It’s Not Bigotry, It’s Biology! Just Ask Greg Abbott

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Last Friday, gubernatorial candidate and Attorney General Greg Abbott filed a brief with the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in defense of Texas’ ban on gay marriage, which was struck down in February. Significantly more surprising than this move to defend inequality and the status quo is Abbott’s most notable argument: that gay marriage would cause more out of wedlock births.

According to both The Houston Chronicle and The New Civil Rights Movement, Abbott’s brief in defense of traditional marriage maintains that the ban on same sex marriage is necessary to encourage heterosexual couples to procreate. From the brief:

Texas’s marriage laws are rationally related to the State’s interest in encouraging couples to produce new offspring, which are needed to ensure economic growth and the survival of the human race.

Per Abbott’s argument, the constitutional amendment that explicitly bars Texas from allowing same-sex marriage – or any other similar designation for LGBT Texans – has nothing to do with bigotry. And though, as the Chronicle reports, Abbott’s brief recognizes the potential economic and social benefits of same sex marriage, that is beside the point. The point, ladies and gentlemen, is procreation.

If your head is spinning trying to follow that logic, you aren’t the only one. According to the brief, Abbott seems to believe that the only thing encouraging Texans of opposite sexes to get hitched is a nine-year-old constitutional amendment that makes it an exclusive club. Abbott explains:

    By channeling procreative heterosexual intercourse into marriage. Texas’s marriage laws reduce unplanned out-of-wedlock births and the costs that those births impose on society. Recognizing same-sex marriage does not advance this interest because same-sex unions do not result in pregnancy.

That’s right – it isn’t comprehensive, mandatory sex education or an increase in funding for family planning services that will reduce the number of pregnancies that are unplanned and out of wedlock – it’s the Texas Constitution. If what Abbott claims is true, that is one mighty powerful document. If Republicans believe that laws can make things so, perhaps this finally explains their inability to acknowledge that abortion bans will not decrease the number of abortions – they clearly believe that laws are magic.

Abbott also, very clearly, does not have time for this equal rights nonsense. Plenty of people have things that don’t go their way. In his own words, from the brief:

The plaintiffs complain that Texas refuses to recognize same-sex marriage, but no constituency wins 100% of its political battles.

Too bad, Texas gays, not everybody gets what they want. So it’s time to suck it up and move on, and accept what the majority of Texans believe about your rights – except, this decision wasn’t made by a majority of Texans.

Let’s finally put to rest this idea that Texas’ ban on same-sex marriage represents the views of the majority of Texans. Though it is true that Proposition 2 passed with 75% of the vote, this number represents 75% of 17% of registered voters – ten years ago. What Abbott and Patrick, and their colleagues in the Texas Legislature, continue to hide behind as the will of the people in fact only represents the views of a bigoted minority.

It’s time for politicians like Greg Abbott and Dan Patrick to stop using these misleading arguments as a shield from the real impact of their words and actions. Protecting a constitutional amendment that bars LGBT Texans from the same rights afforded to their heterosexual counterparts who choose to marry has nothing to do with the rate of unplanned pregnancies in the state – and the idea that this ban represents the opinions of the majority of Texans is just as ridiculous.

So no, Greg Abbott, it isn’t biology. It’s bigotry. And you’re defending it.


About Author

Genevieve Cato

Genevieve Cato is a feminist activist and a native Texan. While not writing for the Burnt Orange Report, she can be found working for NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, serving as a community member of the Communications Committee for the Lilith Fund for Reproductive Equity, and drinking copious amounts of pretentious local craft beers.

1 Comment

  1. Using the logic in this language: “Recognizing same-sex marriage does not advance this (more in-wedlock births) interest because same-sex unions do not result in pregnancy,” it should be illegal for a woman to marry after menopause.

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