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Santorum’s Bad Arguments Against Marriage Equality

Rick Santorum continues to make terrible arguments against marriage equality, most recently in an interview with Phyllis Schlafly. Of course, all arguments against marriage equality are bad, but it’s kind of impressive how they make arguments without even a hint of applying them consistently.

“What we need to do is reclaim what marriage is,” Santorum told Eagle Forum founder Phyllis Schlafly during a radio interview. “If marriage is simply a romantic relationship between two people — and by the way, that’s what it’s devolved to in the minds of a lot of Americans — if that’s all that marriage is then it’s hard to make the argument that any two people, any three or four people shouldn’t be able to get married.”

However, the former Pennsylvania senator said that marriage should be an environment where children are raised by “their natural mother, and their natural father.”

So families with adopted children aren’t really families and the parents shouldn’t be allowed to get married, right? I mean, if your argument is actually true and meaningful. It isn’t, of course, and that’s the point.

“I simple say to the folks who have tried to change the marriage law to allow same-sex couples, they have taken it to the next logical step that you just talked about earlier,” Santorum agreed. “We’ve divorced marriage from childbearing, we’ve divorced marriage from any meaning beyond a romantic relationship.”

“We’ve sort of devalued marriage as a result of that,” he added. “And so it’s logical to say, if that’s all that marriage is then anybody should be able to get married. We need to reclaim it.”

So we should refuse to allow anyone to get married if they don’t agree to have children, right? I mean, to do otherwise is to “divorce marriage from any meaning beyond a romantic relationship” and “if that’s all that marriage is then anybody should be able to get married.” So if your argument is true, allowing people to get married who don’t have children leads inexorably to same-sex marriage and then to incest and polygamy and everything else. And you have to “reclaim marriage” to make it mean only families with children and their natural parents. I mean, if your argument is actually true, right? But it isn’t. It’s a pretext that you can’t and won’t apply consistently. It’s special pleading.

Comments

  1. says

    if that’s all that marriage is then anybody should be able to get married

    The impression I’ve been getting is that they see marriage as some kind of Gentleman’s club, where its only value is derived from the fact that it excludes people… like winning 1st place on any competition, it loses value if most people in that competition also won 1st place. They don’t see marriage as being something between two people, but rather, those two people compared to everyone else.

    The quote above seems to align with that mentality.

  2. Crimson Clupeidae says

    The flip side of his stupidity is that if a group want to raise children, they should be allowed to have a group marriage as well, right? Since it’s all about the children….?

  3. John Pieret says

    I mean, if your argument is actually true, right? But it isn’t. It’s a pretext that you can’t and won’t apply consistently. It’s special pleading.

    Actually, I think you are giving them more credit than they deserve. Special pleading requires some thought. It requires thinking about options and deliberately evading the consequences of your own argument. I don’t think Santorum and Schlafly are capable of that. They are just babbling arguments made by others (largely lawyers opposing SSM under impossible circumstances) simply because they can’t think the matter through logically. They are just spouting it because it sort of sounds reasonable to people unfamiliar with reason.

  4. says

    So families with adopted children aren’t really families and the parents shouldn’t be allowed to get married, right?

    No, that’s totally different, because they aren’t homos.

     

    So we should refuse to allow anyone to get married if they don’t agree to have children, right?

    No, that’s totally different, because {insert deep-sounding but empty Catholic marriage apologetics about marriage without children being fine if the married couple could theoretically have children}.
     

    It’s special pleading.

    No, that’s totally different, because it’s “Well isn’t that special” pleading.

  5. marcus says

    Ed: “But it isn’t. It’s a pretext that you can’t and won’t apply consistently. It’s special pleading. bleating.”

  6. dingojack says

    But, but, but….
    Same sex marriage means a greater likelihood of santorum, isn’t that right Ricky?
    @@
    Dingo

  7. says

    So this hateful speech is made in the name of Jesus Christ… but even Jesus was raised in a blended family, not by his “natural” father and mother. Joseph was, in effect, his step-father. And isn’t the unnatural impregnation of Mary (by a personage/spirit/ghostie who was not her husband!) a key part of Catholic doctrine?
    .
    His comments are a rude slap in the face to all adoptive families, and to people who desparately want children and can’t have them, and to all who choose to remain child-free, and to all who are past childbearing age yet honor their marriage vows.
    .
    *spits*

  8. says

    damn, I hit “post” instead of “preview” and thus did not have a chance to correct my spelling error! [desperately]
    .
    Please put the “preview” button to the LEFT of the “post” button, where it makes sense.

  9. dugglebogey says

    My wife and I can’t have children.

    I’m getting pretty goddamn tired of these people saying my marriage is illegitimate.

  10. busterggi says

    At least Santorum isn’t calling to execute people who can’t have children – yet.

  11. dean says

    So families with adopted children aren’t really families …

    Well, my mother-in-law’s priest told my wife and I exactly that: “Since you adopted, the boys aren’t naturally yours and you are not, in the eyes of the church, a family.”

  12. Freodin says

    I totally agree with him… we have “sort of” devalued marriage. The “sort of” devaluation where consenting adults decide what to do with their lifes instead of mindlessly following their “betters”.

    And yes, I think that Mr. Santorum is “sort of” our “better”. The sort of “better” at spewing nonsense as soon as he opens his mouth.

    Seriously, just once I wish these people would come around and explain just in which way “marriage” is hurt, devalued or abolished when other groups can marry.
    But they just don’t have any argument other than “sort of”.

  13. Freodin says

    Well, my mother-in-law’s priest told my wife and I exactly that: “Since you adopted, the boys aren’t naturally yours and you are not, in the eyes of the church, a family.”

    To which the only possible response can be: Who the hell cares what your church thinks about my family?”

  14. acroyear says

    and when “their natural mother” or “their natural father” is abusive to the children (through violence or *real* neglect (not the ‘left the kid at the playground for half an hour crap we’re reading about these days)), are they really better off than under the care of people who are loving them without abuse?

  15. Chiroptera says

    However, the former Pennsylvania senator said that marriage should be an environment where children are raised by “their natural mother, and their natural father.”

    Did Santorum just propose that no couple be allowed to marry until the first child is born? And after the paternity test verifies the identity of the father?

  16. moarscienceplz says

    are they really better off than under the care of people who are loving them without abuse?

    Of course they are! Because God loves suffering. Plus, He will totally make it up to the kids in Heaven.
    \sarcasm

  17. John Pieret says

    dean @ 12 & Freodin @ 14:

    To which the only possible response can be: Who the hell cares what your church thinks about my family?”

    Actually, I think I would have responded by making the sign of the cross … with my middle finger.

  18. colnago80 says

    Re dean @ #12

    That’s interesting. I is my information that at least some of the children of Chief Justice Roberts, who is an RC, are adopted so I guess his family isn’t really a family.

  19. rabbitscribe says

    Erm, folks? The Catholic Church sure runs a lot of adoption agencies for an institution virulently opposed to adoption. If you’re in the mood to knock the Catholic Church, you’re rather spoilt for choice as it stands- no need to resort to falsehoods.

  20. scienceavenger says

    “If marriage is simply a romantic relationship between two people — and by the way, that’s what it’s devolved to in the minds of a lot of Americans…

    The fuck it has. What you are describing is a hookup. A marriage is a commitment to be partners in life, melding ALL aspects of life, not just the naked parts that distract you so.

    — if that’s all that marriage is then it’s hard to make the argument that any two people, any three or four people shouldn’t be able to get married.”

    And your argument that 3 or 4 people shouldn’t be allowed to get married is what exactly? You do understand that in some parts of the world those marriages exist right?

    However, the former Pennsylvania senator said that marriage should be an environment where children are raised by “their natural mother, and their natural father”

    WTF does this have to do with the question? It’s as if Frothy were asked whether cat-lovers should be allowed to get married and he said “marriage should be an environment where dogs are raised by good people”.

    Someone in the so-called professional media needs to start skipping over all this bullshit and cut to the chase by asking:

    Should childless and/or infertile people be allowed to marry?
    Should people with children who are unable to maintain a relationship with the children’s other parent (due to divorce, death, etc.) be allowed to remarry?

    This habit of changing any discussion of homosexual marriage into a discussion of children is almost as annoying as their habit of injecting Benghazi into everything.

  21. D. C. Sessions says

    If marriage is simply a romantic relationship between two people — and by the way, that’s what it’s devolved to in the minds of a lot of Americans

    You mean like Abraham and his sister Sarah? Because there certainly wasn’t any intention to get babies in that little relationship.

    — if that’s all that marriage is then it’s hard to make the argument that any two people, any three or four people shouldn’t be able to get married.

    Oh, you do mean the business with Abraham, Sarah, the Pharaoh, and Hagar.

    Now what was that about traditional marriage?

  22. says

    Given her age you’d think Schlafly would have no problems with blended families. After all she must have known a few women whose husbands didn’t come back from WW2, and whose children ended up with stepfathers.

  23. dean says

    rabbitscribe – if you are saying i lied, get screwed. If you aren’t then I find your comment confusing.

    <blockquote. To which the only possible response can be: Who the hell cares what your church thinks about my family?”

    I wasnt that polite.

  24. iknklast says

    So we should refuse to allow anyone to get married if they don’t agree to have children, right?

    No, that’s totally different, because {insert deep-sounding but empty Catholic marriage apologetics about marriage without children being fine if the married couple could theoretically have children}.

    That still leaves some problems. What about a couple like my husband and me? We married in our 40s, and neither of us were able (theoretically or otherwise) to have children. Does that mean we shouldn’t be allowed to marry? Because it’s just a romantic relationship! Of course, Santorum probably doesn’t really mean that; he’s just trying to sound profound about his bigotry.

  25. Pierce R. Butler says

    … that’s what it’s devolved to …

    So Santorum does believe in devolution!

    Maybe he’ll join the Disco Tute and write some papers on Intelligent Destruction.

  26. Trebuchet says

    Erm, folks? The Catholic Church sure runs a lot of adoption agencies for an institution virulently opposed to adoption. If you’re in the mood to knock the Catholic Church, you’re rather spoilt for choice as it stands- no need to resort to falsehoods.

    Where else are they going to sell the kids they steal from unwed mothers? They can’t bury them ALL in septic tanks.

  27. rabbitscribe says

    “if you are saying i lied, get screwed. If you aren’t then I find your comment confusing. “

    That’s not what I’m saying, although if, as you imply, saying it will somehow get me laid, I will reconsider. Whatever one priest said one time, the fact of the matter is that the Catholic Church is probably the largest single facilitator of adoptions in the world, including my own. Is it not obvious they consider adoptive relationships familial? If it’s not:

    http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01147b.htm

    Short version: “You aren’t allowed to marry your adoptive parents or siblings. Duh.”

    “Where else are they going to sell the kids they steal from unwed mothers? They can’t bury them ALL in septic tanks.”

    Well, that was certainly an ugly expression of bigotry. The circumstances to which you allude do not pertain to conservatively 99% of Catholic adoptions, nor to any contemporary ones. Your statement is irrational, immoral, and needless to say, unhelpful.

  28. lofgren says

    Ed is abusing the demarcation problem to put words in Santorum’s mouth. Just because families with adopted children are less worthy than families with natural children doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be allowed to get married. Sure, a man, a woman, and their natural children represent God’s ideal family, that which we should all aspire to be, but that doesn’t mean that we should deny happiness and civil rights to all of those lesser families. The question is where do we draw the line? I say we draw it between us and the homos.

  29. dingojack says

    “If marriage is simply a romantic relationship between two people — and by the way, that’s what it’s devolved to in the minds of a lot of Americans…”

    You preach it, Frothy.
    Everyone knows that a marriage is a business relationship between a man and his potential father-in-law, amirght?

    @@ Dingo

  30. steve oberski says

    @rabbitscribe

    Whatever one priest said one time …

    I just love me that game of Vatican wack a mole in the morning. Just what the fuck is the “official” position of the catlick church other that the collective positions of all those silly and evil enough to belong to it ?

    Your statement is irrational …

    About the only thing it has going for it is that it’s true. Which is apparently way down on the list of “officially” sanctioned catlick values.

  31. doublereed says

    Erm, folks? The Catholic Church sure runs a lot of adoption agencies for an institution virulently opposed to adoption. If you’re in the mood to knock the Catholic Church, you’re rather spoilt for choice as it stands- no need to resort to falsehoods.

    Considering that the entire post of Ed’s was that they don’t bother to ever apply their rationales consistently, I’m wondering what you are actually arguing. If they were to apply this awful rationale consistently, then they would absolutely have to be against adoption.

    Yea, Santorum and the Catholic Church is arguing against adoption. That’s what they’re doing, even if they refuse to recognize it. Because they aren’t consistent. They just hate the gays.

  32. marcus says

    lofgren “The question is where do we draw the line? I say we draw it between us and the homos.”
    I say we draw it between reasonable, rational people and disgusting piece-of-shit bigots such as yourself, you fucking idiot.

  33. rabbitscribe says

    I just love me that game of Vatican wack a mole in the morning. Just what the fuck is the “official” position of the catlick church other that the collective positions of all those silly and evil enough to belong to it ?

    So by that “logic,” since the overwhelming majority of Catholic adults use birth control, the Church is pro-birth control? Yeah, um, no.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magisterium

    About the only thing it has going for it is that it’s true. Which is apparently way down on the list of “officially” sanctioned catlick values.

    The “it” in question is the following statement:

    ““Where else are they going to sell the kids they steal from unwed mothers? They can’t bury them ALL in septic tanks.”

    So that’s true? The Catholic Church, here and now, of which Santorum is a member, coerces single mothers into surrendering their infants. Most of those infants are buried alive, but for some unspecified reason, not all of them can be. So the remainder are sold through Catholic adoption agencies. Since that’s all so manifestly absurd and dripping with irrational hatred, I can only assume the source of your truth-claim is divine revelation. Sorry, but I don’t share your faith. I prefer to open my eyes and actually look around.

  34. steve oberski says

    Hey rabbitscribe,

    Don’t open your eyes and look around until you pull your head out of your backside.

    And when you do, you will discover that the official position of the catholic church is not to be found on any web sites, it’s is in it actions.

    You know, like their program of genocide in sub Saharan Africa which is a direct result of their insane and murderous opposition to birth control and sexual prophylaxis.

    Or their continued interference with the formation of policy by secular governments in their attempt to deny women and homosexuals equal standing under the law.

    And yes, here and now, they are actively opposed to women having complete autonomy over their bodies and in many countries where the current conditions of ignorance and poverty allow, which is the eco-system that the catholic church thrives in, they are actively murdering women by denying them access to medical control over their reproductive systems.

    One only need to look at recent cases in Ireland and central and south America to see examples of this.

    And while the sexual predators that infest the catholic church have been to some extent exposed in “western” countries, once again in “3rd world” countries these child rapists still operate with the full knowledge of and under the protection of the catholic church.

    And yes, the catholic church, here and now, of which Santorum is a member, does coerce single mothers, and all women, to make choices that they would have never willingly made had they had complete autonomy over their bodies.

    So fuck you for being complicit in the crimes of this multi-national criminal cartel by proving them with moral and (I assume) financial support.

  35. dingojack says

    Dear Steve –
    Why should anyone listen to a murdering, child torturing, underhanded crook like you?
    Too harsh?
    Well didn’t Americans invade countries without provocation, murder children (by burning their flesh off no less) or by starving them or giving them blankets laced with poison (or even smallpox) and steal land & property using unequal treaties*?
    Clearly, you are responsible for all this too since you pay taxes (not to mention your parents & ancestors) – perhaps you can spend your time on the naughty-step thinking of suitable collective punishment for every single American….
    @@
    Dingo
    ———
    * not to mention the English and their empire, the Chinese, the Russians, the French…. and etc.

  36. dean says

    “if you are saying i lied, get screwed. If you aren’t then I find your comment confusing. “
    That’s not what I’m saying, …

    Then I apologize, and will note that I never implied, nor meant to imply, that the comment I reported was in any way a statement of any official position, only that we don’t need to imagine people having/voicing that opinion, people actually do.

  37. says

    steve oberski “And yes, here and now, they are actively opposed to women having complete autonomy over their bodies and in many countries where the current conditions of ignorance and poverty allow, which is the eco-system that the catholic church thrives in, they are actively murdering women by denying them access to medical control over their reproductive systems.
    One only need to look at recent cases in Ireland and central and south America to see examples of this.”

    Um, it’s a little thing called the “Culture of Life”.

  38. rabbitscribe says

    “And when you do, you will discover that the official position of the catholic church is not to be found on any web sites, it’s is in it actions.”

    No, it’s found on websites. Are the official planks of the Democratic Party found on websites or are they what somebody thinks will necessarily follow from implementation of those policies? Again, is the Church opposed to birth control because it says it is, or does it support birth control based on what Catholics actually do?

    “One only need to look at recent cases in Ireland and central and south America to see examples of this.”

    Finally, something relevant to the discussion. The last child buried at that site in Ireland died over sixty years ago. For a given value of, “recent,” I suppose…

    “And yes, the catholic church, here and now, of which Santorum is a member, does coerce single mothers, and all women, to make choices that they would have never willingly made had they had complete autonomy over their bodies.”

    But that’s not what I asked. You said a particular statement was true. That statement is, and I quote, “Where else are they going to sell the kids they steal from unwed mothers? They can’t bury them ALL in septic tanks.” Is it true that the Church steals infants from unwed mothers, buries most of them alive, and sells the rest through Catholic adoption agencies? Why, no! That is not true.

    “So fuck you for being complicit in the crimes of this multi-national criminal cartel by proving them with moral and (I assume) financial support.”

    All I ever said was that the Catholic Church is pro-adoption. If that’s “moral support,” so be it. But to infer from that simple and unassailable statement of fact that I’m a practicing Catholic is frankly absurd. And the notion that I’m complicit in all those crimes simply because I share with all thinking people the belief that a Church with a billion members worldwide might sometimes do anything positive is… well, words fail me.

  39. dingojack says

    steve oberski – Well then, logically what you should do is stop making idiotic arguments (although not as extreme, obviously) along those lines then.
    Blame those that should be blamed, not anyone within six degrees of separation.
    Dingo

  40. colnago80 says

    Re Chihuahua

    So did the European settlers who traveled to OZ and shoved the Aborigines into reservations or the ground.

  41. steve oberski says

    @dingojack

    It’s only an analogy, good for demonstrating similarities between 2 ideas.

    I’m sure you are also quite aware of how being a citizen of a country is different from being a member of a religion.

    That’s the part I prefer to focus on.

  42. zbeeblebrox says

    Wow. I didn’t realize that the decision my wife and I made not to have children would have such a devastating effect on “traditional” marriage.

  43. universalanimosity says

    You’re underestimating Santorum. He’s batshit crazy enough that he would apply this consistently if he had the power. There are Catholics (not necessarily the current Vatican) that insist that only individuals who passed a fertility test may be married in the eyes of god, that marriages between infertile couples are invalid. Santorum would also ban birth control if he had the power, so that no married couple could chose to not have children unless they abstained from sex altogether. By the way, completely abstaining from sex is also something many Catholics feel makes a marriage invalid. Santorum is so crazy he isn’t even part of mainstream Catholicism.

  44. dingojack says

    Steve – Oh I see now.
    ‘My country right or wrong'; Religions are EVVVUUUULLL. Got it. @@
    Dingo
    ———
    SLC – footnotes — try them, you might like them.

  45. Ichthyic says

    Are the official planks of the Democratic Party found on websites or are they what somebody thinks will necessarily follow from implementation of those policies? Again, is the Church opposed to birth control because it says it is, or does it support birth control based on what Catholics actually do?

    as to the first. you don’t understand how policy planks work. at all.

    as to the second… which version of the Catholic Church do you want to analyze policy for? the US CC has been much more liberal in its policies than the Vatican would like, for example.

    you really are doing a great job of muddling whatever point it is you are trying to make.

    frankly though, there is enough hate for the CC that it can readily spill across any misunderstandings of official policy, and I myself would have no problem with that.

    the CC can die on a pyre of its own making for all I care. It has historically been the single most destructive entity of all time.

  46. Ichthyic says

    The last child buried at that site in Ireland died over sixty years ago. For a given value of, “recent,” I suppose…

    so, it’s fine if they covered up murder for 60 years.

    how about 40?

    30?

    where do you draw your personal statute of limitations?

    asshole.

  47. Ichthyic says

    a Church with a billion members worldwide might sometimes do anything positive is…

    a broken clock.

  48. Matrim says

    Dingojack, 48

    Steve – Oh I see now.
    ‘My country right or wrong’; Religions are EVVVUUUULLL. Got it. @@

    Where did you get that?

    Leaving a country is quite difficult for people of limited means. Impossible for many. And there are few options available to you that don’t do or haven’t done equally terrible things. It is essentially required that you be a denizen somewhere, unless you care to live in Antarctica or in international waters.

    Leaving the RCC might garner you some social stigma, may lose you your job if you happen to work for the Church, and might cause some mental anguish, but it’s something anyone can do.

    I find it unlikely that you don’t know and understand this difference.

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