Don’t define deviancy down

To the editor:

In his guest column in the editorial section of the April 10-April 23 issue of New Hampshire Business Review, Rep. Jim Splaine urged passage of House Bill 436 – the same sex marriage bill – on the basis of fairness and equality. But what is fair or equal in any context depends upon the terms of the argument. Apples and oranges are unequal when the subject under discussion is apples, but are identical when the subject is fruit.

Representative Splaine claims that the prohibition that RSA 457:1 imposes against his marrying another man subjects him to inequality. But I cannot legally marry another man either, nor can any other man in this state. Thus, he and I are equal.

But, he might say, in his case he is being prevented from marrying the person he loves. Suppose, however, that I love my sister. Does not that very same RSA 457:1 prevent me, too, from marrying the person I love? Once again, we are equal.

But, he might say, forbidding incestuous marriage is designed to protect society from the evils of inbreeding, and there is no procreative potential in a same-sex marriage. Suppose, however, that my sister had had a tubal ligation or I had had a vasectomy, leaving us, too, with no procreative potential? Once again, Representative Splaine and I are equal.

But, he might say, to the extent that RSA 457:1 forbids incestuous marriage, it reflects society’s judgment of the social and moral undesirability of sexual relations between siblings. To which I would respond, does not the extent to which RSA 457:1 forbids same-sex marriage reflect society’s judgment of the social and moral undesirability of sodomy? Once again, we are equal.

In 2007, New Hampshire, through HB 437, enacted RSA 457-A, creating same-sex civil unions. I voted for HB 437 because its subject was not sex but economics: It entitled persons joined in homosexual civil unions to all the rights, and imposed upon them all the obligations and responsibilities, of persons joined in heterosexual marriage.

That being so, what does this session’s HB 436 seek for men other than society’s approval of sodomy?

HB 436, as it relates to men, is thus not about equality, which was fully taken care of in 2007. It is about sodomy, which many – I would hope most – people view with disgust and abhorrence. I would hope that our elected representatives will recognize HB 436 for what it is really all about and reject this latest attempt to define deviancy down.

Gregory M. Sorg

Categories: Cook on Concord