This classic column originally appeared at the barbershop notebooks where Sex with Timaree runs every Monday.
Question to the Sexpert:
“I keep hearing that if gay marriage is allowed then we’ll have to allow polygamous marriages and even people marrying animals. I’ve been thinking about it and even though I think gays and lesbians ought to have rights, there is a lot of logic to those arguments. What is there to stop those broken-off Mormon polygamists from demanding equal rights or people who are into bestiality?”
Reason 1: Fucking because.
Well, the short answer is: we just say no. We as a society make arbitrary decisions in our laws all the time deciding that even though all people are created equal in theory, they will receive different treatment and it will be perfectly legal.
Thirteen year olds, for example, cannot get credit cards, no matter if they did do all their homework and finish all their broccoli. This decision is made because even though there are probably 9th graders who can manage their fiscal affairs far better than that 27 year old piece of shit roommate you used to have, there are a lot of benefits to delaying the age at which people can open lines of credit.
Reason 2: One is an adult male, one is a chair. How will we ever tell them apart?
It’s been said by ignorable yahoos and elected officials (sometimes the same person) that legalizing gay marriage will start us on a slippery slope of having to acknowledge and respect all sorts of nonsense. “What if a man wants to marry his dog? What about his civil rights? Won’t there be people saying it’s none of our business then too?”
It’s time to sit down together at the table of togetherness to have a deep conversation where we learn and grow and slap the ever-loving hell out of the next person who poses that fucking question.
Since when have grown women and men been considered the equals of furniture? If someone wants to bang out their ottoman, I really could not be less concerned. But an ottoman is not deserving of equal recognition to me or you or that guy in your office who makes that annoying throat noise all the time.
Last I checked, even though children and animals are sentient, independent entities, they almost always live in the custody of adults and are not assigned nearly as much responsibility for their behaviors and mindsets. “Oh, she’s just being a bratty 5th grader, you can’t take it seriously that she called you a booger-eating brace face poopy pants.”
This places animals and children in a lower echelon of society, and sometimes this opens them up to unfortunate instances of abuse and neglect, including sexual abuse. Instead of pretending that we will all have to just avert our eyes and deal with the child molesters and bestialists of the world, this reminds us of our obligation to look out for those who do not have the ability to protect themselves from exploitation.
Reason 3: Your Girlfriend/Boyfriend/Husband/Wife/etc is Too Jealous to Let that Happen
Honestly, there is no reason that groups of adults (or even adult siblings beyond the age of reproduction- but I’m not getting into that today) shouldn’t be allowed to form lifelong commitments. As much as we’d like to pretend we live in a 1950’s educational filmstrip, we’re not really all that monogamous. A more accurate description of American relationship patterns is serial monogamy where we pair off with one person…for awhile.
The notion that we can only love one person in our lifetimes is sold to us all the time but there is no reason to believe that we’re even limited to loving one person at a time. Polyamory and swinging are definitely not for everyone, so don’t even act like I’m telling your partner to go hit it with the check out girl at Acme. Just realize that there are other options that work for some people and no one is in any position to declare their love lives less valid or legitimate than the prevailing template of Mr. and Mrs. John Q Swizzlestick.
Regardless, monogamous people (the majority of Americans) often are monogamous because their notion of romance includes jealousy and a degree of ownership, whether they want to admit it or not. And for this reason, the vast majority of our country is going to put the kibosh on any suggestion that a multiple-partner union is possible.
Slippery slope arguments can be valid sometimes but we must remember, humans are in control of our laws and that means we can choose to give legal recognition when it’s reasonable to do so.
Do you have a question or comment? Please email Timaree directly at sexpert@MarcLamontHill.com