ConCon report

The VoteOnMarriage folks seemed to outnumber the MassEquality side this time, and I handed out about a hundred more flyers to them, including one to Kris Mineau, who seemed interested to learn about same-sex conception (thanks to the people manning the phones at VOM, who seem to have kept their leader ignorant of the most important issue). I was also surprised that Mark Solomon of MassEquality had never heard of EggAndSperm, he took a few minutes to talk to me. He wondered why I thought gay people shouldn't be allowed to have children, and I explained that it wasn't about sperm donation but about actual conception, and he still wondered why that would be genetic engineering, so I explained about genetic imprinting and how genetic engineering is required to get a viable embryo from same-sex parents. He seemed skeptical of any ethical or scientific reasons to prevent same-sex conception. It is notable that he didn't bother to say "what does it have to do with marriage", he immediately moved on to the "why shouldn't it be allowed?" question. I think he might have really heard me when I said that same-sex couples would rather have federal equal protections than a right to be exploited by big biotech into attempting these experiments.


Judiciary Committee alerted

I just delivered hard copy letters to all 15 members of the Judiciary Committee regarding Senate 918, along with print outs of the Independent and GayCityNews articles on same-sex conception. I told the aides I was hoping to get a response, we'll see how that works out. Here's what the letters said:

Dear Representative Webster [no, they didn't all say that],

I have some questions regarding Senate 918, the bill that would amend the laws regarding marriage by adding "any person who otherwise meets the eligibility requirements of this chapter may marry any other eligible person regardless of gender."

Chapter 207 sections 1 and 2 contain very gender specific relations that a man and a woman may not marry. Is the intent of the law to prohibit the opposite gender equivalent, or to allow a man to marry his brother's son, for example? The two sections are not exactly parallel, for a man can marry his son's wife, but a woman may not marry her daughter's husband, so this may result in a conflict within the law.

And a much more important question: Does marriage convey an implied right to conceive children together, or can the state prohibit a marriage from conceiving offspring? In other words, would same-sex marriage allow same-sex couples to attempt to conceive children together, using new genetic engineering techniques that are being developed? Would it be possible to prohibit same-sex conception if there are same-sex marriages, according to the constitutional understanding of marriage rights? Could the SJC be queried if this effect of the law is unclear?

Because it requires unethical experiments with genetic engineering, same-sex conception should be not be allowed. Many ethicists agree that all attempts at conception that do not combine a man's sperm and a woman's egg should be banned, indeed an amendment was just passed in Missouri that prohibits implanting embryos created any other way.

I also think that all marriages should be allowed to conceive their own children; no marriage should be prohibited from combining their gametes. I therefore have been proposing that Civil Unions be created that would be exactly like marriage in every way, except they would not give the couple the right to conceive children together, using their own gametes. This would be consistent with a ban on implanting genetically engineered embryos, while preserving the "basic civil right of man to marry and procreate."

Please consider this issue carefully, as same-sex conception is possible today, and could be tried in humans in only one or two years, and our decisions now about legalizing same-sex marriage might tie our hands when it comes to deciding if same-sex conception should be allowed. Please visit www.eggandsperm.org for links to news reports on same-sex conception experiments.

Looking forward to hearing back from you regarding my questions.

Thank you
John Howard