Same-sex marriage advocates in the American state of Washington are proposing a state ballot measure that would limit marriage to couples who prove they can bear children within three years.

Proponents say the proposal was aimed at “social conservatives who have long screamed that marriage exists for the sole purpose of procreation.”

The Washington Defence of Marriage Alliance acknowledged on its website that the initiative was “absurd.”

The group hope the ballot proposal prompts “discussion about the many misguided assumptions” underlying a state Supreme Court ruling that upheld a ban on same-sex marriage.

The Defence of Marriage Act (DOMA) limits marriage to a union of one man and one woman.

The proposed ballot measure would require couples to prove they can have children to get a marriage licence and would dissolve the union of those who remain childless.

All other marriages would be defined as “unrecognised,” making those couples ineligible for marriage benefits.

The Defence of Marriage Alliance’s spokesman, Gregory Gadow, told the Seattle Times that the alliance – whose name itself is part of the parody, forming the acronym DOMA – is a loosely organised group of 15 or so friends.

While they will work to get Initiative 957 on the ballot and passed in November, Gadow said he doesn’t really want to see it enacted – and would expect the Supreme Court ultimately to strike it down as unconstitutional.

The paperwork for the measure was submitted last month. Supporters must gather at least 224,800 signatures by July 6 to put it on the November ballot.

Cheryl Haskins, executive director of Allies for Marriage and Children, told the AP that opponents of same-sex marriage want only to preserve marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

“Some of those unions produce children and some of them don’t,” she said.

© 2006 GayWired; All Rights Reserved.