While listening to a popular Southern California radio personality recently I heard him make the following argument for same sex marriage: “Interracial marriage was once prohibited, and that was wrong. Therefore it’s wrong that men are prohibited from marrying another man and women can’t marry another woman.”
To follow that logic to its conclusion, all restrictions on marriage are wrong, simply because the restriction of marriage between members of different races was wrong. Because the false analogy of race and sex is now accepted, and poorly challenged by supporters of traditional marriage, groups supporting polygamy are now empowered to fight for their own “marriage equality”.
Anita Wagner Illig, head of the group Practical Polyamory, told U.S. News & World Report how grateful she was for the battle for same-sex marriage. “We polyamorists are grateful to our brothers and sisters for blazing the marriage equality trail,” she said.
Justice Sotomayer addressed this issue to Theodore Olson, who was arguing before the Supreme Court to overturn California’s Proposition 8, a law which reserves marriage as between one man and one woman:
“Mr. Olson, the bottom line that you’re being asked — and — and it is one that I’m interested in the answer: If you say that marriage is a fundamental right, what state restrictions could ever exist? Meaning, what state restrictions with respect to the number of people, with respect to – that could get married — the incest laws, the mother and child, assuming that they are the age — I can — I can accept that the state has probably an overbearing interest on — on protecting a child until they’re of age to marry, but what’s left?”
Olson replied, “Well, you’ve said — you’ve said in the cases decided by this court that the polygamy issue, multiple marriages raises questions about exploitation, abuse, patriarchy, issues with respect to taxes, inheritance, child custody, it is an entirely different thing.” He continued, “And if you — if a state prohibits polygamy, it’s prohibiting conduct. If it prohibits gay and lesbian citizens from getting married, it is prohibiting their exercise of a right based upon their status.”
In other words, Olson was arguing that homosexuals were being denied the right to marry simply because of their status as homosexuals–which is, of course, ridiculous. Homosexuals have the exact same marriage rights as everyone else, which is to be married to one person of the opposite sex. Whether they want to be married to someone of the opposite sex is irrelevant to the fact everyone shares the exact same right.
No one has the right to marry anyone they want. I can’t marry my brother; no one can marry my under-age nieces and nephews, and no one can be married to more than one person.
The fight for traditional marriage has been largely lost, and because of that we will soon be sliding down the slippery slope to polygamy, and pedophilia (sorry, “minor-attracted persons”) being legitimized. Pedophilia, much like homosexuality, is considered by some to be a sexual orientation as it seldom responds to therapy. It is therefore, like homosexuality, a “status”. And once something is considered a “status”, it’s only a matter of time before it becomes protected.
How was the fight for traditional marriage lost? I blame Conservatives and those on the religious Right for basing their argument against same-sex marriage upon religion, cherry-picked quotes from the Bible and the cost to society. Those arguments were (thankfully) losers when made against interracial marriage; logic dictates they would be losers when made against same-sex marriage.
The fight for traditional marriage was lost because the false analogy between race and sex was never challenged. It was lost because a large part of the population understands that just because some consider something sinful, it doesn’t always mean it should be illegal. It was lost because supporters of traditional marriage didn’t make it clear that same-sex marriage supporters were arguing to fundamentally change the definition of marriage – that rights have nothing to do with it.
Whenever someone makes the claim that homosexuals, or polygamists, are fighting for marriage equality, the counter argument should be made over and over: Everyone in society has the exact same marriage rights and therefore already has marriage equality: the right to be married to one person of the opposite sex.