The new anti-marriage equality argument: it would promote “feminist marriage”

PhotobucketLet’s be real: opponents of marriage equality have been known to use some shameful tactics to make their case.

They’ve used weak analogies involving water and beer. They’ve subtly and not-so-subtly compared homosexuality with bestiality and pedophilia.  They’ve suggested that LGBTQ folks don’t make good parents. They deliberately race-baited during the California Prop 8 debate, and have invented LGBTQ ties to Nazism out of thin air. They’ve even gone so far as to criticize LGBTQ people for rocking too much rainbow schwag.

But the latest argument against marriage equality is a new one, even for the creative anti-equality minds that brought you such logically fallacious classics as the “gay marriage is a slippery slope” argument and the dizzyingly circular “marriage is between a man and a woman” definition.

In a new column, David Usher, president of the Center for Marriage Policy, a right-wing group endorsed by Phyllis Schlafly, argues that marriage equality should be considered unconstitutional because it would allow for the possibility of “feminist marriage”.

Now before you go getting excited like I did when I first heard this news, he’s not talking about some sort of feminist utopian partnership model where both parties participate equally in the duties and responsibilities of marriage (although that is surely what I think of when I think about a “feminist marriage”!). No, unfortunately, Usher is defining “feminist marriage” as “a marriage between any two women and the welfare state”. It isn’t necessarily sexual, and in fact would allow both parties to have relations outside of marriage. Well, let me let him explain it (because he does it so well!) He writes:

“Forget the terms “same sex” and “gay” marriage. These are victim-based marketing ploys invented N.O.W. to send us off into a heated debate about homosexuality and equal rights — distracting us from seeing their real goal of establishing “feminist marriage”.

Feminists made “feminist marriage” their top long-term goal twenty-five years ago, and invested tremendous resources in it, because they intend to convert marriage into a feminist-controlled government enterprise and subordinate the rest of America to entitle it.

Feminist marriage is a marriage between any two women and the welfare state. It constitutes a powerful feminist takeover of marriage by government, and places the National Organization for Women in the position of dictating government policy as a matter of “feminist Constitutional rights”.

Feminist marriage will be far more attractive to all women than heterosexual marriage. Sexual orientation does not matter when two women marry and become “married room-mates”. They can still have as many boyfriends as they want, and capture the richest ones for baby-daddies by “forgetting” to use their invisible forms of birth control. On average, a feminist marriage will have at least four income sources, two of them tax-free, plus backup welfare entitlements.”

[Emphasis mine.]

Got that? LGBTQ people shouldn’t be allowed to get married because it would allow straight ladies to marry each other and reap all the social and tax benefits even though they aren’t necessarily in love and committed to having tons of babies together. You know, kinda like tons of straight people do all the time?

But don’t get it twisted: lest you suspect that “feminist marriage” might quell the slutty, golddigging ways of this nation’s conniving women, think again. As Usher points out, they’d “still have as many boyfriends as they want” and  “capture” the richest ones for baby-daddies by “forgetting” to use their invisible forms of birth control. Slut-shaming and deceptive use of contraception? Sounds like a feminist dream!

But the amazing moment of head–>desk-inducing irony has yet to come. Usher then goes on to argue that this kind of union would and should be unconstitutional because the constitution doesn’t allow for discrimination based on reproductive capacity:

“Feminist marriage directly violates 14th Amendment protection against sex discrimination, and the 5th Amendment is violated at the Federal level. The Constitution cannot accept a structure of three-party marriage establishing an arrangement of government-sponsored economic polygyny as a protected, superior class of marriage under any rational-basis test. Secondly, the Constitution cannot accept any marital arrangement structurally establishing three classes of marriage, where the classes are crisply defined and either rewarded or discriminated against because of the natural reproductive capacity one sex is born with that the other sex does not have.” [Emphasis mine.]

Arguing that the there shouldn’t be “classes of marriage” where people are “rewarded or discriminated against” because of their “natural reproductive capacity”? Yah, that sounds a lot like an argument for marriage equality, not against it. Maybe David Usher needs to go back to Discrimination 101. And as a sidenote, Usher’s whole conspiracy concept of “feminist marriage” aside, the notion of a kind of platonic lady love that would involve two ladies shacking up in partnership is getting me kinda hot n bothered! Thanks for being a thought leader, David Usher.

s Right Wing Watch points out,

Brooklyn, NY

Lori Adelman is a writer and advocate focusing on race, gender, and sexual and reproductive rights. In addition to her work at Feministing, Lori is an Associate Director at Planned Parenthood Global. Lori has previously worked at the United Nations Foundation, the International Women’s Health Coalition, and Human Rights Watch, and has written for a host of print and digital properties including Rookie Magazine, The Grio, and the New York Times Magazine. She regularly appears on radio and television, and has spoken at college campuses across the U.S. about topics like the politics of black hair, transnational movement building, and the undercover feminism of Nicki Minaj. In 2014, she was named to The Root 100 list of the nation's most influential African Americans, and to the Forbes Magazine list of the "30 Under 30" successful people in media.

Lori Adelman is an Executive Director of Feministing in charge of Partnerships.

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