Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Dancing on the bench

The radical right has contempt for the legal system—unless they win a court ruling, in which case they dance a happy jig and exploit if for full propaganda value. Then, they reveal more than they intend.

Two rulings in two different countries have filled the stony hearts of America’s anti-gay industry with utter happiness—especially coming after a relentless string of defeats. But as they dance their happy rhetorical dances, they’ve shown us how dangerous and bigoted they really are.

The first ruling was from India, which inexplicably reinstated a British Empire colonial-era law that criminalised gay sex, something that had been struck down years ago. That law was enacted in the 1860s—in the USA at that time, people of African descent weren’t even humans in the United States, but mere property. To normal people, such antique laws are relics of the past best left behind—but that’s not the way the radicals in the anti-gay industry see it, of course.

The leader of one extremist anti-gay group, who is reportedly an attorney, and who has the appropriate last name of “Bull”, declared, “India chose to protect society at large rather than give in to a vocal minority of homosexual advocates… America needs to take note that a country of 1.2 billion people has rejected the road towards same-sex marriage, and understood that these kinds of bad decisions in the long run will harm society" [NB: The link goes to Joe.My.God., where the original source can be accessed; I never link to wingnut sites]. It’s not obvious to normal people, but what he’s actually arguing for is the re-criminalisation of homosexuality in the USA. That is, in fact, a common argument among far right “Christians” who see that as the magic answer to stopping marriage equality. Somehow.

A bigger happy dance was done with a ruling in Utah that struck down part of that state’s law against polygamy. They’re crowing about how this somehow “proves” they were right about their imaginary “slippery slope”. I honestly don’t know if they know they’re lying or are too stupid to know how utterly wrong they are.

The Utah ruling was based on the right to privacy, NOT the right to marry. States have no right to regulate the private behaviour of consenting adults, and this ruling merely affirmed that. In essence, Utah became the 50th state to legalise unmarried cohabitation— as Joe.My.God. put in several posts—and that’s it. The parts of the law that prevent people from claiming more than one legal spouse were NOT struck down, so polygamy is still illegal in Utah—not that you’d know that from the propaganda put out by the radical right.

One prominent wingnut website founded by a now-dead far right crackpot headlined their piece on the ruling, “Judge cites same-sex marriage in declaring polygamy ban unconstitutional”. Those are utter, complete and total lies: Same-sex marriage was NEVER mentioned in the ruling, and the ban on polygamy was NOT “declared unconstitutional”. Ah, those pesky facts again!

I’ve talked about this in several posts, so rather than linking to them all, here’s the real truth the radicals don’t want anyone to know: Since the first legal recognition of same-gender relationships became law in 1989, no country has legalised polygamy—NOT ONE. Also, none of the increasing number of places with marriage equality have legalised polygamy—NOT ONE.

Among the 50 countries that do have legalised polygamy, none have any legal recognition of same-gender relationships—NOT ONE. Moreover, 37 of those 50 countries criminalise homosexuality, including some with life in prison or even death sentences. If there’s a link between homosexuality and polygamy it’s actually that to support it, you must also be really anti-gay.

So, one has to be either a wanton liar or a complete idiot to argue that marriage equality “must” lead to legalised polygamy because it never has anywhere, and the countries with it are very anti-gay.

The fight for marriage equality has always been about equal access to the rights and responsibilities that marriage gives to couples. Because polygamous relationships are complex compared to marriage, legalised polygamy would require and an entirely new institution. This is because issues like taxation, guardianship, inheritance, next of kin status, etc., would be different for multiple spouses than for a couple. The radical right bloody well knows this, too.

Nothing the radical right claims is ever quite what it seems. When they dance their happy jig over a court ruling, it’s mostly about the propaganda spin they can put on it and how much money they can hoodwink otherwise decent people into giving them. But it does at least let us see how filled with prejudice, bigotry and hatred they truly are.

The anti-gay bigots on the far right can dance on the court bench all they want, but that can never turn their lies into truth. At least it’s easy enough to see what the truth really is, and how much the radical right hates that, too.

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