Tuesday, November 18, 2003

The MA Gay Marriage Decision 

Living in Canada, gay marriage is, in some sense, une peine perdue, so I don't feel any strong feelings about the MA decision. Nonetheless, Eugene Volokh (who supports gay marriage) makes some important points about today's decision.

First off, the decision does increase the likelihood of legal recognition of polygamous and incestuous marriage. Gay marriage proponents (such as Andrew Sullivan), for the most part, claim that this is all a load of rubbish. However, they refuse to admit that their arguments for gay marriage (especially those in the courts), based on human rights and equal treatment arguments, apply equally to polygamous and incestuous relationships.

Sullivan says:
There is a critical distinction between an involuntary sexual orientation and a choice of a polyamorous lifestyle - a choice that can be made by gays or straights.
He ignores, of course, millennia of human history of polygamy and adultery, and the fact that until this century, homosexuality itself is consider to be something that is not innate.

Also, most gay marriage advocates must say that gay marriage should be allowed even if heterosexuality can be conditioned, because their argument is based on the right to marry based on love. To say that such an argument stops at the polygamy or incest point are fundamentally inconsistent with the gay marriage position. The truth is that proponents of gay marriage see this slippery slope as extremely bad PR, which it is. But ignoring it doesn't make the argument go away.

Second, Volokh starkly illustrates what judicial fiat in the gay marriage issue may lead to. It's probably not that likely, but it's certain that the gay marriage issue will be a hotly contested issue for years to come in America.
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