By Tom Quiner
Amanda and I stood before two doors, one marked “conservatives,” and the other marked “liberals.”
Yes, I had returned to the Politically-Correct Coffee Shop with another liberal friend to solve the problems of the world.
[For new readers to Quiner’s Diner, you can get up to speed on my past adventures in the Politically-Correct Coffee Shop here, here, and here.]
I walked through the conservative door where I was warmly greeted by a team of professional baristas who had a piping hot cup of dark roast in my hands in nothing flat. I gratefully paid my buck and a half for my coffee knowing I would have paid a couple dollars more had I gone through the door marked “liberals” (since I am a white male).
Amanda got her coffee for just fifty cents since her sister is a lesbian.
Amanda insisted I bring my cup over to her side of the building since she couldn’t bring her self to sit on my side, bedecked as it was with vestiges of American patriotism and a beautiful portrait of Ronald Reagan.
As I walked into the liberal side of the shop, Amanda was already seated, her eyes locked on to a new photo on the wall of two men kissing.
She was beaming.
“Isn’t it beautiful that marriage discrimination is at long last being overcome! I am so proud to be living through this new civil rights era!”
“Amanda,” I said, “that is so yesterday. I’m more concerned about other forms of discrimination, especially toward the handicapped.”
“You are?” she asked me suspiciously.
She knew my politics. Conservative.
I knew hers. Liberal.
“Yes I am. I think it’s time we do something about discrimination against blind people.”
She really perked up. “Yes … yes, no one should be discriminated against just because they are sight-impaired. After all, most blind people were ‘born that way.’ They can’t help being blind.”
I leaned forward and gazed directly into her liberal eyes: “I think it is terrible the way our state government discriminates against my blind brothers and sisters.”
She was aghast: “What are they doing to them?”
“They won’t issue them drivers licenses.”
She glared at me.
“They don’t need drivers licenses. They can’t see.”
“Amanda, Amanda, reactionaries once said that the blind couldn’t read. Then someone invented Braille. Other oppressors said the blind couldn’t compete in track and field events. And yet I just saw a video of a high school girl who competes in the high jump. The high jump! Who says someone can’t drive just because they can’t see the road! Frankly, I had hoped you would be a little more tolerant.”
Her glare intensified.
I was just getting warmed up. “I am sick and tired of seeing the blind treated as second class citizens. I am thinking of starting a driver’s license equality movement. If I get a bunch of blind people to protest out in front of the DOT’s driver’s license office, would you join me and carry one of our big protest signs, like you did for the gay marriage people?”
“No, I will not,” she said in no uncertain terms. “A blind person would kill someone if they got behind the wheel of a car. I know what you’re doing, Tom, you’re baiting me. Issuing drivers licenses to the blind is not the same thing as issuing marriage licenses to gays and lesbians.”
“It’s not?” I asked innocently. “Why?”
“The function of the drivers license is to keep the roads safe for everyone.”
“What do you base that on?” I asked.
“The DOT insists that people are mature enough to drive, so they have age restrictions. They make sure they can see well enough to drive safely by giving them sight tests. And they take their license away if they are convicted of driving while under the influence of alcohol. The function of drivers licenses is public safety. Issuing drivers licenses to the blind would subvert this proper function of state oversite.”
“Sounds just like the traditional function of the marriage license.”
Amanda was taken aback. She had no idea what I was talking about.
“Yes,” I continued, sounds just like the way marriage licenses used to be. The state has always restricted marriage to people of the age of consent for the safety of children. There are some folks out there who would like to marry a twelve year old. State regulation protected these kids from lechers.
The state restricted marriage to non-siblings, knowing that the children of unions between brothers and sisters have an increased risk for birth defects.
The state once required blood tests to ensure that people with serious STDs couldn’t marry and infect their spouse and future children with the disease.
So, Amanda, you are perfectly correct to talk in terms of ‘function’ when it comes to the role of the state in issuing licenses, whether it is drivers or marriage licenses.
Just as issuing drivers licenses to the blind subverts the function of the drivers license, so does issuing marriage licenses to people of the same gender.”
Amanda was mad. “There is nothing wrong about issuing marriage licenses to gay people in loving, committed relationships!” she shot back. “Even more, it is the right and just thing to do.”
“No, Amanda, it is an unjust, indulgent thing to do since it subverts the function of licensing, as you astutely pointed out a minute ago. So, what ultimately is the function of the marriage license down through history? It is all about the kids. Marriage attaches moms and dads to their kids. It binds the parents together for the sake of their offspring who depend on their mom and dad for their emotional and physical well-being.
Marriage equality has never existed, just as ‘driver’s’ equality has never existed. The state intervenes for the public good and restricts licenses to only those who can fulfill the function of the license. But the state doesn’t discriminate. People with same sex attractions have always been free to marry.”
“They have not!!” Amanda sputtered.
“Why, yes they have, as long as it was someone of the opposite gender. By the same token, heterosexuals have been historically restricted from marrying someone of the same gender, since the function of marriage was children, not feelings or sexuality. Children can only be created through the union of one man and one woman. So-called gay marriage subverts the function of marriage at the expense of children.”
“Well, how does gay marriage hurt children? I don’t see it.” Her arms were cocked, her gaze imperious.
“That’s not the question. How does it fulfill the historical function of the marriage license? It doesn’t. If marriage is based on feelings and passion, it is not illogical to see licensing morph into something unrecognizable, whether it be polygamy or marriage to one’s pet dog.
The California lesbian’s court case that went all the way to the Supreme Court was all about money. She was livid that she had to pay high estate taxes when her lover died. Had they been married, she could have avoided $800,000 in estate taxes.”
“Well, I don’t blame her,” said Amanda.
“Fine, but the problem can be fixed in other ways other than redefining marriage.”
“How?” Amanda challenged me.
“Simple. Let’s create a new business structure for gays. Let them create a corporation to shelter their estate taxes. Let’s call the entity a ‘Subchapter G.’ But I don’t know if your liberal friends will like it.”
“Why is that?”
“Because it reduces taxes for the rich, and gays are wealthier than the general population.”
“You are impossible,” she muttered.