John M. Becker

Check Out This Pro-Equality Blog Post From Judge Posner

Filed By John M. Becker | August 27, 2014 1:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, gay marriage, marriage equality, Richard Posner, same-sex marriage

Federal appeals judge Richard Posner stole the show in Chicago yesterday during arguments over the constitutionality of same-sex marriage bans in Wisconsin and Indiana.

The Reagan appointee was so biting and relentless in his criticism of our opponents' bankrupt and baseless claims that he quickly earned a place in the heart of many LGBT equality advocates, including mine. In fact, as soon as court adjourned yesterday (and I was able to get a signal), I tweeted out:

Well, as it turns out, Judge Posner has been ahead of his party on the issue of marriage equality (which he refers to by the severely antiquated term "homosexual marriage") for at least the past two years, as demonstrated by a blog post he wrote in May 2012, just four days after President Obama endorsed the freedom to marry. Check out an excerpt, after the jump.

Judge Posner:

Whatever the precise causality, there seems very little doubt that homosexuality is innate. It appears to be universal, despite public and private efforts (the latter by parents) to prevent it. Homosexuals invariably report having discovered their homosexual orientation at an early age. And psychologists' efforts to "cure" it have virtually never succeeded, despite the disadvantages even in a tolerant society of being homosexual.

If homosexuality is innate, it becomes difficult to see why it should be thought to require regulation. And for the additional reason that the homosexual population is very small. Kinsey's estimate that 10 percent of the population is homosexual has long been discredited; it appears that no more than 2 to 4 percent is. This small population is on the whole law-abiding and productively employed, and having a below-normal fertility rate does not impose the same costs on the education and welfare systems as the heterosexual population does. It is thus not surprising that in response to the President's announcement of his support for homosexual marriage, Republican leaders cautioned their followers not to be distracted by this issue from the problems of the U.S. economy. This was tacit acknowledgment that homosexual marriage, and homosexual rights in general, have no economic significance.

It seems that the only remaining basis for opposition to homosexual marriage, or to legal equality between homosexuals and heterosexuals in general, is religious. Many devout Christians, Jews, and Muslims are strongly opposed to homosexual marriage, and to homosexuality more generally. Why they are is unclear. If as appears homosexuality is innate, and therefore natural (and indeed there is homosexuality among animals), and if homosexuals are not an antisocial segment of the population, why should they be thought to be offending against God's will? Stated differently, why has sex come to play such a large role in the Abrahamic religions? I do not know the answer. But whatever the answer, the United States is not a theocracy and should hesitate to enact laws that serve religious rather than pragmatic secular aims, such as material welfare and national security.

Click here for the full post on Posner's blog -- it's worth reading.

This blog post only confirms my belief, in light of Posner's comments in court yesterday (including an explicit statement that he believes marriage equality is "good for the kids" of same-sex couples) that the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is likely to issue a ruling that's strongly in our favor. Fingers crossed!


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