Architect of national anti-gay amendment says dissolve institution of marriage rather than let gays in

EAST LANSING – In a stunning change of tone in the debate on marriage equality, a leading far right opponent said that the institution of marriage should be dissolved rather than allow homosexuals in.
Professor Gerard Bradley, a University of Notre Dame law professor and architect of the federal anti-gay marriage amendment, said, "Here's a better way to go – rather than expand marriage, let's abolish it. It would be less controversial and would get marriage out the law altogether."
The statement was made during an East Lansing debate April 5. The debate was part of an ongoing series of dialogues on social and legal issues in American culture cosponsored by the James Madison School and The Department of Political Science at Michigan State University. The debate featured Bradley squaring off with Evan Wolfson, executive director of Freedom to Marry.
Bradley's statement was made after he carefully laid out an argument he claimed defined "traditional" marriage as reserved only for a man and a woman because of the procreative potential of such unions.
"Children express the two in one flesh of marriage. They are a reminder of the mantle from which they spring," Bradley told the packed audience of nearly 200 students and faculty. "This is what explains why marriage is a big deal in the law. It's not about friendship, shared finances or leases, it's because the state has decided it is the morally appropriate structure for sex and procreation."
When asked by a student to clarify his statement and expand on how he would provide benefits for same-sex and heterosexual couples, Bradley refused to answer, calling the question "condescending."
Wolfson said as the evening wrapped up Bradley had been quite honest during the debate. "He's been very honest here. What troubles me is that having gone where he has gone, he can't acknowledge that society has implemented a different model of marriage than his religion defines it to be."
Bradley shot back the debate was about incoherent laws, not his religion. "Choices about the definition of marriage are being made and will be done in a few years."
In this debate, Bradley took a different tact than used in previous high profile debates on the issue. He allowed that homosexuals do form long term relationships and that such relationships should not be penalized by the law. He even allowed that if marriage is not about procreation, that homosexual couples should be allowed to participate in the institution.
"Morality would not be pertinent to issuing a marriage license. Sexual activity would be irrelevant to the institution of marriage. The only thing that would matter is if you are in a committed relationship," Bradley said. "The government would have no business asking, just as I'm not asked if I'm a good father when I get my driver's license."
But he quickly did an about face and argued that the current "offering" of marriage by proponents, for example marriage for gays and lesbians, is a false definition. "It fails to capture what marriage is," he said.
Wolfson, on the other hand, argued that marriage has been in a state of flux throughout American history, and has undergone four major redefinitions in the past century. The first he argues is the allowance of divorce. The second was allowing married and unmarried couples the right to control contraception. The third was the end of racial restrictions on the institution of marriage. And finally, he argues, the fourth is an end to the legal subordination of women in marriage.
Wolfson said Bradley and his colleagues are fighting a battle to enforce their moral beliefs on generations to come, and he believes there is a secret weapon. "Death. More positively put, generational momentum. Young people understand it's a zero sum gain. They understand there is enough equality to share."
Sean Kosofsky, director of policy at Triangle Foundation, said Bradley's call to abolish marriage was wrong. "It's desperate, transparent and wrong. Who's this guy to determine for all of civilization to decide to throw away marriage?"
Jay Kaplan, staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of the Michigan's LGBT project, dismissed the claim. "It's just silly. Marriage never has been about procreation."


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