Huffpost Gay Voices
The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Justine Valinotti Headshot

The Diversity in Marriage Act

Posted: Updated:

The state of Utah has just ruled that I can marry a black man. Or an Hispanic or Asian male. Even a Native American is acceptable, under the state's ruling.

But I can't marry a white man, let alone a white woman. Oh, I can't marry an African-descended, Latina or Asian female, either.

Now, you might think I've gone over to neighboring Colorado and partaken of their newly-legalized recreational drug. Truth is, I'm nowhere near that Rocky Mountain mecca. I've been there only once, and that was to avail myself to the services of one Dr. Marci Bowers. And I've never set foot in the Beehive State. I'm safely ensconced in the very state that kicked out someone named Joseph Smith, who is largely responsible for the Utah we know and love today.

Time was, not so long ago, someone who used "Utah" and "same-sex marriage" in the same sentence would have been suspected of inhaling Boulder's Best -- and I'm not talking about the pure mountain air. Or he or she would have been directed to take his or her medication.

But what would have been seen as a hallucination or fantasy less than a year ago actually came to pass, however briefly, last month. Judge Robert Shelby -- a conservative Republican -- ruled Utah's same-sex marriage ban as unconstitutional. So, for a few heady days, Johns joined Jims and Willas wed Wendys in Salt Lake City and a few other locales in the state.

Of course, Utah being Utah, there were plenty of politicians and lay people who simply wouldn't let such a situation be. So they appealed Judge Shelby's decision to the Supreme Court. They made all of the predictable arguments citing long-discredited studies (or pure-and-simple folklore) about the "benefits" of being raised by one biological parent of each gender and the ways in which heterosexual marriage promotes "responsible" sexual behavior.

Now, such arguments couldn't sway someone like Judge Shelby. But, apparently, Utah's foes of same-sex marriage thought they might work in that liberal bastion known as the United States Supreme Court, where such left-wing stalwarts as Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia occupy the bench.

So what did those righteous folks who wanted to save us from the spectacle of Mr. and Mr. or Ms. and Ms. do? They did their homework and came up with a set of germane court rulings. And -- I must give them their due -- they used those rulings in a way that I never, in a million years, could have imagined.

Various courts have ruled that publicly-funded colleges and universities can use "diversity" as a criterion for admissions. Educators and related professionals have long argued that contact with people from nations, cultures and religions different from one's own enhances a student's educational experience. In other words, the prep school kid, the scholarship student from the slums and the young woman from Asia will all gain social and thinking skills they might not otherwise would have acquired in the classroom.

Ergo, a kid will learn more from two parents who are different sexes than from parents of the same sex -- or only one parent.

Now, I don't know whether Utah's same-sex marriage foes gained such reasoning skills (or, for that matter, learned the word "ergo") in the hallowed halls of their fair state's esteemed institutions of higher learning. Perhaps they're just naturally brilliant. I mean, how else could they have argued, in essence, that "diversity in marriage" is the ideal and will teach kids what they need to learn? At any rate, I never could have constructed such a logical tour de force.

What they said, in essence, is that the state should mandate diversity in marriage. Well, they want gender diversity -- or, more accurately, polarity. But imagine that the legislatures of Utah or other states -- or the federal government -- were to pass a comprehensive Diversity In Marriage Act.

Would DIMA simply mandate what DOMA proscribed? Or would it go beyond DOMA and specify other ways, besides gender, in which each spouse must differ? Must they be of different races and cultural backgrounds? Will they be expected to speak different languages and practice different religions? (Perhaps only one member of the couple could be a theist.) Would dreamers only be permitted to marry schemers? Omnivores to vegans? Would I have to marry a mathematician? (Not that I wouldn't.) Or someone with Type O blood?

If Utah were to pass DIMA, a lot of people might not marry at all: It's one of the whitest states in the union. It's also one of the least religiously diverse, and one of the most socially homogenous in all sorts of other ways.

If I were feeling lonely, I guess I could go to Colorado. Even if they were to pass DIMA, I could brighten up my days in other ways. And, if I were to marry someone of my own race, gender or cultural background, or with a skill-set like mine, I could plead ignorance: Everyone looks the same when you're on a Rocky Mountain High. Or is that when you're drunk?

If you are, you've got to marry someone in a 12-step program. Otherwise, you'll be in violation of the Diversity In Marriage Act. You don't want to get stung with the penalties for such an infraction, especially in the Beehive State. Do the birds marry the bees there?