February 13, 2010
The return of the yuck factor
Posted by: Chris
Since rational arguments never fail to convince fair-minded folks to exclude gay and lesbian Americans from the fundamental freedom to marry, its foes typically resort to the "yuck factor," and in doing so give us an unintended glimpse of the ignorance behind their bigotry.
In years gone by, the yuck factor typically took the form of two men in tuxedos or two women in wedding gowns, exchanging vows. Happily marrying same-sex couples in Massachusetts, California took care of that old canard, showing the universal feelings of love and caring that form the bonds in our relationships, just like in opposite-sex couples.
Then came same-sex kisses, but they've lost their shock value due to Hollywood's more realistic portrayals on TV and the movies, along with the increased frequency of airport and sidewalk smooches -- again showing we're just like our straight brethren.
That means gay marriage opponents have to up the ante once again on the yuck factor, but I'm guessing this particular attempt by one Republican state rep in New Hampshire won't catch on:
New Hampshire state Rep. Nancy Elliott (R-Hillsborough) has asked other members of the House Judiciary Committee to repeal the recently enacted gay marriage law. Her argument? Anal sex between gay men is yucky.
"We're talking about taking the penis of a man and putting it in the rectum of another man and wriggling it around in excrement," said Elliott. "And you have to think, would I want that to be done to me?"
Elliott didn't stop there, complaining that marriage equality will result in public schools "showing presentations of anal sex. … They are showing our fifth graders how they can actually perform this kind of sex. … That is the context of the lesson, that 'This is something that you, as a fifth grader, you may want to try.'"
Not only is Elliott's portrayal of anal sex grossly inaccurate (pun intended), it is of course completely irrelevant to whether gays should be able to marry, anymore than Nancy's right to marry should hinge on whether we're grossed out by imagining her lying back and thinking of New England with her partner.
Raising the sex education boogeyman is straight out of the Prop 8 playbook, and let's hope activists in New Hampshire are more effective in putting the lie to that falsehood.
Not surprisingly, Elliott's allies have yanked the YouTube video after a round of well-deserved Internet scoffing:
Apparently they discovered the yuck factor can backfire (pun intended) on those sleazy and cynical enough to employ it.
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