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Whited Sepulchre Michele Bachmann: Define Away Inconvenient Families

August 17, 2011
Michele Bachmann

Just sweep gay families out of existence, Michele

Republican Michele Bachmann — one of the fundie “family values” crowd — has found a way to eliminate forever the thorny question of gay and lesbian families: define them out of existence.

You never have to worry about traumatizing children by refusing to allow their families to be recognized as families — if you define those families out of existence. You never have to look your victims in the eyes as you rip them from their parents or deny equal rights to a loving couple, if you can happily and self-righteously tell yourself, “Oh well, these aren’t families anyway.”

It’s interesting: every serial killer manages to kill his/her victims by defining away their humanity. That was how the Nazis happily persecuted and incinerated so many Jews: they defined away their humanity.

Oh dear, did I mention the Nazis?? Alas — difference of degree. NOT a difference in kind.

Have a look at the interview with Bachmann, on Meet the Press on August 14, 2011:

Here is the answer to Bachmann’s insidious anti-family policies, from the ebook, Refuting Same-Sex Marriage Myths:

Let’s pretend that the one man/one woman marriage is the only “traditional” kind of marriage. Now we have to figure out what happens in that sort of legally binding relationship that can’t happen in a two-man or two-woman legal relationship. In a legal marriage, what sorts of things go on that mean only one man and one woman can qualify to use the word?

What is it that has to be part of a relationship before we’ll consider it a marriage? Apart from the fact that it’s a legal contract of some kind, it tends to be a relationship of commitment, nurturing, support, and sharing, in good times and bad. And then you have the daily round of things, where you might have a family with children and pets, mortgages, taking out the garbage and doing the dishes, driving the kids to school and sports, going to the spouse’s office Christmas party, and even the white picket fence. And married people usually share at least some values, interests, and goals too.

That pretty much covers what people think of as a marriage. So now, if you use all that as your description of what makes a genuine marriage in this culture, the big question is this: what part of that description cannot possibly apply to two men living together, or two women living together? What do we find in that description of marriage that can only apply exclusively to the man/woman combination?

Can’t two men or two women do those exact same things in their own love relationship?

Those who watch a gay or a lesbian couple functioning in this way — functioning in the identical way to a heterosexual marriage — and yet don’t want to call this relationship a marriage, have got to be thinking of a marriage as something else. Their definition of what is “essential” to the definition of marriage doesn’t seem to include all that love, commitment, nurturing, shared goals, daily living, and the picket fence. Because gays and lesbians can — and do! — do all of that, as much as any heterosexual couple can and does.

So what other possible difference can there be, that results in our calling the heterosexual relationship a “marriage,” but having to call the homosexual relationship a “domestic partnership”?

…This is yet another instance of the obsession with genital sex that those who oppose equal marriage of gays and lesbians seem to have.

What else could it be, since gays and lesbians can do absolutely everything else heterosexuals do in a marriage? Their form of genital sex is the only real difference in the two types of relationship. All of the other stuff – the commitment and the love, and taking the kids to school, and paying the bills and planning the family’s future – apparently this isn’t the “real” marriage, or it would be acknowledged in gay and lesbian relationships too.

Nope, it’s the genitals that make the marriage — not any of those other things. All of those things appear to be irrelevant. If two male sets of genitals are bumping together in the bedroom, then according to the people who use this argument, this relationship is nothing like a heterosexual marriage. Even if 99.999% of everything else functions identically.

These people concentrate on a single word, “marriage,” and use only a shallow, superficial definition (it’s all about the sex, baby!), while they literally exclude all the actual content of the relationship. All of that content of the relationship is nothing. All that matters is the genitals. Almost all that ever matters in the arguments against equal marriage is the genitals.

As the Refuting Same-Sex Marriage Myths ebook says: “If a relationship walks like a marriage, looks like a marriage, and quacks like a marriage — it’s a marriage.”

Michele Bachmann may wish she could define all those families-that-are-different-from-hers out of existence. But unless she’s willing to go as far as the Nazis did with their own obsession — these genuine, functional, real-life families with two committed spouses, the kids, the dog, and the white picket fence — aren’t going anywhere.

You can almost hear her gnashing her teeth in rage, can’t you?

4 Comments leave one →
  1. mark1147 permalink
    August 18, 2011 2:52 am

    Most of what Frau Bachmann says sounded better in the original German.

    Defining away the humanity of people one doesn’t like never ends well, does it … and “a difference of degree, NOT a difference of kind” is a superb way of dispensing with Godwin’s Law in this instance, as well as keeping the focus right where it should be: the planks that abound in Miss Moral Rectitude’s own eyes, including her laughably erroneous notions of signal historical facts about the country she claims to love.

    Was it Voltaire who said that those who believe absurdities end up committing atrocities? Whoever said it should feel gratified that there’s another sterling exemplar of their observation on the scene now.

    • August 18, 2011 1:39 pm

      The big thing to worry about now, of course, is whether she and her pals will get enough power to commit the atrocities. Though I think they’ve got enough power behind the scenes that they’re already committing quiet atrocities, and working up to more.

      • mark1147 permalink
        August 19, 2011 7:06 am

        Already committing quiet atrocities? You betcha! The ex-gay therapy center she and her husband have been running sure qualifies, at least in the opinion of almost all fully qualified mental health professionals … and they’ve been getting away with it because the state of Minnesota doesn’t require mental health service providers to be licensed!

  2. mark1147 permalink
    August 19, 2011 7:07 am

    Uh, by “they” in that last phrase, I meant the Bachmanns (not the fully qualified health professionals).

    Some days, you’d never know English is my native tongue!

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