With “Marriage Equality” Now Achieved, What Comes Next?

Lo and behold, the Supreme Court has effectively redefined the legal meaning of marriage here in the United States. Marriage is not the union of one man and woman, but of either one man and one woman, one man and one man, or one woman and one woman. And all the equality crowd said Amen.

So, now there are different venues by which one can express their fluid sexuality (or is it something we’re born with? Or maybe it’s Maybeline…). Everything is all good on that end and we can move on to other endeavors, right?


Here’s a question that maybe these equality freaks didn’t ask: what’s next? Yes, this is a legitimate question to ask. Why is that? Well I’m glad you asked.

At the center of the marriage equality debate is the idea of equality itself. I have written in brief on this topic before. The marriage equality movement is the prime example of Tocqueville’s theory about the core of their behavior: the democratic passion for equality.

What could a guy from the early 1800s have to say about the gradual movement towards equality of conditions? Quite a lot actually. Writing in the 1830s, Tocqueville observed the great equality of conditions that existed among Americans in his book Democracy in America. But he also saw deeper into the matter than merely the fact that equality of conditions existed; he even saw what would be the gradual progression of the passion for equality.

Democratic peoples love equality at all times, but in certain periods, they press the passion they feel for it to delirium. This happens at the moment when the old social hierarchy, long threatened, is finally destroyed after a last internecine struggle, and the barriers that separated citizens are finally overturned. Then men rush at equality as at a conquest, and they become attached to it as to a precious good someone wants to rob them of.[1]

Does this at all sound familiar? The marriage equality crowd somehow appears to be on a mission to achieve absolute, complete, unmistakable equality between both heterosexual and homosexual marriages. Going even beyond that, there is a fundamental collapse of the distinction between freedom and equality when one is consumed by the passion for the latter.

One can imagine an extreme point at which freedom and equality touch each other and intermingle… Although men cannot become absolutely equal without being entirely free, and consequently equality in its most extreme degree becomes confused with freedom…[2]

Can these people see the light that there is a kind of inequality that exists in mankind? Tocqueville didn’t think so.

Do not say to men that in giving themselves over so blindly to an exclusive passion, they compromise their dearest interests; they are deaf. Do not show them that freedom escapes from their hands while they are looking elsewhere; they are blind, or rather they perceive only one good in the whole universe worth longing for.[3]

With these passages in mind, one has to ask the question about what comes next. The marriage equality debate does not simply stop with homosexuals having the ability to marry the same as heterosexuals. Rather, the passion for equality will find another object onto which it will latch on and never let go. What will it be next? Perhaps, if the New York Times has its way, pedophilia will be the next sexual social stigma that is made less and less a crime or a disorder, and more and more into “love.”

Especially here in the United States this is a concern. This government acts based on precedent, not the Constitution (or even common sense for that mater). What one person has done previously, the next does with even more vigor, and even more public approval at times. The Courts especially rely upon previous precedents for rulings rather than on the Constitution itself. Obergefell vs. Hodges sets a precedent for establishing equality for almost any other fleeting passion that it thrown its way.

Will polygamy come after that? And bestiality? And whatever –ality else there is? There are all sorts of other “orientations” that will be caught up in the winds of equality, and tossed into the tumbleweed of other objects to which the passion has latched onto. The passion for equality does not simply stop once its primary vehicle has reached its destination. Rather, a new vehicle is obtained, and a destination even further along the obscure road to equality is placed into its GPS. Where it goes, we may not know, but that it will go, we do. The question really is, where does it stop?

[1] Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, ed. and trans. Harvey Claflin Mansfield and Delba Winthrop (Chicago, Ill: University of Chicago Press, 2002), 481.

[2] Ibid., 479-480.

[3] Ibid., 481.

Follow Seth on Twitter: @sconnell1776


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