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5. There will be a slippery slope to other kinds of “marriages”

Some opponents of marriage equality believe it will lead to the legitimization of a range of socially unacceptable relationships, including incest, paedophilia, polygamy, and marriages between people and their pets or household items.

Incest and paedophilia are abusive, exploitative practices rightly held in almost universal contempt. Marriage is a legal contract and neither animals nor inanimate objects have legal standing to sign contracts.

Polygamy is generally about a man controlling the lives of several women. It is an arrangement that comes from a time when men and women had strictly defined social roles, with women considered less valuable than men, restricted to the house and to childrearing, and made their husband’s property. Wherever values like this prevail same-sex marriage is inconceivable. It only becomes possible for two men or two women to marry if men and women are already free to choose how they lead their lives regardless of their gender.

This is why in none of the countries which allow same-sex marriage are polygamous marriages officially solemnised, even though some of them, like Spain and the Netherlands, have large religious minorities that traditionally allow it. In places that allow polygamy, like Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan and Nigeria, homosexuals are not only unable to marry, they are put to death.