Professor Volokh takes on the “ick factor”

Way back in the early days of the Blog I talked about Gay Marriage and Richard Cohen’s self=righteous hit piece:

Personally on a religious level I can’t support gay marriage but this is not a valid argument for a non-religious person. On a non-religious level it seems to me you can not rationally say that gay marriage is ok and should be legal without also allowing either polygamy and incest between consenting adults. Both have a longer and more accepted cultural history worldwide.

And PLEASE don’t give me the “ick” factor argument about these other things being accepted. Ick is just an argument about culture. It is the same argument that one would have heard concerning gay marriage less that 20 years ago. It is particularly galling when gay people are subject to state sponsored murder in places like Iran and ick is invoked beside Islam.

Via Glenn we have Eugene Volokh being a lawyer with some interesting items in the news has expanded on this bigtime:

(1) Should it be illegal, and, if so, exactly why? Is it just because it’s immoral? Because legalizing incest would, by making a future sexual relationship more speakable and legitimate, potentially affect the family relationship even while the child is underage (the view to which I tentatively incline)? Because it involves a heightened risk of birth defects (a view I’m skeptical about, given that we don’t criminalize sex by carriers of genes that make serious hereditary disease much more likely than incest does)?

(2) Given Lawrence v. Texas — and similar pre–Lawrence decisions in several states, applying their state constitutions — what exactly is the basis for outlawing incest? Is it that bans on gay sex are irrational but bans on adult incest are rational, and rationality is all that’s required for regulations of adult sex? Is it that bans on gay sex don’t pass strict scrutiny (or some such demanding test) but bans on adult incest do? Is it that Lawrence rested on the fact that bans on gay sex largely foreclose all personally meaningful sexual relationships for those who are purely homosexual in orientation, whereas incest bans only foreclose a few possible sexual partners?

Go and read his whole point but let me say that a Judge named Antonin Gregory Scalia saw this coming a mile away as did an awful lot of us. When I made the argument saying that you can’t logically ban polygamy while allowing gay marriage in a discussion on Center of Mass podcast this year my host insisted that it was totally different.

I’ve talked about the ick factor in the past. And let me quote myself one more time:

This is a republic. If the people who support gay marriage can move enough of the public in the individual states or on a national level to support it in an actual vote then the more power to them. That is how a republic works. With the media’s help they are well on their way to doing so, but let the people vote for it and if you win, you win. If your argument holds water it should be capable of doing so and you should be able to make that argument stick.

Take out the word gay marriage and enter anything you want instead and the argument holds. The fact that a respected lawyer is actually making the case tells me this is already coming down the pike. And let me leave you with some John Nolte in terms of changing the culture with the help of the media:

And this is how cinematic propaganda works. Whether the filmmaker’s motivations are good or evil, the idea is to get decent and thoughtful people to start second guessing themselves as they’re enveloped in the dark and held captive by the powerful sound and fury of the moving picture. First we’re led to identify and sympathize with a particular character, then that character does something designed to challenge our belief structure

None of this is a bug. It’s a feature.