by Dan Savage
on Thu, Feb 10, 2011 at 8:43 AM
An Iowa state elected official—can you guess which party?—trots out a tired, false, and repeatedly debunked stat to justify banning gay marriage: gay people have lower life expectancies than straight people. And since we don't contribute as much to society as "normal people that do not enter into that kind of relationship," we clearly shouldn't be allowed to marry. (The haters use these false stats to argue against our right to be at all.)
Even if it were true—even if gay people had lower life expectancies (which we do not)—and if that "fact" all by itself was a justification for banning same-sex marriage, why stop with gay people? Iowa should ban fat marriage. There are, according to the state of Iowa, more than 1.4 million obese people living in Iowa. That's nearly 30% of the state's population, and those numbers just keep rising. The social costs of Iowa's obesity epidemic are pretty staggering—and those costs include including premature death and lower average life expectancies for Iowans.
Since we know that obesity is "contagious"—someone with an obese spouse is 37% more likely to be or become obese—then we shouldn't permit the obese to marry. If an outright ban on fat marriage seems too draconian, then we shouldn't permit the obese to marry the non-obese. The odds that the skinny spouse will be ultimately be seduced into the risky obese lifestyle are simply too great and the potential health consequences too severe.