Washington Gay Marriage Supporters Play ‘Procreation’ Card

The Washington Defense of Marriage Alliance has filed an initiative in an attempt to expose the misguided philosophy behind the July 2006 State Supreme Court ruling that claimed a “legitimate state interest” allowed the Court to limit marriage to couples able to have and raise children together.

Wasahington_stateThe group plans three initiatives to raise discussion about the ruling, according to their website: “The first would make procreation a requirement for legal marriage. The second would prohibit divorce or legal separation when there are children. The third would make the act of having a child together the legal equivalent of a marriage ceremony.”

The group has filed the first of the three, Initiative 957, and needs to gather 224,000 signatures by July 6 to get it on the ballot. Said WA-DOMA organizer Gregory Gadow: “For many years, social conservatives have claimed that marriage exists solely for the purpose of procreation … The time has come for these conservatives to be dosed with their own medicine. If same-sex couples should be barred from marriage because they can not have children together, it follows that all couples who cannot or will not have children together should equally be barred from marriage.”

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  1. adamblast says

    I just can’t get excited about these “publicity stunt”-type constitutional challenges. What are they supposed to accomplish? They’re certainly not going to change any hearts and minds. It’s not like the people eager to deny equality to gays are *unaware* that their rationales are hollow–they simply don’t *care* that their rationales are hollow.

    All these things do is make us look like naive pranksters, and trivialize the very difficult fights we still have ahead.

  2. Iko says

    Naive pranksters? When all the reasonable options are exhausted, you resort to whatever’s left. It’s a war of attrition. There really are no bad strategies. Just some that will bring about the changes we deserve before others. Pointing out their bigotry or the fact that they’re running roughshod over the rights of another human being doesn’t seem to be working.

  3. peterparker says

    Rather than being a mere publicity stunt, Adamblast, I think this might cause people to think about marriage from a different point of view. I think it might actually accomplish the task of changing hearts and minds. And I also think a bit of levity sometimes helps get the point across. Sure we need serious debate about the issue…but a little wit is also like the spoonful of sugar that helps the medicine go down. Oh, God. I just quoted Mary Poppins.

  4. Craig says

    I’ll repeat what I said about this on Daily Kos:

    I really hope this thing makes the ballot because either way its a winning situation.

    If it makes the ballot and fails to be ratified, it acts as a trojan horse to get the Wazoo Supreme Court to reconsider its ruling. The Sovereign Voters of the State of Washington, in rejecting the ballot measure, will have told the state supreme court “You’re full of shit. Now reconsider the case actually relying on, you know, REALITY.”

    If it makes the ballot and wins, well, all the moralizing POS homobigots get a taste of their own denial of marriage tactics. Once the three years rolls around, not only will the initiative be repealed, but it’d almost certainly lead a more informed populace to grant full marriage rights to all couples, opposite sex and same sex.

    I also say its about damn time gay rights activists start turning the tables on these homobigots that keep putting forth these amendments and initiatives. I think this thing even manages to one-up the attempts by Texas Democratic Senators to added a clause into the Texas Hate Amendment that actually required married couples to have sex.

  5. Mateo Feo says

    Fantastic! This is a tactic I’ve long been advocating as a dose of their own medicine. They should also seek to deny marriage rights to infertile couples and post-menopausal women.

  6. Rey says

    This is brilliant.

    I was talking to my dad a few months back and said that I thought this would be the perfect way to approach the law with respect to the WA ruling. His eyes got a little wider than usual and noted that if something like that were to pass in his state, his marriage (he married a 2nd time 2 years ago after being divorced from my mom for 15), his marriage would be invalid.

    He quickly understood, but if it makes more people actually think about the state of their own marriage and their own incentives for getting married, then I say it’s a WIN-WIN.

  7. LightningLad says

    >>Of course you’d say that, Lightninglad.

    Oh, I’m sorry, JE.

    I guess what I should have said was “I wholeheartedly applaud gay rights organizations using the money given to them by gay rights supporters for paying signature gatherers for a ballot initiative that stands little chance of passing rather than putting that money to use pursuing legislative goals that are more likely to succeed.”

    Now we’re in ideological lockstep, just the way you like it.

  8. gayjaybird says

    On the one hand, I hope something like this gets far enough to make people understand. However, if I’m not mistaken, I know of a few fundies that would have no problems with that law being enacted.

  9. Tom says


    Perhaps you’re concerns would be warranted if the passage of the initiative was the primary purpose of this campaign–but it’s clearly not WDMA’s overall goal here. And your idea that gay rights groups are always obliged to play it safe in order to provide some sort of quantifiable return to their “investors” is just silly. This is a battlefield, not a board room; and no war has ever been won by combatants pursuing only the sure-shot victories. Historically, almost every small army that has prevailed against a much larger force has done so because they employed clever tactics and took some risks. We’ve spent too much time trotting out Mr. and Mr. Preppy Gay Middle America and their adorable adopted/surrogated tots to prove to America that “we’re just like you!” America has weighed in on these obsequious displays—they don’t care. It’s time to change up our strategy, and this is a step in the right direction.

  10. Ernie says

    I see nothing juvenile in exposing the twisted logic of those who oppose gay marriage. Rational countries, like Canada, saw through the bogus procreation argument. This is one creative way to force people, especially apathetic heterosexuals, to think about what marriage is and isn’t in 2007.

  11. Robert In WeHo says

    This is a perfect tactic in the battle for recognition of our equal civil rights. Here’s a repeat of the challenge I made to all Christians on Topix last night:

    “Okay Christians, if marriage is (as you say) intended solely for the purpose of procreation, then it’s time for you to put up or shut up. You’d better be lining up in droves to back this ballot initiative because if you don’t, you’ll discredit everything you claim to be fighting for and prove to the entire world that you’re nothing but a bunch of hypocritical, bigoted thugs. My bet is that you won’t line up to support this and moreover, I bet you’ll make the argument that having your marriage rights put up for a public vote is an absurd idea and ridiculous. Well, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander, put up or shut up Christians, if it’s okay for people to vote on my marriage rights it’s just as equally valid for them to vote on yours. It’s now or never Christians, time to put up or shut up…”

    From this point forward, the argument that marriage is between a man and a woman and is for the purpose of procreating (which is the key excuse Christians use) will no longer work because when they were given the opportunity to codify their supposed deeply held beliefs into law, they shrunk into the shadows proving their nothing but demagogs and hypocrites…

  12. LightningLad says

    Well, this is why I rarely give to gay rights organizations anymore. Personally, I think we could be doing something more productive with our time and money than spitefully sinking to the tactics of our enemies.

    But you feel free to throw your money away…

  13. seattle says

    LL, I haven’t read anything that says that they will be paying signature gatherers for this initiative. The cost to file an initiative to start gathering signatures is minimal, maybe a couple hundred bucks. They’re doing this to draw attention to the hypocrisy of the right wing’s arguments. (And BTW I love how you smear all gay rights groups together to justify your stinginess. Looks like you’ll grab any reason you can find to explain why you aren’t generous financially.)

  14. Mikey says

    I think there is a distinction to the fundamentalist ideology that is being overlooked here. While some fundies argue that marriage exists solely for the purpose of procreation, most of them would argue that this is slightly over-restrictive. Many simply argue that a heterosexual couple is the ideal for raising children, that a child needs a mother and a father. Technically, any heterosexual couple has this potential, regardless of whether they currently have children or are capable of producing children on their own naturally.

    While this campaign may cause the apathetic heterosexuals to actually critically examine the motives of the Christian fundamentalists for once, it will do little to force the actual fundies to re-evaluate their beliefs. There’s simply too many holes in the theory. But I do enjoy the irony of the concept, regardless of its futile nature.

    Also the person who wrote that the petition’s failure would force the Supreme Court to re-examine their position isn’t accurate. The level of scrutiny applied in the opinion was formed under “rational basis” and it’s not really the validity of the reason that matters, it’s that they can list any reason at all ~ it doesn’t have to be a good one. The only way to over-turn these types of decisions is to convince the courts that sexual orientation is a “suspect class.” Until then, these decisions will keep coming…

  15. Tom says

    “Sinking to the tactics of our enemies”? It’s stunning how you can only conceive of one interpretation of this tactic–and the most intellectually stingy and uncreative interpretation to boot. I’ve heard that some people are born with no ability to perceive irony. You must be one of them. Well, trust those of us who aren’t: this is a smart parry in the war for gay rights. It’s one more little step toward changing public perceptions around the marriage issue.

  16. Robert In WeHo says

    This initiative is all over the news today and so far the only response from the anti-gay crusaders has been their same old feckless saw “this is just another attack on traditional marriage.” I think that the Christian fundamentalists have been caught off guard by this. We’ve called their bluff and they’ve got nothing.

  17. LightningLad says

    >>I’ve heard that some people are born with no ability to perceive irony. You must be one of them.

    But I was born with the ability to perceive idiocy. You’re a prime example.

  18. Da says

    Brilliant. Just brilliant.

    I’d add another initiative though:

    “The 4th would make proven virginity a prerequisite of marriage in the eyes of the law and under god”.

    That’s how they’ll successfully disqualify most heteros from marriage and get them to react.

  19. Mark M says

    “This is a battlefield, not a board room;”

    Good point, Tom. But you’re battling a corporate mentality with a gay conservative. They’re only interested in the bottom line and they scoff at any social statement as childish or pointless.

    Don’t touch their tax money, keep them away from liberals and blacks and Mexicans and they’re happy.

    I’ve also found that most of them against gay rights groups and gay marriage have never been in a long term relationship, so benefits mean little to them either.

  20. says

    Is marriage a religious institution?

    Maybe I’m just a whiner or overly sensitive, but I feel at times I am the only gay person that is not comfortable or satisfied by the term “civil union”. To me it feels like a consolation prize given as a means of pacifying gays. Truthfully, I hope that we gay men and woman will not stop our belly aching about the issue of “gay marriage” until our work is done, and we have all the same rights that we deserve. Whiney or not, I am saddened to see that even many gays are willing to accept second class citizenship. Our entire gay civil rights movement that is being courageously fought by a very few, has been about equal rights, not just some equal rights. This of course means marriage as well.
    We should not be satisfied by civil unions. Unions to me are not equal. It is a concilation prize. It’s not about doing the right thing, it’s about politics. Even the politicians that are in favor of calling our civil unions marriage are afraid to speak openly about it, with the exception of a few impassioned politicians that have a strong sense of integrity and also what is right and what is wrong.

    We cannot look to the bible for any answers regarding equal rights. Those laws were written at a different time and for uneducated illiterate people. They were also a very superstitious people that made many of their laws in regards to those superstitions. We therefore cannot be influenced by scripture. Beside we live in a country that has a law about separation between church and state. That’s the wonderful thing about our country.

    Somebody please help me understand why marriage by many is considered a religious institution. For the sake of discussion I would like someone to tell me why atheists are then eligible for marriage? It seems to me that heterosexual marriages are afforded just about any opportunity and environment they choose to take their vows. Even those damned heathens.

    Straight men and woman can choose a church marriage; they can get married underwater, on a mountaintop, by a justice of the peace or even by a ship captain. However, the most romantic and holy place I can imagine to pledge ones vows of love and fidelity, is driving through a drive-in chapel in Las Vegas, as one would order a family meal. I’m sorry, I’m only human and I got a bit choked up when mentioning that. I love happy meals. The best part is, no one even has to get out of the car, and the best man and woman are provided for one of the most important events in ones life; holy matrimony. How can one compete with that kind of service? I’ve heard that they even change your oil, but that may be just hearsay.

    Has it dawned on anyone that the constitution of the United States says very clearly that all people shall be treated as equal? There are no clauses added to that, such as, except gays and African Americans. What was stated in that document then still rings very clear yet today and likely for many years to come. We don’t have to look too awfully far back into our history to find examples of how we ignored the constitution for selfish heterosexual Anglo-Saxon citizens so we could still own people. It wasn’t until the early part of the nineteenth century before woman were allowed to vote. Not so long before that, slavery was legal. It wasn’t until nearly fifty years ago that African Americans weren’t allowed to marry whites. If we are to learn anything from our nations history, we should then know that whenever we veer off from what that beautifully crafted document we call our nations Constitution for whatever convenient reason, it is eventually overturned and changed for reasons of being unfair and not following the principals set forth in that document Back to my original question, I am hoping someone can give me a valid reason to prevent any two people that love each other from having the right to marry. I have heard some reasons that make no sense to me. One being that if gays were allowed to marry it would have the impact of destroying traditional marriage. We only have to look at the statistics of the success of heterosexual marriages to discover that more than half end up in divorce. Gays did not cause that. Fidelity within marriage has a terrible track record as well. Therefore I would truly like to hear some reasonable argument posed that would make sense why gay marriage ought not be allowed. Thank you, Aaron Jason Silver http://www.aaronjasonsilver.com; Fennville, Mi 49408

  21. JT says


    Just curious: What would you consider to be worthwhile? Personally, I see this as spot-on, as it addresses the argument against gay marriage at its core. To use a tired saying, it fights fire with fire. How do you see this better addressed?

  22. Strepsi says

    I agree, it is neither juvenile nor pointless. It is the ONLY logical extension of the main anti-gay-marriage argument. In Canada, renowned “ethicist” and Order-of-Canada holder Margaret Somerville argued against Gay marriage on those grounds, that a child has a “right” to a mother and father, and procreation is the foundation of marriage. When asked how come straight, STERILE people can marry, she waffled.

    Sterile straights and straights who adopt, as well as any post-menopausal women who are marrying, should be FORBIDDEN to marry until gays can. And I mean marriage, not the separate-but-equal “water fountain for Colored people” called Civil Unions.

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