The Grammys and the Myth of Marriage Equality

Michael Brown
Michael Brown

In a tribute to "marriage equality," Sunday night's Grammy Awards featured the "on-air wedding of [33] couples—gay, straight, old, young, of many races and many colors."

In reality, talk of "marriage equality" is nothing of the sort.

According to Ryan Lewis, whose hit song with Macklemore, "Same Love," became last year's gay marriage anthem, and during which song the nuptials took place on TV, the weddings "will be in our minds the ultimate statement of equality, that all the couples are entitled to the same exact thing."

But Lewis's statement raises an obvious question: Why speak only of "couples"?

Ryan T. Anderson of the Heritage Foundation has noted that a recently coined term is "thruple." (According to the Urban Dictionary, this term refers to a, "Three-way relationship. Properly known by polyamorists as a triad. Amusingly known by many gay men as a 'thruple.'")

Why not marriage equality for "thruples"? And why not marriage equality for . . . shall we just say, "etc."?

During a recent interview on the David Pakman Show, I challenged his statement that "we now have 39% of Americans living in states with full marriage equality." (My challenge appears not to be on the final version online.)

How can he refer to "full marriage equality" when these states oppose polygamy and polyamory, among other unions? Isn't it hypocritical for gay activists and their allies to celebrate "marriage equality" when, in fact, they have simply focused on their own particular form of "marital" unions?

On January 15th, CNN published an opinion column by Janet W. Hardy entitled, "Why plural marriages make sense." (According to the bio on CNN, "Janet W. Hardy is a writer, editor and consultant, has published 11 books, including the best-selling, 'The Ethical Slut: A Practical Guide to Polyamory, Open Relationships and Other Adventures.' She has taught workshops about alternative sexualities and relationships all over the world." I must admit that somehow, I overlooked the "Ethical Slut" book in my recent research and reading.)

Hardy noted that, "I am sure that many marriage equality opponents reading this are shouting 'I told you so!' as their predictions that plural marriage would follow same-sex marriage come nightmarishly true."

But rather than deny this negative progression, she simply endorses it as positive. After all, headlines as recent as January 12th stated that, "Stars of 'Sister Wives' TV show humbled by ruling striking down Utah polygamy law."

At this point, should we really be surprised?

And so the question for gay activists and their allies remains the same: If marriage is not the union of a man and a woman (as opposed to the union of two people), why limit it to two? What's so important about the number two unless it refers to the unique union that only a male and female couple can have?

To date, I have not yet heard a single coherent answer from anyone wanting to redefine marriage as the union of two people as to why we must limit that number to two. (For a glaring example of this, see my debate with Prof. Eric Smaw at the University of Central Florida on "Same-Sex Marriage: Should It Be Legal.")

The Marriage-Equality.blogspot makes clear that there can be no true marriage equality until it applies to all, without exception. Its statement of purpose is, "Advocating for the right of consenting adults to share and enjoy love, sex, residence, and marriage without limits on the gender, number, or relation of participants. Full marriage equality is a basic human right."

At least this website is consistent, even going as far as calling for "marriage" between consenting adults who are closely related. And this is not just abstract thinking. In recent years, prominent cases involving incestuous, adult relationships have come before the courts (and/or the media) including relationships between a brother and a sister, a father and a daughter, and even a grandmother and her grandson.

When I asked Piers Morgan, "Should two grown brothers be allowed to marry, or like in Germany, a grown brother and a grown sister, separated from childhood, who have fallen in love," he replied, "You're now getting ridiculous. . . . You're just being silly Dr. Brown, and you know you are."

But why is that "ridiculous" or "silly"? As I said on the show, "Fifty years ago it was silly talking about a man marrying a man." (Mr. Morgan also said, perhaps even more remarkably, that, "No one is celebrating being gay," to which conservative radio host Ben Ferguson rightly exclaimed, "Have you seen Glee?")

On Sunday night, Macklemore was joined by Madonna, and together they sang "Same Love," as, "The music giants joined forces to promote marriage equality as both gay and straight couples were married at the same time." (Note that Drudge Report coined this "The Gaymmys.")

What Madonna and Macklemore actually did was celebrate "marriage equality" for some, unintentionally reminding us that marriage is fundamentally about couples, and the reason it is about couples is because it is about one man and one woman. And that means if we redefine marriage we make it all but meaningless.

I wonder how many Americans want to take "Same Love" to its logical extreme?

Michael Brown is author of Hyper-Grace: Exposing the Dangers of the Modern Grace Message and host of the nationally syndicated talk radio show The Line of Fire on the Salem Radio Network. He is also president of FIRE School of Ministry and director of the Coalition of Conscience. Follow him at AskDrBrown on Facebook or at @drmichaellbrown on Twitter.

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