I’d been meaning to read this NYT article about “young opponents of gay marriage” for a while now – it came out March 20 – but I just never got to it until today. Then I read it.
And I laughed.
The piece shows how clueless even young Republican leaders are to where America is trending, and where even the majority of young people in their own party are at. A number of the people in this story either work for the religious right, or work for the Heritage Foundation, “the” GOP think tank for coming up with future policy. Until the Republican party purges itself of the bigots that permeate its think tanks, its allies and its leadership, things are going to get any better for the GOP electorally.
Now for a few fun quotes from the story, which show not just how hateful anti-gay Republicans are, but why they’re losing the battle over gay civil rights:
“Even if we are doomed, and I’m totally naïve, I think it’s important that I do this work anyway.” Eric Teetsel, 29, the executive director of the Manhattan Declaration
In addition to being awfully LOL-worthy, the Times article is interesting in that it shows quite clearly at least one reason why the anti-gay-marriage folks are losing so badly. In addition to being on the wrong side of history, which is never helpful, their messaging is just lousy.
Check this out, from the Heritage Foundation’s anti-gay activist in resident, Ryan Anderson (I wrote about a recent gay-bashing piece Ryan Anderson wrote for CNN the other day). This is the succinct, clear, easy-to understand soundbite that Anderson uses to explain why he’s against marriage equality for gay couples:
“In redefining marriage to include same-sex couples, what you’re doing is you’re excluding the norm of sexual complementarity,” said Mr. Anderson, the Heritage Foundation fellow. “Once you exclude that norm, the three other norms — which are monogamy, sexual exclusivity and permanency — become optional as well.”
I speak English. Learned it from birth. And am told I’m pretty good at the language. And I have no idea what that paragraph means. Sexual complementarity? I can only guess that Anderson is using the old “the stick fits in the hole” argument that anti-gay Republicans like to think is “proof” that gay couples are unnatural.
But hey, you know what happens when you “ass-u-me,” so I did some googling on “sexual complementarity,” and what do you know, it IS a term of art among the haters. Let me share a little bit of their explanation of what the term means:
Man and woman together exemplify the actual embodiment of the universal principles of masculine and feminine. A single-sex relationship simply cannot have this embodiment. A man’s and a woman’s bodies—who they are as persons—come together each as male or female, and so by its very nature the union between a man and woman is unlike any other relationship.
I have no idea what he’s talking about. But search a little further, and you’ll find out that I was right – it’s about sticks fitting into holes. Here’s a lovely Catholic priest explaining how “pipe fittings” work:
One does not even have to believe in God to see that there is a natural design in the bodies of man and woman. The male and female reproductive systems are fully complementary. This is so recognized in our culture that even certain pipe fittings are called male and female, because of the way they are designed to fit together. Male and female body parts are naturally designed for the continuation of the human race. Without getting into all the gory details a man’s body is not designed by nature for the reception of another man. Certain body parts were designed not for sex, but for the elimination of waste. Unnatural acts result in trauma and a variety of sexually transmitted diseases.
Yup, its about holes.
I’ve always found it somewhat disgusting the way far-right Republican men view wives as nothing more than a birthing machine. It’s dehumanizing, it’s sexualizing, and its entire devoid of the notion of love.
And while loveless marriages were fine in the old country, where women were treated only a tad better than slaves, and you needed lots of male babies to keep the farm going, in the modern world, where we’re just shy of 7 billion people living on the earth, this whole procreation thing has become a bit less important (though, there’s an argument to be made that in some countries, especially in western Europe, the birth rates are failing to make up for the aging population).
In a different piece, Anderson further explains the importance of basing marriage on sexual complementarity:
Once one jettisons sexual complementarity—the bodies of men and women go together—what principle can one offer to limit civil marriage to monogamous couples? For that is the only way to answer the charge that withholding a “fundamental right” from even just one multiple-partner household isn’t a grave injustice.”
You can always identify a Republican bigot by their invocation of either polygamy, pedophilia or incest. The problem is that their little argument never really works. Let’s assume, arguendo, that Anderson is right – that the most important factor to consider in deciding who should be permitted to marry whom is sexual complementarity. Then what principle can Anderson offer to limit civil marriage to two people? Why not polygamy – so long as you have a deal where the guys do the girls, and the girls do the guys? Why not incest? And why not animal sex, so long as you keep it opposite-gender animal sex? So long as all the holes fit together, it’s okay according to these folks, right?
If haters like Anderson want to play the polygamy game, let’s play it. Because their ludicrous love-less arguments for marriage are just as much a defense of polygamy, incest, and pedophilia as any argument for marriage equality.
And then, of course, they come back to “the children.” More from the NYT:
The result, proponents of traditional marriage say, would be further rises in divorce rates and out-of-wedlock births.
“When you de-link marriage from childbearing, you then have to increase the complexity of that relationship,” said Caitlin Seery, 25, the director of programs for the Love and Fidelity Network, which works with college groups to advocate traditional marriage.
First off, how does letting gay people marry and form stable family relationships cause more divorce and more out of wedlock births? That doesn’t even make any sense? If we’re talking gay people, per se more of them are going to be married if we legalize marriage. And if she’s talking about straight people, then she’s suggesting that she plans on divorcing her husband and becoming a lesbian if gay marriage is legalized, and I suspect she wouldn’t dare admit that. So what’s her point? She doesn’t have one.
As I’ve wrote a few weeks ago, if it’s only about child-bearing, then the natural next step is legalizing polygamy.
Imagine a kid having 3 parents. That’s potentially three incomes to help that child thrive. Or even better, two incomes and one full-time parent – what kids gets that? Or even better, one really good income and two full-time parents – no kid gets that. And what if a parent gets sick and dies, you’ve still got two left! Or a parent goes to prison, same thing. Or one parent divorces and leaves, the kid still has two left. The list is endless of the benefits to the child, under George, Girgis and Anderson’s reasoning, of having the largest number of polyamorous parents as possible.
And if you have multiple husbands and wives in a heterosexual marriage, you up the chance for childbirth, since the potential for one spouse being infertile is vitiated by the additional spouses of the same gender all mating (and why not use the animal terminology since that is, after all, what George, Girgis and Anderson think of marriage, it’s only about sex).
And why not take their logic one step further. If we’re really concerned about mankind not disappearing from this earth, which a number of religious right gay haters have argued, because (they say) permitting gay marriage will somehow cause straight people to all become gay and stop procreating, then why not outlaw marriage all together and just encourage everyone to have sex with as many people as possible, so that the maximal numbers of babies are born, thus ensuring that mankind survives?
If anything, anti-gay bigots are actually presenting the ultimate argument for free love. If Republican gay-haters are going to make arguments about polygamy then they need to face the polygamist in their own harem.
And now a word about rusty screws. If marriage is all about procreation, then why aren’t we banning “gray marriage,” aka, old-people marriage? To quote the video below (you must watch it’s hysterical), “God made Adam and Even, not Adam and Edith.”
It’s a point that Supreme Court Justice Kagan raised last week during the Supreme Court arguments on Prop 8:
COOPER: The concern is that redefining marriage as a genderless institution will sever its abiding connection to its historic traditional procreative purposes, and it will refocus the purpose of marriage and the definition of marriage away from the raising of children and to the emotional needs and desires of adults, of adult couples.
JUSTICE KAGAN: Well, Mr. Cooper, suppose a state said that, “Because we think that the focus of marriage really should be on procreation, we are not going to give marriage licenses anymore to any couple where both people are over the age of 55.” Would that be constitutional?
COOPER: No, Your Honor, it would not be constitutional.
KAGAN: Because that’s the same state interest, I would think, you know: If you are over the age of 55, you don’t help us serve the government’s interest in regulating procreation through marriage. So why is that different?
COOPER: Your Honor, even with respect to couples over the age of 55, it is very rare that both parties to the couple are infertile, and —
KAGAN: No, really, because if the couple — I can just assure you, if both the woman and the man are over the age of 55, there are not a lot of children coming out of that marriage.
Even Bill O’Reilly and Megyn Kenny on Fox News admitted that the procreation argument is kind of bs. They also note that the religious right pretty much has no argument as to why gay marriage is “harmful”.
Another Heritage anti-gay weighs in:
“If you take the longer view of history — I’m not talking just 15 years, I’m talking 40 years or even 100 years — I can’t help but think that the uniqueness of man-woman marriage will be adjudicated over time,” said Andrew T. Walker, 27, a policy analyst at the Heritage Foundation.
From your mouth to the RNC’s ears.
f we can just keep people like Andrew Walker and Ryan Anderson working at the Heritage Foundation, and helping to craft GOP policy for the future, the Democrats should be able to become the permanent majority party in this country for the next – oh – 100 years.