Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear filed an appeal last week in federal court defending his state's ban on same-sex marriage, after a federal judge invalidated a portion of the law earlier this year. In the appeal, the state argues that legalizing interracial marriage in 1967 made sense because those unions made babies, but gay couples should not be allowed those same rights. Why? Because that would harm Kentucky's birth rate. [...]So the official argument would seem to be that the state can't recognize same-sex marriage because the profit margins are terrible. That may be the most Republican objection to marriage equality I've ever heard, but when it comes to penning ridiculous defenses of same-sex marriage bans the party lines still can get a bit blurred.
According to the state, the case for legalizing same-sex marriage in Kentucky is different from Loving v. Virginia—the landmark 1967 Supreme Court case that invalidated state laws banning interracial marriage—because "man-man and woman-woman couples cannot procreate" and Kentucky has an interest in encouraging procreation in the name of promoting "long-term economic stability through stable birth rates."
The obvious flaw in the argument, of course, is that the state enforces fertility in no other context. There is no ban against the infertile getting married, or the elderly, or (yet) against married couples choosing to practice birth control; no state attorney general has demanded those marriages be similarly invalidated for insufficient contribution to the future tax base. No state has offered the argument in those other contexts because it is patently asinine—an argument for Gileadesque management of the citizenry as livestock. The notion that marriage exists only as profit center for the state would be offensive, and should be offensive, if it weren't just too damn ridiculous to take seriously.
The state of Kentucky has an interest in "encouraging procreation?" Very well, what forms does that interest take? If Virginia is For Lovers, does that make Kentucky the Wham-Bam Thank You Ma'am state? Does the State Board of Procreation put out advertisements on the late-night shows reminding residents to spend some quality time each night humping? Does the state tourism board nullify the motel room tax if you can prove your sheets are sufficiently soiled? While I eagerly await the explanation of how states should encourage procreation aside from the old standby of ditching sex education and letting their children find these things out the hard way, there doesn't seem to be any other context in which the state demands procreation. Shockingly, many Kentuckians seem to procreate just fine outside of marriage; the state has few if any programs to encourage such procreation. And finally, if Kentucky truly has a vested interest in gay couples having children, guess what? It turns out they can! Go figure.
Once again, marriage equality is coming nationwide. If you want to know why, read the state-sponsored arguments against it—any of them, in fact. The absurdity of the premises, the abject goofiness of the straws at which "traditionalists" grab to toss at the courts as defensive chaff, shows that the forces arrayed against equality have no actual case to make.