Lets Give Paul Clement Another Raise

If Paul Clement is going to make arguments that are this idiotic in front of the Supreme Court as he defends DOMA on behalf of House Republicans, I believe he deserves a raise.

Oh wait, they already gave him a raise three times!

WASHINGTON — Marriage should be limited to unions of a man and a woman because they alone can “produce unplanned and unintended offspring,” opponents of gay marriage have told the Supreme Court.

By contrast, when same-sex couples decide to have children, “substantial advance planning is required,” said Paul D. Clement, a lawyer for House Republicans.

This unusual defense of traditional marriage was set out last week in a pair of opening legal briefs in the two gay marriage cases to be decided by the Supreme Court this spring. [...]

The traditional marriage laws “reflect a unique social difficulty with opposite-sex couples that is not present with same-sex couples — namely, the undeniable and distinct tendency of opposite-sex relationships to produce unplanned and unintended pregnancies,” wrote Clement, a solicitor general under President George W. Bush. “Unintended children produced by opposite-sex relationships and raised out-of-wedlock would pose a burden on society.”

This is such a poor argument it’s hard to believe this report is accurate.

If it’s accurate, it means Paul Clement is arguing, with all seriousness, that gay couples should not be legitimized because the laws that govern marriage should be reserved for those who can produce offspring on their own.

Why? Because according to him, current law is intended to manage the irresponsible procreation of men and women. Not the responsible procreation of same-sex couples.

(Charles Dharapak / AP Photo)

If you follow that line of logic far enough, it would mean we would have no need for marriage laws at all if all parent couples were responsible. After all, if marriage law was only established to manage those who are irresponsible, why would we need it?

I have serious doubts that average people, the nation’s religious institutions, or more importantly — the Supreme Court — will agree with that.

I’ve assumed for a long time now that the Supreme Court would strike down DOMA, but I also assumed the arguments being made in favor upholding it would be better than this. This is a joke.

Clement’s argument is more of a case for gay marriage.

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  • GrafZeppelin127

    Good lord; this is a stunningly stupid argument. I don’t know if it’s as bad as that sick, twisted argument I wrote about on Daily Kos last month (with follow-up).

    In short, the argument was (1) straight couples are “unique” and “special” because they can produce offspring; (2) having children is a service to the state and to society; therefore (3) straight couples are entitled to “special benefits” from government, in the form of exclusive access to marriage, which (4) also serves as compensation for “disproportionately” bearing the costs and burdens of childbirth and parenting.

    I won’t go into the severe problems with this concept; read the diaries if you’re interested. Clement’s argument is less cringe-worthy but may be a darned sight stupider. What Clement and that other person may have in common is that they’re arguing on behalf of the institution of marriage generally, but not on behalf of exclusivity (i.e., marriage being reserved exclusively for straight couples). No matter what you have to say about marriage, viz., the benefits it provides to people or to society, the purpose that it serves under law, &c., none of it translates into an argument for (or, really, against) exclusivity.

  • Username1016

    So, wait. The argument is that straight couples should be allowed to get married because their birth control might fail? So if their birth control fails, at least they’d be married and the kids would have two parents? But if a gay couple has kids on purpose, they shouldn’t be married because they don’t have to use birth control? What? I don’t even see how this is an “argument” — it’s complete gibberish.

  • Nefercat

    So… an infertile straight couple should be prevented from marrying because they would have to plan their children? Or wait, how would they know before marriage? So they should get divorced so as not to sully the good name of irresponsible couples? No wait… Nah, I got nuthin.’

    Just like Clement, come to think of it.

  • muselet

    Wikipedia:

    Paul Drew Clement (born June 24, 1966) is a former United States Solicitor General and current Georgetown University legal professor. He is also an adjunct professor at New York University School of Law. He was nominated by President George W. Bush on March 14, 2005 for the post of Solicitor-General, confirmed by the United States Senate on June 8, 2005, and took the oath of office on June 13. Clement replaced Theodore Olson.

    Someone who seriously makes an argument as vapid as this one was once Solicitor General.

    Snark fails me.

    –alopecia