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Saturday, January 07, 2006

Further Down the Slope ~ Massachusetts Senate Bill 938

Charles Colson

The problem with same-sex “marriage” is not just that it is inherently wrong. Another problem with it is that it could lead to things that are even worse.

This “slippery slope” argument has long been a favorite with same-sex “marriage” opponents, but some critics think it is the weakest argument we have. For example, Dahlia Lithwick, senior editor of Slate, considers the slippery slope argument “maddening” and is “bored to tears” with it. After gay “marriage” was legalized in Massachusetts, Lithwick wrote, “The problem with the slippery slope argument is that it depends on inexact, and sometimes hysterical, comparisons. Most of us can agree, for instance, that all the shriekings about gay marriage opening the door to incest with children and pedophilia are inapposite. These things are illegal because they cause irreversible harms. Similarly, adultery, to the extent it’s illegal anymore, produces a tangible victim. Let’s also agree that we can probably also take the bestiality out of the mix. [Most] of us can intuitively understand that there are sound policy and health reasons to ban sex with animals.” That’s what Lithwick says.

But is that right? Well, it’s interesting that four Massachusetts legislators recently introduced a bill that would lessen the penalty against bestiality.

Massachusetts Senate Bill 938, also known as “An Act Relative to Archaic Crimes,” also strikes down bans against adultery, fornication, and the advertisement of birth control and abortion. But the section that is getting everyone’s attention, understandably, is the one that concerns bestiality. Although it does not decriminalize the practice, it gives judges the option of imposing a far lighter prison sentence, or even just a fine and no prison time at all.

And note the name of the bill with its mention of “archaic crimes.” Archaic, as you probably know, means “antiquated,” or something that has outlived its usefulness. Why would bestiality be called an “archaic crime”? And why do these legislators suddenly think it deserves a much lighter punishment?

I would submit that just maybe, it’s because we as a society are increasingly uncomfortable passing judgment on any kind of sexual practice. And that brings us right back to the old slippery slope, because that is exactly how it works. What is unthinkable one day is acceptable the next, all in the name of tolerance. We got used to what were once horrors.

Same-sex “marriage” itself is the result of that very process. Remember Lawrence v. Texas, the Supreme Court decision that struck down Texas’s sodomy law — another “archaic” law? Justice Scalia predicted in his dissent that Lawrence would clear the way for same-sex “marriage,” legalized prostitution, and more. It was just five months after that decision that the Massachusetts Supreme Court decreed that same-sex couples had the constitutional right to marry. And now same-sex “marriage” is leading to even greater erosion of our standards. Obviously, there is a slippery slope.

The problem, you see, with bestiality — repulsive as it may be — is that if gay “marriage” and sexual autonomy are constitutionally protected, bestiality is eminently logical, just as the Massachusetts legislators show us.

(This update courtesy of the Breakpoint with Chuck Colson.)

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