Atty. Gen. Greg Abbott filed a new brief in the Texas marriage case that the Fifth Circuit decided to fast-track. His main argument is that the state doesn’t have to prove same-sex marriage will hurt opposite-sex marriage, just that opposite-sex marriage is better.
“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.”
So how’s that channeling going for you Greg?
Here are some stats from the Centers for Disease Control website for teen births, ages 15 to 19 in 2010, the latest year for which I found a state-by-state comparison.
The overall U.S. birth rate is 34.3 per 1,000 teens ages 15–19 in 2010, the latest year available on the Centers for Disease Control website.
But that number is not equally distributed across the country.
In Massachusetts, the rate is 17.1 per thousand and in Texas it’s 52.2 per thousand. That’s more than three times the teen pregnancy rate in traditional values Texas than in marriage-equality Massachusetts.
Massachusetts, the first marriage-equality state, legalized same-sex marriage in 2003.
In his fight against marriage equality, Abbott said the State is interested in “reducing unplanned out-of-wedlock births.” That hasn’t happened.
Let’s compare a few other states to Texas. In civil union state No. 1 that became marriage equality state No. 2, the Vermont teen birth rate is 17.9 per thousand.
Another early marriage equality adopter was Iowa. That’s state’s teen birth rate is 28.6 per thousand, still below the national average.
Comparing Texas to other large states, New York has a rate of 22.6 per thousand and California has a rate of 31.5 per thousand. Both now have marriage equality but didn’t in 2010, the year of these stats.
Texas isn’t in last place, however. Once again, Texans can proudly say “Thank God for Mississippi,” with its 55.0 rate. Arkansas and New Mexico teens are both breeding at faster rates than Texas teens as well.
These are just teen birth rates and marriage equality may have absolutely nothing to do with it. So either Abbott’s argument collapses because marriage equality is irrelevant to unwed teen birth rates or marriage equality actually encourages teens not to get pregnant.