If all human beings should have the right to marry (or simply be with) the one they love, as proponents of same-sex marriage constantly tell us, then why shouldn’t adult, incestuous couples enjoy that same “right”? Hollywood director Nick Cassavetes is the latest to say, “Why not?”, and I for one am not in the least bit surprised.
Simply stated, with the public endorsement of same-sex relationships, the endorsement (or at least acceptance) of consensual, adult, incestuous relationships is the next step. Consider the following:
· Already in April, 2007, Time Magazine featured a major article entitled, “Should Incest Be Legal?” The article noted that critics of the Supreme Court’s Lawrence v. Texas ruling in 2003, which struck down Texas’ anti-sodomy law, argued that the ruling would lead to attempts to legalize same-sex marriage and polygamy. “It turns out,” Time noted, “that the critics were right,” adding that plaintiffs were now “using Lawrence to challenge laws against incest.”
· In December 2010, when Columbia University professor David Epstein was charged with one count of incest because of his three-year, consensual affair with his adult daughter, his attorney Matthew Galuzzo
remarked, “It’s ok for homosexuals to do whatever they want in their own home. How is this so different? We have to figure out why some behavior is tolerated and some is not.”
· In May 2010, Salon.com ran an article on “Gay Porn’s Most Shocking Taboo,” namely “Twincest.” As expressed by one of the twins, “My brother is my boyfriend, and I am his boyfriend.” One commenter wrote, “I have total moral and legal integrity here: no sexual act that results from the consent of both parties should be illegal or immoral. These boys apparently consented to do this: there is no possibility of deformed or retarded children: therefore it is not a crime or your business.” But of course. Not surprisingly, a colleague reported to me that on other gay websites, the same argument was frequently raised in support of the twins.
· Even more shocking news was reported in May, 2010. A 72 year-old woman and her long estranged grandson in England were going to have a child together through a surrogate mother. Said the grandson, Phil: “You can’t help who you fall for.” Said his grandmother, Pearl: “Phil’s going to be a great dad. I never in a million years thought at 72 I’d be ‘pregnant’ and in love with my grandson. I make no apologies and I believe God’s given me a second chance.”
· In February of this year, Emily Yoffe (aka Prudence) responded to a question in her column on Slate.com. Male, fraternal twins who had been living together as lovers for many years wondered if they should come out and tell their family. After discussing legal and family matters, she closed with this counsel: “When people ask when you’re each going to go out there and find a nice young man, tell them that while it may seem unorthodox, you both have realized that living together is what works for you. Say no brothers could be more devoted or compatible, and neither of you can imagine wanting to change what you have.” Gay activist Dan Savage seconded her advice.
· In several countries, incest laws are being challenged, most notably in a major case in Germany involving a brother and sister who did not meet until later in life, only to fall in love and have children. Their attorney used the precedent of same-sex marriage to argue on his clients’ behalf.
· Some scientists now speak of GSA, genetic sexual attraction, which “occurs between two adults who have been separated during the critical years of development and bonding and are reunited years later as adults.” When they are finally reunited, “they become captivated with one another, sharing similar physical features, likes and dislikes.” Perhaps they could say, “My genes made me do it!”
In light of the above, which could be multiplied almost ad infinitum (and ad nauseam), Nick Cassavetes’ comments shouldn’t be so shocking: “I’m not saying this is an absolute but in a way, if you’re not having kids – who gives a d-mn? Love who you want. Isn’t that what we say? Gay marriage – love who you want? If it’s your brother or sister it’s super-weird, but if you look at it, you’re not hurting anybody except every single person who freaks out because you’re in love with one another.” Yes, isn’t that what “we say” these days?
Promoting his new movie “Yellow,” which features an adult incestuous relationship, he said, “We had heard a few stories where brothers and sisters were completely, absolutely in love with one another. You know what? This whole movie is about judgment, and lack of it, and doing what you want.” Exactly. Who are you to judge?
A gay man and his partner once asked me, “But how can you say our relationship is wrong? We’re not hurting anyone and there is no victim.” I asked them, “Would you approve of two adult gay brothers having a relationship?” They both replied, “But that is so wrong!” Yet when I pressed them further, they could not say why their relationship was fine but that of two consenting brothers was not.
Michael Brown holds a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures from New York University. He is the author of 25 books, includingLine of Fire. Follow him at AskDrBrown on Facebook or @drmichaellbrown on Twitter.
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