Arguing with Andrew Sullivan again

So I’m at it with Andrew Sullivan’s The Dish again (I’ve done this before, I’m the first response in the link). Even being a gay, moderate, Catholic that Sullivan is, I run into these moments where I’m not just rolling my eyes but where I’m stunned at the stupidity. Sullivan is a great blogger, one of the best actually. And that’s why shit like this literally puts me on my ass. “No one this smart could be that damn blind”, I say. However, history continues to show me up. In any case I’ve included my message in the all too likely case that it will not be posted, as Sullivan’s site doesn’t allow comments. So here it is in all its unedited glory.

I’ll admit to being more than a little dismayed at the intellectual and moral level of this post. (Edit: Click that link to get what I’m talking about.)

Frankly, the argument made by Law Professor Jonathan Turley against the laws criminalizing polygamy is perfectly clear. The idea all gay rights advocates implicitly, if not explicitly, support is that the government should have no control over ‘”intimate conduct” of consenting adults’. Unless you support gay rights for no other reason than in-group solidarity due to being gay yourself, and have no interest in the equal freedoms of those around you, (perhaps because of some moralistic “ick factor” that I’m sure no homosexual has ever had to fight against) Mr. Turley’s argument is what should come off as obvious.

But the post didn’t stop there, beginning by highlighting the irrelevant fact that Mr. Turley is defending “reality show” polygamists. I suppose the only way to assassinate a character better would have been if they were muslim and add that. We then got an excerpt from Andrew where he creates a model example of a Red Herring. He says, “If polygamy and sexual orientation are interchangeable in human identity and psychology, there is no slippery slope.”, as if Lawrence v. Texas hinged on the similarity of gays and polygamists and not the constitutional freedoms of consenting adults, which is exactly what these polygamists are arguing for. On top of this, they’re not even arguing for the same rights: “The lawsuit is not demanding that states recognize polygamous marriage.”, instead “It will ask the federal courts to tell states that they cannot punish polygamists for their own ‘intimate conduct’ so long as they’re not breaking other laws“. (Emphasis mine to counter protests of possible pedophilia.)

Andrew then goes on to non-sequitur “And it’s straight people – and mainly straight men – who are the prime movers behind polygamy as an ideal anyway.”, somehow settling the issue via… what? “If straight men support it, it weakens the argument” is not legal precedent.

But the cake-taker-in-chief is the last line “There’s nothing about either marriage equality or other demands for gay equality that necessarily implies polygamy bans are illegitimate.” This is perfectly true, save for Professor Turley’s entire argument on the rights of consenting adults, which is the exact same foundation of gay equality. Other than that, totally true. Well done.

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