A group called Washington Defense of Marriage Alliance, located in Washington State, is introducing a ballot measure that would require newly married straight people to have children within three years, or have their marriages annulled. Why? Because the Washington State Supreme Court, in not allowing gays and lesbians to marry, said that the purpose of a marriage was to produce children. So now it is time for the State Supreme Court to put up or shut up. The group that is putting it together isn’t taking it seriously, but doing it to show the ridiculousness of the State Supreme Court ruling. I say go for it. It is time for States who won’t allow gays and lesbians to marry to live up to the laws that the majority pass.
Their initiate states:
If passed by Washington voters, the Defense of Marriage Initiative would:
- add the phrase, “who are capable of having children with one another” to the legal definition of marriage;
- require that couples married in Washington file proof of procreation within three years of the date of marriage or have their marriage automatically annulled;
- require that couples married out of state file proof of procreation within three years of the date of marriage or have their marriage classed as “unrecognized;”
- establish a process for filing proof of procreation; and
- make it a criminal act for people in an unrecognized marriage to receive marriage benefits.
And their reasoning:
What we are about
The Washington Defense of Marriage Alliance seeks to defend equal marriage in this state by challenging the Washington Supreme Court’s ruling on Andersen v. King County. This decision, given in July 2006, declared that a “legitimate state interest” allows the Legislature to limit marriage to those couples able to have and raise children together. Because of this “legitimate state interest,” it is permissible to bar same-sex couples from legal marriage.
The way we are challenging Andersen is unusual: using the initiative, we are working to put the Court’s ruling into law. We will do this through three initiatives. 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.
Absurd? Very. But there is a rational basis for this absurdity. By floating the initiatives, we hope to prompt discussion about the many misguided assumptions which make up the Andersen ruling. By getting the initiatives passed, we hope the Supreme Court will strike them down as unconstitional and thus weaken Andersen itself. And at the very least, it should be good fun to see the social conservatives who have long screamed that marriage exists for the sole purpose of procreation be forced to choke on their own rhetoric.
It will be interesting to see how the fundamentalists deal with this one. After all, it is their language that marriage is for children. I also like the idea that it throws the ball back at them, with their relationships in the spotlight. Of course, I don’t agree with the ballot, but no one else will either. It will highlight the problems, however. And that is always good.
It won’t stop there. They have plans for two other ballot initiatives:
The second would prohibit divorce or separation when a married couple has children together. The third would make having a child together the equivalent of marriage.