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Bench Memos

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NYT’s “Breathtakingly Dangerous Foolishness”



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A reader calls to my attention this screeching New York Times house editorial from yesterday, which condemns an ongoing effort by New Hampshire legislators to restore the traditional definition of marriage.

As the reader points out, the editorial can’t even get the basic facts right: In the course of urging New Hampshire legislators to consider what it misdescribes as Judge Reinhardt’s supposedly “powerful ruling” against California’s Prop 8, the editorial wrongly asserts that the right to marry in California “had been granted to [same-sex couples] by the State Legislature.”

In fact, the temporary imposition of same-sex marriage on Californians was done by a 4-3 ruling of the state supreme court that implausibly invented a state constitutional right to same-sex marriage, as anyone who carefully read Reinhardt’s opinion (see pages 10-14), or has been paying any attention to the Prop 8 matter generally, would know.

Is anyone on the NYT editorial board awake and sentient?

Further evidence that the answer to that question is no is provided by this passage in the editorial:

Representative David Bates, the Republican who filed the repeal bill, argues that homosexuality is a lifestyle choice, and he even included a sentence that says: “Children can only be conceived naturally through copulation by heterosexual couples.” This is breathtakingly dangerous foolishness.

So the editorial board of the New York Times thinks it’s “breathtakingly dangerous foolishness” to recognize the basic biological reality that “Children can only be conceived naturally through copulation by heterosexual couples”?* How do the members of the board imagine natural conception to occur? (Or perhaps this is just sloppy draftsmanship, with the word “This” intended to refer back only to the first clause of the preceding sentence?)

* One could quibble with the statement on the ground that it might be better to state “opposite-sex couples” rather than “heterosexual couples” (if, that is, the adjective “heterosexual” is understood to refer to the sexual orientation/preference of each member of the couple rather than to denote that each couple consists of a male and a female), but I don’t understand NYT to be making that quibble.



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