Tuesday, September 05, 2006

PERRspectives on the slippery marriage slope

When you are defending the denial of basic civil rights to people, you've got to have a darn good argument. One the arguments conservatives love to trot out in defending discriminatory marriage laws is the slippery slope.

You know the argument: "If marriage isn't limited to just one man and one woman, why not open it up to 15 women and one man, or one man and a child, or a man and a box turtle." Yes, those arguments have all been used - even the box turtle.

A posting today on PERRspectives blog takes on Warren Jeffs, Tucker Carlson and Conservatives' Uses of Polygamy and explains why these arguments are just a distraction.
Same-sex marriage advocates merely argue that the state should recognize the loving relationships that free, autonomous and equal individuals choose to enter into and maintain. And that's where the analogy of gay marriage to polygamy ends.

By definition, polygamy institutionalizes a state of inequality between the spouses engaged in it. Whether involving multiple wives or husbands, the practice enshrines marital disadvantage in family standing, in livelihood, and in, well, consortium. Since the end of the Civil War at least, the United States has not looked kindly on involuntary servitude and has forbid individuals to enter (even freely) contracts that will abridge their freedom and equality in the future. Men and women are not free to be unfree.
This is an excellent post, but one additional point that I would add is to remember this: Warren Jeffs didn't make it to the FBI's 10 Most Wanted list simply for polygamy. He got to be a top fugitive from justice for trafficking in underage women and forcing them into servitude.

The legal side of marriage is a civil contract. The last I checked, you needed to be an adult to enter into a binding contract. Not a child, not a dog, and not a box turtle. And, the last time I checked, and as PERRspectives points out, you could not legally enter into a contract that abridges your freedom.

No slippery slope. Just more excuses for denying citizens their rights based on sexual preference.

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