America will finally allow many more gays and lesbians a fair shake at this whole institution of marriage thing, now that the Supreme Court has ruled to strike down the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), as well as declining to resuscitate California's anti-gay Proposition 8. Let's celebrate these hard-won victories by revisiting 10 of the most absurdly dumb and homophobic remarks about marriage equality from politicians, activists, celebrities and religious figures over the years.
1. "I think gay marriage should be between a man and a woman."
These are confusing words from anyone, but perhaps especially from former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who made this puzzling remark in 2003. He has since claimed he performed two gay marriages while in office. With the fall of Proposition 8, California can now get back to the business of marrying gays, Schwarzenegger's muddled thoughts aside.
2. Marriage equality is "a threat to the nation's survival in the long run."
Representative Trent Franks (R-Arizona) issued this obnoxious warning in 2011 in response to President Obama's refusal to defend the now-dead DOMA. Two years later, it seems the nation has somehow managed to survive this dire threat.
3. Same-sex marriage is like "counterfeit money."
Wasting no time after the Supreme Court rulings yesterday, Penny Nance of the organization Concerned Women for America immediately compared gays getting married to counterfeit money, arguing gay marriage "takes something that's the real deal and diminishes it." She also said it was sure to lead to polygamy.
4. Hurricane Sandy was "divine justice" triggered by the recognition of same-sex marriage in New York.
After Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast last year, Rabbi Noson Leiter, of a right-wing fringe group called Torah Jews for Decency, hatefully claimed the storm was retribution on "one of the national centers for homosexuality." Aside from the obvious logical fail and blatant homophobia involved here, this is also pretty disrespectful to the people who lost their homes in the storm.
5. Christians must engage in "spiritual warfare" to combat same-sex marriage.
This call-to-arms came from Representative Michele Bachmann (R-Minnesota) – who has also claimed that a teacher who talks about the concept of gayness with students is engaging in child abuse. This is only one of many horrifically bigoted statements made by Bachmann, who founded the House Tea Party Caucus and made sure her hateful beliefs were a key part of the Tea Party agenda.
6. "If gays are granted rights, next we'll have to give rights to prostitutes and to people who sleep with St. Bernards and to nail biters."
Beauty pageant winner and singer Anita Bryant made this shockingly dumb statement back in 1977, during her Save the Children campaign, which worked to repeal anti-discrimination legislation across the nation passed to protect homosexuals. Charming!
7. "I think it's a conundrum. If we have no laws on this, people take it to one extension further, does it have to be humans, you know?"
Deep-thinking Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) raised this question yesterday, suggesting that the Supreme Court's ruling might mean human beings would begin to marry animals. This type of slippery-slope argument against same-sex marriage sounds eerily similar to the nonsensical arguments once made by racists about the dangers of interracial marriage. One piece of good news: By the end of the day, Paul had changed his mind, stating he's confident that people will continue to engage in human-to-human marriages.
8. Same-sex marriage will lead to "fathers marrying sons."
Actor Jeremy Irons, who made these comments in April, attempted to clarify his thoughts in a later interview, explaining, "Could a father not marry his son? It's not incest between men [because] incest [law] is there to protect us from inbreeding, but men don't breed. I don't have a strong feeling either way. Living with another animal, whether it be a husband or a dog, is great. It's lovely to have someone to love." Maybe stick to acting?
9. "Europe, which gave us the idea of same-sex marriage, is a dying society, with birthrates 50 percent below replacement."
Despite what Maggie Gallagher, president of the Institute for Marriage and Public Policy, claims, the idea of same-sex marriage goes back to Ancient Egypt, not Europe. Furthermore, there is no evidence to date that same-sex marriage has led to a rampant population crisis in Europe.
10. "My analysis is that the gays are about 5 percent of the attack on marriage in this country, and the feminists are about 95 percent."
Not content to simply rail against the still yet-to-be-passed Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), conservative lawyer and activist Phyllis Schlafly lashed out against feminists and homosexuals in one fell swoop with this ever-quotable quote. For the record, the ERA is a proposed amendment to the constitution granting equal rights to women. Feminists have been trying to pass it in the United States since 1923. And it has nothing to do with "attacking marriage."