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Tuesday, October 30

Same Sex Marriage - One of These Things Is Not Like the Other

Via Pandagon comes this little nugget from country & Western singing 'star' John Rich:

"I think if you legalize that, you've got to legalize some other things that are pretty unsavory. You can call me a radical, but how can you tell an aunt that she can't marry her nephew if they are really in love and sharing the bills? How can you tell them they can't get married, but something else that's unnatural can happen?"

Rich was voicing his opinion of gay marriage when he let this priceless little nugget drop from his mouth (probably with no stopover in his brain for vetting first). He equated same-sex marriage with incest, yet another example of hyperbole, the same type of stupid logical fallacy that ended up with Rick Santorum equating gay marriage with zoophilia.

Unlike homosexual relations, there are good reasons for incest being both illegal and taboo, starting with basic genetics. For those of you playing along at home, here goes:

Thanks to increased mobility, Americans practice exogamy - they tend to marry outside of their own geographical or familial group. This promotes genetic diversity and makes the resulting population more resistant to environmental pressures. On the other hand, endogamy (marrying exclusively within one's geographical or familial group) narrows that diversity, making the resulting population weaker.

Endogamy is also called inbreeding. The ancient Egyptian royal family practiced it, as did the Hapsburg Dynasty. Endogamous relations and marriages resulted in the famous 'Hapsburg chin' becoming so pronounced that King Charles II of Spain was unable to chew his own food (leaving aside the fact that he was prone to diseases and was insane and impotent). His death enabled Louis XIV of France to install his grandson on the throne of Spain, resulting in the Spanish Bourbon Dynasty. Upon such things the wheel of history turns.

To equate incest (which is illegal and taboo under our culture) with same-sex relations is absurd on its face. For starters, same-sex relations are no longer criminal, thanks to the US Supreme Court decision Lawrence v Texas; second, there is no danger of an inbred result from such a pairing. As the Comte de Sade (he's mistakenly referred to as a Marquis) pointed out, sodomy is a sterile act; there are no children produced.

Now to our country, and the delectable irony of John Rich's remarks. A standard joke is that inbreeding is rampant in Appalachia and certain parts of the rural Deep South - with the linkage of country music being their favorite musical genre. It's an unfair and obsolete joke, but still used nevertheless. Further, Mr. Rich (of the group 'Big & Rich') owed his career to contacts within the Nashville music scene, some of whom are gay and probably deeply resented Mr. Rich's statement.

So we have Mr. Rich backpedalling via his spokespersons, and he's most likely lost some of the goodwill he's accrued in The Business over the years.

What do you think?

(Cross-posted at My Two Cents.)

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