My brother Tom recommended that I watch last night’s episode of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and he was right; it was definitely worth seeing. I can’t embed the whole episode here, but you can watch it on the Comedy Central site. Here’s the link.
Stewart devoted the first segment to Tuesday’s Supreme Court oral arguments on same-sex marriage, with hilarious commentary on the demonstrators outside, and the observation that the marriage equality opponents inside (including some members of the Court) basically had nothing.
In fact, the level of legal representation for the anti-marriage side was was downright embarrassing. Any halfway competent attorney (or member of a middle-school debate team for that matter) anticipates what the other side is likely to say and prepares an answer that gives at least a superficial impression of being reasonable. So if you’re going to argue, for example, that same-sex couples shouldn’t have the right to marry because they can’t procreate, you better have some plausible-sounding reason for applying this argument only to same-sex couples and not to other couples who are unable to have children.
But when Justice Ginsburg asked, “Suppose a couple, 70-year-old couple, comes in and they want to get married?” the attorney representing the forces of evil seemed taken by surprise and said something to the effect that well, a 70-year-old man could be fertile, and it would be preferable for him to be so in the bonds of marriage. Not only does that entirely miss the point, if anything it could be interpreted as a suggestion that 70-year-old heterosexual men should be allowed to get married, but only to much younger women.
(Justice Ginsburg single-handedly blasted pretty much all the opponents’ arguments to smithereens and Riverdanced on the rubble. For a brief summary see this link.)
Opponents are right in arguing that marriage helps provide a stable home environment for raising children, but since many same-sex couples are in fact raising children, this is another good reason to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples.
(For my own take, such as it is, on the day at the Supreme Court, see this previous post.)
The remainder of last night’s Daily Show was devoted to Stewart’s interview of Judith Miller, the New York Times reporter whose credulous parroting of the Bush administration’s claims about weapons of mass destruction helped promote the Iraq War. Stewart is critical but fair and respectful, something it would be nice to see on non-comedy news programs.