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)
Thursday, July 17, 2003
Strike that, reverse it

I was working on sending the equivalent of the previous post to Eve Tushnet, when I got hit with a flash that the correspondent's posting makes no sense whatever. So I sent the following to both Eve and the Corner:

I don't find the correspondent's point to be good; in fact, I don't even find it to be coherent -- the sentences don't all go together. First he says that he would be *more* in favor of civil unions if they *also* include the right of nieces and aunts to marry. Then he says that same-sex couples shouldn't have special rights that opposite-sex couples don't have. So is he saying that it's *better* if nieces can marry their aunts, or *worse*? Since nieces can't marry their uncles, after all. Did he perhaps mean to say that he'd be more in favor of civil unions if they also allowed nieces and uncles to marry? In that case, it's just another round of "but then how can you rule again incest/polygamy/bestiality?" -- but I wouldn't want to say that without being sure what he really meant. Does he even mean to bring relatives marrying into it, or is that a red herring? And now that I think about it, I believe nieces *can* marry their uncles, if the uncle is the widower of the woman's parent's sister.

Anyway, gender-neutral marriage, as commonly proposed, is just that -- gender-neutral. No "special rights" are involved; if nieces and uncles can't marry, nieces and aunts won't be able to either.

The mortifying thing is, how the hell did I miss it? And what does it say that I was able to confidently argue against two sort-of-opposite trains of argument because I was against the conclusion?

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