Tuesday, April 04, 2006

The "A" Game for Homophobes

If all the "gay marriage leads to polygamy" rhetoric continues, then let's just face it right here and now: the homophobes have won.

They have brought their "A" Game: the game they know they can win. If they can keep gays and lesbians on the defensive -- doing triple-backflips to "prove" same-sex marriage will never-never-ever-ever-EVER lead us down that supposedly slippery slope to legalized polygamy, then we will never achieve any sort of widespread recognition of our marriage rights. Why? Well, think about it...how in the world could we ever decisively prove that once same-sex marriage is legal, polygamy won't ever be legalized, too?

There simply is no way we could ever prove such a thing. Of course it is irrational to assume that if the rules regarding legal marriage were changed in one respect, they would automatically need to be changed in any other. The 'phobes argument here is so silly and childish that it has lulled us into refusing to take it seriously.

It doesn't matter how stupid an argument is, as long as large numbers of people can be made to believe it. This doesn't necessarily happen because everyone who buys into it is stupid, but merely because it's convenient for them to believe it.

Being expected to "prove" gay marriage will never lead to legalized polygamy is like being tried for wife-beating by a prosecutor who asks, "When was the last time you beat your wife?" You already look like a wife-beating brute, even if you've never laid so much as an angry finger on her. The bar has been set so high for us that we are bound to come crashing into it.

This is why we must NOT get suckered into trying to prove anything about polygamy. We simply don't know what will happen in the future. Though we can be pretty darned sure that, as long as women don't go back to being treated like chattel in this country, polygamous arrangements will never come back into popularity. There will simply never be enough of them, in the democratic West, for the legalization of polygamy even to rate serious consideration.

Slippery-slope arguments are nearly always absurd. They deliberately confuse changing the rules with having no rules at all. What those who advocate legal gay unions must do is TAKE THE OFFENSIVE instead of staying on defense.

The possibility that legalizing same-sex unions might lead to legalized polygamy is SO remote that nobody making a claim to that effect could possibly defend it. And if we began expecting those who bring that claim against us to try defending it, that would quickly and decisively become apparent. As it is right now, they are largely getting away with their crazy claim because because they brazenly keep making it -- while the defenders of same-sex marriage keep backing apologetically away.

The best way to show what fools the anti-gay-marriage crowd are making of themselves is just to wind 'em up and let 'em go. When they say (for the four hundred and fifty-thousandth time) that gay marriage will "inevitably" lead to polygamy, the most effective response is to say, "Oh, really? And HOW?" The more they try to explain themselves, the more utterly ridiculous they will sound.

If polygamy ever does become legal in America, it will be the very same crowd that persecutes gays who will have been responsible for it. They're not just trying to make life miserable for gays and lesbians. They are doing everything they can to bring about the sort of society in which polygamy might flourish. It is they -- NOT gays or lesbians -- who are trying to set the dial back to a time when women were economically dependent upon men, and therefore in a perpetual state of comparative vulnerability. If the Religious Right achieves all of its goals, it is then -- and ONLY then -- that legalized polygamy might become more than just a blip on the radar-screen.

They deserve to be on the defensive. And it's high time we put 'em there.


At 2:21 PM, Blogger ~Dawn said...

The interesting thing about fundies is they want to use old testiment scripture to crucify gays. In those same OT book, it was ok to have many wifes and concubines. So why not bring back OT law, they want it all they can have it all.
It's just not for me.


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