By Marie Bertonneau.
It’s a hard truth for some people to swallow, but statistically it’s extremely likely—actually, it’s almost certain—that these days, each of us has at least one relative that self-identifies as “conservative.” There are those who insist that only pernicious environmental factors trigger this condition, but given its prevalence in my own family I’m increasingly inclined to believe that conservatism is embedded somewhere in the genetic code. By which I mean I get a lot of forwarded emails from extended family members about President Obama’s secret Islamism.
Recently I had the following shouted at me in response to Secret Muslim Obama’s Totally-Binding and Effective Pronouncement that he personally believes it’s A-OK for The Gays to make honest gays of themselves: “In forty years, men will be marrying their horses!” Gay men, probably.
I’ve heard the “What’s next—marrying your horse/cat/dog/RealDoll/national landmark??” statement at least a dozen times. It’s the “comparing someone to Hitler in a CNN comment thread” of anti-gay-marriage rhetoric.
But hold your horses, Mister (not to be confused with to have and to hold your horses, Mister).
First, it’s an irrelevant example and a facile argument. Unless I’m horribly wrong about everyone I’ve ever met, there aren’t that many men and women prancing at the gate to lawfully wed their pets. Even Kenneth Pinyan was only in it for the sex (do yourself a favor—don’t Google “Mr. Hands” and/or the film Zoo). There may be a few isolated souls following the Rule 34 of Real Life, but are tens of thousands of people gathering at furry conventions to agitate for interspecies marriage equality? Because if they are, we might all be trying to solve the wrong problems.
More importantly, though: Which homosexual bride- or groom-to-be is the man, and which is the horse? I’m not being facetious. And I don’t care whether you support gay marriage or oppose it. My concern is with the erosion of traditional logic, which is threatened today as never before.
Let me rephrase: in your opinion, Anti-Gay Relatives Who Love to Bust Out this Example, which consenting homosexual adult plays the part of the non-consenting helpless animal at the altar? Oh, it’s neither? Because both human spouses-to-be have voices to say “I do,” and opposable thumbs to sign the marriage license? Well, that clears that up.
At the root of the “marry my horse” fallacy is the problem of consent. An animal cannot properly be said to give consent, which by its most essential definition is the ability to 1) acknowledge that you know what is being done to you and 2) explicitly agree to it. All the horses I’ve ever met would get stuck at 1, let alone 2.
If conservatives have taught me anything it’s that I can be super-excited now that I’m one step closer to marrying my true love: my cat.
— Marie Bertonneau (@marieenoel) May 10, 2012
It’s a female cat, too.
The fact that an animal being stuffed into a wedding dress by its creepo owner is not legally consenting to the marriage also negates the dark flip side of the fallacious coin: the “What’s next—men marrying boys?” conversation-stopper. The reason pedophiliac behavior is criminal is because it, like serial bestiality, preys on beings who are not sufficiently developed to say “yes” and mean it. And that is the end of that. Seriously.
The notion that consenting adults wishing to formalize their union automatically means that predators will now be given free rein to force children and animals into unequal relationships is insulting. It insults the capable, thinking, loving adults who are champing at the bit to marry, and it insults those of us saddled with hearing absurd non-logic.
My point, for the consideration of either you or the red-state uncle you keep getting in arguments with, is this: think what you want, as long as you think it through. And for the very, very platonic love of Seabiscuit, find a new go-to example.
Marie Bertonneau is wondering whether Fancy Feast will be brave enough to sponsor her upcoming nuptials.