Monday, July 1, 2013

Sen. Rand Paul Doesn't Understand What Marriage Is

With the recent Supreme Court case striking down some provisions of the Federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), it is no surprise that many opponents of same-sex marriage have come out with the standard arguments that they deploy against it. Unfortunately for the opponents of same-sex marriage that aren't really any good arguments available so they tend to resort to fallacies. As a case in point, here is Senator Rand Paul committing the classic same-sex marriage Slippery Slope argument:

Here is a transcript of the relevant portions:
I think this is the conundrum and gets back to what you were saying in the opening — whether or not churches should decide this. But it is difficult because if we have no laws on this people take it to one extension further. Does it have to be humans?
Though not phrased as an argument, Sen. Paul is obviously JAQing off, and his clear implication is that same-sex marriage is a bad thing because it might lead to people marrying animals. This is a classic Slippery Slope argument in which one assumes that change in one direction (allowing same-sex couple to marry) will lead to further disastrous change in the same direction (people will marry animals). I am always amazed when people make this argument because it demonstrates a level of ignorance and stupidity that is difficult to believe (or alternativley a malevolence and lack of respect for one's audience that is almost as difficult to fathom). Apparently Paul has no understanding of the fact that marriage is a contract, and as such can only be entered into by entities capable of entering into contracts. Since no non-human can enter into a contract (and many humans can't either such as children or the severely mentally disabled), no non-human could ever get married. Thus, there is no way that same-sex marriage could lead to people marrying animals, and Sen. Paul demonstrates that he has no idea what he is talking about.

h/t to Atrios

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