The Incest Argument & Same-Sex Marriage

Marriage March 2013

(Photo credit: American Life League)

One of the stock fallacious arguments against same sex-marriage is the slippery slope argument in which it is contended that allowing same sex-marriage will lead to allowing incestuous marriage. The mistake being made is, of course, that the link between the two is not actually made. Since the slippery slope fallacy is a fallacy, this is obviously a bad argument.

A non-fallacious argument that is also presented against same sex-marriage involves the contention that allowing same-sex marriage on the basis of a certain principle would require that, on the pain of inconsistency, we also accept incestuous marriage. This principle is typically some variant of the principle that a person should be able to marry any other person. Given that incestuous marriage is bad, this would seem to entail that we should not allow same-sex marriage.

My first standard reply to this argument is that if different-sex marriage does not require us to accept incestuous marriage, then neither does accepting same-sex marriage. But, if accepting same-sex marriage entails that we have to accept incestuous marriage, the same would also apply to different-sex marriage. That this is so is shown by the following argument. If same-sex marriage is based on the principle that a person should be allowed to marry the person they wish to marry, then it would seem that different-sex marriage is based on the principle that a person should be allowed to marry the person of the opposite sex they wish to marry. By analogy, if allowing a person to marry any person they want to marry allows incestuous marriage, then allowing a person to marry a member of the opposite sex would also allow incestuous marriage-albeit only to a member of the opposite sex. But, if the slide to incest can be stopped in the case of different-sex marriage, then the same stopping mechanism can be used in the case of same-sex marriage.

In the case of different-sex marriage, there is generally an injunction against people marrying close relatives. This same injunction would certainly seem to be applicable in the case of same-sex marriage. After all, there is nothing about accepting same-sex marriage that inherently requires accepting incestuous marriage.

One possible objection to my reply is that incestuous different-sex marriage is forbidden on the grounds that such relationships could produce children. More specifically, incestuous reproduction tends to be more likely to produce genetic defects which would provide a basis for a utilitarian moral argument against allowing incestuous marriage.  Obviously, same-sex marriages have no possibility of producing children naturally. This would be a relevant difference between same-sex marriage and different-sex marriage. Thus, it could be claimed that while different-sex marriage can be defended from incestuous marriage on these grounds, the same can not be said for same-sex marriage. Once it is allowed, then it would be unprincipled to deny same-sex-incestuous marriage.

There are four obvious replies here.

First, if the only moral problem with incestuous marriage is the higher  possibility of producing children with genetic defects, then incestuous same-sex marriage would not be morally problematic. Ironically, the relevant difference between the two that prevents denying same-sex-incestuous marriage would also make it morally acceptable.

Second, if a different-sex incestuous couple could not reproduce (due to natural or artificial sterility), then this principle would allow them to get married. After all, they are no more capable of producing children than a same-sex couple.

Third, if it could be shown that a different-sex incestuous couple would have the same chance of having healthy children as a non-incestuous couple, then this would allow them to get married. After all, they are no more likely to produce children with genetic defects than a non-incestuous couple.

Fourth, given that the principle is based on genetic defects being more likely than normal, it would follow that unrelated couples who are lkely to produce offspring with genetic defects should not be allowed to be married. After all, the principle is that couples who are likely to produce genetically defective offspring cannot be married. Thanks to advances in genetics, it is (or soon will be) possible (and affordable) to check the “genetic odds” for couples. As such, if incestuous marriage is wrong because of the higher possibility (whatever the level of unnacceptle risk might be) of genetic defects, then the union of unrelated people who have a higher possibiity of genetically defective children would also be wrong. This would seem to entail that if incestuous marriage should be illegal on these grounds, then so too should the union of unrelated people who have a similar chance of producing defective children.

In light of the above, the incest gambit against same-sex marriage would seem to fail. However, it also seems to follow that incestuous marriage would be acceptable in some cases.

Obviously enough, I have an emotional opposition to incest and believe that it should not be allowed. Of course, how I feel about it is no indication of its correctness or incorrectness. I do, of course, have argments against incest.

Many cases of incest involve a lack of consent, coercion or actual rape. Such cases often involve an older relative having sexual relations with a child. This sort of incest is clearly wrong and arguments for this are easy enough to provide-after all, one can make use of the usual arguments against coercion, child molestation and rape.

Where matters get rather more difficult is incest involving two consenting adults-be they of the same or different sexes. After all, the moral arguments that are based on a lack of consent no longer apply. Appealing to tradition will not work here-after all, that is a fallacy. The claim that it makes me uncomfortable or even sick would also not have any logical weight. As J.S. Mill argued, I have no right to prevent people from engaging in consenual activity just because I think it is offensive. What would be needed would be evidence of harm being done to others without their consent.

I have considered the idea that allowing incestuous marriage would be damaging to family relations. That is, the proper moral relations between relatives is such that incest would be harmful to the family as a whole. This is, obviously enough, analogous to the arguments made by those who oppose same-sex marriage. They argue that allowing same-sex marriage would be damaging to family relations because the proper moral relation between a married couple is such that same-sex marriage would damage to the family as a whole. As it stands, the evidence is that same-sex couples do not create such harm. Naturally, there is not much evidence involving incestuous marriages or relationships. However, if it could be shown that incestuous relationships between consenting adults were harmful, then they could thus be justly forbidden on utilitarian grounds. Naturally, the same would hold true of same-sex relationships.

Reflecting on incestuous marriage has, interestingly enough, given me some sympathy for people who have reflected on same-sex marriage and believe that there is something wrong about it. After all, I am against incestuous marriage and thinking of it makes me feel ill. However, I am at a loss for a truly compelling moral argument against it that would not also apply to non-related couples. My best argument, as I see it, is the harm argument. This is, as noted above, analogous to the harm argument used by opponents of same-sex marriage. The main difference is, of course, that the harm arguments presented by opponents of same sex-marriage have been shown to have premises that are not true. For example, claims about the alleged harms to children from having same-sex parents have been shown to be untrue. As such, I am not against same-sex marriage, but I am opposed to incestuous marriage-be it same or different sexes.

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  1. In my opinion your conclusion are pointing in the right direction but you’re doing the politicians dance.

    You being offended by the idea of incestious marriages has no bearing at all whether it’s a fundamental human right, ex. whites used to be offended by the idea of black people riding the same bus. It simply means you were brought up with indoctrinated ideas and “values”, that my or may not be wrong.

    In my opinion, the harm argument is the only valid argument as such only coupling that will result in high potential for genetic defects should be prevented.

    Society and government has it the wrong way around. ALL freedoms should be provided and only those taken away that are either proven to cause harm or are found to cause harm.

  2. Anthony Juan Bautista


    Very nicely thought-out! Your analysis presents a rationale for how “society” might analyze these distinctions. However, (as is oftentimes sadly the case) society will NOT address this matter—legal precedent will address this matter.

    You should read Walker’s ruling on Prop 8 (start around page 124):

    Now, wherever is written the word “gender”, as in “gender restrictions” or “restricting an individual’s choice of spouse based on gender”, I want you to substitute the word “genotype”. So the phrasing becomes “restricting an individual’s choice of spouse based on genotype.” (And remember with rare exception, gender is simply a phenotype derived from genotype—meaning gender is subordinate, shall we say.)

    You’ll be very surprised that the legal rationale is entirely sustained and remains extremely coherent, even with the word substitution!

    Also, your notion that the slippery slope is a fallacy is rejected outright. I previously mentioned a child’s modern-day “right” to an abortion, “slipping” from a 1973 SCOTUS opinion relating to mature adult women.

  3. Anthony Juan Bautista

    To finish the thought:

    Over 100-plus yrs we have outlawed previously codified restrictions and various unequal treatment based solely on phenotype—think gender and race. Hence, if we cannot discriminate based on phenotype, we most certainly (logically) cannot discriminate based on genotype. The former is subsumed by the latter.

  4. “I have considered the idea that allowing incestuous marriage would be damaging to family relations. That is, the proper moral relations between relatives is such that incest would be harmful to the family as a whole.”

    Interestingly, this is the main argument of the German Constitutional Court (BVerfG) in its decision (28 February 2008) to uphold § 173 of the German Penal Code (StGB) which prohibits sexual intercourse between close relatives.

    As any kind of eugenic argument is implossible to make under German law (and, I would argue, human rights provisions), the court had to appeal to the ‘integrity of the family’ to rule a prohibition of incest constitutional.
    The one dissenting opinion (by judge Winfried Hassemer) disagreed with this assessment on several grounds: He argued that the prohibition violated the proportionality principle (as the penalty is rather severe: a maximum of three years imprisonment) and failed to address any victim – he called incest between consenting adults a “victimless crime”. Furthermore, he questioned the intent of the law, which (historically) DID involve a eugenic angle. However, the law does not prohibit other sexual relations which might be even more likely to produce children with genetic disorders. And to make things even more absurd, § 173 StGB prohibits only intercourse (“Beischlaf” in German), which by legal definition is limited to vaginal penetration (again, betraying the law’s historical intent of eugenics). For example, consenting siblings can legally engage in all kinds of sexual acts – except intercourse!
    Following the court’s ruling – which was controversial not least because of Hassemer’s arguments – the German Society for Human Genetics criticised the decision on the same grounds as Hassemer (that is, nobody would accept a law prohibiting parents with genetic disorders or a predisposition for genetic disorders from reproducing).

  5. Ah, the old incestuous marriage canard.

    Sanctimonious bible bashers are not on such firm ground when it comes to this argument. In fact, it’s where you can pick up that good ole bible and give them a good ole bash back with it – with a simple question; “What about Lot?”

    What about Lot?

    Well, when God was through nuking two cities, and turning Lot’s wife into a pillar of salt for the capital crime of taking a peek at him mashing up her house, in one of his crazy heavy drinking meth smoking rages he used to get into in his old testament days (the world was young, and so was God – he was out of control, but who isn’t at that age). Lot retreats to a cave with his two daughters. His daughters get him drunk every night, so he will have sex with them, and get them pregnant. And that is the literal word of the Lord.

    Any interpretation is problematic. Does God really think, that if you are pious individual it’s all wholesome to get drunk and impregnate your daughters.

  6. Despite its characterization of the incest argument as a slippery slope, I find it ironic that this article tried its best to prove in favor of incest marriages on account of same-sex and different-sex marriages. A same-sex marriage proponent arguing on account of all the reasons listed in the article should consider, for the sake of consistency, also supporting incest marriages, otherwise it might be hypocritical to argue against opponents of same-sex because they find it disgusting when you’re against incest because you find it disgusting or it makes you ill.

  7. Jonathan,

    I actually address the points you make in the post.

  8. I am a very pragmatic person. I think that if marriage fulfills a purpose, and that if said purpose applies to same-sex (or incestuos) couples as well, then they should be allowed to get married.

    I agree with Anthony that “we most certainly (logically) cannot discriminate based on genotype”. As you pointed out, there is not much evidence involving incestuous marriages or relationships.

    Maybe the greatest harm about incestuos realtionships is society’s reject on moral grounds. The reproduction issue is a weak one, as your article pointed out. The only way to assess the harm will be stopping society from condemning incestuos relations, so we can study the phenomenom from a free of intolerance point of view.

    (please disregard my poor english)

  9. The thing about this debate as pertains specifically to gay marriage is that we don’t even need to identify or defend any sort of argument against incest to show the fallacy. The argument is saying that if incest is to be banned on the sole grounds of being gross, then so must anything likewise tabooed. It effectively holds gay civil rights hostage to a completely unrelated area of social mores.

    Perhaps the core problem of almost any slippery slope of thisform is: it simultaneously assumes a consequence is bad, and that the people will make no chioce other than to enact the consequence once a given point is reached. In other words, the fallacy depends on the existence of “inexplicably bad” things. It further assumes that the badness must overwhelm everything else in our considerations. Yet the potential set of “inexplicably bad” things is infinite. At one time, there was a strong taboo against interracial marriage; the “incest argument” necessarily leads to an opposition to interracial marriage, on the basis that “If anyone has the right to marry whomever they love, then…”

    You could even invent new taboos just to add to the “hostages”. No one should marry anyone with a different hair color unless their names start with different letters. It’s just disgusting. If you disagree, then we’ll have to bring in your unexamined opposition to incest, and I assume you value that opposition more than you value some made-up right to marry just anyone

  10. Lenoxus,
    If incest isn’t “inexplicably bad”, then why do gay marriage proponents have a hard time just accepting the incest argument?

  11. @Jon

    I’m a gay marriage proponent and I accept the incest argument. Let ’em marry.

    I am, however, very creeped by the idea of parent-child marriage. I at least recognize, though, that this is because of their typical social rather than biological relation.

    For example, Oedipus seems ironic rather than creepy to me, but I find a parent marrying their adopted child really disturbing. It’s about social relation, not biology.

    Sibling and close-cousin marriage seems fine, apart from the recessive gene concern.

  12. Jon: What do you mean by “accepting the incest argument”? Do you mean philosophically biting the bullet? In other words, you ask: if no concrete anti-incest argument can be made, then why don’t gay marriage proponents accept the possibility of incestuous marriage?

    Well, maybe the “bad” part outweighs the “inexplicable” part here; it can do that without encroaching on other forms of marriage. Also, we aren’t operating in a political vacuum. If gay marriage proponents (or even anyone else) all started actively campaigning for the legalization of incestuous marriage on civil-rights grounds, that would seriously damage, and perhaps,destroy, the same-sex-marriage cause. Most likely, though, gay-marriage proponents are against incest for the same reasons listed on this page.

    Regardless, I hope I made it clear why the existence or absence of explicit anti-incest arguments is unnecessary with respect to the support of gay marriage. The slippery slope argument is almost a non-sequiter, unless we consider the prevention of incest to trump every other consideration. (In which case it would be best to abolish marriage altogether so as to not even climb the mountain, much less approach the slope. We don’t even need out-of-wedlock sex, another tabooed activity, to occur, since sex is no longer a prerequisite for human reproduction.)

    Meanwhile, to the extent that incest is “explicably” bad, then the argument fares even worse. All we have to do is consider the points against incest (which do not also exist as points against homosexuality) to be sufficient grounds for its continued illegality; problem solved.

  13. I think a big distinction worth considering is that in countries who condemn homosexuals, there are or at least were cases of polygamy and incest being accepted. In contrast, homosexuality is becoming increasingly accepted in western countries while polygamy and incest are generally frowned upon. There is a shift against the two but towards homosexuality so the argument is invalid.

  14. This individual still looks like he’s twenty-five. Amazing.

    Stop by my homepage: gay web sites

  15. “Would you legalize incestuous or polygamous marriage?” could be a perfectly non-fallacious counter-example in the dialectical context
    of a debate with a typical liberal-minded person who thinks gay marriage should be legal because “people should be allowed to marry anyone they want,” or “everyone should have an equal right to marry.” If this is the reason they support gay marriage, and they refuse to go full blown libertarian (allowing sterilized relatives to marry, etc.), then they are being inconsistent, and need to think of a better reason for supporting gay marriage.

    I might suggest a better reason. Marriage is not a right. It is restricted for many reasons. It is a privilege conferred by the state for various purposes, originating with the procreative imperative most likely- the need for the state to perpetuate and maintain itself.

    I think the best arguments against opponents of gay marriage are not about rights or equality but are about questioning the traditional telos or purpose of marriage and giving good alternative reasons why the state should support gay marriage.

    A little more Aristotle and a little less tired rhetoric about “rights.”

  16. I hope I am not intruding, but your post seems to an honest conversation trying to think through an issue unlike the mountains of garbage I have read on this. And for that I thank you and your commenters!

    My apologies to Mr. LaBossiere. In the context of concern over the “open door to legal incest” idea, I have not heard any of the 4 items listed above before. But the last three paragraphs starting with:
    “Where matters get rather more difficult is incest involving two consenting adults-be they of the same or different sexes…” Definitely is intriguing. I like what Anthony Juan and St David posted. Far from the moral arguments for marriage, the new definition is a reasonable entrance for incest.

    The main argument I have heard for gay marriage has been the same that Tony mentioned: “we should get to marry whomever we want/whomever we love.” I’m not sure that your four reasons address incest within that new context for a marriage relationship. And I really think that is at the heart of what is being asked by the opponents.

    It seems in the current context of marriage “between a man and a woman,” there are no parameters on attraction, none for love, none for race. Historically there were not ones for age either, but were based on the practicality of the man and woman both being able to procreate. This was the whole point of “coming of age” ceremonies in cultures. Royal weddings, arranged marriages, shotgun marriages, etc. were all still marriages because they met the criteria — man and woman. The family unit was about procreation. In that traditional paradigm, incest is an obvious violation of that. It damages that family unit because one of those who created the child is now using the child for pleasure. It is also a violation of the respect and dignity due the other adult in the relationship. (This is in addition to the emotional issue as children should have the ability to enter the world feeling safe, not fearful of those who brought them into the world.)

    Since there is no opportunity for the new family unit to jointly procreate, procreation as a criteria is removed. Pleasure and emotion become the basis for this new relationship. If procreation is removed in favor of pleasure, the cultural age limit around puberty is also removed. (I can’t figure out how to argue differently.) With procreation removed as the main reason for marriage, incest cannot be an issue because it is about pleasure — not children. A common marriage between two men would be considered the new family unit. A child from either one could not possibly be produced inside this new family unit. Thus sex with this child cannot destroy or damage this new family unit. It may estrange the man from the woman who gave birth, or hurt his relationship with his son who might no longer want to be near him, but it would not damage the “family unit.” In that context, one cannot argue that incest would damage the family. Besides, if the new relationship is about pleasure, the child of the father might feel bad or wish he/she hadn’t been coerced into sex/marriage, but if he doesnt like it he/she can just get a divorce. But I’m not sure how one could argue that in the new paradigm incest would be “illegal.” One couldn’t just say, “well things will remain the same for that.”

    It is not just about redefining the word “marriage,” but more importantly HOW it is redefined. In the presently provided reasons of “whoever I want” or “whoever I love,” we currently see no parameters, thus Jon’s position would be completely valid. The premises in any argument are fundamentally important and that is what is being redefined. And even if one tried later to put in place parameters against incest (or anything), they would be in violation of this new main premise, and thus easily overturned.

    Anyways… I know I didn’t really ask any questions, but I hope I respectfully added to the conversation.

  17. I think that, like many other commentators have pointed out, you have argued in favor of incest as much as same-sex marriage. That was on point, however, since people are arguing that incest is bad; and allowing same-sex would enable allowing incest; therefore same-sex is bad. But as you’ve argued whoever said incest was bad? So this argument has been debunked.
    But I have a contention regarding your very first point: the one where you state the lack of connection between same-sex marriage and incest. And that is… the argument is not based on a certain similarity or explicit linkage between the two. The argument is that if the ambit of acceptability of marriage is aggrandized any amount beyond different-sex marriage, then there is no argument against allowing any form of marriage whether linked or unlinked, similar or dissimilar. So do you accept this consequence?
    I would like your response on this! Regards.

  18. Ahmad Bilal,

    I’d say that allowing same-sex marriage no more justified accepting incest than allowing different sex-marriage.
    If some says “if we allow unrelated same sex couples to marry, then it follows we must allow closely related people to marry” this seems exactly analogous to saying “if we allow unrelated different sex couples to marry, then it follows that we must allow closely related people to marry.” To be specific, allowing non-incestuous marriage of same or different sex people does not seem to warrant incestuous marriage. After all, the prohibition against incestuous marriage is that the people are too closely related. This applies whether they are same sex or not.

  19. Thanks for the response. Valid clarification! I could riposte but that’s besides my point.
    I actually wanted a response on my contention. Do you accept the consequence?

  20. Accepting same sex marriage does not entail accepting every form of marriage anymore than accepting different sex marriage requires accepting every form of marriage. It is possible to stop the slippery slope in a principled way. To use an analogy, just because women got the vote in 1920 (in the US) it does not follow that the right to vote must then be extended to babies, goats, or squirrels.

    So, for example, we can forbid incestuous marriage by accepting the principle that closely related people should not marry. This would apply to same and different sex couples, so would seem to be a consistent application.

    However, people can propose expansions to marriage and each would need to be argued on its own merit.

    Also, arguments in favor of a type of marriage can be applied to expanding it in other ways. For example, if someone argues for same-sex marriage by arguing that an adult has the right to marry any other consenting adult, then that could be used to justify incestuous marriage. But, of course, if someone argues for different sex marriage by arguing that an adult has the right to marry any other consenting adult, then that could also be used to justify incestuous marriage. If someone argues that marriage is between a male and a female, then that could be used to argue for child marriages, compelled marriages, and also incestuous marriages-all it would require is that the people involved are a male and a female.

  21. The natural feeling or reaction that “this is wrong” that a man feels when he sees two other men having sex is similar to what a parent would feel if he sees his son and daughter having sex. It is an automatic and natural reaction (from the point of view of the parent and straight man’s perspective). The reaction would still be the same even in the existence of love.

    Because the natural situation is that (again, from the point of view of the straight man and the parent), two men should only have a filial relationship, and siblings should only have a filial relationship.

    So, getting to my point, in the *current* world, what is the difference between a homosexual relationship and an incestuous relationship?


    In the *current* world, the man’s reaction is not as strong as the parent’s reaction due to the fact that there is so much more (at least to my knowledge) homosexual relationships than there is incestuous. It is a known fact that a straight man will always have that “feeling” regarding two men having sex (even if it is the straight man who loves the homosexual most, his father), but is now more tolerant because there are so many gays right now that straight men have been desensitized. We have gotten used to them. Hence, homosexual relationships have become “natural” (relatively speaking) compared to incestuous relationships.

    So, in a world (hopefully this will not happen in the future)
    wherein incestuous relationships have increased tremendously in incidence, it will also become a human right, and they will demand the right to marriage. And following the logic and sequence of events of what is happening to our world right now, incestuous marriage will become legal that that fictional world.

    And that is how, something that is “wrong” (even if only relatively speaking) becomes “right” just due to the concept of the majority and tolerance. That is the reason why the majority rule is flawed and why the current ruling on same-sex marriage does not coincide with the natural order of the world.

  22. Mike! My argument predicated on why different-sex marriage was legitimized in the first place. It was legitimized and defined, among other things, due to the presence of a thing called “human nature”. I mean, while other things might’ve led to the institutionalization of marriage, but the different-sex condition was undisputedly unquestionable, as being enshrined in our nature.
    By acceding to same-sex logic then the door of “nature-driven” logic has forever been slammed shut. Practices like incest, cannibalism, bestiality etc. then have to be argued purely solely on the basis of benefit or harm. This was the consequence I was referring to.

  23. (3rd par.)

    “..That this is so is shown by the following argument.
    If same-sex marriage is based on the principle that a person should be allowed to marry the person they wish to marry, then it would seem that different-sex marriage is based on the principle that a person should be allowed to marry the person of the opposite sex they wish to marry. By analogy, if allowing a person to marry any person they want to marry allows incestuous marriage, then allowing a person to marry a member of the opposite sex would also allow incestuous marriage-albeit only to a member of the opposite sex”

    I think this (your) argument is not valid. Because it restricts the definition of different/same-sex and incestuous marriage to such narrow, oversimplified, one-phrase definitions and uses such to make the argument.

    It’s like saying that “if the sky is blue and the sea is blue, then the sky is also the sea”.

    You cannot make accurate analogies by just using only a single aspect of the concept and restricting its other components. It’s as if we all became toddlers again and argued with each other. It is just wordplay

  24. What’s wrong with incest marriage? I don’t get it! It’s two adults who love each other! Love is love! “Oh but abuse was involved somewhere” Ummm, didn’t people use that same lame argument against gays?

  25. What about different species marriage? A hourse and a human can’t profuse offspring of any kind, therefore this would make beastiality marriage acceptable. The only drawback with a horse and a human is that the horse could accidentally kill the person and may have to be shot for the action, though that more of an accident, not malice on the horses part.

  26. We are not arguing about legalization for different-sex marriages. The argument that marriage is between a male and a female must only establish that a male and a female is sufficient for marriage. The argument that an adult has the right to marry any other consenting adult, however, in order to suggest by itself that same-sex marriage is a right, must establish consenting adults to be the necessary and sufficient condition (otherwise it is not an argument at all). Similarly, the male and female argument is only valid as an attack against same-sex marriage, but not as a defense for different-sex marriage.

    I think the consistency argument stands. If the argument was that consenting adults must necessarily have the right to marriage, then you absolutely must accept incestuous marriage. The argument for different-sex has never been that any male and female could marry.

  27. Alecia,

    True. The “love is love” principle is such that consistency would seem to require extending marriage rights to all consenting adults, regardless of their genetic relationship. Coerced marriage would, presumably, still remain wrong.

  28. Anonymous,

    Horses cannot understand or consent to marriage. Saying a human can marry a horse is like saying that a human can enter into a business partnership with a horse or that a horse can form a corporation. So horse marriage is out, at least until intelligent horses show up (so, yeah, human-horse marriage might be okay in Narnia).

    That said, there are marriages that are one sided in that way, such as child marriages in which the child is not old enough to provide informed, free consent. But I regard those as morally wrong as well.

  29. Jonathan Chang,

    Quite right. If the moral principle is based on informed, adult consent, then any mentally competent adults who can consent could marry.

  30. The slippery slope fallacy is a fallacy only in the peanut brains of the person that wants the perversion to continue.
    1. Roe Wade Originally was aimed at First Trimester, Rape, Incest or life of the mother. One must only do a cursory look at society and know- you can get an abortion at 40 weeks gestation just because you “don’t want the baby”.
    2. If two brothers WISH to marry now, what would be the problem? Your argument that heterosexual marriage would also allow “incest” is not valid. Both were illegal. Frankly, incest has been a part of some cultures, so it is not that outlandish. Same sex marriage has open the door for incestuous same sex marriage, because the taboo of reinforced recessives would not happen. Finally, polygamy and polygyny, S marriages etc should be allowed, to disallow them is discrimination against Muslims for example. As a matter of fact, there have been some in Utah that have asked for a license for a second spouse, and the request has NOT BEEN REFUSED.

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