Everyone seems to be appealing to emotion at the Perry v. Schwarzenegger trial in San Francisco today, and that includes Charles Cooper, the attorney who is defending Prop. 8. (Read a profile of the little rascal here. And note: I’ve been following updates on the case from Dan Levine, a legal reporter, who is live-tweeting the action. The American Foundation for Equal Rights is also providing Twitter coverage.)
As Cooper began making his case to Judge Vaughn Walker, he said marriage between a man and a woman “is a pro-child societal institution,” the meaning of which is beyond me, other than that, yes, a man and a woman can produce offspring. (They can do this whether or not they’re married, incidentally, and sometimes they even do it on accident!) And after opposite-sex married folk have children, they can also occasionally be seen leaving them unsupervised in hot cars while shopping at Wal-Mart and pretending they floated away in a helium balloon.
This case isn’t even about children, but apparently Cooper needs to be reminded that if a gay couple did had kids, they would be subject to the same child-protection laws as their not-always pro-child straight counterparts. The institution of marriage itself does not look after children. The laws protecting children do, and Cooper looks ridiculous trying to make the case for marriage as some sort of self-regulating, pro-child wonderland. It all just smacks of hateful harpy Anita Bryant circa 1977, who famously screeched, “Please remember, homosexuals don’t reproduce! They recruit! And they are out after my children and your children.” (A gay rights activist later threw a banana cream pie in her face.)
Anyway, Cooper, back to you: For the children, you say? Give me a break! Leave the kids at home. This is a case about adults. But if you insist upon making it about children, what about all the kids of gays and lesbians out there who wish they could say their parents were married?