Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Nice Try, Mike Huckabee

Last night on the Daily Show, former Republican presidential candidate and current Fox News talk show host, Mike Huckabee, was on to promote his new book Do the Right Thing. He and host Jon Stewart engaged in a wide ranging debate for almost half the show touching on issues like the mortgage crisis, lobbyists and gay marriage. It was their debate on gay marriage that gave me fits, for two primary reasons.

First, Huckabee defended his "traditional" view of marriage by saying, "Even anatomically, let's face it, the only way we can create the next generation is through a male/ female relationship..." and, later, "The basic purpose of a marriage is not just to create the next generation but to train our replacements."

For how assbackwards this argument is, it's very popular. The modern understanding of marriage is not a relationship in which to have children. We don't force a 60 year old woman who wants to get married to settle for a civil union. Nor do we a sterile man. Marriage is about a level of love and commitment. To couch it in strict terms of child rearing does more to redefine it than anything else.

While a straight older or sterile couple can adopt a child and raise her in a traditional setting, single people, unmarried heterosexual couples and gays can also adopt.

Later, when Stewart talked about society's evolving definition of marriage, polygamy came up, and Huckabee stated, "If we change the definition then we have to change it to accommodate all lifestyles."

This argument makes even less sense.

A ban on gay marriage is a law that restricts gay people. A ban on polygamous marriage is a law that restricts everyone. In defining marriage, the government withholds a civil liberty from a segment of the people. This isn't to say that's illegal (not to go all Con Law but almost all laws that classify based on sexual orientation will be upheld by the Supreme Court). It is to say that banning gay marriage is state sanctioned discrimination in a way banning polygamy is not.

Once one accepts that homosexuality is innate the distinction is plain. A straight man or woman who wants to have multiple partners can still get married. If not, the government would never allow this. A gay person cannot.

Huckabee is one of the more eloquent social conservatives in the country. But not even his charm can make up for his argument's shortcomings.

(The gay marriage stuff starts w/ part II)

1 comment:

Betty said...

Great post, Chris.

Did you know that today A Day Without Gay Day! Everyone was supposed to call out of work 'Gay' to take a stand and make a point about how many valuable gays and lesbians there are in the workforce and that they should have the right to get married.