Does Not Compute!


Danger, John Derbyshire! Danger! Danger! The recent Massachusetts decision on gay marriage appears to have caused the equivalent of a divide-by-zero error in the circuitry of conservative brains, which are short circuiting en masse. The spate of frantic comments seen in the last twenty four hours may collectively make less sense than everything conservatives have said on the topic up to this point… which is pretty impressive.

It takes a special kind of hostility to equal rights, for example, to descend to the point where the following inane arguments count as "thoughtful":

Under the traditional restrictions, a man cannot marry his daughter, or, a fortiori, is son, and so if he leaves them a very large inheritance, it is taxed, although what he leaves his wife is not taxed. But under a general license to 'marry' another man, a man could marry his son, and thus pass his property to the son tax-free. […]

[W]hat if two men who are partners in crime take the precaution of marrying, so that they can each be sure that the other one won't turn state's evidence at trial, should they be caught?

So, despite the fact that a general right to marry someone of the opposite sex hasn't compelled us to allow father/daughter marriages, a general right to marry someone of your own sex is (apparently) going to require us to license father/son marriage. And while the spousal privilege loophole is apparently not cause for concern when it comes to mixed-gender partners-in-crime, so many male criminal partnerships will "take the precaution" of marrying first that we'll have to dispense with it.

Derbyshire earlier wondered whether cellmates might now marry (the point? your guess is as good as mine), while fellow Cornerite Stan Kurtz linked an only barely more coherent piece that pushes the limits of even Maggie Gallagher's prodigious powers of vacuity. Apparently, the notion that you should be allowed to marry the person you love, whether or not you intend to have children, is equivalent to the claim "that children don't need mothers and fathers." Permitting childless couples also, it seems, amounts to "conduct[ing] a great social experiment on children." Because, you see… err, no, I can't even come up with a facetious line of argument on which that follows.