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 Executive Director of Partnerships at Feministing, where she enjoys creating and curating content on gender, race, class, technology, and the media. Lori is also an advocacy and communications professional specializing in sexual and reproductive rights and health, and currently works in the Global Division of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. A graduate of Harvard University, she lives in Brooklyn.

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

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  • Stella

    Wow, that is one of the craziest things I have ever read. Especially interesting is the idea of the women in these feminist marriages tricking men into having children “without their consent” and then being “economically enslaved” as a result. I mean, isn’t that just as possible in regular old marriages, especially in the conservative utopia where there is no birth control and married women are not permitted to work for pay?

    And the idea that straight women would stop getting married to men and having children with them if given a more economically sound alternative is fabulous. Maybe this fear will incentivize Ms. Schafly to stop her decades-long opposition to policies like universal day care that would make life more livable for working people with children. Here’s to hoping.

  • nazza

    Um…I think they have have gotten their facts a little a lot wrong.

    • Katie Doyle

      This kind of “logic” is used in many anti-feminist arguments.

      Many anti-choice people link the failing economy in countries like Greece to the availability of birth control and abortion in Europe; i.e. there aren’t enough people to contribute to the economy because Europe doesn’t “value children,” therefore, if we lift restrictions in the US (or if we don’t carry out pro-life vendettas), our population will plummet and the economy will crash.

      This kind of argument, and the one in Usher’s article, relies solely on hypotheses contrary to fact. In other words, a completely invented world based on single-minded ideas is used as a “valid” premise for an argument.

      You’ve gotta be kidding me.

  • Tel

    Regarding the author’s last comment: Although David Usher’s article, without question, lacks any semblance of rational thought or logic, the concept of “platonic lady love” is not a new one. Several notable women of the late 19th and early 20th centuries were involved in platonic relationships with other women. (Admittedly, historians are still unsure which were strictly platonic and which were at least intermittently sexual.) A so-called “Boston Marriage” provided one way for women to live out their own aspirations without being forced into becoming doting, supportive, child-rearing wives.

    Wikipedia’s is neither insightful nor 100% accurate, but provides some relevant information.

    • Lori

      Cool tidbit. Thanks Tel!

  • Sam Lindsay-Levine

    Holy crap, I read the article and my brain tried to escape through my ears.

    I think literally every sentence in that article contains an obvious, blatant falsehood.

  • athenia

    4 income sources?! Holy shit! Sign me up!

  • Lucy

    Okayyyy…what they’re talking about is already legal among straight people. I mean, look at “Sister Wives.” A man and a woman are legally married, but he has three more “wives” (really girlfriends) on the side, and benefits from their income. Or what about famous Playboy Hugh Hefner, who has a long standing relationship with his wife and girlfriend, in addition to casual sex with many other women.

    No one complains about them, but I guess if straight guys do it, then it’s okay.

    • honeybee

      Umm… are you serious?

      Because people complain about polygamy and Hugh Hefner ALL THE TIME.

      But even if they didn’t those aren’t comparable cases since we aren’t trying to legalize those types of marriages, which is what this is about.

  • Robert

    This is actually good for men also. Most men wouldn’t mind if women married each other for financial benefits and only wanted men for sex without commitment. Most women I have slept with have wanted some sort of relationship and that is when I stop talking to them. I have nothing against relationships but I’ve been married once and know that relationships aren’t for me.

  • Stewart

    Besides being completely absurd, I feel like Mr. Usher’s argument is almost another attempt to deny that homosexuality is something that occurs naturally. It labels gay marriage as a ploy that feminists are employing to reap welfare benefits. And an essential part of this conspiracy theory is that the female partners aren’t actually lesbian, but only pretend to be while actually carrying on extramarital heterosexual relationships. To me, it almost seems like a subtle way of painting homosexuality as a choice people make, not as a characteristic they inherently possess. Perhaps this is a bit of a stretch, but I think this assumption is waiting in the wings.

  • arayah

    So hypothetically I could go out tomorrow and marry my straight male friend and we could both have as many rich baby-mamma girlfriends as we want. Right?!? That sure would make tuition a lot cheaper….