The Texas Republican party once again proved that it is living in a previous century, when over 60 of its members got together to sign a legal brief which states that same-sex marriage opens the door to things like pedophilia and incest being legalized.
Following a court decision to strike down Texas’ unconstitutional ban on same-sex marriage earlier this year, members of the conservative coalition of Texas Republicans have worked themselves into a hysteria over the idea that someday soon gay Texans may be allowed to get married. Since then, they’ve spent almost all of their time and energy finding new scare-tactics to use in their quest to keep the state’s same-sex marriage ban.
The latest attempt includes filing a legal brief with the state’s court which argues that if gay marriage is legally recognized then what is to stop people from marrying children or their siblings?
“The district court broadened the definition of the ‘existing right to marry’ as one that includes the right of people to ‘select the partners of their choosing’ for marriage, without regard to sex,” they write. “If the right to select ‘partners of their choosing’ is the criterion used to invoke marriage as a fundamental right, then marriage restrictions on age, polygamy, and consanguinity are also ripe for challenge.”
Their argument hangs on the phrase “partners of their choosing,” which Texas Republicans decided means “anyone,” but rational, level-headed thinkers might define as “another consenting adult.” Nowhere in the fight to legalize same-sex marriage do supporters argue that the right to marry should be a free-for-all where anything goes. Modifying the existing interpretation of lawful marriage needn’t go very far – all that needs to be done is change “between one man and one woman” to “between one adult and another adult.” Gender, unlike age, makes very little difference in terms of the happiness or success of a union.
And as for polygamy? It won’t lead to that either. As Shanzeh Kurram writes over at Policy Mic:
Gay marriage doesn’t lead to polygamy, either. Countries that have legalized gay marriage haven’t seen any rising demands of polygamous marriages. However, there are a lot of countries where polygamy is seen as completely normal, while gay marriage is forbidden. The marriage of three or more people is fundamentally different than the marriage of two people. Same-sex marriages have the same dyadic structure as heterosexual marriages. Therefore, legalizing polygamy is quite different than legalizing gay-marriage. If polygamy were legalized, a small number of high-status, wealthy men would end up with a disproportionate number of women (think of Mughal rulers and their harems). Now this might destabilize the structure of society.
In states that have already legalized same-sex marriage, we haven’t seen the crumbling of social order that conservatives insists will happen. Far from destroying the family unit and ruining the country, same-sex couples behave a lot like every other couple: They marry, they have families, some they get divorced, others spend their lives together. In fact, there is even some cutting-edge research which suggests that gay couples raise healthier kids than straight couples on average. Whether you subscribe to that theory or not is beside the point, in every example we have (in the United States and abroad), gay marriage has been fine. Conservatives in same-sex legal states may not like it on an ideological level, but I bet they would have a hard time coming up with an example of how their lives have changed in any tangible way since it happened.
The amicus brief that alleges same-sex marriage will lead to terrible sexual deviance, was signed by an impressive host of the Texas political leadership. The GOP’s nominee for lieutenant governor, the House Speaker and, perhaps most troubling, the likely incoming attorney general all counted themselves as signatories. If you live in Texas or even just want to live in a country where same-sex marriage isn’t compared to pedophilia and incest, then these men and women should offend you. They are like snapshots of a bygone era where homosexuality was demonized and persecuted without reservation or concern for a factual basis. To them, their ends justify any means, right down to misinformation and absurd logical leaps to justify their positions.