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Telling the Supreme Court about 'unplanned and unintended offspring'

Paul Clement at the U.S. Supreme Court
Paul Clement at the U.S. Supreme CourtAssociated Press

When we last heard from Paul Clement, he was very nearly convincing the U.S. Supreme Court to destroy the entirety of the Affordable Care Act. What's he up to now? Clement has been hired by House Republicans to defend the Defense of Marriage Act.

And he's pursuing a creative approach (via Feministe).

Marriage should be limited to unions of a man and a woman because they alone can "produce unplanned and unintended offspring," opponents of gay marriage have told the Supreme Court.

By contrast, when same-sex couples decide to have children, "substantial advance planning is required," said Paul D. Clement, a lawyer for House Republicans.

This unusual defense of traditional marriage was set out last week in a pair of opening legal briefs in the two gay marriage cases to be decided by the Supreme Court this spring.

I admittedly have not yet read Clement's full brief, so there may be a more compelling aspect to this, but the argument seems to be a fairly desperate attempt to find a legitimate difference between straight couples and gay couples -- and this is the best they could come up with. Straight couples can suddenly find themselves parents-to-be, and as a result, the state has an interest in providing them with the ability to legally marry. Same-sex couples, meanwhile, need to "plan" to have kids, lessening the state's interest.

Or something.

This doesn't seem like an especially compelling argument, but that's not what bothers me. What's irritating, rather, is that you and I are paying for Clement to make this argument.