Senator John McCain's (R-Ariz.) impending primary challenger, J.D. Hayworth, recently made a bit of a media splash. When commenting to a radio station in Orlando, Florida, he compared same-sex marriage to bestiality:
You see, the Massachusetts Supreme Court, when it started this move toward same-sex marriage, actually defined marriage -- now get this -- it defined marriage as simply, 'the establishment of intimacy.' Now how dangerous is that? I mean, I don't mean to be absurd about it, but I guess I can make the point of absurdity with an absurd point -- I guess that would mean if you really had affection for your horse, I guess you could marry your horse. It's just the wrong way to go, and the only way to protect the institution of marriage is with that federal marriage amendment that I support.
It's a pretty safe assumption that the Massachusetts Supreme Court, when defining marriage as "the establishment of intimacy," implied consent. After all, if marriage didn't require both parties actively agreeing to enter into matrimony, odds are I would have been dragged kicking and screaming down the aisle a long time ago, like many bachelors. And there's something interesting about the idea of consent -- you have to have the required mental faculties in order to engage in its practice. For instance, though children are intelligent human beings, most courts would agree they don't have the maturity to make legal decisions for themselves, such as entering into a contract or getting hitched. So "consent" seems to have two facets: both parties have to actively agree, and both have to possess the required mental prowess to be considered active participants.
The real question, in my mind, is why Hayworth's mind meandered to horses. Not only do they not have the ability to consent to marriage -- or to even understand the process (maybe he meant Mr. Ed?) -- they're, you know, not human. Now I've never been to North Carolina, Hayworth's home state, but maybe the horses are different there. Maybe there was "the horse that got away," the apple (or carrot) of Hayworth's eye. Maybe he misses the flowing mane and bumpy horse rides that made him feel funny as a youth, feelings he could only recreate when he climbed the rope in gym class.
I'm not going to pretend to understand whatever Hayworth is going through, but obviously it's something that's plagued his mind. After all, I don't know what rational person, when discussing marriage, would immediately start talking about animals unless there was a special relationship going on that most people would describe as "unorthodox," or something that should only be seen on Pay-Per-View. Marriage has always been between consenting human beings or, at worst, arranged marriages between human beings.
Hang in there, Mr. Hayworth. Perhaps one day you'll be reunited with that special steed that makes you nostalgic whenever you happen by a bag of oats, but for now let's focus on the millions of Americans that are denied a right to get married every day. Call me crazy, but I'd like to focus on the people first.
Scott Janssen is a graduate student, blogger, and all-around drain on society.