Bill Muehlenberg

Homosexual marriage and the slippery slope

The same arguments used for legalising same-sex marriage could be used to argue for legalising incest, polygamy, and any number of other sexual combinations.

The headline in the Vancouver Sun (November 21) says it all: “Polygamy reference case could open door to legalizing multiple marriage”. The short reply is, ‘And why not? If we are happy to redefine marriage out of existence with homosexual marriage, then why not group marriage? Both are based on exactly the same argument.’

Here is how the story begins: “Canada is on the cusp of either legalizing polygamy or strengthening the 120-year prohibition against multiple marriage. That’s what is at stake in the constitutional reference case that will begin Monday in B.C. Supreme Court and is scheduled to last at least until the end of January. The case will weigh whether Canada’s anti-polygamy law is constitutional.”

Homosexual activists will sneer at this, seeking to deny the obvious. In the same way, when marriage was watered down not all that long ago to include de facto couples, pro-marriage people warned that homosexual marriage would be next. They too were sneered at and mocked.

But they were exactly right to raise the slippery slope argument, just as we are today. Indeed, the same arguments used for legalising same-sex marriage could be used to argue for legalising incest, polygamy, and any number of other sexual combinations. If a man wanted to have a long-term sexual relationship with his daughter, or if three women wanted to do the same, how could any society argue against it, if it has already overturned the traditional understanding of marriage?

If marriage is no longer one man, one woman for life, then any number of alternatives seem to be possible. If homosexuals can argue that a loving committed relationship should qualify anyone for the institution of marriage, then other equally binding and loving unions should be recognised.

As Sam Schulman put it, “If we grant rights to one group because they have demanded it – which is, practically, how legalized gay marriage will come to pass – we will find it exceedingly awkward to deny similar rights to others ready with their own dossiers of ‘victimization.’ In time, restricting marriage rights to couples, whether straight or gay, can be made to seem no less arbitrary than the practice of restricting marriage rights to one man and one woman. Ultimately, the same must go for incestuous relationships between consenting adults.”

Logically, one could argue for all sorts of combinations and permutations if we swallow the idea that same-sex couples have a right to marry. What about a bisexual who really does love both a man and a woman? Cannot this threesome qualify?

In fact, polyamory (group marriage) has become a new cause, championed by both grassroots groups and academic supporters. A quick search of the Web will reveal just how popular the idea of polyamory is becoming. Family law reformers for example are increasingly promoting this new sexual cause.

And as one commentator has noted, the “case for polygamy is in some ways stronger than the case for same-sex marriage”. She explains: “In contrast to same-sex marriage, there is historical and cultural precedent for it. Unlike same-sex marriage, polygamy provides a father and a mother (and then some) for children.”

Indeed, there have been plenty of homosexual activists who have long argued for the removal of most, if not all, legal restrictions on sexuality. Way back in 1972 the National Coalition of Gay Organizations in the US demanded the “repeal of all legislative provisions that restrict the sex or number of persons entering into a marriage unit; and the extension of legal benefits to all persons who cohabit regardless of sex or numbers.”

Also in this 1972 Gay Rights Platform was the call for the abolition of all age of sexual consent laws. These proposals were endorsed wide and far in the homosexual community. Indeed, lesbian activist Judith Levine argued for all this and more (even pedophilia) in her famous Village Voice article, “Stop the Wedding! Why Gay Marriage Isn’t Radical Enough”.

The truth is, all boundaries are smashed when we redefine marriage. There are even groups arguing for the right to marry one’s pet! Called petrosexuality, this new sexuality insists that a person’s love for his or her pet, including sexual relations, should be made official. Thus one Dutch web site encourages people to marry their pets.

Such proposals are not just being made by the lunatic fringe. Consider a recent article in the Futurist, produced by the World Futurist Society based in America. A cultural historian wrote an article entitled “The Transformation of Marriage”. Stephen Bertman, professor emeritus of languages, literatures, and cultures at Canada’s University of Windsor, argued that marriage may be “a semantic artefact of a lost world”. He argued that it is not just the transience of marriage that is at issue now. “It is the very definition of the term that futurists must now address. A radical redefinition of marriage is now under way that promises to transform its meaning for all future time.”

He gave as his first example same-sex marriage. He did not stop there however. He then went on to speak of other types of marriage. Seemingly with a straight face, he first raised the prospect of “interspecies marriage”. This is the “potential for the sexual union of human beings and aliens”. From there he mentioned the option of marriages to pets. Why couldn’t an “individual choose to affirm the emotional attachment he or she feels for a pet with the formality of a documented ceremony in which the human partner promises to love and honor the animal companion?”

And finally, presumably still with the utmost seriousness, he speaks of the “theoretical possibility” of “the marriage of human beings to inanimate objects”. He speaks of how many men love their cars, or how many people have formed an intimate relationship with their computer. “Why should not this bond of tactile intimacy be validated by more than an owner’s manual?” he asks, seemingly in complete sincerity.

As William Bennett writes, “once marriage has been detached from the natural, complementary teleology of the sexes, it becomes nothing more than what each of us makes of it”. Or as another commentator says, “What we are doing by creating this institution to be called ‘gay marriage’ is smashing marriage and replacing it with a whole new set of arrangements that apply to everybody, not just homosexuals, everybody, in which marriage is a unique contract between any two or more adults who want to enter into it and set by any rules. It makes marriage impermanent, and it turns children into commodities.”

That the legalisation of SSM would radically alter and redefine the institution of marriage is of course widely acknowledged by homosexual activists. I have already cited some of them. Here let me offer just one more representative quote. Tom Stoddard is a leading homosexual activist in the US. He has been quite willing to admit that “enlarging the concept [of heterosexual marriage] to embrace same-sex couples would necessarily transform it into something new” (emphasis added).

Exactly so. We eagerly await the decision of the Supreme Court in British Columbia.

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