Julian Sanchez's earlier post points to some predictably outraged (and inane) conservative responses to yesterday's gay marriage ruling in Massachusetts.
For several years now, I had always assumed that the real reason conservatives hated gay marriage is that, if heterosexual marriage is any guide, it will inevitably lead to gay divorce–and we all know that divorce is the source of all that is bad and rotten and awful in this oh-so-fallen world, right?
But after watching The O'Reilly Factor last night, I suspect a different motivation: deep-seated urges toward trans-species bliss that lurk within conservative hearts. How else to explain that conservatives inevitably, compulsively bring up man-on-beast action whenever the subject of gay marriage is broached? It's almost as if laws defining marriage as the "sacred institution between a man and a woman" are the last defense against their own unspeakable impulses.
Here's Bill grilling his guest, Wendy Murphy, a former "lawyer of the year" in the Bay State:
O'REILLY: …If you're going to open the floodgate that marriage is no longer between a man and a woman, which is what this court did, found a way to do it, then you have to let everybody get married. The commune people can get married. The people who want to marry a duck can come in, all right. You can't…
MURPHY: That's so absurd.
O'REILLY: No. If I want to marry a duck…
MURPHY: No, Bill.
O'REILLY: … I have a right to…
MURPHY: Bill, the…
O'REILLY: … marry the duck, all right?
MURPHY: No, the basis for the…
O'REILLY: … and leave my house to the duck.
For the record, O'Reilly spent a good amount of the segment talking about shacking up with the fictional "the McGuire twins, the sisters McGuire," all of which no doubt led to interesting post-show chitchat with the real Mrs. O'Reilly.
But O'Reilly–and conservatives who fret that yesterday's ruling will open the floodgates to men marrying goldfish–can relax. It's highly unlikely that Modern Bride will be carrying a sheep on the cover anytime soon. Marriage is, after all, a consensual contract, and very few birds and fish–and even mammals–can say "I do."
Panicky visions of parents marrying their children, brothers marrying their sisters, dogs marrying cats, etc, are equally implausible. Those sorts of kinks just aren't that widespread for any number of reasons, including biological and sociological ones. Species tend to pick one another for mates; and, pace Faulkner et al, people raised in familial proximity typically don't get all hot and horny for one another. The incest taboo reflects reality rather than restrains it.
A more likely scenario involves plural marriage (among human beings) which, as Eugene Volokh convincingly claims, could eventually be sanctioned by the logic in the Massachusetts ruling. I doubt that option would be all that popular, but would it be such a bad thing? As long as it's consensual, I don't see the harm. Unless it caused O'Reilly to abandon his baby ducklings and move in the sisters McGuire.