On Thursday night’s “Stossel Show,” which airs on the Fox Business channel, National Organization for Marriage President Brian Brown was unable to convince host John Stossel or his libertarian guest (and nationally syndicated columnist) David Harsanyi that civil marriage for gays and lesbians harms, or even changes, marriage between heterosexual couples.
In fact, Harsanyi’s suggestion that the marriage debate could be solved if the U.S. decided either to privatize all schools or all marriage contracts was treated as a more legitimate idea by Stossel and Stossel’s audience.
“It is a mistake to allow government to define what marriage should be — gay or not,” Harsanyi said. “I believe marriage is important. That’s why I think that if people have a strong bond and want to be in a relationship and raise children and do all the things that a married couple does, I don’t see how that would undermine my marriage in any way. In fact, I don’t think that has anything to do with my marriage.”
Brown, who said he “definitely” had a problem with Harsanyi’s idea, countered: “Marriage is a public good. The state’s interest in marriage is that this is the institution by which we create stable families where … any kids that are born can be connected to both their mother and their father.”
When Stossel suggested that kids could be connected to their father and their father, Brown argued that there have been increasing attempts to make states honor three parents, the same-sex couple raising the child and the child’s other biological parent.
Stossel’s response: “So what?”
“Marriage is not a creation of the state,” Brown argued. “The state should support what is true and good and beautiful. And it’s true and good and beautiful that marriage is the union of a man and a woman, that men and women are unique and special, that husbands and wives are unique and special, and the state should support that.”
Stossel’s live studio audience erupted in laughter at this comment, and Stossel replied: “I don’t want the state deciding what’s good and beautiful.”
Stossel and Harsanyi dismissed Brown’s other argument, that legalizing marriage for gay and lesbian couples leads to increased rates of unwed mothers and incarceration. Additionally, Stossel and his guest preemptively dismissed the argument that legalizing same-sex marriage will lead to the legalization of incestuous marriages or marriages between humans and other mammals — an argument that, as the blog Good As You points out, is still pushed (PDF) by organizations such as the Family Research Council and its Iowa-affiliate, The Family Leader.
“It is irrelevant to the argument,” Harsanyi said.
Watch the clip: