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Director’s Comments Incite Right-Wing Effort To Link Incest To Marriage Equality

September 13, 2012 1:36 pm ET by Carlos Maza

Anti-gay commentators have jumped at the opportunity to link same-sex marriage to incest following remarks made by movie director Nick Cassavetes earlier this week.

During an interview at last weekend’s Toronto Film Festival, Cassevetes – whose new movie “Yellow” tells the story of a woman who has an affair with her brother – cited same-sex marriage while discussing his feelings toward incest, saying:

Who gives a shit if people judge you? I’m not saying this is an absolute but in a way, if you’re not having kids – who gives a damn? 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.

Right-wing commentators have pounced on his comments in order to advance the false claim that marriage equality would lead to the acceptance of incest and even pedophilia.

In a September 11 Townhall article, anti-gay activist Michael Brown asserted that the endorsement of incest is “the next step” after society endorses marriage for same-sex couples:

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. 


So, what’s it going to be? Do we hold the line on marriage as the union of a man and woman only, or do we eventually open the door to incest too?

On Facebook, prominent anti-gay theologian Robert Gagnon – who recently spoke at the National Organization for Marriage’s (NOM) summer conference for college students – echoed Brown’s point, adding that gay activists are “supplying both the slope and the grease” for the “slippery slope” towards incest:

When I compare homosexual practice to incest it is primarily to make the point that if we are opposed to the latter we should also be opposed to the former, since both involve a union of two persons who are too much alike on a structural (formal, embodied) level: too much sameness as regards [to] kinship (incest) or gender (homosexual practice), not enough complementary otherness. As society becomes increasingly open to adult-consensual incest, this argument becomes more tenuous. There does indeed seem to be a slippery slope and those supporting homosexual practice, whether they know it or not, are supplying both the slope and the grease.

And in a September 12 Townhall article, conservative columnist Ben Shapiro asserted that “precisely the same moral argument” – that love is the basis of any acceptable relationship -- justifies both incest and gay marriage, adding that “the final stopping point” of the slippery slope is pedophilia:

There are those who say that gay marriage is a slippery slope toward incest. It isn't. The gay marriage and incest lie are justified by precisely the same moral argument: the argument that love defines an acceptable relationship. Sexual urges are, according to the left, their own moral justification -- what is biological is justifiable. If gays and lesbians are "born this way," why not incestuous duos? If consent is the highest value and two siblings consent, what's the problem?

This is an unanswerable argument for the left. It's why they resort to total emotion when asked about the logical distinction between gay marriage and incest. They get offended. They shout about how awful any such comparison is. But they never offer a single rational argument.


Incest isn't the final stopping point for the sexual left. The final stopping point is pedophilia. All it takes is for the left to declare that children have the ability to make rational decisions about their own sexuality. Then the final string tethering Western society to her Judeo-Christian moral roots will be severed. And Hollywood will celebrate. [emphasis added]

There are, of course, plenty of rational arguments for rejecting incest while accepting same-sex relationships and, by extension, same-sex marriage.

Still, it’s always shocking to hear right-wing commentators fear monger about the “slippery slope.” Their inability to distinguish between people who choose to participate in incest and gay people who form loving, committed marital bonds speaks volumes about how little people like Brown and Shapiro actually know about what it means to be gay. 


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