A Stupendously Terrible Argument Against Marriage Equality
Arguments against marriage equality usually come in two varieties. The first can be boiled down to “God Hates Fags,” while the second can be shorthanded into “marriage was better when men were men and women were women.” The problem is that while a few Christians continue to believe the former, nearly no one embraces the later. So when Sam Schulman, writing for the Weekly Standard, drags out the marriage was better in Victorian England argument, you have to gape at his brazenness. Schulman’s “The Worst Thing About Gay Marriage” is an article so rife with logical flaws and personal bias that it stands as a classic example of why this argument against same-sex unions is so rarely employed.
Reading the entire piece you get the feeling that the article is not so much about gay nuptials as much as it is about the author’s own failed marriages, his anger towards women and the demon institution which he believes they lured him into. As Schulman writes,
“Few men would ever bother to enter into a romantic heterosexual marriage–much less three, as I have done–were it not for the iron grip of necessity that falls upon us when we are unwise enough to fall in love with a woman other than our mom.”
Yikes, Sam…get thee to a shrink.
The rest of the piece is no better. Schulman’s bitterness at women infuses every argument. He claims, for example, that marriage
“is concerned above all with female sexuality. The very existence of kinship depends on the protection of females from rape, degradation, and concubinage.”
“[My arguments] are marriage’s ‘a priori’ because marriage is a part of the kinship system, and kinship depends on the protection, organization, and often the exploitation of female sexuality vis-à-vis males.”
Wow…is it 2009 or 1909? Schulman is asking Americans to believe we were better off when woman were no better than chattel. Not once does he concede that the subjugation of woman brought about terrible abuse and degradation. Instead, the whole piece reads like a misogynist’s wistful remembrance of “good ole’ times.”
While Schulman fails miserably in his attempt to paint marriage equality as a threat to modern society, he does succeed in one place: casting the battle for LGBT civil rights in a tradition of civil rights battles extending back through two centuries of American politics. His awesomely terrible article reminds readers that the same arguments which were made against women a century ago were also used against African Americans in the 1950’s and are being used against the LGBT community today.