Breeding injustice

By MICHAEL J. AMICO  |  August 10, 2006

Amazingly, these connections — and glaring and illuminating similarities — between eugenics and same-sex-marriage prohibitions have not been explored. Yet there’s nothing complicated about them. As the Eugenics Health Foundation espoused, the eugenics movement aimed to “promote and encourage the marriage of normal young people” (614). Western culture has long respected marriage as an important contract, but the fear of its being ruined by the wrong people began with eugenics. The alleged threat that gay people pose to marriage today is nothing more than eugenics propaganda. If we let it fester, someone might one day measure your own family’s “fitness.”

On the Web
Beyond Same-Sex Marraige: http://www.beyondmarriage.org/
Image Archive on the American Eugenics Movement: http://www.eugenicsarchive.org/eugenics/
American Philosophical Society: http://www.amphilsoc.org/
Freedom to Marry: http://www.amphilsoc.org/
Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders: http://www.glad.org/
Disability Social History Project: http://www.disabilityhistory.org/
American Eugenics Society Records: http://www.amphilsoc.org/library/mole/a/aes.htm

Email the author
Michael J. Amico: michael.amico@dartmouth.edu

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Bloody July: In just one month, six different State Supreme Courts have ruled against gay marriage. By Michael Amico

What is eugenics?
According to the second edition of Webster’s International Dictionary, published in 1934, eugenics is “The science that deals with influences … that improve inborn or hereditary qualities in a series of generations of race or breed, esp. of the human race.” In practice, that meant, among other things, seeking legislation to prohibit the “unfit” from marrying. In 1921, for example, New York State considered “An act to amend the domestic relations law, in relation to the prevention of hereditary blindness” that proposed giving judges power not to certify marriage between the blind if “by reason and the nature of such visual defects the children of such marriage might become blind and thereby be a charge upon the public.”