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Monday, August 11, 2014

Brian Brown Slams Ronald Reagan's Definition of Marriage

Posted by on Mon, Aug 11, 2014 at 3:45 PM

And Newt Gingrich's definition. And Karl Rove's definition. And Rush Limbaugh's definition.

Reacting to a new "study" from discredited and disgraced sociologist Mark Regnerus, Brian Brown slammed Ronald, Newt, Karl, and Rush. Regnerus's latest hatestudy found that the attitudes of Christian gay people toward premarital sex, extramarital sex, porn, poly triads, and abortion more closely align with the attitudes of of non-Christian gays than they do with non-gay Christians. Brown's reaction:

Activists trying to force a redefinition of marriage on America have constantly evaded the question, "what is marriage?" Meanwhile, they have insisted that gays and lesbians simply want access to the same sacred institution of marriage and that they don't intend to change anything about that institution. But the survey responses from gay men and lesbians themselves don't support these claims. The institution envisioned by those who want to redefine marriage isn't faithful... it isn't exclusive... it isn't permanent... put bluntly, it isn't marriage.

First: the definition of marriage has changed and evolved over the centuries millennia. Here's an article about it, Brian. And here's a book. Read up.

Second: Ronald Reagan (divorced once, married twice), Newt Gingrich (divorced twice, married three times), Karl Rove (divorced twice, married three times), Rush Limbaugh (divorced three times, married four times)—all four had marriages that were some combo of not faithful, not exclusive, and not permanent. Brown is essentially arguing that whatever Ronald and Nancy had together, it wasn't a marriage. The rightful First Lady of the United States between 1981 and 1989 was, according to Brown, Jane Wyman.

Third: Allow me to answer—once again—the question that Brown claims no pro-marriage-equality activist has ever answered. What is marriage?

Marriage is the legal union of two autonomous and equal individuals who are 1. both adults, 2. capable of giving their consent, and 3. not too closely related. The End. Beyond that any particular marriage is whatever the two people in that marriage say that it is. A married couple can choose to be monogamous or they can choose to fuck around; they can choose to have children or they can choose to remain childless; they can choose to have a religious ceremony or they can choose to have a civil ceremony; they can regard their marriage as permanent or they can divorce and remarry and run for president. This has been the definition of marriage for decades and it was the definition of marriage in force when same-sex couples began to press for the right to marry. If this definition of marriage represents a "radical" redefinition of this "sacred institution," then Brian Brown's beef is with straight people, not gay people. Because straight people created this definition—the current definition—of marriage. (And for this straight people deserve a lot of credit: the old definition of marriage, the definition this new one replaced, was sexist and patriarchal and oppressive.)

It was only after same-sex couples demanded the right to marry that we suddenly started hearing that a non-monogamous marriage wasn't really a marriage. Or that a childless marriage wasn't really a marriage. Or that marriage was religious and permanent. (Never mind all those civil ceremonies, never mind all those divorces.) Those weren't standards that straight people were holding themselves to—and they still aren't. The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) insists that gay people shouldn't be allowed to marry because many gay male couples aren't as likely to be monogamous. Setting aside the fact that lesbian couples are more likely to be monogamous than gay male or opposite-sex couples (perhaps only lesbians should be allowed to marry?), NOM has never called for heterosexual swingers to be barred from marrying or forcibly divorced. And while Brown swans around insisting that marriage is "permanent," NOM has never demanded that divorce be banned or called for second, third, or fourth marriages to be annulled.

P.S. Brian? Far from evading the "What is marriage?" question, queer writers and activists have written whole books addressing the question. One of my favorites: E.J. Graff's What Is Marriage For? The Strange Social History of Our Most Intimate Institution. "What is marriage" is right there in the title. Pick up a copy.


Comments (16) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
Let's face it - the Church that was closest to traditional marriage was the LDS Church, with the concubine - polygamous marriage. And ancient marriages were often, arraigned marriages. (Think if European royalty.) The idea that the fundies are authorities on marriage is absurd at best.
Posted by pat L on August 11, 2014 at 4:01 PM · Report this
If only Brian Brown, et. al. were actually interested in facts and logical arguments this would have been settled a long time ago. Unfortunately, he will never respond substantively to this argument. Instead he will probably respond with a barrage of unrelated nonsense arguments and bullshit "facts," as we saw in the dinner table debate.
Posted by brent.b on August 11, 2014 at 4:02 PM · Report this
Besides, gays and lesbians having legally recognized, and public marriage committments is an obvious win for the traditional values that conservatives blather about. But there's no end of spite in many conservative circles!
Posted by pat L on August 11, 2014 at 4:04 PM · Report this
Gay couples who for all intents and purposes are ALREADY married, simply want those marriages legally recognized. This entire diatribe about the so-called definition of marriage is a red herring. They don't want to discuss the substantive definitions of marriage (i.e., real life descriptions of married life). They want to have their prejudices validated. I am so sick of this stupid "definition of marriage" non-argument.
Posted by Letao on August 11, 2014 at 4:43 PM · Report this
I'm non-religious, divorced and too old to bear children. I'm the poster child for why I shouldn't be allowed to have "marriage", and yet here I am, straight-married. That's exactly why I donate and vote for equal marriage rights.
Posted by originalcinner on August 11, 2014 at 4:49 PM · Report this
nocutename 6
What about all those married men who had mistresses throughout history? Are they suddenly not married anymore?

The arguments--all the pathetic arguments that NOM and its ilk come up with--are absurd and shouldn't be engaged with. Taking these fools seriously makes them think that their beliefs matter. They're on the losing side and they know it and so does everyone else.
Posted by nocutename on August 11, 2014 at 6:56 PM · Report this
"...the old definition of marriage, the definition this new one replaced, was sexist and patriarchal and oppressive."

Which one?
Posted by Polyphemus on August 11, 2014 at 7:59 PM · Report this
very bad homo 8
Yeah, fuck this idiot. He's just a bitter, hateful person.
Posted by very bad homo on August 11, 2014 at 8:09 PM · Report this
It was refreshing to read this after seeing a bunch of LMB-worthy stuff for much of the day emanating from an MM couple who use the three-syllable F word in a way that indicates their belief that only those two-syllable F words who raise children qualify among male same-sexers either to use the word or as having one.
Posted by vennominon on August 11, 2014 at 9:01 PM · Report this
kk in seattle 10
Still waiting to see the right-wing condemnation of Ken Hutcherson (may the hateful bigot burn in Hell for all eternity) for presiding over the FOURTH wedding of obese drug-criminal sex-tourist Rush Limbaugh. Waiting, waiting . . . .
Posted by kk in seattle on August 12, 2014 at 12:56 AM · Report this
kk in seattle 11
Also had to edit references in the Wikipedia article on Ken Hutcherson referring to "sexual choice" and "sexual behavior" when the law expressly references "sexual orientation." Can't these creeps stick to Conservopedia?
Posted by kk in seattle on August 12, 2014 at 1:14 AM · Report this
Jane Wyman (thank you wikipedia) was married to someone else before Reagan, so that marriage wasn't valid, either.

So there was no first lady for Reagan. "Just say no"?
Posted by jefmcg on August 12, 2014 at 3:41 AM · Report this
Regnerus' latest study seems like great news and accurate -- just look at the results on porn.

Christians who oppose same sex marriage are indeed uptight assholes about all things sexual as well as hypocrites (a lot more than 4.6% watch porn).

Christians who support are a little bit more chill about sex but not as much as average people, average people are more relaxed about sex, gay Christians are even more smart / wise about sex but still a bit uptight, and gay non-Christians are the best: sex is fun, adults are adults, live and let live.

Hello, Dan, monogamish?

Non-Christian gay people ARE helping redefine marriage -- by being honest for a change about sex and love. And this is good.

Let's not be shy about calling the kettle a pot. Or whatever.
Posted by delta35 on August 12, 2014 at 7:07 AM · Report this
I'd never suggest anything illegal but don't a lot of the techno elite live in Seattle and read this?

I had a dream that an unber hacker broke into Regnerus' computer and found the most embarrassing cache of porn...

People who doth protest too much usually have something to hide. Reaction formation says Freud. Just sayin'.
Posted by delta35 on August 12, 2014 at 7:09 AM · Report this
Asking Brian Brown to read up? Ha ha that's funny. Unless it's in the comics section of the newspaper Brian does not "read."
Posted by Weekilter on August 12, 2014 at 3:48 PM · Report this
@ 7 - The one that treated women like property to be bartered, put all its focus on the faithfulness and virginity of women while looking the other way when it came to men, and came with rigidly defined gender roles.
Posted by brent.b on August 14, 2014 at 8:57 AM · Report this

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