Steve King On Marriage Equality: ‘You Do Not Need A License To Begin A New Friendship’

Anti-gay Rep. Steve King (R-IA) published a new op-ed in the National Review thursday trying to explain that “marriage is illegal without a license” and that restrictions against same-sex couples simply reflect the “government’s interest in marriage.” Here is how King tried to make his case against marriage equality, even though same-sex couples are free to get marriage licenses in his home state of Iowa:

Marriage is the stable platform from which families are launched. Government surely has a compelling interest in ensuring the stability of that platform, and even subsidizing the practice with tax incentives. Moreover, society has an interest in promoting procreation amongst married adults. Same-sex marriage does not present the possibility of natural procreation nor has same-sex parenting endured and thrived for millennia of human experience.

In our legal system, qualifications for licenses have long-standing foundation, and those qualifications are not considered discriminatory. They are considered to be necessary to pursue the interest of the public. In the case of marriage, those interests are all about children.

You do not need a license to begin a new friendship, start shopping at a new grocery store or pharmacy, or even begin a new dating relationship. Likewise, one does not need a court order to terminate any of those relationships. This fact indicates that there is something unique about marriage that necessitates government involvement. Insisting upon heterosexual marriage is therefore not discriminatory, nor does it constitute the government telling anyone whom to love. The argument for upholding the Defense of Marriage Act is rooted in the way marriage is historically treated by state laws. To understand why government is involved in marriage in the first place is to understand why government cannot validate same-sex marriage.

King seems to have little understanding of what it means to be gay or why the LGBT community is fighting for equality under the law. Despite the fact there might not have been same-sex parenting for “millenia of human experience,” there most certainly is same-sex parenting now, including about 19 percent of same-sex couples in Iowa.

If anything, by spelling out the simple factors that explain why the government has an interest in recognizing marriage, King undercuts his own argument. If marriage is about children and same-sex couples are raising children, then it’s blatantly discriminatory to not allow them to receive marriage licenses. Perhaps if King is so interested in “the way marriage is historically treated by state laws,” he should pay attention to how his own state has treated marriage for the past four years.