The State Wouldn’t Let Me Marry My Cousin

A long time ago, I wanted to date my cousin. I knew from her sister that she felt the same about me. But, of course, we never entertained the possibility. For one thing, we were only kids, so “dating” would have been mostly just a difference in how we acted when our families visited — it’s not like we’d have ridden our bikes to the drive-in movie and made out while Jackie Gleason chased Burt Reynolds all over the South in “Smokey and the Bandit.”

But mostly, it didn’t happen because we knew incest was wrong.

My, how things have changed. As we move closer and closer to the likelihood of a United States Supreme Court ruling legalizing homosexual marriage, we have to consider the real possibility that other forms of unions once thought taboo will soon become accepted.

Polygamy likely will be the first big deal after gay marriage. In probability, Massachusetts will legalize gay marriage, homosexual couples will marry there and rush into other states, where they’ll file challenges to state constitutions banning those unions. The suits will go to the U.S. Supreme Court and, under the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the U.S. Constitution, every state will be forced to recognize gay marriages performed in Massachusetts.

Encouraged by that, the tens of thousands of polygamists in Utah will pressure that state to legalize their lifestyle choice. Suddenly, gay people in Massachusetts find “families” of Mormon men with multiple wives and bushels of children living in the neighborhood.

If you believe the jokes, either Arkansas or Louisiana will be the first state to legalize incest and follow the pattern set by Massachusetts and Utah to force recognition of incestuous unions in every state.

Right now, you are in one of three camps. You’re either cheering because you agree that legalizing gay marriage will ruin the institution of marriage and you’re glad I’m pointing out that fact, or you’re saying I’m on a slippery slope, or you’re still disgusted that I was hot for my cousin and wondering why there was so much detail about the drive-in if that never happened. Let’s examine the second two camps for a moment.

Slippery slope? Nope, unfortunately not. Do a Google search using the words “gay marriage polygamy legalize” (but without the quotation marks) and you’ll find numerous articles like this one from a Boston newspaper. (Remember, Boston is in Massachusetts, where gay marriage likely will be legalized first. And, incidentally, happens to be where the Democratic National Convention was held this year. Hmm.) Politicians, lawyers and many others already are considering the far-reaching repercussions of legalizing one form of marriage that was unthinkable a short time ago.

On a side note, polygamy actually will be easier to defend. Think of how many people oppose gay marriage based on the biblical teachings of Leviticus. Now, how many Old Testament patriarchs had multiple wives? Yeah, that’s right, there is a biblical base to support polygamy.

Humans also have a long tradition of incest prior to our modern times. Just look at the line of succession in almost any royal family throughout history.

What’s wrong with legalizing incest between two consenting adults? You say it’s immoral? Who are you to judge that? It will produce deformed babies? There are ways to prevent birth and, as the gay rights activists will say, marriage is about so much more than making babies. Take away the morality — or immorality — of incest, and you have no argument. Leave morality in and you can’t justify gay marriage, either.

Some commentators like to go to extremes on this issue, saying that by legalizing gay marriage we’ll open the doors to human/animal marriages, human/succubi unions, etc. That’s where you get on the slippery slope. Let’s keep the conversation focused on consenting adults of the human species … and living adults, at that, though none of my partners have ever complained about my necrophilia. (That’s a joke, people.)

Now, it’s true that, in the grand scheme of things, the number of people who want to have multiple spouses or marry their cousins, brothers, sisters or mothers or fathers, for that matter, is pretty small. Those people are a minority. Just like homosexuals. And no, gays do not make up 10 percent of our population; read this public policy analysis by Tony Marco to find out how that myth got started. The number varies depending on the poll, but no credible source records numbers as high as 10 percent. Even at the highest number, homosexuals still make up only a tiny minority of our population.

So, like gays, polygamists and kissing cousins are in the minority. And yet we are being told we should accept gay marriage despite overwhelming polls, like the July 2004 CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll, that show how 62 percent of Americans oppose gay marriage. To argue that gay marriage, or polygamy or incest, should be legal despite public opinion is to say you disagree with the democratic republic form of government we have in the United States.

Do you want to open that can of worms?

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