Drafts of the Federal Marriage Amendment to the U.S. Constitution start off: “Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman.” This is at once an effort to preserve a traditional use of language, and to confine the legal application of a term to heterosexual couples.
Many good people realize that the principal human relationships are those between man and wife, and parent and child. I would therefore like to propose, in the same spirit, an additional amendment to the Constitution.
“Parenting in the United States shall consist of the relationship of a biological father or mother to a child.”
The new law would not affect the right of people to “adopt” or even to will property to people who aren’t really their children and don’t really belong to them. It would however protect the sanctity of parenting as the union of real child and real parent. This bond is currently under attack as U.S. citizens for various reasons import young aliens (“children”) from abroad or acquire them locally and raise them in their homes.
I am open to amendments to the proposed amendment, such as: “Parenting in the United States shall consist of the relationship of a biological father and mother to a child born while the parents are married.” This would preserve the sanctity of both marriage and parenting, while subjecting illegitimate “children” and the people who produced them to appropriate public shame.
Anyone can understand how the Federal Marriage Amendment and the Federal Parenting Amendment are intimately linked and logically contiguous. Just as a man will not be able for legal purposes refer to a male partner as his “husband,” anyone raising a person not produced by a mix of (his or her) married ovum and sperm will be unable to claim legal parentage of the “child.” (For legal purposes the latter might be referred to as “domestic unrelated underage person” up to age 18).
In passing their state constitutional amendment, the good people of North Carolina have spoken clearly. The next time my wife and I visit that state, we will feel more comfortable, knowing our marriage is protected as we stroll the beaches on Pleasure Island secure from the homosexual threat.
Yes, there was a time when we might have come under threat, since she’s Japanese, and North Carolina banned interracial marriages from 1875. But they’ve been formally recognized for a long time—since 1977, in fact!—so we and our children will feel safe.
I urge North Carolinians to support my Parentage Amendment to build on the fine work they’ve already done, to produce a healthier, safer, more moral society focused on the (real) family.
GARY LEUPP is Professor of History at Tufts University, and holds a secondary appointment in the Department of Religion. He is the author of Servants, Shophands and Laborers in in the Cities of Tokugawa Japan; Male Colors: The Construction of Homosexuality in Tokugawa Japan; and Interracial Intimacy in Japan: Western Men and Japanese Women, 1543-1900. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, (AK Press). He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org