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'Chapel of the Bells', a Las Vegas wedding venue
Nevada is a world leader in protecting the sanctity of marriage.
One of the ways you can tell when you are on the wrong side of something is when the arguments you need to offer up in support of your position get increasingly convoluted. If your position is that Jesus Christ was in fact a large flightless bird, and your primary defense of the position is that you once saw a rock that looked like Elvis, who once sang a song about being in jail, which is kind of like being in a birdcage, which reminded you of seeing an ostrich in a zoo and that ostrich bit you on the hand just like Jesus would have done, if Jesus thought your hand was a tasty treat, then you have lost the plot.

I mention this because the Nevada argument against marriage equality, offered to the Ninth Circuit for the purpose of ensuring that good Nevada conservatives do not have their various marriages sullied by the thought of someone else doing it differently (Nevada is, of course, the go-to example for what traditional marriage ought to be in America, a state where your Best Man can be a video poker machine, if you are so inclined), is a bit batty. It argues that marriage equality is wrong because white supremacy is wrong, and white supremacists also had ideas about marriage, and everyone knows marriage is a historical institution involving a man, a woman, and a slot machine.

One of [our opponents'] strategies is to argue that just as white supremacists engrafted anti-miscegenation rules onto the marriage institution and were rightly repudiated by the Supreme Court in Loving, so homophobes, with laws like Nevada’s 2002 marriage amendment, have engrafted the man-woman meaning onto marriage and should likewise be repudiated by this Court. At first blush, this strategy is only silly because, of course, the union of a man and a woman has been a core, constitutive meaning of the marriage institution found in virtually every society since pre-history. Nevada’s marriage amendment did not add that institutionalized meaning but rather sought to protect and preserve it and the valuable social benefits flowing from it.
We see again the core presumption that all marriage throughout all of human history must of course have been ideologically identical to the civic version of marriage that exists in America at this precise moment, today, a feat that must take a supreme amount of self-centered pompousness to pull off. Point out the obvious ridiculousness of that notion all you like, mutter all you want about harems and concubines and dowries and the time that king invented his own damn religion that would define his marriage any damn way he liked and that the only concrete definition of marriage consistent from "pre-history" onwards to a historical moment damn near next Tuesday is as property arrangement, the woman or women in the marriage being the frequently unwilling property. Go ahead, we've already seen it won't do you any good. Conservatives have already retooled their own memories of the 1960s to better match their liking, God help you if you bring up the 1860s or the 1460s or ye old rapey-stabby Bible times into it.

Please read below the fold for more on this ridiculousness.

And as for the majority of American history, well, that was just an oopsies. An oopsies that was not at all the fault of American society or (cough) conservative declarations of God's obvious natural order of things as they ought to apply to American law, but because a circus troupe of white supremacists came out of nowhere and—bam!—changed our laws and tricked us all into seeing things their way for decades on end:

White supremacists engrafted the anti-miscegenation rules onto the marriage institution — and thereby altered marriage from how it had existed at common law and throughout the millennia — to bend that institution into the new and foreign role of inculcating white supremacist doctrines into the consciousness of the people generally. Because of the profound teaching, forming, and transforming power that fundamental social institutions like marriage have over all of us, this evil strategy undoubtedly worked effectively for decades.

Question: Where does one see today a similar massive political effort to profoundly change the marriage institution in order to bend it into a new and foreign role, one in important ways at odds with its ancient and essential roles? Answer: The genderless marriage movement.

No sir, marriage was an unchanging, perfect institution throughout the millennia until a naughty gaggle of American white supremacists usurped it toward their own ends, just like the gays are trying to do now.

Honestly, you have to be at least a little impressed. The amount of effort it takes to come up with these things must truly be staggering—you can see now why so many of these people seem so very behind the times, because clearly they must spend all the long months and years toiling away at their desks, scribbling the notes and doodles and flowcharts that will eventually turn into, well, the explanation for why the real white supremacists around here are the gays. No wonder they don't like these kids today with their video games and their loud music—we must all look like time travelers to them.

Originally posted to Hunter on Wed Jan 22, 2014 at 11:16 AM PST.

Also republished by Kossacks for Marriage Equality and Daily Kos.

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