The Supreme Court has heard arguments for, and against, marriage equality and a decision is expected this summer. It’s still not certain which way the courts will go, but there is a better-than-even chance that in coming months, marriage equality will be the law of the land, across the United States.
If that happens, religious leaders, radio hosts, and politicians have predicted some dire – and ridiculous – outcomes. Here are seven of the craziest.
1. Perhaps this one isn’t a prediction so much as a threat, but according to Fox News, a number of religious leaders and a few politicians have sworn they will disobey the ruling.
Why is it crazy? Well, it’s not really clear what “obeying” means to these leaders in this context. No pastor, priest or minister, will be ordered to perform marriages they choose to refuse, so refusing to perform a marriage isn’t disobedient. It’s unlikely that a conservative radio host will be asked to recognize marriages as legal – so there’s no disobedience in that. What exactly are they really threatening, other than arm-crossing and sticking-out of tongues?
2. Legalizing same-sex marriages will cause opposite-sex couples to have more children out of wedlock.
This is actually the argument given to the Supreme Court. The Justices dismissed it fairly easily, not appearing to see any particular link.
3. Half of all churchgoers will give up their religious pursuits for their own safety.
This one comes from Glenn Beck. According to Towelroad, he claims that 50 percent of congregants will leave their churches out of fear.
…because they’ll say, ‘I can’t do that, I’ll lose my job, people are picketing my house, I just can’t do that'”.
4. Churches and ministers will be in danger.
This has been a claim from several conservatives. Lt. Governor Dan Patrick of Texas is one of the most recent. According to the Dallas News, he is pushing for new legislation he says is necessary for the protection of churches and clergy. Without it, he claims clergy members will be punished or arrested for refusing to perform same-sex marriages. (Hint: Clergy can currently, and are assured the right to, refuse to perform any marriage. The same is not true for government employees, such asa clerk of court.)
5. Pedophiles will demand equal rights, too. Think Progress quotes fears of this from Pat Robertson, but he’s hardly the only marriage equality opponent to claim it.
Comparing homosexuality to pedophilia is a common tactic in arguing against marriage equality. However, unlike same-sex unions, a pedophilic ‘relationship’ would by necessity involve a member who cannot consent, and there is no question that the state has a compelling purpose in preventing this.
6. People will demand the right to marry their dogs.
This is silly for the same reason. Animals cannot consent to enter into a marriage. Unlike a gay adult human, a dog cannot consent to sex, or sign a marriage license.
7. God will destroy America. Pat Robertson gets a credit on this one too, though again, he isn’t the only person to express it. In fact, his isn’t even the wildest version. According to Right Wing Watch, conservative broadcaster Rick Wiles may have earned that honor.
Saying that the Holy Spirit was speaking through him, Wiles declared that fire — perhaps a fireball from space — would destroy America if the nation accepts same-sex marriage.
“America will be brought to its knees, there will be pain and suffering at a level we’ve never seen in this country. The word that I hear in my spirit is ‘fire.’ I do not know if it refers to riots or looting or war on American soil or a fireball from space. I simply know that a sweeping, consuming fire will come across the United States of America and this country will be charred and burned.”
On the other hand, what are the most likely outcomes of marriage equality? Chances are, a ruling for marriage equality will mean that same-sex couples will get married. Like in opposite-sex marriage, some will have children and some will not. Like in opposite-sex marriage, some will be abusive, some will be loving, some will last, and some will end in divorce. Some same-sex couples will change the lives of children by adopting. Some will remain childless, or choose to have children of their own through technologically-boosted means.
Meanwhile, the world will keep spinning, people will continue going to church, and American lives will go on. Some hearts and minds will change. Others will not. The nation will be a little more equal. Marriage equality will bring changes, but they won’t be catastrophic.
[Photo by:Olivier Douliery/Getty Images]