On the surface it sounds ridiculous and, yes, The Washington Defense of Marriage Alliance recognizes the sheer preposterousness of their proposed ballot measure to force married couples to make themselves procreationally useful, but it’s also pretty fucking genius.
The non-profit’s Initiative 957 will force married couples to have children within three years or have their marriage annulled. It stems from Washington State Supreme Court’s 2006 barring gay marriage. In that case, Andersen v. King’s County, the majority ruled:
The plaintiffs have not established that they are members of suspect class or that they have a fundamental right to marriage that includes the rights to marry a person of the same sex. Therefore, we apply the highly deferential rational basis standard of review to the legislature’s decision that only opposite-sex couples are entitled to civil marriage in this state.
DOMA bears a reasonable relationship to legitimate state interests – procreation and child-rearing.
The state has a vested interest in maintaining the federal bloodline, if you will. The Defense Alliance, then, intends to make the court enforce that ruling.
Comprised of eleven legal vernacular filled sections, Initiative 957, according to the group’s website, has five distinct goals:
• add the phrase, â€œwho are capable of having children with one anotherâ€ 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 â€œunrecognized;â€
• establish a process for filing proof of procreation; and
• make it a criminal act for people in an unrecognized marriage to receive marriage benefits.
The Defenders understand their proposals fall in the realm of the absurd, but they write:
…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.
Question: what happens if a Supreme Court contradicts a previous ruling? Is it like when matter and anti-matter meet? Will it disappear in a puff of smoke, wiped off the planet in some legal meltdown?
Yes, a little game of judicial shenanigans certainly grabs one’s attention, but the activists are just as keen on serving up a healthy dose of conservative flavored humble pie:
…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.
Good fun, indeed.
Although it may sound far-fetched, it’s not out of the realm of possibility to think that the baby crazy crazies would hop on the propagation band wagon. Surely they won’t do so if they know the Defense Alliance just means to take the judicatory piss, but if the proposal were being put forth by, say, Focus on the Family – we can totally imagine the ultra-right signing up for the baby battle.
The Defenders only need 224,800 signatures to get the measure on the ballot. A July 2006, estimate put Washington’s population at 6,395,798. Thus, they only need 3.5% of the state’s residents to sign up in order to reach their goal. Okay, okay, they need adults to sign the measure. But you get the idea.
So, what will come of Initiative 957? Well, we’re not psychic, so we really can’t say. We can say, however, that it’s one of the most original, innovative and potentially effective forms of legal protest in history: gay or straight. If passed, it’s going to cause a legal stink smelled across the world. Or, at least, America. But what a sweet stink it would be…