13.12.04

THERE ARE LIMITS. Some behavior is socially acceptable. Some behavior is perverse. Grant the first two premises, and you must grant a third: there are limits. Alyssa Ford (via Newmark's Door) sees the problem.

In 2003, Republican Senator Rick Santorum unloaded the same sort of argument on an Associated Press reporter: "If the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual (gay) sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything." In response, David Smith, the communications director of the Human Rights Campaign, said that it was outrageous for Santorum to put being gay on the same legal and moral plane as a person who commits incest. "That is repugnant in our view and not right," he said.

There are a few important lessons to be gleaned here. First, social conservatives see the slippery slope as a poison arrow that can prevent all-out gay marriage, and they will use it again and again. Second, gay marriage advocates will say anything to distance gays and lesbians from other sexual minorities: the polygamous, the swingers, the S&M practitioners, and those rare couples that happen to be related.

Years ago, I hung out on a discussion list where a frequent visitor was into bondage. She told a story about being invited to the reviewing stand at San Francisco's Gay Pride parade, where all the Distinguished Observers turned their backs when the Man-Boy Love Association delegation walked past.

It is not a slippery slope argument. It is recognition that there are limits. The conversation, dear readers, ought to be over where the limits are.

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