If Gays Can Marry Can I Marry My Dog?

488358_10200727246840664_210913114_nNutty Supreme Court banterings on gay marriage rights:

Justice Samuel Alito:

Same-sex marriage is very new. It may turn out to be a good thing; it may turn out not to be a good thing.

NYTimes Columnist, Maureen Dowd, in response:

 If the standard is that marriage always has to be “a good thing,” would heterosexuals pass?

Charles Cooper, the lawyer arguing against marriage equality:

Marriage should be reserved for those who procreate.

Justice Elena Kagan in ironic response:

Should couples over the age of 55 be refused marriage licenses, then?

NYTimes Columnist, Maureen Dowd on the pro-creation status of Supreme Court Justices, et al:

  • Sonia Sotomayor was married and didn’t have kids.

  • Clarence and Ginny Thomas did not have kids.

  • Chief Justice Roberts’ two kids are adopted.

  • George and Martha Washington? They only procreated a country.

In light of this insanity one of my blog posts from a while back has suddenly resurged in popularity and so I am reposting it in homage to our unenlightened Supreme Court:

If Gays Can Marry Can I Marry My Dog?

When will people understand that tradition is just a stumbling block in the pursuit of progressive thinking? My dog and I are very much in love. She has been my friend, protector and lover for eight years. I firmly believe that we are both deserving of a legal domestic partnership, too. If the gay/lesbian community can be granted such a thing, then why can’t we? Heck, I’d be willing to bet that there would be less uproar over me kissing my dog on the front page.

This was an actual letter written by Joe Freeman and published in the San Jose Mercury News on May 21, 2008, on the cusp of gay marriage becoming legal in California, and amidst visions of husbands kissing husbands and wives kissing wives.

While some fear immanent bestiality, others worry that if gays can marry, next thing you know, adults will be marrying kids. It’s all the same, right?

At the very least, what about consent?

An adult man can give consent to marry another man. An adult woman can give consent to marry another woman. But children are too young to fully understand what they would be getting into by agreeing to marriage — if they were asked their opinion at all. Children cannot give consent. Neither can dogs or cats or birds or lizards or cows… Bestiality and child marriage are nothing like gay marriage. Funny that ol’ Joe couldn’t make the distinction.

Joe is also worried about going beyond tradition, or traditional morality that is based in religion. But after all the atrocities committed in the name of religion, whether the Crusades or 9/11 or cutting women’s genitals from their bodies (female genital mutilation), I don’t find religion to be the best guide to ethics.

So religious morality can seem hardly moral at all, and too often the opposite.

Better to base morality on whether someone is being harmed.

I can see how homophobia hurts people. Gay bashing harms victims. Homophobia inflicts emotional suffering, sometimes so severe that gays and lesbians take their lives. At the least self-worth can greatly suffer. But those who bash also lose their humanity.

When parents can’t marry, children may not be able to visit a sick parent in the hospital, they may lose out on social security or inheritance if a parent dies, they aren’t guaranteed child support if parents separate. These kids miss out on the support and stability that other kids take for granted.

On the other hand, I don’t see how gay marriage harms anyone. And no one seems to be able to figure that one out.

We would all be better off extending love instead of hate and contempt.

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About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.

Posted on March 29, 2013, in feminism, LGBT+ and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 17 Comments.

  1. It would “hurt” the economy we would have to extend social security benefits etc to the whatever percentage of guy domestic partners who like children and old folks are not protected, or extended the rights of other partnerships. You know visiting in the hospital, inheritance, rights. The thing hurts a system. A system that is supposed to support people…all it’s people…

    The Can I Marry My Dog is an evocative piece of satire.

  2. Rohan 7 Things

    Why do people find the concept of consent so difficult to understand? A dog can’t legally consent, a child can’t legally consent. It’s really pretty simple. And I love your point on morals, the abuser doesn’t get to say what is moral and what is not, only the victim has the right to say whether they are being harmed or not!

    Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Rohan.

  3. If marriage should be reserved for those who procreate, then shouldn’t procreation also be reserved for those who are married? Sounds like a fairly logical conclusion to me, given some of the leaps in logic other anti-gay marriage people have made. Nice piece.

  4. Ah–marriage. How did we end up tagging morality on a stone-age bartering contract anyway?

  5. The fact that certain people seem to have a great difficulty telling the difference between an entity that can consent to marry and an entity that cannot consent to marry, frankly, really really scares me.

  6. Thanks for the reminder that love and connections between people is the direction of good. More of that, more love, for us all.Alice

  7. I had never thought of the argument that ability to give consent is what differentiates child marriage and gay marriage. I agree that religion is very corrupt and that the bible is no basis for ethics, it does after all approve of slavery, says that women who have premarital sex should be stoned to death, and prohibits divorce. Why should we follow what it says on homosexuality if we don’t follow what we have deemed immoral as a country already? Thank you for pointing out how much homophobia can hurt people and how preventing homosexual marriage can effect the children of gay couples. I agree that gay marriage wouldn’t harm anyone, but I would like to understand the religious stand point. To some christians marriage is a huge matter (even though they cannot claim it because the ideas of marriage have been around longer than the ideas of christianity), but if they defend it so much to say that homosexuals cannot marry, then why do they not argue with divorce. If marriage is so sacred that homosexuals can’t marry, then why should straight couples get to violate it’s “holiness” by divorcing?

  8. Elizabeth McMurray

    I like this collection of quotes and responses. It shows how hard it is to make a rational legal argument against same-sex marriage. Another concept I found particularly unsettling came up in the Supreme Court arguments for the Defense of Marriage Act. In trying to defend DOMA, Paul Clement argued that defining marriage as between a man and a woman is necessary so that all gay couples are treated the same. He argued that “for purposes of Federal law it’s…certainly a rational available choice, for Congress to say, we want to treat the same-sex couple in New York the same way as the committed same-sex couple in Oklahoma…” Without DOMA, a gay married couple in a state that allows same-sex marriage would have rights denied to gay couples in a state that doesn’t allow same-sex marriage. So for equality’s sake, it’s best to deny ALL gay couples’ rights and leave the definition of marriage as between a man and a woman? Engraved on the Supreme Court building where these arguments are being made is the phrase: “Equal Justice Under Law.” Those in support of DOMA seem to think equal justice means gay couples should be equal to gay couples, and straight couples should be equal to straight couples. I don’t think that’s the spirit in which “Equal Justice Under Law” was written.

  9. Can’t agree more! Guy’s marriage do not equal to child’s or animal’s.

  10. As I read this article, I kept thinking of an episode of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart I had seen. It was after President Obama said during an interview with Robin Roberts that he supports gay marriage. Jon Stewart praised Obama and then made the people in North Carolina especially Vote for Marriage look like complete dumbasses. He also attacked Dr. Daniel Heimbach who suggested that if the state of North Carolina allowed gay marriage to happen then what would stop someone from marrying their dog or ice cream. I don’t think Dr. Daniel Heimbach will ever know how dumb and ignorant his comment was and that’s sad. I can’t believe that someone opposed to gay marriage would use this argument. Do they say this in the heat of the moment or did it take them a few days to think this up? As you stated a dog can’t give consent but ice cream melts so how would these marriages even work? Whereas if you had two consenting adults who really loved each other and really did want to get married then I think that this is a very beautiful thing and we shouldn’t prevent it from happening. Why are homophobes working so hard to make marriage not happen? Is this because all they can think about the ways the couple will have sex? In that case it says a lot more about homophobes then it does about gay couples.

  11. What I don’t understand is how people can argue against gay marriage with a straight face. It will ruin the ‘sanctity’ of marriage. Really? Shows like The Bachelor and A Shot at Love make a mockery of the ‘sanctity’ of marriage almost nightly. As stated in the post some people believe marriage should be reserved for people who can procreate. What about older people then? Or cancer survivors who are infertile from treatment? I don’t get how or why people fight so vehemently against something that has absolutely no bearing on their lives.

  12. Gay marriage is no where the same as marrying an animal. It is insane how people even think that way. I really don’t believe in homophobia. So these homophobic people are okay with you UNTIL they find out the person you love is the same sex as you?? That is just people judging you and don’t understand that gays are normal people. I also don’t think religion should be the thing hateful people hide behind because they don’t want to pass the same marriage law. If that is the case everyone should be celibate until marriage. It will take time, but I believe people will start to be okay and see gay marriage, as just marriage.

  13. after reading this article, all I want to say is why? why is it that when congress starts thinking about allowing gay marriage it gets compared to marrying your dog or children. Two women loving each other who want to get married is nothing like that. A dog is your loyal companion not your lover and I before reading this article I thought everyone knew that, except Joe I guess. I do not know how to comment on the marrying children. So as a gay person I do not understand how me loving someone with all my heart is hurting anyone else, and why can’t it be recognized. I also know there is the tradition factor but what about the love factor or the fact that we all deserve equal rights, that should be more important. At some point it was tradition to marry for stature, property, or wealth not love. At yet another point bi-racial people could not get married either. So I believe that we should not let tradition stop same sex couples from getting the rights they deserve.

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