"What's next?" Atlanta Braves pitcher John Smoltz said, when asked his opinion about gay marriage. "Marrying an animal?"
It's fascinating how often that happens. Time and time again, when opponents of gay marriage and gay unions are asked to explain their position, their real underlying concern turns out to be a rather odd fear of bestiality.
That same obsession seems to have afflicted Timothy Dailey, a stern opponent of gay marriage and a senior fellow at the Family Research Council, a national conservative group. In an FRC brochure titled "The Slippery Slope of Same-Sex Marriage," Dailey brings up an obscure case that came to light five years ago about a deluded soul in Missouri named Mark. It seems that Mark fell in love with his pony, named Pixel, and in 1993 actually "married" her in a private ceremony.
"She's gorgeous. She's sweet. She's loving," Mark was quoted as saying in unbridled affection. "I'm very proud of her. ... Deep down, way down, I'd love to have children with her."
For Dailey, this was a call to arms. Like Smoltz, he worries that if gay marriage or gay unions are allowed, there also would be nothing in the law to stop couples such as Mark and Pixel from also getting hitched, so to speak, and joining together in eternal wedded bliss.
"Once marriage is no longer confined to a man and a woman," Dailey warned, "it is impossible to exclude virtually any relationship between two or more partners of either sex — even nonhuman 'partners.' "
Imagine, if you will, the possible implications of such a thing. For example, it could mean that animals who enter this country illegally might be able to marry U.S. citizens and then demand the right to vote, for goodness sakes.
To avert such calamities, Dailey and others are pushing for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would define marriage as a union between a man and a woman, thus removing any possibility that individual states could decide for themselves to sanction bestiality or gay unions. The proposed amendment is scheduled to be debated and voted on this week in the U.S. Senate, and it's expected to be a bitter and divisive fight.
So I have a proposal: If the real, underlying issue in this debate is the fear that human beings will someday be allowed to marry animals — if Smoltz, Dailey and others are honestly and truly worried by that prospect — then let's address that issue head on. Let's pass a Federal Animals, Relationships and Marriage amendment to the U.S. Constitution that outlaws all interspecies marriages, period.
The FARM act would have two other important advantages over the proposed Federal Marriage Amendment. First, this is a deeply divided nation, and the last thing we need is something to get us even angrier at one another. What we need instead is something that will unite us, a cause that all of us can rally behind. And surely all Americans — with the notable exception of one very lonely guy out in Missouri — can get behind the FARM act and thus protect human-to-human marriage from this dire threat.
By championing the FARM act, President Bush finally could make good on his promise to be a uniter, not a divider. And John Kerry could use the amendment to demonstrate yet again that there are some issues too important to compromise on. As far as I know, he is now and always has been opposed to human-animal sex, even during the '60s.
Second, and more important, my proposal would address a glaring loophole that Dailey, Smoltz and other courageous crusaders against bestiality have apparently overlooked.
Pixel, you see, is a female pony, which means that technically speaking, she and Mark in Missouri have actually enjoyed a stable, heterosexual relationship. A ban on same-sex marriage would do nothing to prevent them joining in holy matrimony. Only the FARM act can save the republic from that travesty.
Copyright 2004, The Daily Camera