Good news for civil marriage equality: the Maryland House of Delegates passed a bill yesterday to expand marriage rights to same-sex couples! It’s not finished yet, as we still have the state Senate, but our governor is pro-equality. While the House was debating the bill yesterday, I followed the #MDSSM tag on Twitter to keep up with the delegates’ arguments. While doing so, I failed to hear a new argument against marriage equality, which means I still have not yet heard a single reason to oppose equality that isn’t utter nonsense. That much is not news. What is news is that I realized something new about these Really Bad Arguments Against Marriage Equality.
They are mutually contradictory. Simply by virtue of their existence, some of these arguments cancel each other out.
For example: first, we hear the tired old battle cry of “Defend traditional marriage!”, which is in itself incoherent, as if heterosexual couples will suddenly be unable to get married, or stay married, if the institution of marriage is extended to include same-sex couples. However, later on in the same debate, we get that paranoid slippery slope of, “What next, legal polygamy?”
That’s when it hit me: legal polygamy (specifically polygyny, though there have been some cultures which practice polyandry) is a much older tradition than monogamy. There is nothing more traditional than a wealthy, powerful man with a clutch of dependent wives and an even larger group of concubines. If we really want to protect Tradition, then we should welcome the slippery slope to polygamy!
Your move, Enforcers of Tradition!