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Conversations from the Right and Left Sides of the Marriage Aisle

divorce statisticsAs the National Organization for Marriage (NOM)'s "Summer of Marriage" bus tour rolled through Iowa, the religious right — which wants the  legal right for same sex couples to marry revoked — had some interesting observations.

Church and State Issues.

NOM's president Brian Brown said that "The state doesn't create marriage  […] I don't accept the bifurcation between civil and religious marriage."

Scott:  Gays Are Like Defective Toyotas … and Same Sex Marriage Hurts the Economy.

Tamara Scott of Iowa's Concerned Women for America compared being gay with being a defective Toyota in need of recall. She went on to say that gay marriage is hurting the economy,

There are taxpayer costs associated with the breakdown of the family, so overturning legalized same-sex marriage would go a long way to improve the nation’s sagging economy […] part of the country’s current economic downturn was to blame on the social costs of the threatened traditional family unit through the legalization of gay marriage.

“It costs you, the taxpayer, as high as $280 billion a year for fragmented families, according to the Family Research Council,” Scott told the crowd, citing a study from the D.C.-based Christian political association from May 2009.

“If we would correct the breakdown of the family by 1 percent, we could save the taxpayer $3 billion a year,” she said. “An easy fix and a better fix long term for our children… When the family is healthy, the community benefits. When the family is hurting, society will pay the cost one way or another. We can fix this economic downturn very easily by fixing some hearts.”

It's unclear how marriage equality forces people within traditional marriages to destroy their own marriages, let alone destroy the economy. The Iowa Independent points out:

Scott’s statements are contradicted at least in part by a 2008 study by the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law, which estimated that same-sex weddings and related tourism would bring $160 million to the state of Iowa through 2011, and an extra $5.3 million per year in tax revenue.

The FRC’s studies have also been routinely criticized by media and academia for questionable methodology and politicized conclusions.

How Does Marriage Equality Hurt Traditional Marriage?  A Look at America's Divorce Rate.

The decision in the Prop 8 trial, Perry v. Schwarzenegger, may address the religious right's assertion that marriage equality destroys traditional marriage.  As the Courage Campaign recites:

Judge: “I’m asking you to tell me how [marriage equality] would harm opposite-sex marriages….”

Pro-Proposition 8 Attorney Cooper: “Your Honor, my answer is: I don’t know. I don’t know.”

October 14, 2009 pretrial hearing rejecting defendant-intervenors’ request for summary judgment (10/14 Transcript Page 23, Line 10)

When it comes to the marriage issue, Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks explained on MSNBC Live yesterday how opponents to marriage equality are attempting to divide people by selectively quoting the Bible. He notes that when it comes to preserving the traditional family structure, 52.1% of Americans got divorced in 2008.

The 2010 California Marriage Protection Act.

If family values groups such as Concerned Women for America truly support keeping marriages intact, they're certainly silent about the 2012 California Marriage Protection Act. Last week, the secretary of state's office gave the Act's author and proponent, John Marcotte, permission to start gathering signatures. To make the June 2012 ballot, he'll need nearly 700,000 approved signatures by the spring of 2012.  California residents can download the petition, sign it, and send it in from Marcotte's website, RescueMarriage.org.  The initiative would add Section 7.6 to Article I of the California Consitution:

No party to any marriage shall be restored to the state of an unmarried person during the lifetime of the other party unless the marriage is void or voidable.

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