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July 10, 2003

Pennsylvania's Pinhead

Rick Santorum, not content to make stupid comments just once, has published some new thoughts on the institution of marriage and why it is in desperate need of protection:

Every civilization since the beginning of man has recognized the need for marriage.
Perhaps, but then pair bonding isn't exactly unique to us homo sapiens sapiens (neither is adultery, but that's another story). Also, Santorum is being quite liberal (heh, I bet he'd hate me using that word) with the word "marriage."

Marriage has had many meanings and interpretations throughout history and across cultures, including marriage as commonly practiced in the West, the submissiveness required of wives in the Middle East, the polygamy of the Mormons, the marriage-for-wealth of the ancient Greeks, the open-relationship marriages of the Spartans, arranged marriages, child marriages, forced marriages, the Hebrew tradition of marrying your brother's wife if he should die, and - as in the news of late - the concept of dowry, resulting in Indian men killing female infants to avoid paying up.

So, Rick old buddy old pal, which of these types of marriage are needed and which can we throw away? It's clear that Santorum means he wants marriage, but only as he and his slope-browed approbators narrowly define it. But you, dear reader, being as sharp as you are, knew that.

Let's continue.

This country and healthy societies around the world give marriage special legal protection for a vital reason — it is the institution that ensures the society's future through the upbringing of children.
Unfortunately, this leads to the logical end that people who do not wish to have children should not be allowed to marry - and that people who do want to have children, but cannot, should not be allowed to marry either (unless they adopt, but then whoever is giving up kids shouldn't be allowed to marry because clearly they don't want them).* After all, they are devaluing the importance of marriage as an instrument for raising children.
Furthermore, it's just common sense that marriage is the union of a man and a woman.

And just like that, Santorum strikes a fatal blow to every pro-gay-marriage argument in existence. Don't you people get it? It's just common sense! What an unforeseen and brilliant masterstroke Rick has penned! Who - tell me, who - could not be utterly convinced of the legitimacy of his argument now?

Devastating, Rick - postively devastating! Why, with such powers of logic at work in the Congress, I will rest easy at night knowing that common sense shall rule the day!

Nevermind that, once upon a time, it was common sense that black people were sub-human, suited only to, Oh Lawdy, pick a bale of cotton, jump down turn around and pick a bale a day.

Common sense is often nonsense, Rick - time to clue in to that.

There is an ocean of empirical data showing that the union between a man and a woman has unique benefits for children and society.
And allowing homosexuals to marry will alter these benefits how? Will straight couples suddenly throw up their arms in despair at the sight of two men in tuxes tying the knot? Will they exclaim "Our marriage is forever tainted!" and give up on the whole institution, give up on each other, give up on the children? Oh no! Say it ain't so!

Of course they won't. Straight people will still fall in love. Straight people will still decide to marry. Straight people will still raise families and grow old together, till death do they part (unless they part beforehand, lining the pockets of lawyers, all of which could be avoided by realizing marriage is a contract and treating it as such, but that's another post), yada yada.

Moreover, traditional family breakdown is the single biggest social problem in America today.
I'll concur that it's a problem, Rick - but what does the breakdown of marriages have to do with gay people wanting to get married? I would think that allowing dedicated people to marry would, oh, increase stability rather than decrease it, but I'm silly that way.

Further, what's a traditional family? Ah, yes, the one that you define. Perhaps our problems really started when we moved away from the extended family concept. I expect Rick to invite his parents, children, grandchildren, cousins, and whomever else to move in right away so that he can lead us in rebuilding our great society, rescuing it from the evil clutches of married couples living in single-family homes with their 2.5 children and a dog.

In study after study, family breakdown is linked to an increase in violent crime, youth crime, teen pregnancy, welfare dependency and child poverty.
And, since you've yet to show that gay marriages will in any way lead to further breakdown of the family unit, you might as well tell us that studies show that when you climb very high you can see very far, and that ice is cold. They would be just as completely irrelevant to the point you think you're making.
Marriage has already been weakened. The out-of-wedlock childbirth rate is at a historically high level, while the divorce rate remains unacceptably high.
So maybe we straight folk should look at the huge plank in our own eye before we go pointing fingers at homosexuals. Given the divorce rate, it's obvious that we're pretty good at mucking up matrimony - maybe the gays can do a better job and show us how it should be done. I'm willing to give them the chance.
Legalization of gay marriage would further undermine an institution that is essential to the well-being of children and our society.
How so? I read your blustering bravado in defense of marriage, but it's empty and hollow. There's no substance. Nothing you've written shows how gay marriage can or will undermine the concept of marriage, except that it won't be between just a man and a woman.

And, admit it, that's what really bothers you, Rick.

It's not that you think your marriage - or mine - or even Bill and Hillary's - will be affected by any of this, you just don't like the idea of giving even the aire of approval to gay people getting funky on the monkey with each other. Guess what - horror of horrors! - they're doing it anyway.


And lovin' it.

Maybe some of them are even imagining their partner is you!**

* Of course, actually enforcing such rules would require enlarging the powers of government and expanding departments and increasing spending, all of which conservatives are against, except when they aren't, which is rather often when you think about it - and usually when they want to spoil someone else's fun.

** OK, I doubt many people are that messed up in the head.

Posted by Andy at 11:50 AM