is not going to prevent or reduce nasty custody disputes.

    Mr Otter, I sentence you to listen to the Brady Bunch theme song on an eternal loop, until you realize that marriage does nothing to either prevent or encourage biological parents to unite with their kids.

  • dingojack

    Butch Otter takes a strong interest in children. In the case of SSM, he needn’t bother.

    Dingo

  • A Masked Avenger

    A nonsensical argument on multiple levels. First, because all of the legal and financial protections that help the children of straight couples apply just as well to the children of gay couples.

    I don’t think you were reading the statement closely enough. It said, “the principal (though not exclusive) purpose of marriage is to unite a child to his or her biological mother and father whenever possible, and when not possible, to a mother and father.”

    Extending the legal and financial protections to children of gay couples would defeat the purpose, which is to create incentives for children to be raised by a mother and father. Not a mother. Not a father. Not two mothers. Not two fathers. The principal purpose of marriage, says Gov. Butch, is to promote childrearing preferably by both biological parents, but at least by a heterosexual couple.

  • Sastra

    The argument is that if more people are allowed to marry then this will corrupt marriage as a pure concept and then the whole thing falls apart. It’s like when colored folks were allowed into the city swimming pool. They contaminated the water and now all the swimmers had no good place to swim in any more.

    Belief in Essences + Emphasis on Purity = Danger. Or Derangement. Or Both.

  • Artor

    As an ex-Idahoan, I remember Butch from 20 years ago. Yes, he’s always been a fucking idiot.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Butch_Otter#Personal_life

  • raven

    AnatomyProf:

    Idaho doesn’t even care about children. They have a horrible record of allowing religious parents to kill their children by denying them basic medical care.

    QFT!!!

    Idaho has no laws against faith healing cults killing their children. And kill them they do. Mortality 0-18 runs around 25%, worse than much of the third world. For normal people it is less than 1%.

    Idaho is also a haven for Nazis and white supremacists, not the most child friendly groups I can think of.

  • soul_biscuit

    John Pieret, classifications drawn based on sexual orientation are subject to heightened scrutiny in the Ninth Circuit, not merely rational basis review. The state of Idaho has to show that its same-sex marriage ban was actually based on a sufficiently important interest and that the ban is not more restrictive than necessary to promote that interest. A three-judge panel held that Idaho failed to do that, and Idaho now wants the case reheard by an eleven-judge panel.

  • http://drx.typepad.com Dr X

    Taking a look at the petition, I see that it argues that there are two competing visions of marriage, only one of which involves a state interest:

    As Justice Alito pointed out, those who favor redefining marriage to accommodate same-sex couples see the institution primarily from an adult-centered perspective, with marriage’s principal purpose being to endorse, legitimize and facilitate love and commitment between adults. United States v.Windsor, 133 S. Ct. 2675, 2718(2013)(Alito, J., dissenting (describing competing visions). The adult-centric view holds that, because the love of a same-sex couple is just as good as that of a man-woman couple, the government’s refusal to recognize that love as a marriage is unjust discrimination.

    By contrast, those who wish to retain the man-woman marriage definition—including a large majority of Idahoans—believe the government has no legitimate interest in formally recognizing loving relationships, whether opposite-sex or same-sex.

    The most obvious failure of this argument, if you buy into it, is that same-sex couples still have children, so the state would still have a child-centric interest in the relationship, regardless of the genders of the parents.

    The petition continues:

    Their view of marriage is biologically based and primarily child-centered. And it holds that the principal (though not exclusive) purpose of marriage is to unite a child to his or her biological mother and father whenever possible, and when not possible, to a mother and father.

    So here they’ve introduced the naturalistic fallacy and its close cousin, the is-ought fallacy, both of which fail for reasons that hardly need explaining. In the next breath, they even come right out and explicitly conflate is and ought

    The difference in these views is not that one promotes equality, justice, and tolerance, while the other endorses inequality, injustice, and intolerance. Rather, it is a difference in understanding about what the marriage institution is—or ought to be.

    They also decide, arbitrarily, which among the multitude of reasons for marriage represents its “principal” purpose and arbitrarily translate “principal” into only acceptable basis, which fails even the most superficial check against historically accepted marriage. I’ve never heard these people object to marriage recognition for those beyond the age when procreation is possible.

    But I think their most significant though unstated objection falls outside the purposes for marriage that are most often articulated. Marriage as a religious rite is also about making the dirty thing—sex—clean. That’s rapidly becoming an anachronistic solution, but for some people it resolves the disgust-attraction conflict by sacralizing sex with magic words and ritual.

    And this conflict is what I suspect really lies behind the the bad arguments against same-sex marriage. Religious conservative opponents of same-sex marriage are most bothered by the thought of same-sex sexual activity being deemed clean by law. And while opponents present themselves as taking a child-centric view with a competing adult-centric view of marriage, I think that their most fundamental objection really is adult-centric. It’s about what kind of adult relations shall be deemed clean and morally acceptable. Gut arguing that it’s about the children probably feels like a better sell to a public that no longer buys into the need to make sex clean through sanctifying rituals.

  • Chiral

    One of the downsides of living in Idaho is the large percentage of horrible people. All of my elected officials are awful.

    I’ve noticed in the news here that there is a sizable percentage (probably not a majority) of people pissed off at Butch Otter for this, but for all the wrong reasons. It’s all about “wasting taxpayer money” not “being a horrible bigot”. I mean the money wasting is bad (could spend it on, I dunno, maybe education?), but it’s not the main thing, you know?

    I live about 10 miles from one of those faith healing cults. I wish the state would do something about that instead. Help some real people instead of the imaginary “being hurt simply by having gay parents” people.

  • anat

    raven, where do you get those numbers? According to this source it was 25 in 100,000 in 2001, compared with 22.7 per 100,000 national average. Idaho tied with New Mexico for 14th place, with Mississippi doing the worst (1st place). So worse than national average, but not by much. I’m not sure which age-range they use to define ‘child’.

  • dingojack

    anat – try 50.3 per 100,000 (in 2010). Source.

    Dingo

  • Trebuchet

    Idaho is also a haven for Nazis and white supremacists, not the most child friendly groups I can think of.

    That’s in the north. It’s a seriously divided state; north and south aren’t even in the same time zone. Instead of Nazis, southern Idaho has Mormons. Lots and lots of Mormons.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    Dr X “the disgust-attraction conflict”

    Tangentially, the best episode of The Big Bang Theory.

  • John Pieret

    soul_biscuit @ 14:

    classifications drawn based on sexual orientation are subject to heightened scrutiny in the Ninth Circuit, not merely rational basis review

    I’m well aware of that but what Idaho is arguing is that SCOTUS should reverse the 9th Circuit and subject SSM bans only to rational basis scrutiny. Thus, the state is, ultimately, arguing that the courts should not look to see if the ban is, in fact, rational (substituting the courts’ opinion for that of the state legislature or public) but only if a “reasonable person” could think it was rational.

  • Chiral

    Trebuchet @ 19

    Except for there are two huge ones in the south of the state. An Aryan Nations group in Boise a white nationalist group in Payette. And you’d have a hard time convincing me Mormons aren’t usually a mild form of white supremacists. The inferiority of non-white people is still an official part of their doctrine, as far as I know.

    Source for the hate group info above: SPLC

  • raven

    raven, where do you get those numbers?

    Various news articles and Google.

    The 25% child death rate, 0-18 refers to in the faith healing cults. They get this from counting graves in graveyards. These cults are very secretive since it looks bad to be constantly killing their kids. Not everyone in Idaho is in a faith healing fundie cult.

    Fallen followers: Investigation finds 10 more dead children of faith healers

    By Dan Tilkin, KATU News; Dusty Lane, KATU.com StaffPublished: Nov 7, 2013 at 6:31 PM PST Last Updated: Nov 8, 2013 at 9:36 AM PST

    Of the 553 marked graves at Peaceful Valley Cemetery, 144 appear to be children under 18. That’s more than 25 percent.

  • raven

    That’s in the north. It’s a seriously divided state; north and south aren’t even in the same time zone. Instead of Nazis, southern Idaho has Mormons. Lots and lots of Mormons.

    Is that really much of an improvement?

    Idaho is 27% Mormon but they are concentrated in the southern part of the state, where it is close to a monoculture. BYU north is in southern Idaho.

  • whheydt

    This is the same argument they used in the original 9th Circuit appeal. Indeed, the same lawyer used the same argument for the appeal of the Nevada anti-SSM law as well. (The Nevada case is dead. The State won’t appeal further and no one else has standing.)

    Given the SCOTUS actions last year, I can’t see them taking this case either.

  • dcsohl

    So I suppose Idaho bans single-parent adoptions? You gotta be married in order to adopt? I mean, that’s what you would do if you really thought children MUST be raised by a heterosex couple.

    No? Didn’t think so.