Bench Memos

Obama’s Incoherent Case for Fatherhood

In this Public Discourse essay, law professor Adam MacLeod explores the “patricidal logic of same-sex ‘marriage.’” As he explains, it is difficult to reconcile President Obama’s emphasis on the importance of fatherhood with his Administration’s successful attack on the Defense of Marriage Act, which attack “eliminate[d] the legal office of fatherhood from federal law.” More broadly, “the plain logic of the new definition of marriage [is] that fathers and/or mothers are dispensable”:

In order for a government to call a same-sex couple’s relationship a “marriage,” that government must eliminate the offices of father and mother from law, because it must eradicate the requirement of sexual complementarity. To create same-sex “marriage” in law is to remove from law the requirement that one man and one woman are participating in every marriage.

MacLeod weaves in some important passages from Massachusetts justice Martha B. Sosman’s dissent in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health (the 2003 ruling that invented a right to same-sex “marriage” under the state constitution), including this one:

Aside from an act of heterosexual intercourse nine months prior to childbirth, there is no process for creating a relationship between a man and a woman as the parents of a particular child. The institution of marriage fills this void by formally binding the husband-father to his wife and child, and imposing on him the responsibilities of fatherhood. The alternative, a society without the institution of marriage, in which heterosexual intercourse, procreation, and child care are largely disconnected processes, would be chaotic.

Read the whole thing.

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