Just a thought the California legislature might mull over as it considers a radical new proposal to give all the benefits of marriage to same-sex couples: Not only is the bill a gross rejection of voters (who just last year voted to make the legal requirement that marriage takes place between a man and a woman an explicit), it is the final rejection of the idea that marriage and its legal benefits are rooted in the natural family -- in the idea that the people who make the baby should love and care for it and each other.
Meanwhile, other state legislatures should reconsider the law governing sperm donations. If we would put the well-being of children at the heart of family law (rather than the sexual desires of adults), we would view sperm donation as a form of prenatal adoption for married couples. When a husband is willing to take responsibility to father this child, the law should accommodate this desire. But where the intention is to leave the child radically fatherless, state law should not strip a child of his or her natural father. Instead the basic rule, that the people who make the baby are legally responsible for it, should still apply.
Maggie Gallagher is a nationally syndicated columnist, a leading voice in the new marriage movement and co-author of The Case for Marriage: Why Married People Are Happier, Healthier, and Better Off Financially.