Like many same-sex marriage adovcates, Pollitt argues that we don’t require straights to be able to reproduce in order to have legal marriage, so we shouldn’t require it for gays either.
But David’s analogy misses Pollitt’s point, because Pollitt was making an argument about how we decide marriages are legal or not. Even if we grant David’s point – marriage is, in some fundamental sense, for procreation – it remains true that we don’t legally forbid infertile straights from marriage.
To extend David’s analogy, it’s certainly not the case that Buddhist Temples make it “a central goal… to help people know and love God.” Nor could Humanistic Jewish congregations like Kahal B’raira be described that way. But no one claims that the law should therefore legally discriminate against Buddhists and Humanistic Jews by refusing to grant their temples the same legal status given other, more traditional churches. “To help people know and love god” may be a central purpose of most churches, but it’s not a means for determining their access to equal legal rights as a church.
The anti-same-sex-marriage argument doesn’t merely state that marriage is “centrally about bearing and raising children.” It states that marriage is “centrally about bearing and raising children,” and therefore lesbians and gay men should be denied equality. It is that latter proposition that Pollitt was attacking; and that latter proposition is as indefensible as denying Buddhists equal rights because they don’t believe in god.
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