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Monday, March 08, 2010  

Marriage for Some, Small American Flags for Others

Insofar as it was ever really news, it's old now--State Rep. Nancy Elliot (R-NH) and her rather ill-formed and informed argument against gay marriage. Dan Savage has a predictably brutal first read. Whetstone piles on:

Now you're probably thinking, wow, she must really have it out for the gays. But no! She has it out for everyone. If you're really interested in the Very Deep Thoughts of Nancy Elliot, you can find even more in this 2007 public access video (after the jump) in which she lays out her argument for ridding New Hampshire of no-fault divorce. It's boring, sure, but a remarkable document of lunacy.

Now call me crazy, but I actually think this is a mark in Rep. Whoozit's favor. Politicians who lament the pressures fracturing "traditional marriage" are a dime a dozen, and we've all seen over and over again their only policy answer: to load the cost of these pressures entirely onto gay couples. Bring up divorce and serial marriage by straight folks and it's nothing but crickets from your cultural conservatives. All decent people find this repellent, of course, because it's easy to make other people suffer for the sins of your siblings and co-workers and your own ex-Speaker of the House self. But yet it happens over and over again.

You don't even need to confine yourself to the world of electoral politics to see this. Framers of manifestos and splitters of churches have fulsome things to say in favor of ye olde traditional marriage and nothing whatever to propose by way of sanctioning serial monogamy. It's a rare thing to find a public intellectual, much less an actual office holder, who will come out and say, "you know what, straight people should suck it up and be unhappy too." That's why we're left piling onto poor dumb old Rep. Whatserface, because there's no one of greater national prominence making any such case. But I, for one, wish they did. Abolishing no-fault divorce is probably too high a hill to climb, but I'd love to hear Mitt Romney pair his opposition to gay marriage with a proposal to ban the legal farce that Rush Limbaugh is allowed to enter into promises of a marital nature in the eyes of the state. Once anti-gay-marriage advocates have to really make their case universal--that is, that marriage is a cultural institution that is bigger than our "happiness" or "self-fulfillment"--they're bound to lose, because the sad dirty fact is that straight people, too, just want to be happy and fulfilled even if it takes a few passes at the altar. Once you make it crystal clear that everyone has to suffer in their own way for the sake of preserving the traditions founded on hunter-gatherer property relations, this debate is effectively over. So I congratulate Rep. Ellicot on her brave and consistent stand and I hope more like-minded people have the same courage of their convictions.

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posted by Benjamin Dueholm | 11:18 PM
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