Let me say publicly that DonBoy’s answer exudes a combination of intuitive genius and confidence that make me think DonBoy is going to do big things in his life. -- Steven D. Levitt (Freakonomics blog)
Wednesday, July 16, 2003
A triple-via coming up, so brace yourselves:
Eve Tushnet links approvingly to The Corner's posting of a correspondent's point on gay marriage:
Civil unions would be a good deal easier for some of us to swallow if the status were available to any unmarried pair of human beings who choose it for any reason, such as a middle-aged single woman and her elderly dependent aunt. If gays want the practical benefits of such a union, fine, but I don't see why homosexuality should give them priority over other people with no sexual link who also want the benefits of a unique non-marital partnership. In other words, I'm willing to consider not discriminating against homosexuals, but I'll be damned if I'll discriminate in favor of them.
Although the writer must think this is a strong point, it strikes me as a bit of a trick, and otherwise trivial. With few exceptions, marriage currently is "available to any unmarried [male/female] pair who choose it for any reason". The example of two people who are related by blood is one of two exceptions that come to mind (the other being those who are too young), and if we take that out of the example, it falls apart. Pretend we're talking about a single woman and an elderly dependent "uncle" who's not a blood relative, and our imaginary couple is already able to marry right now. If same-sex marriages become legal, it would just bring the situation back to parity, without any "discriminat[ing] in favor of [gays]."
I don't think the writer is truly concerned about the unfairness of nieces being unable to marry their aunts or uncles; this is just "but then how can you rule out incest/polygamy/beastiality?" again.