With each day that passes since the Supreme Court’s decision overturning state bans on marriage equality, conservatives let the cover slip a little further on the true source of their angst. More and more, we’re seeing that what the American right wing means by ‘traditional marriage’ is in fact the soul-sucking, loveless kind of relationship you still see in Third World societies where fathers arrange their daughters’ marriages to men they’ve never met. Take Republican presidential aspirant Mike Huckabee, who turned out for CNN’s Sunday show to deliver this gem:
Regardless, heterosexual marriage is largely in trouble today because people see it as a selfish means of pleasing self, rather than a committed relationship in which the focus is on meeting the needs of the partner. That sense of selfishness and the redefinition of love as to something that is purely sentimental and emotional, has been destructive.
Get that? If you insist that your personal relationships should be based on shared emotional bonds rather than simply accept your permanent subordination to another person’s needs, you are part of the problem. No wonder conservatives are so agitated by any legal recognition that a LGBT person’s depth of feeling for their same-sex partner is the equal of their own feelings for their own opposite-sex partner. After all, if love is the only prerequisite for marriage, then where does that leave all the ‘traditional’ couples who only got together because god said so, or because daddy approved, or because the pregnancy test was positive? As Amanda Marcotte points out, Huckabee does not clarify the relative status of genders in his statement, but his gendered thinking is all too clear:
The deep concern is here is that women are going to want to be loved and that women are going to start wanting happiness. It’s obvious enough why misogynists like Huckabee don’t like that idea one bit, as you can imagine. They can’t or won’t do what it takes to make a woman happy—ew, caring about women is so emasculating!—and would not like that to be the price they have to pay to get a wife. Plus, this expectation of happiness and fulfillment will reshape married life in ways that are also not pleasing to such men. It makes it much harder to tell women that their duty is to be the martyr of the home, cooking and cleaning and serving without much thanks in return. Women are going to start wanting men to share chores on the grounds that everyone has an equal right to enjoy this relationship.
Demonstrating this very point, during the same CNN appearance Huckabee also doubled-down on his past criticism of singer Beyoncé for wearing skimpy outfits while singing sexy lyrics — and of her husband for allowing her out of the house. Then, having affirmed his previous denunciation of Jay-Z as a “pimp,” Huckabee continued his amazing defense of Josh Duggar, saying that “nothing is unforgivable” as long as the crime is committed by an evangelical, gay-hating ‘Christian’ against his own sisters, who have been trained to sublimate and accept their abuse in perfect accordance with Huckabee’s views on what marriage and family are all about.
What I was standing by was the fact that there were innocent people, including his sisters and others, the victims, who were exposed, humiliated. And there was no sense in which their concerns and their own dignity was respected. I found that the process by which this was released, it was utterly illegal.
Huckabee is still making this nonsense claim that the 2006 police report detailing Josh Duggar’s molestation was improperly released — a statement so disingenuous that it counts as a lie. Huckabee knows perfectly well that In Touch magazine used the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act to obtain the report, and that the Springdale Police Department would have opened itself up to a disastrous lawsuit for violating open records laws if they had failed to comply with journalists’ requests. By now, Huckabee must also be well-aware that Josh Duggar’s non-family victim is suing him for sexual abuse. But empirical truth is not important to Huckabee. He still thinks it’s a good idea to bring the Duggars on the campaign trail, because to him they represent the best kind of marriage — one where love is secondary to the drudgery of constant child-rearing for the cosmic glory of the Lord, and where every child subordinates their own will to that of their father — rather than the kind of marriage practiced by Jay-Z and Beyoncé, who treat each other as equal partners bound by love.
After all, if we all followed their logic, any two people could get married just because they love each other, and where would that leave Americans who are currently trapped in lifeless, loveless relationships because their gods and fathers tell them they must stay together?