NO MARRIAGE WITHOUT PROCREATION! A group of (pro-)gay-marriage activists are pushing a ballot measure in Washington that would only grant marriage licenses to hetero couples who say they are willing to have children. And if those married couples fail to pop a few out by the time three years have passed, the state would automatically dissolve their marriage.

Gregory Gadow, of the Washington Defense of Marriage Alliance, said the group hopes to make a point by parodying a state Supreme Court ruling last year that denied gays the right to marry because, among other reasons, such unions don't further the purpose of procreation.

The group even has a sweet anti-gay name! This is a great rhetorical argument against the point of view that the primary purpose of marriage is to create children, therefore gay couples shouldn't be granted the right. From the group's website:

Absurd? Very. But 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 unconstitutional and thus weaken Andersen itself. And at the very least, 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.

Most gay-rights supporters in the state say they're unlikely to support the parody measure, saying "I don't think anybody in the gay community wants to take someone else's rights away." They may be taking it a little seriously, but who can blame them? While I, as someone strongly pro-gay-rights, understand it's a PR move to expose the lunacy of the anti-gay crowd, the ballot measure also lends credence to the classic hetero-marriage-only argument that granting gay people the right somehow "reduces" the rights of straight people. (Hence all the conservative talk of "protecting marriage.") The antis don't really have a sense of humor, and I can see them trotting this out as proof that gay men and lesbians really do want to take away YOUR rights as a good, upstanding, heterosexual Christian citizen.

But the gay-marriage group shouldn't despair. If they're lacking signatures on this initiative, they can always hit up conservative Catholics. The ballot measure seems perfectly aligned with church doctrine.

--Ann Friedman

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