The interesting question then is do same-sex couples have a right to have children together? The technology to create a child genetically related to two same-sex parents is currently being developed. In experiments in mice, it took 457 tries to get one mouse, named "Kaguya", to survive to adulthood, with the other 456 all dying at various stages along the way (10 were born alive but died shortly afterwards). I feel that the risks to the child are far too great, and will always be far too great, to allow this sort of experimentation in humans. Same-sex procreation must be prohibited, along with all other forms of procreation that do not combine a man's sperm and a woman's egg. Civil unions could be created to give committed same-sex couples, and perhaps even siblings, most of the rights of marriage, but they should not be given the right to attempt to procreate together that is the right of every marriage.
2. Every child has the right to a natural biological heritage, defined as the union of the father’s sperm and the mother’s egg. Society should typically refrain from actions that would efface or deny the child’s natural biological heritage, or what the French philosopher Sylvianne Agacinski calls the child’s double origin.
He bases much of his thinking on the the testimony of Narelle Grech, so I hope it's not too self-congratulatory to point out that she said back in February: "Johnny Moral, I think you are tops! All of your comments have made me smile, and say “yeah!” out loud." I am very proud of that, but of course, that was a while ago, I probably now have competition from David Blankenhorn and Margaret Somerville for who is "tops".
These rights should include: (1) The right to be conceived with a natural biological heritage -- that is, to have unmodified biological origins -- in particular, to be conceived from a natural sperm from one identified man and a natural ovum from one identified woman; and (2) the right to know the identity of one's biological parents.
This is better language than the PCBE's proposal (which this site is dedicated to enacting) because she adds the words "unmodified", "natural", "identifiable", and "man" and "woman". I agree that the law must add those important words, or else someone will try to call a sperm an egg or something (in spite of the proper defintion of sperm as being a "male gamete", ie, the gamete of a male).
And she is doing a great job of selling it by tying it in with donor conception, and referring to the growing chorus of donor conceived adults who want to save other people from being conceived the way they were. I wouldn't have thought to consider these issues together, but by putting them under the same heading of "children's rights", she comes up with a great new approach.
I disagree with her choice to imply that same-sex marriage can coexist with her first right, as it would create, for the first time in history, marriages that, by law, cannot procreate. Usually, we don't give marriage licenses to couples that are prohibited from procreating together, and I think it is a terrible mistake to start now. I assume she does that so that "children's rights" don't get caught up in the SSM debate, and it's true they are important on their own. But I think it works better to link them together.
Also, there are more than just safety issues involved. Even if it were someday safe for two women or two men to have a baby together, we should still prohibit it for cultural/societal/human reasons. People should be created equal, the same way, with a mother and a father. Since we are all just one sex, it is good that the two sexes need each other to cooperate to create a new life, which again is just one sex, again needing to come together with the other sex to reproduce. Sexual reproduction connects us to the rest of humanity not just vertically through our children, but horizontally, through our need for the other sex. Being impossibly created in a laborotory would connect us more to the products of technology and consumerism. We'd empathize with toasters.
But would this be a valid way to restore fertiity for people who did not have healthy gametes? I don't think so, though the goal is laudable (though embryo cloning not the way to go about it). It would not have the last two problems, of course, but certainly would still have the insurmounable safety issue. The only way to justify the inherent risk of childbirth is that it is natural and necessary after pregnancy, and marriage gives couples the right to sexual intercourse which often results in pregnancy. But conceiving a child using technology is not natural or necessary, so that risk can be avoided. There is no right to do whatever it takes to create offspring, for male-female couples or same-sex couples.
Meanwhile, the research goes on, and, more tragically, people are allowed to believe that they might be able to have a child someday with a person of their same sex. That is a very cruel and anti-social thing to allow anyone to believe, given the liklihood that it will never happen. People should know with absolute certainty that the only way they will ever reproduce is with the cooperation and equal participation of a person of the other sex, so they had better learn how to get along with people of that sex now, since they'll be their child's other parent.
The discussion of artificial eggs and sperm illustrates that the PCBE's proposed language needs to be changed to "a man's sperm and a woman's egg". A child created with an "egg" artificially created from a man's DNA might have the same imprinting problems that plagued Kaguya's siblings, and so that would have to be ruled out completely. Creating children needs to be limited to couples that could naturally do so. This is the Enough point, and we are there already.
I would say to your most recent question, "do you think that procreation should be a right of both-sex couples only, and same-sex couples should not be allowed to procreate together by any means?" the answer is no.
Though he claims to be against radical and unsafe technologies, he offers no explanation as to who would decide what is unsafe, or exactly how unsafe it would have to be to be banned. How many attempts would have to be aborted before he would agree it was unsafe and should be banned? Would he ever? How could someone who believes that two men or two women have the same equal right to have children ever be against developing this technology? This man will stand in the way of enacting much needed ethical laws against cloning and same-sex procreation just because they conflict with his mantra that same-sex couples must be considered equal. When I told him it was time to consider adjusting to reality because his single-minded defense of same-sex rights was turning him into a monster, forced to take ugly positions on SSP, on intrusive fertility tests and risk assessments for heterosexual couples, and on the distinctions between races, he banned me from posting on his blog. But not before I got him on the record supporting SSP rights.
"Thusfar, SSM advocates have claimed that their reform would just tinker with the edges, not the core of marriage. It seems to me that if the right to procreate with one's spouse would be denied as a result of state recognition of SSM, then, marriage will indeed be replaced by something else."
If marriage doesn't mean that the spouses have a right to procreate together, and if some couples are denied the right to procreate, then all of our procreation rights are in jeopardy. In this age of genetic screening and increased reliance on IVF, that's a very grave situation.
"Same-sex marriage also raises problems regarding reproductive technologies. Society must limit the use of these technologies to protect children. But such limitations could be prohibited if they contravened same-sex couples' rights to found family, rights that come with marriage as a matter of law. I believe a child has a right not to be created from the sperm of two men or the ova of two women, or by cloning. Including same-sex relationships in marriage would support such uses of reproductive technologies. "Read the whole thing.
Well, that's all well and good, but if a couple does not have a right to procreate, then that couple is also not allowed to marry, even in California:
285. Persons being within the degrees of consanguinity within which marriages are declared by law to be incestuous and void, who intermarry with each other, or who commit fornication or adultery with each other, are punishable by imprisonment in the state prison.Currently, same-sex couples have the right to attempt to procreate with SSP, but only because Congress hasn't got around to enacting the egg and sperm law yet. That law would mean that a same-sex couple, like siblings, would not have a right to procreate together, and therefore, like siblings, they would not have a right to marry each other. Because ALL MARRIAGES must have a right to procreate, regardless of the fact that it is possible and even legal to procreate without marriage.
It's also interesting that the Globe's story was so supportive and referred to her as "he", while the Herald's story referred to her as "the child".
It is foolish to think that sex can be kept private, sex always takes place in public because it always has the potential to become public nine months later. No one suggests that it isn't the government's business to hold fathers and mothers responsible to their children, or even to each other. Perhaps modern child support enforcement, abortion, and paternity testing has made it seem like we can worry about responsibility if and when children arrive, but what about couples who don't have children, even after years of trying? Do they not need some public support and protection? They have no way of knowing if a baby will arrive, and must live their lives with the same responsibility for each other and their future children.
The questions about the word "morality" seem to be afraid to mention the 'f' word - is it the governments business to say it is illegal to fornicate, to have children, unless you are married? Does the mere existence of a fornication law cause people be responsible? I think, in my experience, that it does. I knew, and my girlfriends knew, that it was officially, legally, authoritatively, wrong. Sex was something that people shouldn't have unless they are married. And that was a very good excuse for either one of us to say no. And if we enforced the fornication law a little better (either of us, as well as the government) we might even see a reason to get married.
And there is another legal ramification to gay marraige: people in a gay marriage are not allowed to have sexual intercourse at all: they physically can't have sex within it, and they are not allowed to marry someone with whom they can, at least as long as the marriage is "permanent." Gay marriage legally forbids the participants from ever participating in the "basic civil right" of Skinner and Loving, and, especially when combined with Massachusetts's efforts in public schools to steer children(!!!) directly into presumably "permanent and exclusive" gay marriages, is therefore as unconstitutional as sterilization ever was.
"1. It violates sex equality to tell a man he cannot marry another man when a woman could do so." Not when it is "completely unethical" for a man to attempt to proceate with a man but completely ethical for him to attempt to procreate with a woman.
"2. Sexual orientation discrimination." Eggs and sperm don't care what the orientation of their maker is, nor does the ban on non egg and sperm procreation.
"3. Irrational discrimination." No, it's completely rational, because the scientists themselves say it would be completely unethical to attempt this in humans. Just think of the other 9 mal-formed mice that couldn't make it to adulthood, not to mention the 371 that couldn't make it to birth. It's irrational to allow people to try it on people.
"4. animus at a specific social group" You can't claim animus if the ban is completely rational, to protect the people being created.
"5. violates a fundamental due process right to marry" That fundamental right is the right to attempt procreate found in Skinner, but naturally, not using a completely unethical technology (or else, the court could have said that Skinner could still conceive with technology someday). People have a fundamental right to be straight and marry someone of the other sex, and gay marriage actually encroaches on that right.
I think the issue of cloning has made people think that reproduction is something that individuals do on their own, as opposed to something marriages do, a man and woman together. Also, using the term "fully human" about individuals plays into this, as though people do not need a complimentary person of the other sex to fully represent the species, and fully flower their own body's potential. I know that in this narcissistic "me" society, the idea that we should have to cooperate with someone to reproduce and share our children must be frustrating, but to take it to Randolfe Wicker's conclusion is just misanthropic.