Ward Room
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Opinion: How to Marry Your Gay Cousin

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    NEWSLETTERS

    After reading the entirety of Senate Bill 10, the Religious Freedom and Martial Fairness Act, I am beginning to think the Illinois Family Institute has a point: the General Assembly should have written a separate bill legalizing gay marriage, rather than inserting it into the existing marriage statute, as though it’s exactly the same as heterosexual marriage. It’s not, and here’s an example that proves it.

    Illinois law allows first cousins to marry, under the following circumstances:
    if  (i) both parties are 50 years of age or older; or  (ii) either party, at the time of application for a  marriage license, presents for filing with the county clerk of the county in which the marriage is to be  solemnized, a certificate signed by a licensed physician stating that the party to the proposed marriage is permanently and irreversibly sterile.
    So gay cousins can marry, as long as one is incapable of having children. Which is nonsensical, because same-sex couples are, by definition, incapable of having children. Gay couples are restricted by the same genetic safeguards imposed upon straight couples, even though there’s no biological logic behind that requirement. That’s why it doesn’t quite make sense to add same-sex marriage to a bill regulating a relationship which can result in the production of children.
    You could say, then why not allow gay marriage between parents and siblings? Because we all agree that such relationships are socially unacceptable, beyond the genetic deformations they are likely to cause to children. But the law says that cousin marriage is acceptable as a romantic relationship, as long as it doesn’t result in children.
    Proponents of same-sex marriage are so intent on making those marriage equal under law to straight marriages that they’re doing so even where such equality is unnecessary. A Central Illinois state’s attorney once told me, “You don’t treat people equally by treating them the same.” This is one of those cases.