Brian Spears

Poet, Editor, Teacher, Blogger.

In Case of Future Santorum Encounters

Before I begin here, I want to compliment the NY Times headline writer for slipping “testy” (testes?) into the title of this post from the Caucus on Rick Santorum’s set-to with some college kids in New Hampshire over same-sex marriage. Well played.

To the point of the post, if anyone out there ever comes in contact with Santorum (jump here for some quick hilarity in the wake of the Iowa caucuses–sorry, I can’t help myself), and he’s talking about same-sex marriage and goes off on this bridge metaphor, here’s how you respond. First of all, here’s what Santorum apparently said (it’s not in the clip):

First, he compared changing marriage laws to building a bridge. You have to have a reason to build the bridge, he said.

Now when cultural conservatives go down this road, they generally have one argument in mind. To his credit, Santorum swerved here and took the polygamy turnpike, but if he tries this again, it’s incumbent on the questioner to ask him what the reason for heterosexual marriage is. And he can only really give one answer, based on his other stances (and based on his journey down the polygamy turnpike here), and that answer is “procreation.”

Why procreation? Part of it has to do with Santorum’s Catholicism, which he takes very seriously (unless it interferes with sweatshop workers in the Marianas Islands being forced to have abortions, natch), especially when it comes to the whole birth control thing. Procreation is the end-all for his marriage, and he thinks it should be for all marriages, which is why he opposes contraception even for married couples.

Cultural conservatives like Santorum also love to fall back on procreation because they think it gets them out of the “you’re just a religious bigot” argument. (It doesn’t, but that’s another story.) They think it throws them into the “natural world” arena (which is a bad place for people who generally disdain science, but again, I digress) but what it really does is point out just how much of a social construct marriage is, because as we all know, you don’t have to be married to procreate, and what’s more, you don’t have to prove you’re able to procreate in order to get married.

And that’s the question the next person who gets Santorum in this position needs to ask him. Get him into the reason for heterosexual marriage, and when he goes for procreation, then ask him if that means he thinks sterile men and women should be disallowed from marrying. And he won’t have an answer that isn’t immediately recognized as bullshit, because there isn’t one.

If procreation is the reason that the heterosexual marriage bridge gets built (to use Santorum’s metaphor), then there’s no reason why people who are unable to procreate should get to use that bridge–unless everyone is allowed to use that bridge. And everyone includes homosexual couples as well as sterile hetero couples.

I feel I need to add, as a footnote of sorts, that Santorum does have a point (other than the one atop his head) about polyamorous relationships and whether or not they should be legalized. It’s not a discussion he really wants to have, I suspect, but it’s one I’d be willing to talk about at some point, because I think there’s a place for them in our society, with some pretty heavy caveats thrown in, the first being that polygamy as it is practiced currently in this country would be wholly unacceptable for reasons relating to the autonomy of the people involved in the marriage. We can get into that later. I need to go wash my hands now. I’ve typed Santorum too many times in one night.

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January 6, 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized

1 Comment »

  1. Oh thank … God (?) for my finding someone who also sees the idiocracy of this little spiel. So, the customer should have said, “Yes, you’re right, I should bring my own grocery bags as I know everything about the green thing.” 🙂

    Comment by Angela | January 18, 2012 | Reply


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