In a brief filed with the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday, Texas attorney general and GOP gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott argued that lifting the state's ban on same-sex marriage would not encourage opposite-sex couples to procreate within wedlock, and therefore the ban should stay in place. Abbott reiterated the "responsible procreation" argument he has already made in defense of a same-sex marriage ban, saying that the motivation for denying marriage rights is economic, according to the Houston Chronicle.
“The State is not required to show that recognizing same-sex marriage will undermine heterosexual marriage,” the brief reads. “It is enough if one could rationally speculate that opposite-sex marriages will advance some state interest to a greater extent than same-sex marriages will.”
Abbott went on to argue that the benefit of heterosexual marriage comes from its ability to encourage other couples to procreate within a legal union -- an end that the state contends cannot be achieved in same-sex unions, because they do not necessarily result in pregnancy:
First, Texas’s marriage laws are rationally related to the State’s interest in encouraging couples to produce new offspring, which are needed to ensure economic growth and the survival of the human race [...]
Second, Texas’s marriage laws are rationally related to the State’s interest in reducing unplanned out-of-wedlock births. By channeling procreative heterosexual intercourse into marriage, Texas’s marriage laws reduce unplanned out-of-wedlock births and the costs that those births impose on society. Recognizing same-sex marriage does not advance this interest because same-sex unions do not result in pregnancy.
Despite the fact that many opposite-sex marriages also do not result in pregnancy, the brief contends that because they are more likely to produce offspring than same-sex marriages, they are entitled to state subsidies. Abbott did, however, concede the same-sex marriage can have positive social benefits anyway. The brief notes that legalizing marriage equality could increase household wealth and provide a stable environment for the children of same-sex couples -- but "that does not establish that Texas’s marriage laws lack a rational relation to the State’s interests in reducing unplanned out-of-wedlock births and encouraging the creation of new offspring.”