Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Ron Reagan Jr. was filling in for Chris Matthews last week on Hardball. In the “Let me finish” portion at the end of the show, Ron refutes (fmr. Sen. (R)) Rick Santorum’s (et al), claim that gay marriage will lead to polygamy — the “slippery slope” fallacy/argument.[youtube width=”290″ height=”175″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rliV6yx0Mfc[/youtube]
The pith of it is this:
Ron Reagan Jr.: “Santorum and many of his anti-gay colleagues can do a lot better than paper towels. They’re fond of claiming that if gay people would be allowed to wed, we’d also have to allow polygamy, incest and bestiality. This assertion is so absurd some people find it difficult to argue against.
If you find yourself similarly flummoxed, just point out this very simple distinction. Laws against polygamy are non-exclusionary. Whether you are gay or straight, black or white, Christian or Muslim, you can’t be married to more than one person at a time. Preventing gay people from exercising the same right as their fellow straight citizens creates a separate unequal class of people, it is exclusionary. That is the only meaningful distinction you need to keep in mind when arguing with people like Santorum.”
Not so slippery a slope after all.
Now let’s add some glue to that slope:
The social consequences of polygamy are bigger than you think
Jonathan Rauch | April 3, 2006
The social dynamics of zero-sum marriage are ugly. In a polygamous world, boys could no longer grow up taking marriage for granted. Many would instead see marriage as a trophy in a sometimes brutal competition for wives. Losers would understandably burn with resentment, and most young men, even those who eventually won, would fear losing. Although much has been said about polygamy’s inegalitarian implications for women who share a husband, the greater victims of inequality would be men who never become husbands.
By this point it should be obvious that polygamy is, structurally and socially, the opposite of same-sex marriage, not its equivalent. Same-sex marriage stabilizes individuals, couples, communities, and society by extending marriage to many who now lack it. Polygamy destabilizes individuals, couples, communities, and society by withdrawing marriage from many who now have it.
And last but not least, the Biblical angle, paraphrased:
2 Samuel 12:7-11: …This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: …I gave your master’s … wives into your arms … And if all this had been too little, I would have given you even more.
“This is what the LORD says: …I will take your wives and give them to one who is close to you, and he will sleep with your wives in broad daylight.
So, even though laws against polygamy are non-exclusionary and the consequences of it on society would be devastating, it is somehow right around the corner from gay marriage.
And even though God approves of polygamy, religious supremacists decry it as sinful in order to further their anti-gay agenda.
(Are we confused yet?)
Too bad they don’t have some sort of council thingie to research this stuff beforehand…