Religious Right Says Sex is Integral to Marriage, More Important than Autonomy
The religious organizations opposing platonic marriage believe that sex is the #1 most important component to marriage. In their own words, procreative sex is more important than personal bodily autonomy. This is compulsory sexuality, amatonormativity, and rape culture.
- The Letter
- Alliance Defending Freedom
- Kansas Family Voice
- The Heritage Foundation
- Jeff Younger for Texas
Courtney: Hello, and welcome back. My name’s Courtney. I am sitting here with my spouse, Royce. And together, we are The Ace Couple. We are an Asexual married couple of eight years. And today is technically a Part 2. So if you have not listened to last week’s episode, I do recommend it. The information in this episode will, technically speaking, stand on its own. But the reason why it is so vital to talk about it right now is kind of more explicitly laid out in last week’s episode.
Courtney: But a super brief recap, if you are just tuning in here for the very first time: there was a letter, which was drafted to Minority Senate Leader Mitch McConnell, on July 26th of 2022. This letter was signed by 83 different organizations – as far as I can tell, every single one of them is religious in nature – but these are comprising nonprofits, colleges, private Christian clubs, and of course, a variety of religious political lobbyist organizations. And their letter was explicitly condemning House Bill H.R. 8404, otherwise known as the Respect for Marriage Act. And in the last episode, we broke down that letter, the things they were specifically saying, and why they are so harmful. But in this episode, as a continuing part of that, we are actually going to look at some of the individual organizations who have signed this letter. We’re going to their websites and we’re going to see exactly how they feel about, specifically, Asexuality, Asexual marriage, platonic marriages, and by extension, I’m sure we will see their opinions on other queer identities as well.
Courtney: So, first off, we have one of the primary organizations sort of spearheading this condemnation of this Act, the Alliance Defending Freedom. This letter was signed first and foremost by the President and CEO of said Alliance, Michael P. Ferris. And Mike Ferris was, in fact, the lawyer who represented the baker in the famous gay marriage case where a Colorado gay couple tried to commission a baker to make a wedding cake for their wedding, and the baker cited his own religious beliefs, saying he did not believe in gay marriage, and as a sort of religious freedom type of defense, hired Michael Ferris as his lawyer to defend him in that case.
Courtney: So if we go to ADF’s website… This is someone, mind you – this is an organization that is essentially run by a very legal-minded person. This is literally a lawyer. So when they are lobbying Congress and sending letters, they understand the confines of the law, and they use that in order to push their own religious political agendas. And as we go through each of these organizations, you’ll definitely start to see a pattern. They definitely use a lot of the same talking points. They have a lot of the same key issues. ADF in particular says their primary issues are to “protect life, religious freedom, free speech, marriage and family, and parental rights.” Their sort of elevator pitch for “marriage and family are protected,” they say, “Ensuring the law respects God’s created order for marriage, the family and human sexuality.”
Courtney: And that’s honestly something you’ll see time and time again with a lot of these same organizations who are lobbying for the same legislation. They want to say that the law should respect God’s will, which anyone who is non-Christian, anyone who is an atheist, anyone who does not subscribe to this particular flavor of Christianity is obviously going to have an issue with. And clearly, we’re going to be trying to open up the conversation, then, to: what happened to separation of Church and State? And we can declare “separation of Church and State” until we’re blue in the face. But the issue is, they do not think that marriage is a state-sanctioned institution. They think marriage was created by God, and therefore, marriage is inherently religious. So if you’re doing marriage in a way that does not abide by their worldviews, they see it as ungodly.
Royce: And to clarify, you’re saying that they see something that is religious, that is Godly or ungodly, as something that exists in precedence to all human law.
Courtney: Oh yeah. Above. They’re like, “God first. Then family second.”
Royce: Which, by that fact, means a complete disregard of the separation of Church and State in the First Amendment.
Royce: It means that they do not believe that a country has the right to pass law that is in opposition to their interpretation of their religion.
Courtney: Yes. And as frustrating as that is to people who believe the way we do, we’re like, “Separation of Church and State!” Like, we are not a theocracy [laughs]. By design, we’re not supposed to be a theocracy. We kind of are. There’s kind of no reason for our tax code to incentivize the nuclear family in the way it does, if not by this religious precedence. And we’re going to dig into that a lot further as we go on.
Royce: I want to clarify that, in my opinion, through hundreds of years of legal corruption, we have not adhered to separation of Church and State.
Courtney: [laughing] No.
Royce: And thus, religion has made its shape in our existing laws.
Courtney: Oh, 100%. Which is a thing that I think a lot of people know. I think a lot of people know this already. But the people who are either atheists or are subscribing to different religions or even people who are Christian but are just in a completely different sect of Christianity than these organizations we’re talking about – because there are, in the US, there are so many different flavors of Christianity. There are, like, progressive flavors of Christianity that do actually lean more left. And I mean, as an atheist myself, I’m always just, like, very moderately surprised when I meet like a very devout Christian queer person. But they absolutely exist. And that is so fine, as long as you aren’t [laughing] lobbying for legislation that affects other people.
Courtney: But this very, very conservative branch of Christianity who are very financially well-off and therefore have a lot of power in lobbying Congress and are very well organized – again, these are 83 national and state-level organizations signing this letter we referred to in our last episode, so they are all working together. They know what the talking points are. They know what their message is. And they’re communicating with one another to make their goals happen. And I think we know – like, we know that there are people who have a complete disregard for separation of Church and State, but we don’t necessarily know how far they take it.
Courtney: So in this one talking point, they say, “God’s created order for marriage, the family, and sexuality.” And I’d like to remind you – or fill you in, in case you didn’t go back to listen to last week’s episode – on paper, they were not saying “We oppose gay marriage.” The literal sentences they were saying was, “We don’t want to be sued for discriminating against gay marriages.” So they were kind of like trying to play this game of like, “Yeah, I guess gay people can get married, but I don’t want to have to serve them at my business. I don’t want to have to make them a wedding cake. I don’t want to have to call them ‘married.’ Like, sure, if the state calls ’em ‘married,’ whatever, but I don’t want to acknowledge that.”
Courtney: But then when you dig into the websites, it goes much further. ADF’s website itself says marriage “is about joining the two equally important and diverse halves of humanity represented in men and women. And it is about forming a lifelong bond – for the good of society and the foundation of the family. The creative capacity of the union between a man and a woman links marriage to family.” So they’re also saying you can’t be a family without marriage, which I wouldn’t agree with, but that is what they said. Their words, not mine. They continue on, saying, “A man and a woman give themselves to one another, and from that, a child is conceived and born. This forms a family, and it’s where children first learn how to interact with others. Marriage and family, therefore, are the foundation of society.”
Royce: That sounds surprisingly anti-adoption, considering some of the things that we’ve heard said online after Roe v. Wade was overturned.
Courtney: The thing is… [laughing] you’re not wrong. I mentioned in our last episode, they don’t want a single mother raising a child. If a single woman is pregnant, they want her to see that pregnancy through, and they want that child adopted to a Christian nuclear family, preferably one who also has biological kids of their own. So like, for as much as they see adoption as the only option to an unintended pregnancy, conversely, they very much see adoption as a last-ditch effort to acquire a child if you are married, or if you do want a child but for one reason or another cannot conceive one. It’s really upsetting. But this is what they are saying.
Courtney: So… also, just, “A man and a woman give themselves to one another, and from that, a child is born.” Like, you’re talking about sex. [laughs] Sex is an activity. But the way they talk about sex makes it seem like so much more than just an act of sex. And honestly, that’s what we need to understand when they talk about this, because for as much as the Ace community says, like, “People place too much of an emphasis on sex,” there are literally religious organizations who think that sex is, like, a holy and sacred thing that is designated by God. And how do you compete with that? [laughs] To be like, “No, they just be fucking.” [laughs] “It’s just an activity that some people find enjoyable.” [laughs] Like, you really can’t, because if you see it as this sacred, holy thing, everything outside of the confines of that is going to be seen as deviant – whether that’s gay sex, whether that’s a trans person having sex, whether that is a straight couple having sex for pleasure but using contraceptives, or if it’s an Asexual couple who’s not having sex. They see all of it as equally deviant. And if that sounds extreme, we have more quotes and more organizations that we’re going to get to. [laughing] So it’s really not a leap. They are saying these things.
Royce: Buckle up. We’re not having fun either.
Courtney: [yelling] We’re miserable and we want you to be miserable too! [laughs] So they finish that thought, where they’re like, “Marriage and sex and family is the foundation of a society.” Society can’t exist without those three things. They finish that by saying, “But when culture fails to respect and promote marriage, countless individuals, particularly women, children, and the underprivileged, suffer needless emotional and material hardships.” Now, this website in particular doesn’t say specifically what those “hardships” are, but I will mind you that after diving into 83 of these organizations, I have seen some that are more specific than that. For as much as we can say, “Well, you know, forcing people to have children that are unplanned pregnancies will have undue hardships. Forcing people to have children without additional financial support if they are unemployed or underemployed or disabled – we can say this is promoting undue hardship.” The answer that these organizations believe is “marriage.” Every single one of these organizations says marriage is the number one way to reduce poverty and homelessness and hunger. And I can’t follow their logic. They either don’t have any logic or they publish statistics that are impossible to trace the actual origins of. But they’re like, “If everybody just got married, one man and one woman, all of society’s problems would be fixed.”
Royce: Because nuclear families never have rent issues.
Royce: Or get evicted.
Courtney: For real! For real. We know that that is an issue for literally some straight couples who have children! But the logic I’ve seen, time and time again, is like, “Well, if the husband and wife look after each other, then the government and society doesn’t have to look after them, because they have someone looking after them. [dusts off hands] Problem solved. Checkmate, atheists. Checkmate, the gays.”
Royce: As long as one of them has a stable and sufficient income, no money problems! Look at that!
Courtney: None! No money problems. [laughs] So, like, I need people to understand. Because when we talk about amatonormativity being an issue, amatonormativity is not a word that reaches super far outside of Aromantic, Asexual, or academic sexuality scholar circles. But that is the concept of amorous love – by extension, sexual love, by extension, straight monogamous love – being the pinnacle. This is the hierarchy. This is the highest form of love. That is to be aspired to. It is to be replicated. Everyone needs to do it the same way. And that can manifest in, you know, smaller, more personal ways, where an individual person who might be Aromantic and doesn’t have an interest in having a relationship of that type might feel incredibly alienated, because their familial relationships or their friendships are deep enough and strong enough, and those are the only connections that they want or seek, and they’re totally happy being alone, living alone, or just not having a romantic type of bond with someone else – can feel very personally alienated because everyone else around them in society is telling them, “Well, you have to have a romantic relationship.”
Courtney: And on a personal level, I don’t want to discredit that whatsoever. That is really difficult and is really shitty, and we need to not have that as the standard – and the only standard, for that matter – by which to build our lives upon. But what I don’t think we always talk about in enough detail is the broader underlying structure upon which our legal foundation for relationships are built. Because the reason why it is easier for a married couple to buy a house instead of even a boyfriend and a girlfriend – even if they’re straight, let’s say a boyfriend and a girlfriend who haven’t married yet – it is still, they have to do a few more steps to buy a house than a married couple. That’s amatonormativity ingrained in law. They’re saying, “If you are living together, you should be married.” And that’s part of the underlying structure. The fact that married couples with children get more tax breaks than non-married couple with children or married couples who don’t have children – that is all intentional. Those laws are put in place because our government wants to incentivize that family structure. And they want to incentivize that family structure because of lobbyist organizations like this. And that’s why we can’t dismiss them as just having radical extreme views and just being bigots and “oh, they’re just homophobes.” Like, their ideology is why we have entrenched amatonormativity woven into our tax code and our laws. Which affects everyone, by the way.
Royce: That’s one of the frustrating things about politics. And I know a lot of people hear the word “politics” or hear something that is vaguely politically related and shove it off. But politics is what governs every aspect of our life.
Courtney: Yeah. [laughs]
Royce: So you can’t escape it, even if you hate it with every fiber of your being.
Royce: To a certain extent, you just have to help.
Royce: Like, to whatever degree you can.
Courtney: Well, and I mean, that’s the issue, because there are activists who usually have multiple intersectionally marginalized identities who will say, like, “I didn’t want to be an activist. I didn’t try to be an activist. I became an activist by default because I have to to live.” And these are the people who are, like, your Black trans folks, your Asexual disabled folks, your nonbinary Indigenous folks – the people who have multiple marginalized identities really face the brunt of every single step of legislation, because they’re getting this discrimination from all angles.
Courtney: And if you are, for example, a white queer person – let’s say a white queer man, a white gay man, you are absolutely going to be experiencing homophobia, and I do not want to diminish that, because you shouldn’t be facing homophobia. But if you’re also middle- or upper-class and living in the United States, you can be really annoyed by some of the anti-LGBT legislation that’s going. You can even be genuinely passionate about it. You can see, like, trans bathroom laws going into effect, you can see trans teenage girls being boxed out of sports, and you can be really upset and riled up about it. But if it’s not materially affecting your life, and you’re also just not really doing anything about it – you’re not donating money to organizations who are helping, you’re not contacting legislators, you aren’t educating people in your peer group about the issues of this – like, there comes a certain time where you are complicit in the system, because you are still very much benefiting from the system. Like right now, yes, they are trying to take away gay marriage, and that is a problem, and we need to stop that shit fast. But right now, gay marriage is perfectly legal, and just as legal as straight marriage. So if you’re also white and middle- or upper-class, you’re probably… you’re probably fine. You’re probably fine.
Royce: That “white and middle-to-upper-class” goes a long ways in our society.
Courtney: I mean, literally. Literally. I am not completely white. I am now – [laughing] I am now middle-to-upper-class. I used to be Browner and poorer. And I can say without a doubt that since going up a class, since marrying someone white, even though you are also queer and also not completely cisgender, like, yeah, there are marginalized identities here, but I am better off right now politically than I think I ever have been in my entire life. And I say this as someone who is mixed-race, who was extremely poor, who was food insecure, impoverished as a child, who is disabled, has been disabled my entire life, and is Asexual. So I do have multiple intersectional identities, so I understand some of these issues. And now that I have, like, a little more, I guess, privilege – I have more financial privilege than I used to have – I’m almost even more riled up about it, because I have more energy to worry about it now. [laughs] When I was really in the mires of my lack of privilege, like, I was just trying to survive day-to-day. I was just trying to survive. And now that surviving isn’t the primary thing taking up real estate in my brain, I’m like, “I need to make things better for people who are still there.” So, like, I am not just saying that as, like, “How dare you white middle-class people not do more?” I’m saying that as someone who has been there, done that, has acquired more privileges as I have grown older, and now I’m saying, like, “I know more than anybody how important it is to use these newfound privileges for good.”
Courtney: But to return to this ADF website, to really drive home their point that their policy proposal is just “Everybody do marriage the way we want them to,” they literally say, “Almost nothing can benefit society the way marriage does. As a culture, we must firmly stand against attempts to redefine marriage – to make marriage something that it’s not.” And they also say that the value of marriage is that “marriage not only protects the most vulnerable, but it’s the most effective anti-poverty and crime reduction program in society.”
Royce: Because there aren’t vast amounts of domestic violence statistics out there.
Courtney: [laughs] Yeah, and that’s just one of the points you could pull. Like, [laughs] there’s so many issues that they’re just like, “Nah, marriage solves it.” But they go on to say, the value of marriage, “Why should you care about who people marry? Because society is built on and shaped by marriages. Marriage improves the safety and goodwill in our communities. It protects our children. And it sustains the diversity of the sexes.”
Royce: So I’m sure this is going to be a common theme throughout these webpages, but the adherence to very strict separated gender roles is a fundamental aspect of this.
Courtney: Yes, 100%. Because they also don’t use… Like, yes, they do say, like, “Marriage should be between a man and a woman,” but they also try to use words that should be a good thing. They use words like “diversity.” If someone who is more left-leaning uses the word “diversity,” they’re thinking, like, diversity, “We want a panel of people who are Black, Brown, nonbinary, disabled.” Like, we’re thinking intersectional diversity; they’re thinking diversity means “There is a man and a woman, and that is diverse because those are two different sexes.” [laughs]
Royce: Well, they’re saying that there is a man and a woman, and there is a very thick line between them.
Royce: Like, a yin and a yang, like –
Royce: – two completely separate opposite beings.
Royce: They’re not related in hardly any form.
Courtney: Yes. Which we know is not right on any level – on a gender level, on a biological sex level, like, on no level do we know that to be correct. But we’re talking both scientifically and emotionally, and they’re talking biblically. They’re like, “I have a religion that I believe says this.” And I mean, if someone believes that in their heart of hearts, there isn’t any debating them out of that. But we do need to know that people who are unshakable in that belief are lobbying for legislation to take away the rights from the rest of us who don’t subscribe to those beliefs. And I just – I do not see as strong of a push from our side of the political spectrum saying, “Yes, there should be laws that protect trans people. There should be laws that protect different types of marriage.”
Royce: I don’t think such a push exists. I think that the progressive community becomes overly complacent with each small victory.
Courtney: Yes. Whereas they are like, “Oh, that Roe versus Wade, like, yep, that was sure inconvenient, but we’re not going to take that as law, because we’re sure as hell gonna overturn it. And we are going to work tirelessly to overturn it for decades.” And then what do you know? They did. And it’s so frustrating to see that there are some people who are like, [mock bewildered] “Whaaaat? Roe versus Wade got overturned? That came out of nowhere!” No, it didn’t come out of nowhere. They’ve been doing this for decades. And that’s why we need to listen to what the opposition is saying. We need to come and lobby with the same amount of fire as they have, if not more. And right now, we don’t.
Courtney: And the thing is, here’s another way to think about it that we need to understand. Because for as often as atheists, for example, say, like, “Keep your Bible out of my bedroom,” like, “Keep your laws off of our body,” “Your religion has no place in legislation,” – for as valid as those concepts may be, I think we really need to understand what they genuinely think marriage is. Because it’s not as surface level as, “Marriage is one man and one woman.” That’s a part of it, to be sure but they genuinely think that all of society hinges upon “correct marriages.” So when we say, like, “A gay couple getting married or an Asexual couple getting married isn’t hurting you,” they don’t think that. They think by nature of us existing, that is society unraveling. And society will not be able to sustain itself if we are able to live the way we want to live.
Courtney: So this is where, like, we can’t debate them, because our worldviews are so fundamentally different – where we can’t even say, like, “I’ll live my life and you live your life,” because they’re saying, “By you existing, you are threatening my existence. You are a threat to me.” Which… I mean, this will be a theme, we’ll certainly see it again. But on the ADF website, they say, “The beauty of marriage” – that’s the heading they start with, but then they immediately switch it up to, “Marriage is being threatened.” And it’s not just same-sex marriage that is altering the proper understanding of what marriage is. They also say, “God uses marriage to shape our character and give us a picture of His faithful love for us.” So they not only see marriage as being just like an immutable, like, “one man, one woman, God dictated this to be.” They see marriage as a vehicle for God to work on this Earth, because God is using marriage to shape our character as humans.
Courtney: So if you exist in a religious world of “There is a God, there is a devil, there is good, there is evil,” by even slightly reducing the number of straight marriages, you’re opening up chasms of heathenness. I don’t even know how to say it, but if this is a sect of Christianity that believes in the devil, and, like, the devil can do his work where God is not, even if it’s just godlessness, is a bad, scary thing to people who believe in this type of life. So yes, they genuinely do think that any married couple that is not married by their standards is a threat to not only their religion, but all of society.
Courtney: And that’s where… Even if you go back to the gay marriage debate – because that’s the really easy one, that’s the one that’s made headlines, that’s the one that’s been fought in court and won, at least up until this point – that’s why it’s so easy to come back to that one. You often hear religious people say, like, “Oh, I hate the sin, but I still love the sinner.” And they try to say, like, “Well, I’ll still be nice to you to your face, and I’ll still be cordial, but I hate that you live this lifestyle you live.” And often that comes with a compulsion to want to, like, save people. Like, “Let me save you from this sin. Let me show you the Godly way.” So you say “hate the sin but not the sinner,” but when people are preaching that marriage is a vehicle for God to shape our character and do his work on this Earth, and you think that that is inherently a good, noble worthy thing? Then, absolutely, you’re going to see gay marriage as a threat to the fabric of society. This is literally what they’re saying.
Courtney: And I suppose we’ll need to go further to get some more examples, because there are some more explicit examples of this laid out. But one organization that I really wanted to check in on was Kansas Family Voice. Because we live in Kansas, funnily enough, and a representative from Kansas Family Voice signed this letter. So I wanted to see what our closest local organization was saying on this matter. And the four key issues that Kansas Family Voice focuses on, as per their website, are life, family, sexuality, and religious freedom – which again, their iteration of religious freedom isn’t “I get to practice my own religion in the privacy of my own home and church.” It’s, “I get to discriminate against people who do not fall into my own religious beliefs with my businesses,” which I would see as a fundamentally different thing. They do not. But when it comes to sexuality, they say, “The god-given gift of sexuality should be expressed in marriage between one man and one woman. Further, our sex is written in every cell of our body and is a gift from God.” So that may just seem like two sentences, but that’s kind of a lot to unpacked. [noticing the misspeech] Unpacked. Un-super-PACed. To unpack. A lot of “ack” sounds, when you get into politics: unpack, Super PAC, create a pact, pact of the devil, when you get into religion. [laughs] Sorry, I’m just going off the rails now. This nonsense makes me a little loopy.
Courtney: So, they say that sexuality is a God-given gift. So therein lies where Asexuality is a threat to their religion. Because they’re saying, “God gave us a sexuality, and it is a gift, and we should express it.” They’re mandating that it should be expressed between a man and a woman, which is, mm, wrong, sorry.
Royce: And also within very certain confines.
Royce: Within a particular construction of marriage.
Courtney: Yes. But they’re saying it should be expressed and it is a gift. So if they’re saying, “Every human has been granted the gift of a sexuality by God, and you’re not using it? Well, how dare you to not use God’s gift to you!”
Royce: Why, that sounds like blasphemy.
Courtney: Blasphemy! Like, who are you to not have marital intercourse, when God gave you this gift of sexuality? He bequeathed it upon you!
Royce: Why, I am an atheist.
Courtney: I am an atheist and an Asexual.
Royce: I’m collecting a whole lot of As.
Courtney: [laughs] Checkmate, the Christians! We have collected so many A in our relationship. We are… Let’s see. We’re both atheists. You’re Agender. We’re both Asexual. I’m a little bit Aromantic. It’s As all the way down. We’re about as heathenistic as it comes. Which – the thing is, the thing is, the issue is that people still scoff at me when I say that the religious right hates Asexuals. Because people are like, “Well, I know that they see, like, homosexuality as a sin,” or sometimes they get more specific for no real legitimate conversational reason where they’re like, “Oh, it’s okay to have homosexual feelings, but as long as you act on those homosexual feelings, the act is the sin.” No. It’s not about “gay is bad.” The issue is: “One man, one woman, married for the purpose of having kids is right; anything else Is deviant and wrong.” That is what it’s about. That is what they’ve been saying, in fact. This is not new. This is what they’ve been saying this entire time.
Courtney: Kansas Family Voice even goes on to say, “Men and women should not be punished by the government for believing God’s design for sexuality is good,” which, the only punishment that exists for people who believe that are if you’re actively discriminating against people who don’t believe otherwise, in the form of “you might be be sued,” and it’s still a toss-up as to whether or not you’re gonna win. Because, like, some sexuality discrimination cases have actually gone in favor of the person discriminating in this country. So it’s still not even a given. It’s still a very wishy-washy area of the law. And that’s why they drafted the letter, because they don’t want it to be easier for people to sue them.
Courtney: But they continue, “Kansas Family Voice advances policies that protect the rights of Americans to freely exercise their faith (including disagreeing with sexual relationships apart from God’s design of marriage) and opposes policies that seek to force families to accept and even celebrate the LGBTQ+ agenda.” They also say, “Forms of sexual interaction outside of marriage distort God’s gift of sexuality.” So, a straight couple who’s not married yet? Also deviant. I don’t think that’s new, but I want people to understand that all of this is on the same playing field for them. They’re not seeing a hierarchy of sin where, like, gay sex is worse than premarital straight sex. They’re putting it on the same level. And they’re also putting not having sex when you are married on the same level, which seems weird, but that’s what they’re saying.
Courtney: They say, as well, that “God’s truth about sexuality in marriage is deeply rooted in Christianity and many other religions and cultures. As such, countless Americans oppose the contentious crusade of LGBTQ+ activists to elevate false forms of sexuality, particularly homosexuality, in law and culture. Increasingly, activists are attempting to use the law to force compliance of anyone who disagrees with their ideology.” Which is so fascinating, because none of these people consider themselves activists. I’ve seen some of them consider themselves, like, God’s warriors, [laughs] but I don’t see any of them consider themselves activists, even though they are lobbying Congress, they are raising money, they’re contacting Senators. But to them, activists – and this is why you have words like “political correctness,” because they don’t see what they’re doing as political; they don’t see what they’re doing as activism. They think they’re doing God’s work. And if that’s your religion, that is the right thing to do. And not a subjectively right thing to do; they think it is [emphasizing] the right thing to do. So they use “activists” as, like, a defamatory word, and meaning only the people who are doing it outside of a religious context – which we’ve already covered, we’re not supposed to be living in a theocracy.
Courtney: But also, the, just the disingenuousness of forcing compliance of anyone who disagrees with their ideology. Like, no one’s making you get gay married. We’re just saying, “Don’t treat gay people differently than you would a straight person.” But they’re like, “But my religion says I have to! [laughs] My religion says you’re eroding the fabric of society if you’re gay and if you’re not going to get straight married and try to have kids in whatever iteration that means to you.” And I don’t know what to say, other than that’s messed up.
Courtney: So I would also like to present for the jury a new acronym, if I may. This isn’t going to be super new to you if you’re really, really politically engaged and actually watching the opposition, but this is going to be new for some of you. SOGI laws is something that this brand of religious political activism uses. SOGI: the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity laws. They say it over and over and over again. And I almost never see any actual queer organizations use that acronym. So, that’s very much a thing you should know if you are consuming content from this side with the attempt to learn. But SOGI laws are something they are referring to repeatedly. But they say that they do not support laws that prevent discrimination based upon biological sex or gay people or straight people or whatever SOGI laws that there are, because they say, “There is no evidence sexual orientation is an immutable, involuntary, and innate characteristic like race, color, and sex. And it is very difficult to ask the government to provide protections to people based upon a fluid, changeable behavior that can only be defined by a single individual at a time.”
Courtney: Now, here’s why – here is why I need people to stop ignoring these extremist views from this side. They’re listening to us. They are watching us. They are listening to us. They are using our talking points against us. We say sexuality is fluid, and they’re like, “Ha! See? Sexuality is fluid. So how are you going to legislate something that someone can just claim to be at any given time, that’s just going to change, that no one else can dictate, only the individual person? How are you going to legislate that?” And for as wrong and frustrating as that is, that’s a good point. But they’re listening to us, and they’re planning, and that’s why we need to actually listen to them, which we do not do on this side of the aisle. We do not listen to them. We hear something we see as bigoted, and we say, “That’s a bigot. Ignore them.” It’s almost pretentious. It’s almost pretentious how we say, like, “Well, we’re better than them. We know better. So we can just ignore them because our side is right, and we will win out.” Like, no, we won’t without fighting tooth and nail for it.
Royce: The knee-jerk reaction is not incorrect, but we need to understand that the world does not operate on objective correctness.
Courtney: [laughing] Yes! It does not! Who has the money and who has the power?
Royce: Right. And –
Courtney: It’s usually the white straight people. [laughs] And they have more of them than we do.
Royce: Conservatism is, by definition, by virtue, is deeply entrenched.
Courtney: Yes. And has been for centuries. So like, this is what we are up against. And this isn’t an episode yet – it’s coming in the future. It’s coming. We talked in the past about these articles coming out about people calling Asexuals “groomers.” We’ve talked about those. We’re going to go more in-depth again, because it’s necessary. But they also aren’t just arbitrarily deciding to call us “groomers.” They know the weight behind that word, and that is why they’re using that word. But they’re taking the things we’re saying, and trying to use that as a jumping off point to calling us “groomers.”
Courtney: And that’s how we know they are actually looking at us. For as much as we in the Ace community especially say, like, “Oh, Asexuality is the invisible orientation. We’re invisible. No one sees us. No one’s validating us. No one even knows we exist,” that’s not actually true. That is not true. I would argue that conservatives know more about Asexuals then gay men and lesbian women do. The bis are usually pretty cool, because we’ve kind of had this, like, decades-old, like, “Ah, bi people and Ace people,” like, “We’re not straight enough or queer enough.” [laughing] Like, we’ve kind of had this understanding, for the most part. This is obviously broad, sweeping, ignoring the nuances of personal situation, kind of a talking point. But like, for as often as there are gay people who are like, “Oh, Asexuality isn’t really queer. That’s not a valid thing,” like, we are more often fighting those people than the conservatives who are secretly over here on the side being like, “Asexuality is deviant, and it’s an issue, and platonic marriage is an affront to the entire institution of marriage, which was bequeathed upon us by God and is a gift from God.” [laughs]
Courtney: And, like, the conservatives know about us! They do. They know about us, and they’re using us in talking points, and we need to know that. And we need to fight them instead of the other queer people who are just constantly infighting [laughs]. Because the conservatives are coming out with saying, “Well, we know that Asexuality does not inherently mean that one does not have sex. We know it just means that someone does not experience sexual attraction. But some of the the Asexual activists are saying that Ace people are still having sex even if they don’t have sexual attraction. Therefore, they’re using that to groom children, because they’re teaching children, like, ‘Oh, well, you as a child might not be sexually attracted to me as an adult, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t have sex, and we can still have sex, and it’s not weird because it’s not sexual because it’s Asexual sex.’” Like, we know how many leaps they had to take to get from point A to point B and how wildly fucked up that is, but you can’t argue the fact that they’re using our talking points. They’re listening to us. They know we exist, and they are watching us.
Courtney: And they are using that for their own gain. And they’re taking it and running and calling us “groomers” and using that as a jumping off point to call all gay people “groomers.” Because now monkeypox is a thing and they’re trying to push that as, like, an STD, and it’s become, like, the new AIDS in talking points, for like, “Oh, this is a gay and bi man thing.” Meanwhile, Aces have been being called “groomers,” like, hardcore for at least a year, and it’s only growing. Like, these talking points evolve, and they have a starting point. But we’re too busy arguing amongst ourselves and not actually doing anything politically to gain ground.
Royce: And here I thought the retro cycles were only considered, like, fashion and entertainment, but we’re right back in the AIDS epidemic.
Courtney: Oh my gosh, it’s the same thing. It’s like, 30-year cycle, right? That’s what they usually say. [laughs] We’re right back. I mean, luckily, like – monkeypox sucks, do not get me wrong. Luckily, it is, as far as we know, currently, in its current iteration, not nearly as deadly as HIV/AIDS. Like, we aren’t at that level of crisis. But I am… if covid has taught us anything, like, that shit evolves –
Royce: We are just –
Courtney: – if you don’t contain it.
Royce: We are just not going to be physically around humanity for the foreseeable future.
Courtney: Ugh, I hate it. [laughs] I hate it! Second pandemic before the first one’s over, friends. What do the kids say? “Didn’t have that on my bingo card.” [laughs]
Royce: I feel like bingo is about as far from kids as you can get.
Courtney: Well, the thing is, the kids only say “I didn’t have that on my bingo card,” but they’ve never actually been to a bingo hall. [laughs] Did you know I actually, before I moved down here to Kansas City, I actually used to go to a bingo hall sometimes and play bingo. Have you ever been to a bingo hall?
Royce: I have not.
Royce: I have only played bingo, like, when it’s been done in school.
Courtney: Like school functions?
Royce: I actually –
Courtney: Summer camps?
Royce: Actually, there was one occasion where we were in a stupid, like, corporate takeover, sponsored series of meetings on the company where we orchestrated a, like, layoff bingo sort of thing.
Courtney: Oh no! Layoff bingo is the worst bingo! [laughs] If you’re the first to call “Bingo,” it means you’re fired! [laughs] Oh no! So, before we move on to the next organization, the point I really want to drive home about this organization and their beliefs and their issue with SOGI laws is that they do not think, at the end of the day, that sexual orientation or gender identity should be a protected class against discrimination. They believe that already in their heart of hearts, but they’re also using our own talking points about sexuality being fluid to try to drive that home. Which is annoying, because – I’m not saying change your talking points. I don’t agree in… respectability politics and trying to change the way we talk about things to try to appear more normal, and…
Courtney: Even with “love is love.” Like, I understand the political power of saying “love is love.” Like, that’s a big talking point that helped us get to Obergefell versus Hodges, that legalized gay marriage. So the political power of “love is love” was really important. But we know that that’s also a flawed kind of logic, because “love is love” also implies a very specific kind of love. It implies gay marriage is the same as straight marriage. On its surface, that sounds okay. But that also kind of implies that it’s a sexual relationship. It kind of implies that it’s a romantic relationship. And we especially know – with exclusionists in the Aspec community – we know that there are other queer people who, if we do not experience that sexual attraction in the same way or if we don’t experience that romantic attraction in the same way, even our fellow LGBTQIA+ community doesn’t inherently believe that love is love, if our love isn’t exactly parallel to straight Christian marriage-love but just with interchangeable gender. So there’s much to be critiqued on it from a literal standpoint. But from a political standpoint, it had legs and it got us far.
Courtney: Because if you genuinely do say, “This is how I was born. I was born this way.” Think of, you know, Lady Gaga, gay anthem, [laughing] “Born This Way.” That was such a powerhouse statement for so long and got us very far. Because if you genuinely say, and have acknowledged in a court of law, “I was born this way. There’s nothing I can do to change this. This isn’t a choice,” then you can treat it as something as innate as race, for example, which they frequently cite as, “Well, you can’t pick your race, but from what they say about fluid orientation, you can pick your orientation.”
Courtney: And that’s where they also pick up issues with conversion therapy. They’ll say, “Well, if sexuality is fluid, and we know, according to us, statistically, the healthiest way for a society and a family and an individual to be is in a straight relationship with children, then we know that by being gay, this is causing distress to this person inherently. If they are not straight, they are in distress. So this isn’t ‘conversion therapy.’ This is just therapy. This is just helping them. This is just making them more healthy. And we aren’t anti-therapy! Therapy is a good thing.” Those are the talking points they use. Whereas we see, you know, “Oh, if someone’s gay and you’re trying to turn them straight, that’s wrong.” They aren’t using as black and white terms as that. They’re saying, “No, no, no. This is a person in distress, and we are giving them therapy. We aren’t opposed to therapy. We shouldn’t legislate therapy.” And it’s very smart. I hate giving them that much credit, but it is very politically intelligent.
Courtney: Moving on to the Heritage Foundation. This was, if I recall, maybe my least favorite [laughing] of the organizations I looked up. So I’ll try to summarize this as best I can, but honestly, this article from the Heritage Foundation is entitled “The Obligations of Family Life: A Response to Modern Liberalism,” and it’s a 33-minute read. [laughs] I think I’ve already read it through twice. I’m gonna try to summarize it as best I can, but it is a doozy. The Heritage Foundation also being one that signed this aforementioned letter. But the opening paragraph really says a lot. “Two incompatible views about marriage vie for supremacy today in America. The new, reformed view emphasizes companionship, autonomy, and individual self-fulfillment as the chief purposes of marriage. Since the middle of the 20th century, this new view has slowly displaced the traditional view that marriage involves a love centered in no small part around procreation and child-rearing. Advocates for the family have worried that this change is at the root of significant social ills resulting from divorce, single parenthood, and the loss of a culture friendly to marriage and family life. Advocates of the reformed view have focused on making marriage and family life consistent with the principle of individual autonomy. In practice, this means that individuals build a life to meet their idiosyncratic visions of marriage for whatever purpose they choose.” I’m failing to see an issue with autonomy, period. Autonomy is kind of the point of everything.
Royce: I mean, that’s the fundamental issue here, right? That’s why Roe v. Wade got overturned.
Courtney: Well, that’s the fundamental issue, is they don’t see autonomy as the pinnacle of human rights. That’s the fundamental shift in worldview that we need to acknowledge if we’re going to try to combat this. “Individuals exercise their creativity in designing a life that will not fit any preexisting mold or answer to any natural needs. They decide for themselves how their sex lives will be lived, how and when to have children, whether and whom to marry, and whether to be a parent. They then can combine their answers to these questions into the making of a life plan – always revisable, of course. Relationships are made and unmade by unbounded freedom. Possibilities seem endless, and human beings find their meaning and freedom from this process of self-discovery, or trial and error.”
Courtney: But then they go on to say, “Here are the four core experiences in marriage and family life.” In order, here are the four: number one, sex; number two, procreation; number three, “enduring marriage between a man and a woman,” and four, “taking responsibility for children.” In the hierarchy there, of those four key tenets of the traditional view, sex was number one. Procreation was number two.
Royce: And children come last.
Courtney: Honest –
Royce: Sorry, children.
Courtney: I’m not surprised! I’m not surprised. [laughs] I honestly, like – children are meant, in this worldview, to be submissive to their parents. Like, yes, the parents must have the children, but once the children are alive, they submit to the parents – who must be a man and a woman, by the way, one of each. But sex was the number one on that list of four. I didn’t write this. A progressive, a queer person, an Asexual did not write this. This is “A response to Modern Liberalism” saying “sex is the number one of the four core experiences of marriage and family.” So when I say the religious right hates Asexuals, it doesn’t get much more explicit than that. They’re saying sex is number one, procreation is number two – which, by the way, hinges upon the sex. They’re not talking about in vitro fertilization. In fact, some of these organizations on this list are very anti-in vitro fertilization, which is upsetting.
Courtney: They do say, “People enter into these four experiences by their own consent, yet each experience also shows the various ways that human beings are relational and dependent creatures – dependent on our bodies and on others for the realization of great human goods, such as love, trust, self-control, and, of course, bringing new life into this world. Sex, procreation, marriage, and parenthood are experiences that, when bound together, set the stage for a specifically human thriving and create the most viable ground for a household living a common life, expressing and preparing for human virtues. Let no one be deceived. The spirit of autonomy and the dependencies of marriage and family life are utter antagonisms: In our public philosophy, the latter is quickly being displaced by the former. Modern reproductive technologies that have abetted the sexual revolution and modern practices such as surrogacy, no-fault divorce, gay marriage, and the rise of single-parent families point toward the ascendancy of the autonomous ideal and the severance of the four experiences that once were thought to be bound together in marriage. The new view points to a new vision of humanity and a revolution at odds with genuinely human experience, with human nature, and with the demands of self-governing people.”
Courtney: So here, they’re saying that sex – [laughs] sex and procreation are inherent to the human experience, which again, I don’t know any other way to tell you that that is dehumanizing anyone who doesn’t feel that way. That is inherently dehumanizing Asexual people, Aromantic people who do not want to enter into a monogamous romantic relationship. But also, they throw in the “self-governing people,” because they’re like, “The people don’t want this!” But they’re only talking about themselves. There are plenty of people who want “autonomy.” That’s not my word. That’s their word. Their word they’re using is “autonomy.” [laughs] I just really want to drive that home.
Courtney: “Making the household into a venue for autonomy leaves out the essence of birth, enduring love, and parenthood – meaningful human experiences that limit the assertion of individual autonomy.” So they’re saying, “Limiting human autonomy is good, actually, if it is these things doing it.” Number one being sex. People talk a lot about rape culture. What is rape culture? Often, people jump to, like, “Oh, well, what was she wearing? She was asking for it.” This is literally saying, “Meaningful human experiences that limit the assertion of individual autonomy.” The bullet point of four. Sex was number one. Procreation was number two. That is rape culture. That is why Roe versus Wade got overturned. They think giving birth to a child, even if you didn’t choose it, for whatever reason, whatever circumstances you’re in where you didn’t choose it, is a meaningful enough human experience that that exceeds your right to individual autonomy. They are saying it outright.
[Royce coughs in the distance]
Courtney: That is literally what they’re saying. And sex being number one. They’re saying sex is more important than your bodily autonomy. It’s despicable. It is absurd. But then they also go on to say that “Putting the principle of autonomy into law is much easier to accomplish than is getting the principle of autonomy to reflect marital and familial existence.” Which is kind of weird, because if I’m reading that correctly, they’re saying, “Yeah, you can enact legislation that gives people autonomy, but how do people with autonomy decide to enter into marital and family existence? And what about the right of the marital and family existence to just exist?” [laughs] Right? Like, putting the principle of autonomy into law is easier than getting the principle of autonomy to reflect marital and family existence. They’re trying to say that marital and family existence is more important than autonomy, and if people have autonomy, they won’t choose it. And that’s… bad?
Courtney: But, I mean, they push it in a very dehumanizing direction again. Because they say, “Such acts require a kind of forgetting of core human experiences that betrays how autonomy advocates hope to establish a new vision of humanity.” So we’re like, “Humans can flourish if they have autonomy and they can do whatever they want,” and they’re like, “No, no, no, humans can’t flourish outside of a traditional family structure. But if they aren’t legislated to have that family structure, they won’t choose it, and that’s bad. So we should legislate it.” [laughs] That is what they’re saying.
Courtney: And they even say, “The allure of autonomy is powerful, and our public philosophy distorts and misconceives these core experiences” – the core experiences being sex, procreation, man-and-woman marriage, and children. [laughs] “It is therefore necessary to describe these experiences and to understand why autonomy cannot account for them. However much the four foundational ideas that comprise traditional marriage have been separated in the popular imagination, they remain connected in the experience of most human beings. Modern efforts to separate them have been incomplete. A better set of laws and principles would recognize these dependencies and connections. This better politics presupposes that those who are interested in defending marriage and family life first get a better grip on the continuing connections among the four experiences in marriage and family life.” They are literally saying, “Legislate that shit.” They’re saying, “Make it legally mandatory to have sex, procreate, be married between a man and a woman, and have kids.” They’re saying, “This is a better set of laws.”
Courtney: I know many of you listening to this think this sounds extreme, but this is exactly the kind of organization who has been working for decades to try to shift laws in their favor. That’s why things are the way they are now. That’s why we seem to be regressing. This is why they have – they do currently and have always hated Asexuals. Asexual people – and Aromantic people, for that matter – directly counteract what their worldview is for a “healthy human experience.”
Courtney: So you mentioned earlier in this episode that a lot of these organizations are ones who are messing with education legislation and trying to mandate what education looks like. A lot of the organizations that signed this are actually, like, pro-Christian homeschooling, like, “We will give you a homeschooling curriculum to homeschool your Christian children.” But these are also the kind of like… the same organizations that are the reason why the “Don’t Say Gay” bills have been making headlines recently.
Courtney: And I kid you not, when we’re talking about autonomy, “Autonomy has within itself the seeds of ever greater radicalism because coercion can be given an ever-broader definition, beginning with physical coercion, but ending with any external or natural consideration shaping one’s ‘choice.’ Truly autonomous choices, on this ever more radical understanding, must be made without the influences of imposed habits, human reason, education, social pressure, legal pressure, cultural expectations, or any other external demand. Autonomous choices spring from within the individual, lest they be traceable to something oppressive or alien to the individual. One wonders, therefore, whether such choices are made in consideration of anything but selfishness.”
Courtney: “Selfishness, bad. Submissiveness to something you don’t want, good, actually” is ostensibly what they’re saying. They also say, “‘Anatomy is not destiny,’ [laughing] as contemporary feminists tell us.” Yeah, hmm, seems a little trans-exclusionary feminist for my taste. But again, we’re just picking and choosing whatever ideology suits our political narratives. But they do say, I mean, they use the “slippery slope.” Like, well, if we’re just gonna give people autonomy, then, “This might include future efforts to gain acceptance of plural marriage and adult incest.” [laughing] That sounded an awful lot like the letter we read last episode.
Royce: [sarcastically] Because those are the same things.
Courtney: Followed by, “A more complete decoupling of sex from procreation through the adoption of genetic engineering and human cloning,” which is interesting that that’s the afterthought. They’re like, “Genetic engineering and human cloning is bad, but the reason it’s bad is that we’re decoupling sex from procreation.”
Royce: I thought the ’70s decoupled sex from procreation.
Courtney: Apparently not. Well, that’s the thing. People – they’ve been saying “the sexual revolution” this whole time. Like, “The sexual revolution corrupted us into thinking that sex didn’t mean procreation.” [laughs] So, it’s wild. It’s wild.
Royce: So what you’re saying is we’re fighting the endgame of a 50-year war on hippies?
Courtney: Honestly, though! [laughs] I mean, was that not a big factor in the War on Drugs also? Squash the hippie movement? [laughs] I mean, I watched that Netflix original docu-series about all those hallucinogenic drugs being probably good and should be used in therapy actually. [laughs] But the War on Drugs tried to bury those research studies. [laughs] I’ll admit, I was phasing in and out. That was a show we put on while we were, like, falling asleep at night, and I think I fell asleep multiple times [laughs]. But basically, drugs: maybe not as bad as we thought they were, question mark? [laughs] And regardless of the medical implications of drugs, the incarceration factor was, uh, not cool. Do not like.
Courtney: But yeah, it’s wild. Because I think most people would be like, “Yeah, maybe shouldn’t genetically engineer humans, probably.” Like, there are some very, like, very transhumanistic people that are like, “If you could just science me some superpowers, I’d take it. Like, yes, give me that injection. Give me that surgery. Update my – like, download my brain, upload my brain to the cloud.” [laughs] Like, there are definitely those people, but I think they’re the minority. I think the average person – if you’re like, “Should we be genetically engineering humans?” Most people would be like, “No.” [laughs] Whether or not they could quite articulate why they don’t think so. It’s just kind of another one of those knee-jerk reaction things. But it is buckwild to me that their reasoning behind why that’s bad is that it decouples sex from procreation. It’s absurd.
Courtney: But they also say, oh, “Reconsidering the age of consent” – which is, again, another child marriage thing, which, like, is already actively an issue in this country that should be changed, and I guess we’re just going to ignore that fact and use it as a scare tactic anyway.
Courtney: Then we get into the transphobia. “The use of puberty-delaying drugs to allow individuals to ‘choose’ their genders without the imperatives of biology.” Which… There was also a Kansas politician – and a Texas politician, for that matter – multiple politicians who campaigned on, like, anti-trans legislation, like, “Don’t let the kids transition. Don’t let them trans our kids.” And when I actually dug into those politicians’ websites, a lot of them also brought it back to sex. They’re like, “Trans teens are being mutilated and will never have a healthy sex life with a spouse.” And it’s like, oh, okay. So that’s really just your endgame here is sex, huh? Like, it all comes down to sex. Which seems bonkers to me as someone who – my entire life, I have just devalued and decentered and not understood sex. It is so outside of my worldview that it’s bonkers to me that this is such a fixture of their worldview. But that’s what they’re saying. Sex is the number one component on this 33-minute read.
Courtney: But then they also say, “More complete education against feminine modesty and shame to eliminate the natural differences between the sexes, and [ominous tone] other unforeseen innovations.” That’s the one that really gets me. They’re like, “Man, this transgenderism and this homophobia and this Asexuality, like, that’s bad enough. But what will they come up with next? [laughs] That’s even scarier!” [laughs]
Courtney: So they go on for a while to explain the pitfalls of, I kid you not, autonomy. Like, they go on with that for a while. But then they go on to – like, here’s a quote for you. As to why we shouldn’t, like, ingrain autonomy into our laws, is because “Our birth is hardly an autonomous act; nor are our growth, the way human beings engage in sex, our abilities, the fact that we die, or other aspects of our being.” I’m sorry. Did they say “the way we engage in sex”? We have as much autonomy over as the fact that we were born and that we grow and die? Absolutely fucking not! Absolutely not. But this is literally Heritage.org. One of the signatures of this letter literally saying, “We have no autonomy over the way we engage in sex. It just doesn’t exist. We shouldn’t have autonomy over it. We shouldn’t legislate it.” That’s the pinnacle of rape culture right there.
Courtney: So further along, they say, “Husband and wife, mother and father. The special contributions of the body – both in procreation and in sex – point to the importance of sexual complimentarity to marriage. If marriage is about autonomously choosing a life plan, then alternatives to a one man-one woman relation appear reasonable. But if marriage is about a community centered on having and raising children, the man-woman bond is indispensable. Perhaps the first, most noticeable difference among human beings is between men and women (the second is between the young and the old).” Which, like, take any young child with long hair who is fully clothed and tell me whether that’s a boy or a girl. Like, genuinely. [laughs] Literally. But they’re like, “You know, men and women is the first obvious thing you see when you look at someone. Then it’s age.” Like, I don’t see that either. Like, I can distinguish an adult from a baby before I distinguish the gender of the baby [laughs].
Courtney: But “Nature makes man and woman physically complementary as they produce children, but they also tend to be morally complementary as they produce a marriage. In sex, men and women prove their dependence on one another for bringing a new life into the world. As the law used to note, the continuation of the human race depends on this bond, and recognition of it is crucial. No-fault divorce and open marriage are aspirations for sexual liberationists. It is instructive to ask why, as surveys show, they have succeeded in gaining acceptance of no-fault divorce but generally have failed to shake the public’s belief in marital exclusivity.” So they also don’t want divorce. That’s also why we have laws – like, for example, in Missouri, as well as other states, if a woman is married and pregnant, she cannot divorce her husband while she is pregnant. Not until the baby is born. Which is… a choice. It’s a choice to, at any juncture, say, “You cannot get a divorce right now,” ever, period. I am sorry, I am a dirty, dirty autonomous sexual liberationist, but I just think it’s wrong.
Courtney: But then they rope it into adultery, like, “Oh, having one sexual partner forever is boring.” Which, I know some people think that. I, again, don’t personally understand. But they bring that into saying, “They thought sexual passion and the human thirst for variety too strong and married life too boring for people to close the borders around their relationships.” Which is really hard to argue, that, like, open marriages or plural marriages should be allowed with proper consent, because my argument to that is autonomy. To me, that is important. People should have autonomy to choose what they want. But when they’re outright saying, “Autonomy doesn’t matter,” that is frustrating as all get-out, first of all, but also, like, where do you go from there? That’s why I’m so frustrated when people say, like, “Oh, it’s just a matter of education.” It’s not a matter of education! Because the people you’re arguing don’t believe that. They just won’t. So we need to find other ways. We need to get creative. We need to organize. We need to lobby.
Courtney: But they have an entire section here called “Procreation and Sex”: “Marriage and parenthood are transformative, self-overcoming acts based on a sacrificial love for one another.” There’s that “sacrificial” thing. A lot of Christians really like the self-sacrificing thing, which I will… no longer understand. But they say, “Living for a spouse prepares each to live for a child, but much more goes into ‘living for a spouse’ than this, which brings us to the vexing question of how sex, procreation, and marriage are related to each other. Although there has been a sexual revolution delinking sex from procreation” – there’s your hippies, Royce [laughs] – “there has not [sinister tone] (yet) been much of a ‘procreative revolution’ delinking procreation from sex.” Which I also maybe beg to differ? But “Sex is less tied to procreation, but procreation remains tied to sex. We have a negative power to prevent conception and to abort babies but lack a positive power to make children as we would have them naturally.” Which is wild, because earlier in this exact same article, they were like, “No science to procreate! Only sex to procreate!” [laughs] Like, they didn’t explicitly say “in vitro fertilization,” but like, IVF is a thing. But they kind of explicitly said, “We don’t like it. Sex is better.” [laughs] And now they’re like, “Well, we don’t have any alternative.” Very disingenuous.
Courtney: “For all of the advances in science, children cannot be designed at will, and there is no guarantee that a couple can become pregnant when it wants to do so (especially if pregnancy is delayed).” Oh, actually, I eat my words here. They talk about in vitro. “Modern innovations such as in vitro fertilization and conception have weakened the link between sex and procreation, but they have not severed it completely. Only when ‘conception can be artificially produced, rather than only artificially inhibited,’ Anthony Giddens writes, will sexuality be ‘at last fully autonomous.’ In that sense, we should not overstate the ‘revolution’ in human affairs that modern contraception has wrought.” So they also don’t like contraception. Surprise, surprise. Just like we were talking about people refusing to sell condoms to people at convenience stores and pharmacies.
Courtney: But then they say, “The enduring link between procreation and sex shapes the paternal attitude toward children. Parents see children as gifts and accept responsibility for their overall well-being with a mixture of wonder, hope, humility, and gratitude. Seeing children as gifts from God is more rational than seeing them as autonomous choices. A mother feels joy at the sight of her newborn and is almost never indifferent to or disappointed at the sight of the wrinkled, helpless babe.” [laughs] “Few parents can ignore each child’s unique natural personality. Children will find their own way in the world, to be sure, but never apart from what came before or from the givens of their existence. These givens are traceable, in part, to the mysteries surrounding sex and birth.” Parents love their children because sex created them. [laughs] That’s what they’re saying. I’m not making this up. I’m reading this verbatim. [laughs] The “mysteries surrounding sex”? I don’t even know, I don’t even want to know what the mysteries of sex are. [laughs] What’s mysterious about it? The way they’re talking about it, you insert penis into vagina, and… bébé. [laughs]
Royce: That’s the mystery. How do bébé?
Courtney: [laughs] How do bébé? [laughs]
Royce: See, that’s why you see all of the images on social media that are very clearly, like, baby dolls photoshopped onto hands –
Royce: – that are supposed to be, like, early stage fetuses –
Courtney: Oh no.
Royce: – even though early stage fetuses, like, have gills and tails.
Courtney: [laughs] Well… [laughs] I mean. [laughs] Goddamn it, Royce. How do bébé? [laughs] You’re killing me over here.
Royce: We have, like, six hours of horrible recording to do.
Royce: We need to make jokes when we can.
Courtney: [laughing] We really do. We aren’t even finished with this three-part series that maybe might be a four-part series because we’ve been recording for so long. There’s so much religious hatred in this country, and I’m over it. [laughs]
Courtney: So, and here’s the thing. So, like, for as much as we were talking about eugenics previously, where, very frequently, white straight Christian couples adopt children of color because of white saviorism, and essentially cleanse that child from their culture – “cleanse” isn’t the right word, exactly. Like, “cultural cleansing” is what results from that, but you are severing the child from their culture. And often – I mean, if you’re adopting a child from a developing country, very often, that’s not an orphan. That’s not someone who doesn’t have children. It’s very often not even someone who doesn’t have, like, mentally and physically and lovingly competent parents. Usually it’s just poverty. The parents do not have money to support their child, and they hope that by putting them in an orphanage, they’ll be adopted by a family that has the capital means. And like, it takes sometimes tens of thousands of dollars to adopt a child. And if you ask me, just give that amount of money to the parents of that child so that the parents can raise their child healthily in the culture they were born into. That would be a less genocidal approach to it.
Courtney: But, like – so we talked about genocidal implications earlier. We talked about eugenics implications. But they even say, like, they know that these are our arguments, so they will use them. They’ll say, “Any eugenicist argument for exercising more complete control of the production of human beings depends on erasing the enduring link between procreation and sex.” They’re saying if we sever sex and procreation, they’re calling that eugenics! They are intentionally spreading hatred. They are calling us “eugenicists” if we try to separate procreation from sex.
Courtney: “Sexual reproduction, as pro-cloning books contend, is a lottery of sorts. Rationalizing and controlling reproduction, this movement hopes, might give us a disease-free, better class of children.” Which, like, ehh, “disease-free,” like there definitely is an ableism sect of eugenicists – that, like, is an issue – but I don’t think they’re actually concerned about eliminating disabled children, in this argument that they are making here on this paper. Because they also go on to say, “Equally plausible is the idea that removing the mystery or chance from birth would change the attitude of parents from wandering receivers of gifts to something resembling consumers or manufacturers who analyze children according to their expectations and wills. This would undermine the liberty of the next generation and allow parents to exert an almost tyrannical power over coming generations.” Which are kind of in line with some of the anti-ableist, anti-eugenicist talking points. Because there very much are people who will say, like, “No, you should not abort a fetus just because early test results have found that this child will have Down syndrome,” for example. Because they’ll say, you know, “A disabled child is not any less a child. So if you want a child, you should be prepared to have an able-bodied or disabled child and love the child just the same,” which people unfortunately do string way too interchangeably with, like, “People should have the ability to abort any early pregnancy regardless of reason – if it was an unplanned pregnancy, if it was rape, incense – [realizing misspeech, whispering] incense, [regular volume] incest.” Just like, autonomy is the end-all be-all of that pro-abortion stance. So that’s another way that they swing moderates. [laughs] Because a moderate who’s like, “Well, both sides do kind of have a good point,” they’ll really sink their claws in and be like, “They’re being eugenicists by saying this. This is what they’re doing.” When really like a lot of this is coming down to sex – sex and procreation, and how sex is integral to a marriage. And they are not all one and the same, despite what they are saying.
Courtney: But also, what with the, like, “It is a wondrous gift from God.” That works if you believe in God. How is an atheist straight couple who did have sex and fornicate and produce a child – how are they supposed to receive said child?
Royce: How do bébé?
Courtney: How do bébé? [laughs] Which is also really weird when you think about, like, gender reveal parties, which are predominantly Christian people – not exclusively, but a good chunk, a solid percentage of them are.
Royce: There’s a lot of science that goes into that.
Courtney: There is a lot of science that goes into that, but also doesn’t that take away the mystery and the intrigue of the gift from God? But also the fact they keep coming back to cloning over and over and over again. And at one point they even mention, like, [fearmongering voice] “Dystopian novels demonstrate,” and it’s like, you already mentioned IVF at one point. Like you’re aware that this exists, and you mentioned it by name. But you keep coming back to cloning, like, cloning bad, don’t clone. But they’re using it interchangeably with any non-penetrative sexual means of reproduction.
Courtney: But – and they also say that that’s a reason why parents love their children. They say, “Sexual reproduction allows the play of chance and mystery that encourages healthy parental attitudes connecting children to the past without determining their future overmuch.” So they’re saying, “When you look at your child, you should think more about the sex you had that created that child than what that child’s future is gonna be.” Like, am I wrong? That’s what they just said, right? “Sexual reproduction allows the play of chance and mystery that encourages healthy parental attitudes connecting children to the past without determining their future overmuch.” Which is like… So here’s the thing. I hate when people online, who are usually atheist, usually talking to Christians, I usually hate when people are referring to children as, like, “sex trophies.” Like, “Here’s your fuck medal.” Like, I’ve seen people say that, and I hate that. Because I’m like, “You are dehumanizing the child, and I hate that.” But that’s kind of what they’re saying here. And I still hate it. I don’t care which side it’s coming from; I hate it. But why is a healthy attitude towards children thinking about the sex that caused them to be born? I don’t like it. [whiny] I don’t like it!
Courtney: Ugh, they do continue: “Connections among sex, procreation, marriage, and parenthood form a whole that is greater than each of these important connections taken in isolation. They are not reducible to their social utility or even to their contributions to the continuation of the species.” So they’re saying, “Fuck single parents. Single parents aren’t married, so their parenting of a child is less important.” They are literally saying that. That is a slap in the face to my single mother and my grandmother who helped raise me. Less important than a straight couple parenting a child through sex and procreation and marriage.
Courtney: They say that “Maintaining a good life while connecting sex, procreation, marriage, and education is a form of human love – self-sacrificing, betrothed love.” They even say, “No matter how much our contemporary views may wish away the links among sex, procreation, enduring marriage, and raising children, those links persist and will persist. They reveal that the public depends on the private since both procreation and education are the results of ‘private’ decisions. No alternative means of making these moments public is available, and if one were available, it should not be embraced.” So they’re also – mind you, these are similar people who are saying, like, “Religious homeschooling is the way to go, or private religious schooling is the way to go.” They throw education in there at the end. That was not one of the four links that they laid out at the top of this article. [laughs] It was not education. But now they’re throwing in education, saying, “This is a private decision that should not be made public.” But also that “As much as we wish that sex didn’t have anything to do with marriage, it does. Get over it, Asexuals. [laughs] Get over it, people who want to engage in a queerplatonic partnership. Sex and marriage, inherently linked. Procreation and raising children, inherently linked.”
Courtney: “Efforts to separate having children and raising them are indeed ill-founded. Laws and mores should be grounded in the biological and personal realities of human life. Anything less is uncivilized.” And that’s how they end that article. “Anything less is uncivilized.” Anything, including marriage without sex, raising children without procreation – all of these things, uncivilized.
Courtney: I hate to say it, but I think we need to make this a four-part series. We’ve already talked for a long time and that was only our, what, third third signature on this letter. And we have a lot more.
Royce: 80 more to go.
Courtney: I pared it down a lot before we even sat down at this microphone. [laughs] I went through every single one of these 83, and I pared it down to – okay, let’s count here. I pared it down to 25. [laughs] They are not all as long as this, because not all of them have such sweeping articles as this one. Like, this had a huge article in it. Some of these are just a quote or two per website. But I think it’s important to go over at least a good chunk of these, because this is establishing a pattern. This is not a one-off person. This is not a one-off organization. This is a concerted effort by the religious right that cannot be shrugged off. And that’s why we’re doing this. This is the point of everything.
Courtney: So, yes. And some websites that we’re going to get to in this series will explicitly say “Asexuality” or they’ll explicitly say “platonic marriages.” The original letter said, “platonic marriages,” for example. Some of them are less clear terms, but honestly, just the way they’re talking, you can feel the Acephobia just radiating off of every sentence of this. When they say “sex is number one in the top four important things that make a marriage,” that is what they’re saying. “Anything less is uncivilized” is what they’re saying. “Sexuality is a gift from God that should be expressed in a straight marriage,” is what they are saying.
Courtney: So yes, it’s homophobic. It’s transphobic. It’s also very Acephobic. It’s also very Arophobic. And we need to stop ignoring that. Every time I say – online or in an interview – that something is bigoted towards Asexuality or Aromanticism, people will be like, “No, it’s just homophobia,” or “No, it’s just transphobia.” It’s all of it, actually. Absolutely all of it. And we can’t minimize the impact on the bigotry towards Aspec identities. Because often, the Aspec identities are the first step in getting the moderates. Because the moderates have probably heard that transphobia bad, homophobia bad. But if you can get the moderates on, like, “Well, sex is an innate part of being human, regardless of who you’re having sex with. But there are these Asexual people? They’re a little wrong. They’re a little weird.” That’s the first step. That’s the first step in the pipeline for a lot of these. And it’s not difficult to see why that is when you actually look at their ideology and what they’re saying.
Courtney: So we’ll be back next week [laughs] with more of these organizations, with exactly what they are saying on the matters of marriage and sex and Asexuality and platonic lifestyles, what have you. And also to look forward to, we’ve got a variety of articles that are a year to three, five years old. I have an article from 2009 that’s talking about how horrible Asexuality is. So, we have the receipts. We have the paper trail to demonstrate that this is not new. But the time to start paying attention to this was yesterday. The second best time to start paying attention to it is right now. So on that note, we will see you all next week.