Kalahari Bushmen, Han Chinese, Carthaginians and Aztecs

It’s basically impossible for anyone to make an argument continuing to exclude same-sex couples from civil marriage without embarrassing themself anymore. Today I show you this vicious BURN from Ishaan Tharoor on Chief Justice John G. Roberts, who complains:

…the Court invalidates the marriage laws of more than half the States and orders the transformation of a social institution that has formed the basis of human society for millennia, for the Kalahari Bushmen and the Han Chinese, the Carthaginians and the Aztecs. Just who do we think we are?

As Tharoor goes on to show us, the randomly chosen four cultures (I will be charitable and assume he just listed whatever cultures came to mind without any research) are hardly exemplars of the procreative, monogamous, heterosexist culture Justice Roberts thinks we should be trying to maintain. At least he didn’t mention Ancient Greece.

That out of the way, I will answer each of Roberts’s questions in turn, with all the consideration and nuance his concerns deserve. In order of appearance:

…the Court invalidates the marriage laws of more than half the States

More than half the states had discriminatory, unfair laws on marriage. They can fucking deal with it.

and orders the transformation of a social institution that has formed the basis of human society for millennia

Society is not going to fall apart because we civil marriage to another small percentage of the population. No, it really won’t. We’ll be okay. Several countries have had marriage equality for a number of years, and their people aren’t facing a degradation in their quality of life. Several states in the US instituted marriage equality years ago (some of us even by popular vote!) and we’re still doing just fine. Humanity might destroy itself by fucking up the planet with carbon emissions and ocean acidification, but same-sex marriage is not the bringer of Doomsday.

Just who do we think we are?

We are the newest member of Team Fabulous! Rainbow is the new black, muthafucka!

Rep. Bachmann, if you’ll just sign your name here…

According to RawStory,

When Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann signed a pledge that claimed black Americans were better off as slaves than they are today, she apparently hadn’t read it in detail.

Does she think this helps her case? I suppose it’s “less worse” if she isn’t on board with the idea that at least African-American children had the benefit of intact families under slavery, but it would have been better if she had read the fucking document before putting her name on it. I realize that Congressfolk tend not to read the bills they vote on, but that’s a habit she really ought to break, and fast.

However, she’s all about banning pornography, fighting the power of Sharia Islam (because that’s totally one of the main problems plaguing our nation today), and making sure same-sex couples can’t marry. I’ve no doubt she likes the part about promoting “robust reproduction,” too.

The FAMiLY LEADER issues a fauxpology:

“After careful deliberation and wise insight and input from valued colleagues we deeply respect, we agree that the statement referencing children born into slavery can be misconstrued,” group spokeswoman Julie Summa wrote. “We sincerely apologize for any negative feelings this has caused, and have removed the language from the vow.”

“Can be misconstrued”? Really, Julie Summa? Really?! “We sincerely apologize for any negative feelings this has caused”?

Rough translation: “We’re sorry we got caught! We would’ve gotten away with it if it weren’t for you damn gotcha journalists!”

It’s like Phyllis Schlafly let her cat dance on her keyboard!

According to ThinkProgress, Crazy-Eyes Bachmann is the first occupant of the GOP Clown Car to sign onto the FAMiLY LEADER pledge (no, I am not making up that random non-capitalization), a little manifesto for The Handmaid’s Tale with a wee side of V for Vendetta theocracy.

I have found a copy of the full text of the pledge, and I’ve read it so you don’t have to. Here are some selected highlights!

Faithful monogamy is at the very heart of a designed and purposeful order – as conveyed by Jewish and Christian Scripture, by Classical Philosophers, by Natural Law, and by the American Founders – upon which our concepts of Creator-endowed human rights, racial justice and gender equality all depend.

Yeah, that same Jewish and Christian scripture that portrayed powerful patriarchs with multiple wives and hordes of concubines. “Natural Law” just means they want more juicy sperm-meets-egg goodness. The “American Founders” would have to be some weird secret society I’ve never heard of, as our Founding Fathers weren’t really concerned with “family” “values.” We’ll see what these idiots mean by “racial justice” and “gender equality” in just a moment.

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Natural Law: Under Control of Fertility

Sarah Posner covers the debate between Andrew Sullivan and Maggie Gallagher over marriage equality. It kind of makes me wonder why I didn’t go to see it.

Gallagher is insistent upon the primacy of natural law; that God’s intent for marriage was for procreation and absent that possibility, marriage isn’t marriage. (She offered an exemption for infertility, something about which she has previously written, unconvincingly.)

Does it make me a Nasty Gnu Atheist to point out that using “natural law” as a basis for “marriage” is really quite silly? It does, doesn’t it? But really, marriage is not a natural process. Sex is a natural process. Procreation is a natural process. Marriage is an institution that human beings created. We’ve changed the rules a lot over the millennia—overwhelmingly for the better, might I add—and we may continue to do so. One could just as easily argue that monogamy isn’t the most natural of arrangements, either. We didn’t evolve to pair off into neat little dyads and live happily ever after forsaking all others, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a model worth pursuing.

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Curious Thought of the Evening

It’s only since same-sex marriage has been an issue of widespread debate that I’ve heard any argument to the effect that adoption and fertility treatments aren’t good enough ways of starting a family. Only since a handful of states have passed marriage equality have I heard anyone say with a straight face (pun acknowledged but not intended) that parents don’t fully love their children unless they conceive those children through coitus. (The effect being, not that we now have to outlaw adoption or fertility treatments for heterosexual couples, because that degree of consistency would bring reality too close to home, but that marriage law needs to discriminate against the couples who won’t create offspring through marital relations.) Only now do I have the pleasure of being within shouting distance of anyone claiming that adoptive parents, and those who used assisted fertility, aren’t good enough.

Let’s call it the Anti-Equality Excuse Generator. You just press a button, and a line of gibberish pops out.

Ireland makes progress while Real America throws tantrum

From the Irish Times:

Under the terms of the Bill, marriage-like benefits will be extended to gay and lesbian couples across a range of areas such as property, social welfare, succession, maintenance, pensions and tax.

Once the Civil Partnership legislation is fully enacted and implemented, gay and lesbian couples will be able to register their relationship before a registrar, as long as the partners are over 18 and not involved in any other unions.

Couples will be required to provide registrars with three months’ notice of a planned civil partnership, as is the case with civil or religious weddings. Any registrars who refuse to officiate may be prosecuted.

I can’t wait to hear what the Catholic hierarchy has to say about this.

Yay for Ireland!

This is where Sullivan loses me.

On hospital visitation rights:

I fear it’s a way to tell gays they cannot marry. The Democrats will say: see, you can already have hospital visitation rights. Now please stop alienating people with all this civil rights talk. And the Human Rights Campaign can last a thousand years mediating these morsels of compassion from the executive branch. I favor the right to designate anyone in advance as your next of kin in hospital. But for gays, I favor merely the same rights as straights. Which means to say: no more and no less than civil marriage.

I am just as much in favor of marriage equality as any other young person who gives a shit about the dignity of LGBTs, but I am still ambivalent about the efficacy of marriage in general, and I have more than had my fill of well-meaning older grownups who want me to believe that marriage is the magic elixir to everyone’s problems. Breaking news: it isn’t.

We will never have a society in which everyone who lives past the age of 20 manages to get married and stay that way, and what’s more, that is a good thing. It is a positive sign that economics and social pressure do not succeed in coercing all eligible adults into tying themselves to people who might or might not turn out to be good partners in the long run. It is a positive sign, also, that people who find that their spouses are not the lifelong soulmates they thought they were, and in fact are miserably stultifying people to live with, have the liberty to divorce. For some people, regardless of sexual orientation, marriage simply never happens. For many, it doesn’t work out.

There is no natural reason why civil law and institutional rules have to make life (and death) needlessly difficult for people who have not had the good fortune to get married and make it work. We are not a problem, and we do not need to be marginalized at the end of our lives. Even if Obama were all in favor of marriage equality–which he doesn’t seem to be–he could not make it a nationwide legal reality any time soon. With or without Obama’s support, same-sex marriage is going to take some years to catch on. In the meantime, there is absolutely nothing wrong with treating unmarried people like human beings, for a change.