Regular readers of this blog are likely to be familiar with the many insipid “arguments” used by opponents of marriage equality to deny LGB people the right to marry. These “arguments” all have one thing in common: they fail to present a compelling justification for the government to deny same-sex couples the right to marry. Take the can’t have children “argument”, for example (please, someone take it and burn it). Opponents of marriage equality claim that marriage is about children, and since gay people cannot have children, they shouldn’t be allowed to marry. The first problem with this is that marriage is not about children. Sure, some people believe that (and they’re entitled to), but not everyone does. Marriage means different things to different people, and no one should have the right to unilaterally decide what marriage means for every citizen of the country (strangely enough, conservatives often claim they want less government intrusion in their lives, yet in the same breath, they support the government dictating the conditions under which consenting adults may marry one another). Secondly, when bigots speak of same-sex marriage, they typically are referring to gay men, and in the process, ignore the existence of bisexual people and lesbians. Last time I checked, both groups can and do have biological children. Anti-equality opponents might try to refute this point by saying “sure they can have children, but those children are not the offspring of both individuals in the relationship”. By moving the goalposts in this manner (which is itself a problem), they open up their “argument” to further criticism. If they think marriage should be about children and that the institution of marriage should only be open to people who can have biological children together, where then does that leave infertile couples who wish to marry? Where does that leave couples who choose not to have biological children, opting instead to adopt or serve as foster parents? Where does that leave senior citizens who want to marry? By the reasoning of these social regressives, couples who choose to adopt or foster, seniors, and those who are infertile should be prevented from marrying. Curiously, anti-marriage equality activists aren’t lobbying to keep marriage out of the hands of members of those groups.
Another “argument” put forth by bigoted anti-equality activists is that every child needs (and has a right to) a mother and father. Aside from the question of whether or not that is truly the case (I think a loving home environment is faaaaaaaar more essential, no matter the makeup of that environment), this is an easy one to refute because it is irrelevant to the debate over marriage equality. That debate is about whether or not same-sex couples should enjoy the right to marry, not whether or not they should be allowed to have children. If marriage equality opponents want to argue against allowing LGB people to have children, they are free to do so, but that must be a separate argument, because again, marriage is not about children.
The argument from god is often deployed by theocratic anti-marriage equality activists seeking to warn people about the consequences of legalizing same-sex marriage. They claim that baby jesus doesn’t like same-sex couples getting married and will enact a terrible vengeance upon the U.S. if two men or two women are allowed to marry one another. This one is quite easy to refute as well-there is no evidence that any deity exists. There is no reason to fear retribution from an imaginary being.
Another “argument” popular with social regressives is the claim that marriage equality will lead to bestiality, pedophilia, and polygamy (bigoted blowhard Rush Limbaugh is the latest homophobe to play this card). This is fearmongering at its worst. Fearmongering that fails to address the fact that at its core, marriage equality is about the right of two consenting adults to get married. Bestiality and pedophilia do not involve two consenting adults, so neither is a valid comparison. Polygamy is a slightly different story, as it theoretically should be workable, so long as it involves consenting adults (in practice, however, polygamy has often played out as anything but consensual relations between adults; for example, the founder of the Mormon Church, Joseph Smith, had multiple wives, some of whom were minors).
Another absurd “argument” deployed by opponents of marriage equality is that banning same-sex marriage promotes procreation by heterosexual couples. This one is just flat-out asinine. Proponents of this really fucking dumb idea seem to think that if LGB people are prevented from marrying that they’re going to enter heterosexual relationships and have children. I think. Or maybe they think that heterosexual couples across the country will have more children if gay people can’t marry. Or maybe they’re just not doing the whole thinking thing correctly. Whatever the case may be, this nonsensical “argument” is a complete logic fail.
If you thought that the sheer inanity of the last example could not be surpassed, I present to you the words of Steve Beshear, Governor of Kentucky (D):
Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear (D) argued in a brief filed to the Supreme Court last week that his state’s ban on gay marriage is not discriminatory because it does not allow gay or straight people to marry people of the same sex.
“Kentucky’s marriage laws treat homosexuals and heterosexuals the same and are facially neutral. Men and women, whether heterosexual or homosexual, are free to marry persons of the opposite sex under Kentucky law, and men and women, whether heterosexual or homosexual, cannot marry persons of the same sex under Kentucky law,” Beshear’s lawyer, Leigh Gross Latherow, wrote in the brief.
Can Governor Beshear really be that dishonest? Does he really believe that same-sex couples and mixed-sex couples are treated equally before the law when the latter group is legally allowed to marry the person they love, while the former is not? Dude, just resign. You suck.
I do have to admit, I am accustomed to preposterous comments of this nature coming from the mouths of Republicans. Thank you, Governor Beshear, for reminding me that the GOP doesn’t have the market cornered on homophobia.