Document Type


First Page



This article targets a flying buttress of normative heterosexuality: its physical reproduction via procreation and its symbolic propagation through parents’ pre-natal preferences for heterosexuality in future children. While the parental “taste for heterosexuality” is often asserted for the sake of future children themselves, this justification overlooks the role of parental self-interest, including anticipated social gains to parents from heterosexuality in children. Hence the taste sets the stage both for sexual orientation-based abuse of future children and the devaluation of sexual minority adults. Courts too have a taste for heterosexuality, shown here in two state court cases denying gays and lesbians the right to marry. These courts hold that homosexuals reproduce deliberately while heterosexuals may do so recklessly, leading the courts to conclude that only heterosexuals require marriage to ensure stable homes for children. These decisions “subsidize” normative heterosexuality and its reproduction by conferring symbolic capital on both. Apart from the burdens it places on sexual minorities, this symbolic privilege comes at a cost to heterosexuals and children alike. By privileging the reproduction of normative heterosexuality, this symbolic economy discourages heterosexuals from fully appreciating the long-term consequences of reproduction. This economy also gives them a pretext for avoiding lifestyle competition with homosexual parents, to the detriment of children who might benefit from the improved parenting technique that such competition would encourage.