In a heated confrontation on Sunday, lesbian Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen shot down Faith and Freedom Coalition Chairman Ralph Reed after he argued that the primary purpose of marriage was procreation.
During a NBC panel discussion about the Supreme Court's decision to consider the federal government's Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), Reed suggested that current polls in favor of same sex marriage did not matter because 31 state elections had backed "traditional marriage," while only three had affirmed marriage equality.
"The issue before the country is, do we have a compelling interest in strengthening and supporting the durable, enduring and uniquely complementary and procreative union of a man and a woman?" the conservative activist asked. "And by the way, the reason why is it's better for children, and all the social science shows that."
NBC host David Gregory pointed out that the American Academy of Pediatrics has said that marriage was in the best interest of children living with same sex parents.
"Ralph raises a point that we cannot ignore," Rosen observed. "Which is the rationale that the opposition is putting before the Supreme Court, the only difference between a gay couple and a married straight couple that gets benefits from the federal government is that one has accidental procreation. I think that would be a surprise to a lot of infertile heterosexual couples."
"Well, that's not really a fair characterization," Reed insisted.
"Of course it is," Rosen shot back. "That's the point you just made, which is the point of marriage is procreation. That's not the point of marriage. The point of marriage is love and commitment."
"What I said is the verdict of social science is overwhelming and irrefutable," Reed said, refusing to look at at Rosen, who is a same sex parent. "And that is without regard to straight or gay -- in other words, this applies to one-parent households, it applies to foster homes, it applies to the whole panoply. They have looked at them all, that the enduring, loving, intact biological mother and father is best for children and it's not even a close call. And the only issue before the court is there a social good to that and does the government have a legitimate issue in protecting and strengthening. That's the only issue."
"We're going to dispute on the science," Rosen replied.