Episode CCCXXVI: Singing scientists, sorta »« Isn’t it obvious?

At least Bill Donohue has been poked savagely

The divorced Bill Donohue is in full-blown apoplexy over Obama’s tepid support for gay marriage.

I want the law to discriminate against straight people who live together — I used to call it shacking up, now it’s called cohabitation — I want the law to discriminate against all alternative lifestyles, against gays and unions.

Donohue’s argument against gay marriage is that it would open the door to all kinds of abominations…like brother and sister marriages, for which he cites a case in the courts. He asks the other guest on the show if he approves of that.

You know, if I were asked that question, I’d say…yeah, it ought not to be against the law. My personal squeamishness about how two people relate to one another ought not to be legally enforced; I’m sure there are people who consider what my partner and I do in the bedroom to be utterly disgusting, and I don’t think anyone should have to defend their private, consensual preferences to a team of strangers. I think prospective sibling marriages ought to be confronted with extensive genetic counseling, at the very least, and I might be willing to consider limiting the reproductive rights of such a relationship (because it would bring a third person into it, who does not deserve the potential genetic afflictions that can result from inbreeding) as reasonable, but otherwise…it’s not my place to police what other people do.

That answer would probably turn Donohue purple.

I have a song for you, Bill. Perhaps it will soothe your furrowed brow and bring your blood pressure down a few points.

Comments

  1. says

    Shame the liberal due had to equivocate. What you said is bang on, PZ, but I can’t imagine getting a majority of the public to think that clearly. Still he could have gone with the other argument, the whole, “Well, giving women the vote didn’t lead to giving trees the vote, did it?” line.

    Luckily, Donohue went and criticised co-habitation and made his own position look ridiculous.

  2. franko says

    The problem when you seek to liberalize everything is you end up in real difficulty deciding where lines should be drawn. Presumably, PZ, you don’t approve of one partner in a relationship showing violence to the other. But what is violence? A mild slap? A slap hard enough to raise a bruise? A blow that causes bleeding? If the affected partner says they don’t mind this treatment — thus overriding your “personal squeamishness about how two people relate to one another…” — how do you know they’re telling the truth? Isn’t the reason for legally enforcing some aspects of behaviour precisely to defend a person who may be adversely affected but is too timid to complain?
    When you say “I might be willing to consider limiting the reproductive rights of such a relationship (because it would bring a third person into it, who does not deserve the potential genetic afflictions that can result from inbreeding)” you have put your finger on the precise reason why sibling breeding is illegal in most cultures. Even worse than violent behaviour within a partnership, the interbreeding of siblings doesn’t even give its victim a chance to say whether or not they object.

  3. Randomfactor says

    The place to cut off a slippery slope is at the top. If NOBODY can get married, then you won’t have brother-sister marriage. It’s the only way to be sure. Banning same-sex marriage only eliminates the chance of brother-brother marriage.

  4. MichaelE says

    That Bill Donahue “gentleman” He really is a wretched excuse for a human being, isn’t he? Or moral human being anyway.

    Not only is he against gay marriage, something which does not, in any way, infringe on his personal rights and privacy. But apparently against non-married straight relationships aswell?

    Tell me, what is it, exactly, that marriage can bring to the table that a simple monogonous relationship cannot? Other than legal rights of course.

  5. Lars says

    Tell me, what is it, exactly, that marriage can bring to the table that a simple monogonous relationship cannot? Other than legal rights of course.

    Bigot acceptance.

    I believe that’s all.

  6. Woof says

    At least Bill Donohue has been poked savagely

    Well, shit. I was hoping that there was a taser involved.

  7. says

    To add to Franco’s fine arguments, I’d like to point out that hedgehogs are not fluorescent orange, and so the cosine rule doesn’t provide sufficient justification for gay marriage.

  8. says

    I don’t approve of violence in a relationship. I’ve never struck my wife, for instance, nor has she hit me.

    But what about couples who are into BDSM? It’s fully consensual. I’m not about to tell them how to have sex.

    And yes, if there is an abusive relationship, one with evidence like bruises and bleeding, I would favor the state stepping in and requiring counseling…but if neither partner will press charges, if there is no way to legally compel an unwilling person to demand protection, then there’s not much to be done.

    However, I think the state could provide real protection, with legal teeth, for people who want out of an abusive relationship. One problem right now is that if you’re getting beat up by someone who threatens you with even greater violence to you or your children if you resist, there isn’t much faith in the ability of the government to provide genuine protection.

    None of your cases are places where a liberal like me has much trouble drawing the lines.

  9. karmakin says

    Waitwaitwaitwait

    Donohue is DIVORCED?!?!? I did not know this.

    What a bloody hypocrite of epic proportions.

  10. gregpeterson says

    According to his holy book, the whole human race is the product of incest (twice if you count post-flood repopulation), so it’s a little difficult to understand what his objection is.

  11. Loqi says

    @Katherine Lorraine #6
    The strawpeople were totally asking for it. Presumably by dressing like people who wanted to be beaten up. Or something. But not beaten hard enough to cause bleeding. As long as it’s less than that, they say they don’t mind this treatment.

  12. says

    karmakin:

    Donohue is DIVORCED?!?!? I did not know this.

    Rules like that are for the little people. Donohue’s divorce was different.

  13. KG says

    None of your cases are places where a liberal like me has much trouble drawing the lines. – PZ

    Don’t be so mean PZ – you just won’t let franko have any fun, will you?

  14. franko says

    Sadly, my straw people exist in the real world. You see them regularly in the law courts, you see them in refuges (which tend to be for women, not men). Each of two people in a relationship knows what they mean by ‘consensual’; unfortunately their definitions don’t always match.
    Agreed the State is not always the best medium for intervention; but real people just don’t always behave in an idealized way. There IS no way to legally compel an unwilling person to demand protection, but to shrug off that situation as ‘tough luck’ is not my idea of a humane response.

  15. Matt Penfold says

    Does the shitbag Donohue realize that the states that have marriage equality are ticking along just fine without all of the doomsday senarios that he and his ilk keep wanking on about?

    I was going to point out that he could also look to Western Europe, but then I realised he would simply blame the Euro-crisis on allowing teh gheys to marry.

  16. says

    Ok, I’ll admit it. It’s divorced heterosexuals such as myself, living, unmarried, with our new partners who are destroying the sanctity of marriage. Like I care. Dammit, I’m happy.

  17. sunny says

    Matt Penfold

    Strangely enough other countries almost never seem to enter the sample in such discussions.

  18. KG says

    There IS no way to legally compel an unwilling person to demand protection, but to shrug off that situation as ‘tough luck’ is not my idea of a humane response. – franko

    Yes, it’s a good thing no-one has done that, isn’t it?

  19. says

    I think prospective sibling marriages ought to be confronted with extensive genetic counseling, at the very least, and I might be willing to consider limiting the reproductive rights of such a relationship (because it would bring a third person into it, who does not deserve the potential genetic afflictions that can result from inbreeding) as reasonable, but otherwise…it’s not my place to police what other people do.

    I know it’s a side issue, but no, please.
    In my opinion, the strongest argument against sibling or other incestous relationships is the power-imbalance that usually exists, but that’s another point alltogether.
    But we don’t limit people’s reproductive rights because of possible genetic diseases. Smells a bit like forced sterilisation.
    We don’t limit the reproductive rights of men and women who have passed a certain age either, although we know that they have a greatly increased risk for genetic anomalies, too.
    Let’s give people the credit of being able to make good reproductive choices for themselves and let’s make sure they have the necessary information to make those decissions.

    Randomfactor
    Please drop the “whore”-bullshit. No sex-worker deservers to be slurred by any connection with Donohue.

  20. Bernard Bumner says

    Each of two people in a relationship knows what they mean by ‘consensual’; unfortunately their definitions don’t always match.

    By definition, that is not consensual. The law can and does act in such cases.

  21. eric says

    “I want the law to discriminate against straight people who live together…”

    Is that a misquote or something? Did he really come out in favor of legally discriminating against folk with roommates?

    What about dorms, hotels, and condos? They’ve got a heckuva lot of people living together under one roof.

  22. Louis says

    Words. I does not has them.

    Well I do, but they are not very nice. They involve some large gentlemen, Mr Donohue’s anus, some tabasco sauce, a razor blade, Mr Donohue’s rectum, a cylindrical cheese grater, some sea salt, a bowling ball, some garden twine, a modified knitting needle, and a bag of angry wharf rats injected with angel dust.

    I’ve never claimed to be a nice person.

    Louis

    P.S. Calm Louis. Think the happy thoughts. Remember that pacifism is not easy. Think nice fluffy pink thoughts about Mr Donohoe. Imagine nice things happening to him. Imagine him getting flowers as a present or something. Do not imagine him being violated in his pee-pee hole by a Victoria umbrella wielded by an enraged Hulk Hogan. Calm. Tolerance. Love. Joy. Breathe. Fluffy pink and blue lovely fluffiness. Oh look kittens and puppies. In a blender. No no not in a blender. In a field. Skipping. Jumping. Lambs, frolicking in the field. Children playing in the field. Happy skipping people in the field.

    The mine field…

    …bugger.

  23. Janine: History’s Greatest Monster says

    At least Bill Donohue has been poked savagely

    It is from all that anal sex in mainstream movies that the secular Jews love so much.

    (Yes, I do think that the gasbag is also an anti-Semitic little shit bucket.)

  24. Alverant says

    #26 How dare you leave out the 24″ concrete dildo covered in low-grit sandpaper.

  25. says

    #23 wrote: “But we don’t limit people’s reproductive rights because of possible genetic diseases. Smells a bit like forced sterilisation.
    We don’t limit the reproductive rights of men and women who have passed a certain age either, although we know that they have a greatly increased risk for genetic anomalies, too.”

    Yeah, I was going to ask about that – whether we limit reproductive rights for couples who would pass on genetic diseases. If we don’t limit their rights, I don’t see how we can limit rights in the case of incest.

  26. says

    Last I checked, brother and sister involves one man and one woman.

    So, what’s Donohue’s problem with that?

    After all, Abraham married his half-sister.

  27. Louis says

    Incest marriage etc:

    1) ICK. Sorry but ICK. No way no how. This is not my bag, baby.

    2) If someone wants to do it, my 1) is not a good reason to stop them.

    That is all.

    Louis

  28. says

    Donohue’s argument against gay marriage is that it would open the door to all kinds of abominations…like brother and sister marriages, for which he cites a case in the courts.

    Has the man recently had a look into his own holy book ?

  29. Anri says

    I have always operated under the assumption that the purpose of marriage, in a legal sense, was to create an effective bond of ‘next of kin’ between consenting adults that did not exist before. That seems to me to be a reasonable definition, and doesn’t leave you with the (certainly politically untenable) position of defending immediate-sibling marriage.

  30. Matt Penfold says

    Yeah, I was going to ask about that – whether we limit reproductive rights for couples who would pass on genetic diseases. If we don’t limit their rights, I don’t see how we can limit rights in the case of incest.

    The relative risks are nothing like the same. In addition when someone is known to be a carrier of a genetic disease there is often genetic screening available of their partner, and of any embryo.

  31. Esteleth, Who is Totally Not a Dog or Ferret says

    Okay, cupcakes (you know who you are).

    What is the most important thing for a sexual relationship to have? More than chemistry, more than attraction, more than the right body parts?

    CONSENT.

    Without consent, it is not a relationship, it is abuse, it is rape, it is wrong.

    Consent is why any number of adults, of any combination of genders, should be allowed to form relationships.

    Lack of consent is why adult/child relationships are taboo and should remain so.

    Lack of consent is why bestiality is taboo and should remain so.

    Recognizing same-sex relationships is not a “slippery slope” to legalizing pedophilia or bestiality because consent is the crux of the matter.

    BDSM is not the same as abuse. Consensual BDSM is exactly that, consensual.

  32. says

    Consensual BDSM is exactly that, consensual.

    I think that is an extremely simplified, and most likely wrong, view of the psychodynamics in more than just a few BDSM relationships. It is worth remembering that consent may be given in the hope of secondary gains, like the continuance of a relationship, or protection, or financial or psychological support.

  33. Esteleth, Who is Totally Not a Dog or Ferret says

    Rorschach, that can be said of just about every relationship.

    Doesn’t negate my point that consent is the magic ticket.

  34. says

    Matt Penfold

    The relative risks are nothing like the same. In addition when someone is known to be a carrier of a genetic disease there is often genetic screening available of their partner, and of any embryo.

    There’s a big difference between offering screening and counselling and limiting their reproductive rights.
    There are totally unrelated couples who know that they have a 25% chance of passing on a certain genetic disease to their offspring. Do you think that their rights should be limited?
    I’d be much more in favour of offering them IVF with genetic screening to make sure the implanted eggs are healthy.

    Anri
    Huh?
    Marriage comes with a shitload of rights and privileges that siblings don’t have, what’s your argument here?
    Again, I’m not necessarily in favour of legalizing sibling marriages, but I’m against bogus-arguments.

    Also, last time I looked marriage was not a prerequisite to have offspring.

  35. Matt Penfold says

    I think that is an extremely simplified, and most likely wrong, view of the psychodynamics in more than just a few BDSM relationships. It is worth remembering that consent may be given in the hope of secondary gains, like the continuance of a relationship, or protection, or financial or psychological support.

    That can be applied to the issue of consent on pretty anything involving people.

  36. anathema says

    I think that is an extremely simplified, and most likely wrong, view of the psychodynamics in more than just a few BDSM relationships. It is worth remembering that consent may be given in the hope of secondary gains, like the continuance of a relationship, or protection, or financial or psychological support.

    Well, yeah. There are going to be BDSM relationships where that happens. But there are also going to be non-BDSM relationships where this happens. It’s not really fair to single out BDSM relationships here.

  37. says

    Matt:

    I was going to point out that he could also look to Western Europe, but then I realised he would simply blame the Euro-crisis on allowing teh gheys to marry.

    Yeah, and I wouldn’t put it past him to blame NY’s on-going budget crisis* on our icky, icky marriage equality (even though Wall Street tanked long before it passed). I mean, if we just continued to discriminate, we’d be in the black already, right?

    Those damned gheys! Ruining economies ike it’s their freaking job.

    *Now only $2b in the hole!

  38. Matt Penfold says

    There’s a big difference between offering screening and counselling and limiting their reproductive rights.
    There are totally unrelated couples who know that they have a 25% chance of passing on a certain genetic disease to their offspring. Do you think that their rights should be limited?
    I’d be much more in favour of offering them IVF with genetic screening to make sure the implanted eggs are healthy.

    There I would agree with you.

  39. nowimnothing says

    @36 Exactly!

    I will just add that it is not just those who cannot give consent because of their age or metal capacity but also adults who may be manipulated into a relationship due to family (arranged marriages) indoctrination (religious polygamy) or drug abuse (some sex workers/slaves.) Obviously this area gets a little gray, but many people in these kinds of situations cannot really give informed, un-manipulated consent either and the state can step in and at least offer options and/or protection.

  40. nowimnothing says

    ugh, mental, see Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn series for more on metal capacity.

  41. Matt Penfold says

    I can’t resist posting this little Roy Zimmerman video, “Defenders of Marriage”.

    I liked his quip that the “equipment” two people use is someone’s business. It reminds me of someone I know who runs a saddlery business, or at least that it was he appears to run to most people. In fact he makes most of his income from making leather sex toys. Says it pays far more than making saddles and tack for horses.

  42. says

    That can be applied to the issue of consent on pretty anything involving people.

    Sure thing. But it was applied here in the context of BDSM specifically, and I responded to that.

  43. mythbri says

    @ Esteleth #36

    That’s it, exactly. In my neck of the woods, religious polygamy is regularly practiced in some communities while authorities pretty much look the other way. The more mainstream religious folk out here oppose marriage equality in a big way, and not just because of the “one man, one woman, and God” thing, but also because they make the “slippery slope” argument that it could lead to legalized polygamy, which they now claim is a Bad Thing (but not really).

    My discomfort with polygamy centers squarely on the exploitation and subjugation of women and girls, and the abandonment of young men that tends to be very common in the local polygamist communities. In a scenario in which everyone involved in the marriage can offer informed, non-coerced consent, then I have no problem with it, even though it’s not my bag.

    The point is that as you said, CONSENT is the crux of the matter, and the slippery slopes that people wring their hands over are non-issues as long as one focuses on consent.

  44. MurOllavan says

    Society granting marriage rights in cases of incest and moving towards acceptance of those relationships would increase the rate of sex abuse against children. Has nothing to do with genetics.

  45. petejohn says

    My first two experiences with Donahue were when he challenged Dan Barker to step outside, and when he thrice told Hitch he was to be quiet because “an Irishman is talking.” He also seems to cry bigotry whenever someone asks a Catholic to play fair. Good to see he’s still rather good at stuffing his rotting feet into his big, fat mouth.

  46. Amphiox says

    The problem when you seek to liberalize everything is you end up in real difficulty deciding where lines should be drawn

    The line is INFORMED CONSENT.

    There are a few subtleties around the extreme edges regarding the obtaining and giving of informed consent that result in ethical dilemmas, but they are rare enough to be considered individually in a case by case basis.

    Seriously, this is NOT HARD.

  47. says

    Mur,
    Uh, how? We’ve been talking about consenting adults, not allowing abuse to happen. And it doesn’t follow that because someone is attracted to their sister that they will also molest their children.

    That’s the same exact argument used against gay people.

  48. says

    The relative risks are nothing like the same. In addition when someone is known to be a carrier of a genetic disease there is often genetic screening available of their partner, and of any embryo.

    Right, #39 already responded to this, but just to add my two cents… I’m not convinced that, even given different risks of defects, people’s rights should still be taken away. I would first ask if there was precedent for doing this sort of thing.

    That said, I don’t see that the risks are all that different (and you haven’t provided a source.) As #39 said, certain diseases like Tay Sachs can have a 25% chance of being passed on. I don’t know much about incest, but a quick check on Wikipedia shows that 20-36% of children born of parent-child or sibling-sibling unions will die or have a majority disability due to inbreeding. A high number, to be sure, but not much higher than 25%. So I think the issue of whose rights to limit bears more thought.

  49. Esteleth, Who is Totally Not a Dog or Ferret says

    The problem with incest is not the immediate effect on a given relationship and their child(ren).

    The problem is societal.

    Increased inbreeding has societal effects.

    Also, given that one of marriage’s key facets is economic – connecting unconnected family groups – incestuous unions are threatening to the paradigm.

  50. DLC says

    PZ @11 : Many jurisdictions have what’s known as “Felony Domestic Battery” laws, wherein police are mandated to arrest the offending party in a domestic violence case. As in, if they arrive on scene and one party is bleeding and bruised and the other has bloody knuckles, then bloody knuckles gets to go to jail, right then. They do not need a complaint from the battered party in order to act.
    I’d rather this were the case in all states. Fuck States-Rights.

  51. DLC says

    PS: Bill D. can Kiss my ass. Why do cable news even have him on anymore ? He’s so clearly out there in wingnut land.

  52. says

    What horrible little monsters they are, those that seek to bar equality from gay people. Especially little failures like Franko, who are so incapable of rationalizing their hatred the best they can do is a half-assed slippery slope argument

  53. kemist, Dark Lord of the Sith says

    As #39 said, certain diseases like Tay Sachs can have a 25% chance of being passed on.

    Huntington’s.

    Autosomal dominant disease, which means a 50% chance of children developping it with only one carrier parent.

    That means it doesn’t matter with whom that person will have children, sibling, cousin or total stranger.

  54. vyyle says

    Interesting that he criticizes brother-sister marriages, considering his holy book.

    Aside from all of the other rampant incest that god sanctioned, it’s interesting to note that Abraham and his wife Sarah were brother and sister. Or at least step-brother/sister; they had the same father and different mothers (Genisis 20:11-13). Which makes Isaac the result of an incestuous relationship.

  55. jeffreylewis says

    The problem when you seek to liberalize everything is you end up in real difficulty deciding where lines should be drawn.

    The problem when you seek to be conservative in everything is you end up in real difficulty deciding where lines should be drawn. I mean, once you get in the business of decided who should be allowed to get married, what’s next? Is the state going to start to arrange marriages?

  56. mikee says

    PZ implies that the real reason Donohue doesn’t like gay marriage/relationships is because it makes him squeamish.
    Donohue makes me squeamish, so could I ask that he not be allowed to exist either?

    The bit that really gets me it that so many of these fine “Christian” opponents to gay marriage are DIVORCED! Seriously, if there is a threat to the “sanctity” of marriage it’s all these religious hypocrites.

    My partner and I have been together for over 22 years, and we have lived through the whole richer, poorer, in sickness and in health while seeing some marriages around us disintergrate, some with incredible acrimony.

    If hell did exist, there would be a special place in it for hypocrites such as Donohue, probably involved flaming hedgehogs.

  57. mikee says

    Actually I’m starting to warm to Randomfactor’s idea #5

    Let’s ban marriage altogether. Let’s raise the bar so high nobody qualifies. That should avoid those slippery slope arguments.

  58. MurOllavan says

    Dr. Audley of course it doesn’t follow that brother attracted to sister will molest his children. But if you permit them to marry, then of course you would permit father-daughter marriages. I find it hard to believe that these relationships would have started as consensual and both of legal age at the outset.

    In other words, society’s strong disapproval and legal statutes pertaining to incest probably prevent some abuse. Take them away and you take away the prevention.

    I have no clue what that would have to do with same sex anything. There are no good arguments against that.

  59. says

    Dr. Audley of course it doesn’t follow that brother attracted to sister will molest his children. But if you permit them to marry, then of course you would permit father-daughter marriages. I find it hard to believe that these relationships would have started as consensual and both of legal age at the outset.

    Um…why? It’s not like it’s hard to say “Ok siblings we’ll allow for now but not parent/offspring”. They’re two different relationships…how are they equivalent?

    In other words, society’s strong disapproval and legal statutes pertaining to incest probably prevent some abuse. Take them away and you take away the prevention.

    I’m sorry, color me skeptical that CHILD ABUSERS actually want to MARRY the children they abuse.

    FFS relationships that start out nonconsenual, I don’t think, BECOME consensual…and it’s not like society’s strong disapproval actually stops people who rape their kids. I mean…do you actually think there’s a large desire for people to fuck their kids? I…what?

  60. Azuma Hazuki says

    But his Bible is full of incest! Think about poor Lot’s children…er…grandchildren…er…whatever they are. Lot was their father, uncle, grandfather, and technically his own father-in-law!

  61. vaiyt says

    “The Gay Marriage Debate”

    There’s no fucking debate! Gays are human beings, and they have rights. They should get their Thor damn rights. THE END.

  62. MurOllavan says

    Um…why? It’s not like it’s hard to say “Ok siblings we’ll allow for now but not parent/offspring”. They’re two different relationships…how are they equivalent?

    If you allow siblings based on the ‘why not’ concept you should have a reason to not allow the other. Just saying so isn’t good enough. Plus the majority of incest is father/daughter so I was just taking the overwhelming norm.

    I’m sorry, color me skeptical that CHILD ABUSERS actually want to MARRY the children they abuse.

    FFS relationships that start out nonconsenual, I don’t think, BECOME consensual…and it’s not like society’s strong disapproval actually stops people who rape their kids. I mean…do you actually think there’s a large desire for people to fuck their kids? I…what?

    Marriage isn’t the only legal statute, the incest itself is usually illegal. My point is that taking it away will have negative effects. You are incorrect, these ‘relationships’ quite often do become consensual as far as we can tell. Mackenzie Phillips-like.

    I didn’t say socialization can stop something that already happened which is what you wrote. It stops things that didn’t happen, but would if it were absent. There is reason to believe some sex abuse is stopped by socialization (which is what I wrote), because we know by comparing my country(US) to others elsewhere where male on female rape lacks the social stigma rape rates are much higher.

  63. Ichthyic says

    But if you permit them to marry, then of course you would permit father-daughter marriages.

    of course??

    and, speaking of slippery slope fallacies….

  64. Ichthyic says

    Just saying so isn’t good enough.

    ironically that’s ALL you have to support your argument.

    stop projecting, you git.

  65. MurOllavan says

    ironically that’s ALL you have to support your argument.
    stop projecting, you git.

    I presented a sound argument against permitting incest in 70 above. If its too hard for you to understand that isn’t my fault.

  66. says

    If you allow siblings based on the ‘why not’ concept you should have a reason to not allow the other. Just saying so isn’t good enough.

    do you have some troubles with short-term memory? because you just gave the reason yourself, in your previous post. I mean, seriously, it’s not like it’s hard to see that sibling-relationships don’t suffer from the power-imbalance that parent-child relationships do. d’uh.

  67. says

    Presumably, PZ, you don’t approve of one partner in a relationship showing violence to the other. But what is violence? A mild slap? A slap hard enough to raise a bruise? A blow that causes bleeding? If the affected partner says they don’t mind this treatment — thus overriding your “personal squeamishness about how two people relate to one another…”

    I certainly am in favor of CONSENSUAL violence within a relationship. If someone gets off on being slapped, or caned, or whipped, or cut, then that is their business. The right to choose what you do with your body is paramount to me. Consent is the difference between sex and rape and it also should be the difference between kink and assault.

  68. MurOllavan says

    Yet in the real world where we see siblings engaging in sex, its almost always abuse instead of mutual consent. Sibling relationships do suffer from that. Maybe not to the same degree – but more than enough to cause widespread, enduring harm.

    The effects include thinking later that it was consensual or that the victim was the perpetrator.

    The whole point is that the response to Bill D. shouldn’t be to support legalizing incest, it should be to tell him to fuck off and stop insinuating gay relationships are the same as incest or bestiality as that’s beyond insulting.

  69. Aquaria says

    #42:

    New York is only 2 billion in the hole?

    Fucking slackers:

    For all the controversy over the national debt ceiling, here’s a surprise: Since 2001, the debt load in conservative Texas has grown faster than the federal debt.

    Texas has been borrowing more than most other states, too. And local entities, from cities to school districts to transit authorities, have been piling up even more debt.

    From 2001 to 2010, state debt alone grew from $13.4 billion to $37.8 billion, according to the Texas Bond Review Board. That’s an increase of 281 percent. Over the same time, the national debt rose almost 234 percent, with two wars, two tax cuts and stimulus spending.

    That’s for 2011, as per the Ft. Worth Startlegram–er, Star-Telegram.

    It would be 27 billion only a few months later:

    http://sunshinereview.org/index.php/Texas_state_budget

    Of course Texas decided to eat their laying hens, which is how my grandfather would have referred to the way that the conservaslime in the Lege decided to go for spending cuts–in a budget that has nothing but bones. That means cutting essential services and screwing the poor and our crap schools harder and deeper.

    But that’s the way of conservative scumbags.

  70. Ichthyic says

    I presented a sound argument against permitting incest in 70 above.

    that’s not the argument I was referring to, obviously.

    I’m loathe to even bother continuing, given you seem to so easily misplace who is arguing what.

  71. Cipher, OM says

    Not appreciating the use of abuse victims as pawns for franko’s argument for harassment of BDSM people. The fact that people advance dumbass arguments that assume an equivalence between BDSM and abuse prevents people from getting actual useful information – which is different from assumptions and shaming – about what actually constitutes abuse and how to deal with it. Lying to people about their own lives tends to make them not want to listen to you.

  72. Amphiox says

    Advances in genetic science, through the employment of screening and flat out genetic engineering will likely eventually obviate the genetic argument against incest.

    Adult incest (that would be incest that doesn’t qualify as child abuse) and polygamy would sit near the edge of the informed consent paradigm. The issue here is what constitutes truly free INFORMED consent. The power discrepancy in both situations, even between a parent and an adult child, muddies the issue of whether any consent given is truly informed and free.

    That really is the more valid justification for restricting these two than biological arguments. (Which also have the additional drawback of implying that the purpose of such unions is the production of children).

    (Notwithstanding how polygamy in practice frequently segues into child abuse, wherein the fourth or fifth wife is so frequently a teenage girl)

  73. says

    How did I miss this one before?

    Consensual BDSM is exactly that, consensual.

    I think that is an extremely simplified, and most likely wrong, view of the psychodynamics in more than just a few BDSM relationships. It is worth remembering that consent may be given in the hope of secondary gains, like the continuance of a relationship, or protection, or financial or psychological support.

    This is so far from right that I can only conclude that you have zero knowledge of what is involved in BDSM. Sure, people may give consent for reasons other than because they really want it but that also applies to a lot of things in human relationships. In fact it probably happens far more often in regards to sex than it does to BDSM play. So by your logic, all sex should now be outlawed and considered rape because we can’t know for sure whether the participants really want it or not. For that matter since people frequently marry for financial or psychological support we should get rid of marriage altogether as well.

    I’m pretty heavily involved in the local BDSM scene and while some abuse happens (the entire Boston scene has blown up in recent months due to issues surrounding how consent and claims of abuse should be handled) it’s not at any higher rate than the general population. I engage in some play that is considered pretty extreme even by other BDSM folks and I can understand how people who aren’t into it can’t understand why I consent but I do and you have no right to second guess that consent. I don’t understand why anyone would want to get breasts implants but I’m not going to advocate barring elective plastic surgery because I’d never do it.

  74. Amphiox says

    It is worth remembering that consent may be given in the hope of secondary gains, like the continuance of a relationship, or protection, or financial or psychological support.

    But this is still informed consent!

    If it weren’t, then ALL consensual exchanges of X for Y are invalid, and the entire world economy is just a form of abuse!

  75. Cipher, OM says

    So by your logic, all sex should now be outlawed and considered rape because we can’t know for sure whether the participants really want it or not.

    In context it’s completely understandable for you to do this, because that is precisely what other people in the thread have argued for, but I think you’re overinterpreting rorschach’s argument here. I am pretty sure he was just trying to address the issue with somewhat more complexity, so as not to erase the reality that coercion plays a role in some BDSM relationships just like in relationships of other kinds.

  76. says

    Cipher: If it makes sense in context and there’s no indication that he wasn’t making an argument that because of those things BDSM should be illegal then how am I over-interpreting it?

  77. Cipher, OM says

    This comment I think constitutes an indication that he wasn’t making that argument, and the fact that he didn’t actually make that argument is a pretty good indication too. I also have prior knowledge that rorschach isn’t an asshole and am of course influenced by that in my interpretation of his words.

    I’m slightly frustrated here because my background – abuse in the context of two initially consensual BDSM relationships, a situation exacerbated by the fact that the only people who ever made any effort to talk to me about abuse and BDSM in my world were people conflating the two – makes it very very important to me that the real existence of coercion in some BDSM relationships be acknowledged and talked about, but the same background makes it extremely important to me that BDSM and abuse not be conflated. It’s an issue with nuances that I find are rarely discussed outside of kink-centered contexts because people like you and me are busy trying to convince assholes that BDSM isn’t by definition abuse.

  78. robro says

    This discussion reminds me of something software engineers do: program for the edge cases while making the thing people really want to do more and more difficult.

    Sibling marriages would undoubtably be rare because who would want to marry his/her brother or sister. Sure, there’s an opportunity for coercion in these situations, but that exists in many “normal” heterosexual marriages particularly when parents arrange the marriages.

    Abusive relationships, of which there are tons of all stripes (BDSM, gay, het…mostly het, you name it), are terrible. They are difficult for society to prevent and restricting other people’s right to marry isn’t going to help. As PZ pointed out, the answer here is to provide strong support when someone wants out. There’s a lot that could be done in this department by providing services and requiring the police and courts to help. I have an old friend who has been a legal and public advocate for abused women for many years in an area where the police and courts are as much of a problem as the men doing the abusing.

    The point is that for the most part (99%?) people who love one another enough to even try marriage, whether straight, gay, mixed-race, mixed-faith, or whatever, just want a chance to live their lives together in peace, be a family, and have the same advantages and protections that every other married couple have. Let’s deal with the primary cases first, then tweak to deal with the edge cases and remember there might be a better solution than anti-xx marriage laws.

    And if you want to read some very touching points pertinent to the discussion of marriage equality read the Loving’s story here and here (and that really is the name).

  79. bernarda says

    France is more on the right track. Only secular marriages performed by the mayor or his representative are recognized as legal. People can repeat the ceremony in a church if they so wish, but that is not recognized by the state.

    France also has a statute that allows gays and heterosexuals to make unions called PACs. Even brothers and sisters can make a PAC. Originally meant for homosexuals, there are now more heteros that make these unions which give many of the legal rights found in marriage.

    The solution would be to eliminate the term “marriage” from the French legal civil marriages and just call it something else, maybe elevate the PACs to the level of “marriage”. Then if some people still wanted a “marriage”, they could still go to a church for a symbolic ceremony.

  80. Marcus Hill (mysterious and nefarious) says

    I didn’t bother wathcing the Donahue clip (I’ve just had my breakfast and would rather keep it down), but I did watch the little song. I’m appalled, and urge you to watch the Roy Zimmerman song mentioned upthread as a better alternative. “SCREW THOU”? If you’re going to try using archaic language, do it right – it should be “screw thee” (unless the modern equivalent you’re trying to convey is “screw, you!”)

    Damn, the therapy has done nothing to cure my useless pedantry…

  81. flapjack says

    “Donohue’s argument against gay marriage is that it would open the door to all kinds of abominations…like brother and sister marriages, for which he cites a case in the courts. He asks the other guest on the show if he approves of that.”

    I think Betty Bowers does a good rundown of exactly what abominations Donohue’s Bible actually gives the green light to, incest, polygamy on an industrial scale, a genepool so shallow it’s practically a genepuddle etc.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OFkeKKszXTw
    And not content with endorsing one genetic bottleneck to kickstart the human race, god then forces another one with Noah’s family (cause when you find paragons of virtue to wipe mankind’s moral slate clean the next thing you want them to do is to procreate their brains out with close family members).
    That’s not even a slippery slope, half of it’s already a done deal by the last page of Genesis

  82. jean-nicolasdenonne says

    About marriage between siblings, I would be against it (for now) for the reason cultural aversion toward incest helps reduce sexual abuse of children (which happen mostly inside the familial circle.)

    See Alonzo Fyfe’s argument here: http://atheistethicist.blogspot.com/2012/02/legalizing-incestuous-and-polygamous.html

    I know than in an ideal world, we should not need such strong taboo against incest: we should have a strong taboo against sex with minors and against sex without consent and clear understanding of what consent really mean. But for some reason, this is not currently the case (or it is clearly not working). (I guess incest taboo does not work perfectly either, but its effect is not zero.)

    So in the meanwhile, tabooing incest serves a useful role and legalizing incestuous marriage would undermine this taboo.

    Another (maybe stronger) argument is the question of whether free consent is truly possible inside the family (coercion and power relationships can happen in very subtle ways inside a family.)

  83. keori says

    Halloo, all. Have lurked and read for months, and am finally registering and de-lurking to say a piece on this subject. If you doubt my credentials, I would like to refer you to Ms. Daisy Cutter for character references. Warning: I say “fuck” a LOT. As anyone who is friends with Daze should. ;)

    Ahem.

    1) Fuck Bill Donahue. The Catholic League is him putting out outraged press releases from his basement in between tearful wanks. He’s no more an expert on anything involving gay people than Tony fucking Perkins, who heads up another christian hate group. It’s a disgrace that the corporate-owned media gives these vile scumbags airtime at all, much less without the qualifier that these are the founders and heads of hate groups, making money off of idiots with a pathological terror of spending 30 seconds explaining to their stupid, ugly kids that, “sometimes boys marry boys, and girls marry girls. You may marry either a boy or a girl if you so choose when you grow up. No one will make you do either. Now let’s go have a snack and do your homework.”

    2) Marriage between siblings is unnecessary. Why?

    a. Because marriage establishes a legal kinship where previously there was none. Siblings already have a right of kinship by virtue of being related by blood or legal adoption. They do not need to get married to be considered a family.

    b. Not allowing siblings from being married ain’t gonna stop them as wants to from fucking or possibly having children. Sorry.

    Let’s stop the conflation of marriage with sex and reproduction, shall we? It plays right into the hands of people like Donahue whose entire reason for being against marriage equality is “I don’t like thinking about those icky men having buttsecks.”

    Marriage is about creating a legal family where previously there was none. It’s not about sex. The only reason it’s been about sex is because marriage has been used as a weapon to keep women as sexual chattel and the property of their fathers and then their husbands. It’s high time we did away with that bullshit and the lingering thought process. Say it with me: Marriage = family.

    2) BDSM is not about abuse. We all know this. There ARE people in the BDSM community who use it as an excuse to exploit and abuse people. That is because BDSM practitioners, like any other group of people, are a microcosm of larger society, and in larger society, there are a fair number of exploitative, abusive assholes who get their jollies hurting others. Usually we see such people standing at pulpits on Sunday mornings, but we also see them wielding floggers at play parties occasionally.

    The difference between the person in the pew listening the abusive, exploitative asshole in the pulpit and the person chained to the St. Andrews cross is that the informed consent of the one sitting in the pew is often questionable.

    Also, what the hell does BDSM have to do with marriage equality? Not a damn thing. The only reason people bring it up in discussion about marriage equality is because they’re trying to prompt an “ick” response, thereby creating a connection in people’s minds between creating a family and leather-clad people swinging whips and doing other things that makes the Baby Jebus cry.

    *bows*

    Thank you all for bearing with me during my first post here at FTB. I do apologize for the length, and I look forward to a long career of snark and thoughtful discussion.

  84. says

    This slippery slope argument seems to have popped up with extra vigor all over the interwebz in the last few weeks. We got the “then it will be incest and guys marrying dogs” argument over at the Atheist Foundation of Australia.

    Is there someone in the religious right that just hands out game plan of the month or something?

  85. David Marjanović says

    *blink*

    Divorced?

    The Catholic League is divorced!?!

    Did he get his marriage annulled, or is he an abomination in the eyes of the pope?

  86. Marcus Hill (mysterious and nefarious) says

    @keori: As has been mentioned by others, the argument that sibling marriage is unnecessary as they’re already kin isn’t one that holds water. Marriage has a lot more legal weight than any other relationship – just to pick one example from UK law off the top of my head, if I should die intestate, my wife will automatically get all of my estate with no potential inheritance tax (not that I have enough stuff to attract the tax, but she wouldn’t even if I were a gazillionaire), and if she then died within a certain time (7 years, I think) then my son would have double the usual tax free allowance on our estate. If I weren’t married and had no children, my siblings might need to go to court and would definitely have to pay inheritance tax if I were a richer man.

  87. says

    Mormon response to Obama’s comments:

    Bob McBride/Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Memphis

    Regardless of political opinion, it is vitally important to understand that the Family is constantly under attack and will continue to be for years to come, President Obama’s support of gay marriage is just one more example of this. The Bible teaches that even before Adam and Eve left the Garden of Eden that they were united as one in marriage and commanded to multiply and replenish the earth; neither of these commandments have been revoked by our Creator, nor can two individuals of the same sex fulfill the Second Commandment. The family unit, with a mother and father, is the best place for children to grow and learn and to develop faith and love for God and our fellowman. Marriage between a man and woman, is ordained of God and the family unit must be strengthen and protected.

  88. 'Tis Himself says

    Regardless of political opinion, it is vitally important to understand that the Family is constantly under attack and will continue to be for years to come

    Who’s attacking the family? Are straight people being restrained from marrying and having children?

    The homophobes keep bleating that same-sex marriage will “destroy marriage.” But they never explain how this destruction will happen.

  89. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    The homophobes keep bleating that same-sex marriage will “destroy marriage.” But they never explain how this destruction will happen.

    Usually they won’t respond to the question and change the subject, or go into a totally paranoid over-the-hill version of it meaning you can marry your goat on fire. No rationality and reality to the answer.

  90. Marcus Hill (mysterious and nefarious) says

    All of the gay marriage going on has definitely prevented me from getting married and having children.

  91. says

    Nerd of Redhead:

    Usually they won’t respond to the question and change the subject, or go into a totally paranoid over-the-hill version of it meaning you can marry your goat on fire. No rationality and reality to the answer.

    So, you’re saying I lit my goat on fire for nothing?