We’ve all heard this one before – allowing same sex marriage is just the start of a slippery slope which leads inexorably to absolute ruin. The thin edge of a drag queen’s wedge. The big gay straw that will break the camel’s back, where the camel is us, and its back is life as we know it. Or, in the immortal words of Republican Arizona Senate candidate J.D. Hayworth:
I guess [it would mean] you could marry your horse.
It may just be Mr Hayworth’s name, but that almost sounds hopeful. Here comes the bridle, indeed.
The argument in a nutshell
Same sex marriage is the root of all evil.
What they’re really trying to say
We’re out of ideas, so we’re going to distract everyone by yelling “KIDDY FUCKERS!”.
Despite Mr Hayworth’s poorly-disguised wishful thinking, the argument labours under three rather fatal delusions.
The Smackdown Part 1 – Assumed Inevitability
No one ever seems to explain exactly how the slippery slope will get going. It’s just taken for granted that a large proportion of the population wants to, say, marry horses, but they’re a bit shy, and waiting for same-sex marriage to be legalised before they ask. A bit like when you’re out at dinner, and you wait for everyone to get their meals before doing a big crap on the table.
That sounds ridiculous, of course, but the (lack of) logic is the same. Take one perfectly innocuous event, and just blindly link it with something completely outrageous, with no further explanations necessary.
Which I guess means we can link the possible though extraordinarily unlikely existence of a magical bronze age zombie carpenter with the institutionalised sexual predation of minors. Oh, hang on…
The Smackdown Part 2 – Assumed Immorality
Not everyone is stupid enough to link same sex marriage with something as ridiculous as equine romance – some are content to merely link it to, say, polygamy. In this case, it’s not just inevitability that is assumed, but immorality.
There’s no question that the polygamy practiced by countless religious sects is immoral (hey Mormons!), or at the very least, sexist (hello to you too, Muslims). But we shouldn’t let a few perverted misogynists spoil it for the rest of us.
There isn’t anything inherently wrong with polygamy between consenting adults. Unless you’re in the Fun Police.
The Smackdown Part 3 – The False Start
The people who make this argument assume that the “slippery slope” looks something like this:
Pretty scary, eh? The funny thing is, they never consider that perhaps their precious slippery slope actually looks like this:
That is, the argument just takes for granted that same sex marriage is the tipping point. The one thing that will lead to moral oblivion. But, if you think about it, wasn’t heterosexual marriage the thing that led to same sex marriage? And doesn’t “people going to the movies and shit” lead to heterosexual marriage? So isn’t the real start of the slippery slope “people going to the movies and shit”? How far back should we go?
If the argument has any merit at all, the only way to avoid the complete and utter destruction of society is for us all to just all stay at home, with our eyes closed and our fingers in our ears. Because a single glance at someone of the opposite sex will set us all off on a vuwy, vuwy scawy slippery slope. And you know what that means.
We’ll all end up as KIDDY FUCKERS!
Or watching Alf re-runs.