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The slippery slope

Reader comment on item: Westerners Welcome Harems
in response to reader comment: Monogamy is not eroding under the influence of Sharia

Submitted by kazander (United States), Nov 30, 2008 at 18:12

Mr. Herz,

If you have the time, I would appreciate a response to this comment as I frequently encounter claims similar to the ones you make and find them utterly baffling. You seem to believe that permitting gay marriage and polygamy would lead to the legalization of bestiality and child sex. On what basis do you make this claim? Doesn't it seem clear to you that there is a fundamental difference between two consenting homosexual adults or several consenting heterosexual adults being allowed to marry and permitting sexual intercourse between an adult and a child or an animal? The first two situations involve consenting adults. The second two do not.

In a similar vein, we do not allow children or animals to sign legally binding contracts. We do not hold children fully responsible for crimes they commit. We require that people reach an age at which we deem them capable of making rational, fully informed decisions before allowing them to have sex. All of this indicates that the law regards animals and children as quite distinct from adults. As a result, I see no possible way that allowing various combinations of consenting adults (i.e. agents that society has deemed capable of making rational, informed, legally binding decisions) to acquire marriage licenses (which are legal documents) would lead to a situation in which we legalize sexual intercourse between an adult and either a child or an animal, both of which the law deems incapable of entering into the same kinds of relationships and contracts as adults.

I can only imagine that people who make this slippery slope argument believe that attempts to legalize gay marriage and polygamy indicate that our society has reached such a level of moral turpitude that it is possible that we would completely alter the ways in which we regard the sexuality of children and animals. While one is certainly entitled to this view, I would prefer that it were presented candidly, rather than asserting that gay marriage or polygamy somehow sets a legal precedent for bestiality or pedophilia.


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