By BRYAN GRAY
The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and not of The Davis Clipper.
A French writer once said, “There is no better way of exercising the imagination than the study of the law. No poet every interpreted nature as freely as a lawyer interprets the truth.”
I recalled this quotation after reading the State of Utah’s arguments in favor of a stay halting same-sex marriages. If these arguments are the best our state’s attorneys can conjure up, I believe Utah will lose – and for that reason, I find myself in an apparent majority of Utahns who oppose squandering an estimated $2 million in tax money to “fight the fight” in the federal courts.
In its losing appeal to a district court, the State of Utah argued that same-sex marriage was not a real marriage since the couple couldn’t conceive children. The state’s biology and anatomy knowledge was correct, but the stance has little merit since lack of procreation could also stop older male-female couples from marrying. Indeed, if procreation is vital to receive a marriage license, the State of Utah should ban birth control altogether and mandate a timetable for a young couple to produce an infant.
Now in its appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, the state is basing much of its focus on a scattering of sociological studies claiming that children are “best raised” by a man and a woman and that the state can ban same-sex marriage to ensure that children are raised in an “optimal” environment.
I don’t know if the studies are correct or not; lobbyists on the other side say they can show similar scientific studies that reflect a different conclusion. But let’s say the State of Utah is correct and that it is optimal to raise children in a male-female household. The court case is about a person’s rights, not what constitutes a best-case scenario.
It is also optimal that children eat a wholesome array of fruits and vegetables...It is optimal if adults don’t smoke cigarettes...It’s optimal that poor Utahns have access to Medicaid (hello Gov. Herbert)...It’s optimal if every child in Utah could be raised in a home in which both parents have a Ph.D...It’s optimal if parents don’t divorce.
Just become something is optimal and children “perform better” in a certain household doesn’t mean we should curtail any other lifestyle or housing environment. Even the State of Utah’s attorneys admitted their so-called evidence might be wrong. (“Even when contravened by other evidence, (lawmakers) should not be subjected to second-guessing by the judiciary” and the State of Utah had no burden to prove “its views on marriage are correct or sound.”)
Huh? The state had no burden to prove its arguments are factual or right? It appears the State of Utah is arguing that legislation is legal only because it is favored by a majority of voters or legislators. (Okay, so if a majority of Utahns voted for an amendment depriving water resources to anyone who is left-handed...)
If there are more valid legal arguments against same-sex marriage, I want to hear them. So far I think Utah is flapping in the wind in a feeble attempt to stop something simply because most Utahns over 50 are offended by it.
Fine! Be offended. But don’t waste my tax money just because your feathers are ruffled. I’m offended by a lot of things too, but I don’t ask for tax dollars to ease my pain.