A challenge goes out to those who think they’ve heard every argument against marriage equality: did you hear the one about equal-marriage rights causing 900,000 abortions?
The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments next week on same-sex marriage, and as is the case every time a major case reaches the high court, interested parties are busy sending in friends-of-the-court briefs intended to help persuade the justices.
In this case, a group of “scholars” are trying, presumably with a straight face, to connect marriages between same-sex couples to abortion. Here’s the pitch: if gay people are allowed to legally marry, straight people will decide marriage no longer has any meaning. This, in turn, will lead to fewer marriages overall, which will then lead to unmarried sex, which will lead to unmarried pregnancies, which will lead to unwanted pregnancies, which will lead to – you guessed it – 900,000 abortions.
Dana Milbank talked to Gene Schaerr, perhaps best known for losing the case in Utah over marriage equality, who believes abortion and marriage may “seem unrelated,” but they’re actually “closely linked in a short and simple causal chain.”
[Schaerr] freely acknowledged that he had no cause-and-effect proof when I asked him about it at Heritage on Monday.“It is still too new to do a rigorous causation analysis using statistical methods,” he admitted, saying that he had found only a decline in marriage rates in states that had legalized same-sex marriage (in fact, marriage rates have declined overall). “The brief doesn’t even attempt to say conclusively that this reduction in marriage rates has been the result of adopting same-sex marriage,” Schaerr said, though there are “theoretical reasons” such causation might occur.
Did I mention that Schaerr used to clerk for Justice Antonin Scalia? He did.
In the larger context, I suppose it’s worth noting that Supreme Court justices sometimes rely on bogus information – including, on occasion, straight-up nonsense – in order to justify preconceived ideas and ideologically satisfying results. It shouldn’t happen, and the institution itself is predicated on the assumption that it won’t happen, but it does.
And given the recklessness of some of the current justices, it’s probably best not to assume that all nine of the court’s members will dismiss Schaerr’s “argument” out of hand.
But here’s hoping that even this Supreme Court will have the wisdom to overlook the fanciful “causal chain” presented by the purported “scholars.”