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Monday, July 1, 2013

Bus Sighting in Defense of Limited Same-Gender Freedom to Marry

Last week, the US Supreme Court took a step forward by advancing the limited same-gender freedom to marry by overturning a key provision of the federal DOMA law, and letting stand a federal court's decision overturning California's PropH8, which banned same-gender marriages in the state. This has prompted varied reactions, mostly celebratory, across the country. However, those who oppose equality have been expressing their displeasure, of course. At theunion.com, someone by the name of Richard Hill wrote a letter that asked if "incest" was next.

Writing a responding letter, rather than standing up for full marriage equality, Jim Richards of Nevada City threw polyamorous and consanguinamorous people under the bus. This is all too typical.
Richard Hill‘s letter to the editor, titled “Is incest next,” shows his lack of knowledge of biology. It has been known for long time that inbreeding leads to a higher probability of birth defects. The prohibition of incest and, thus, inbreeding is to protect the child produced by the couple, which makes sense as good science.

Thus, Richards invokes Discredited Argument #18. I thoroughly debunk that argument in this entry. Discrimination against consanguineous relationships has nothing to do with genetics. The prohibitions are rooted in traditions instituted to control the sexuality of others (the same reason for bans on same-gender relationships) and to reserve consanguinamory to the privileged. Inbreeding isn't even a factor in most consanguineous relationships.
Human beings form bonded pairs not just for the purpose of raising children but for the human need for companionship and love. If pairing was only for procreation, then couples would divide up after their offspring were grown. That doesn’t happen because people crave companionship. They want to be a couple. Society has developed hundreds of rules for married couples that improve their lives. Gay couples should also be able to take advantage of those rules as well.

Polyamorous and consanguinamorous relationships are about companionship and love, too. Also, there are many people who do break up after their offspring are grown, but he's right in that we don't limit marriage to people who are raising children. Everyone in consensual adult relationships should have equal access to their government and relationship rights.

Rather than coming up with convoluted schemes for denying rights to some people while recognizing the rights of others, how about we admit that equality just for some is not equality and support the rights of all adults to share love, sex, residence, and marriage with any and all consenting adults?

When a bigot says, "What's next?" we should respond with "Freedom for all consenting adults. What's wrong with that?"
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