Christian Republicans HATE Asexuals
Christofascists HATE asexuals, and this isn't new. For years, they've been saying that platonic marriage goes against God and should be illegal. And ironically, because of Obergefell v. Hodges (the landmark Supreme Court case that legalized same-sex marriage)...it might be.
Note: during the first article, we refer to the nameless author with she pronouns, but upon further inspection, it was written by a man.
- The Letter
- Does God Exempt Asexual People From His Marriage Mandate?
- New York Times: From Best Friends to Platonic Spouses
- Why We Should Push Back Against Platonic Marriage
- Sex is a Relational Need
- If Love is Love, Why Can’t Friends Get Married
- The Mainstream Media and Its Ignorance on Marriage
- Friends are Saying ‘I Do’ - But Might Not Understand the Legal Risks of Their Platonic Marriages
Aces Playing at Attraction (Twitch, Twitter)
Courtney: Hello, everyone. Welcome back. If you have been with us for the last few weeks, following us down this trail of religious right-wing misery, then you know why we are here. If you are brand-new, popping in for the first time, I am so sorry that this is the episode you’re jumping in on. But my name is Courtney. I’m here with my spouse, Royce. And together, we are The Ace Couple. And we are diving deeply into, essentially, the reason why religious right-wing organizations take such an issue with Asexuality and Aromanticism. Way too often, we A-spectrum people will get, “Oh, well, you’re not really oppressed. No one’s really trying to come for your rights.” Or people will ask, like, “How are Asexuals actually oppressed,” kind of as a “gotcha,” trying to see, like, “See? You don’t even have an answer.” But this is just one of the many ways.
Courtney: We started this series going over a letter where 83 right-wing religious organizations signed a letter to Mitch McConnell condemning the Respect for Marriage Act, citing platonic marriage specifically as one of the examples for “startling expansions” of what marriage means. So we thought, “Well, if a platonic marriage is something that doesn’t fit in with your worldview of what marriage is, let’s see exactly what these organizations are saying.” So we gave you all of the highlights, over the last couple episodes, for the specific organizations we pulled up. We probably had 20-something different quotes from these organizations.
Courtney: But today, what we really want to drive home is that this is not new. This didn’t come out of the blue. There have been talking points like this for years. And as a couple who are both Asexual – we’ve been married for eight years, we’ve been out for a decade plus by this point – we’ve seen a lot of these things. Some of them we’ve seen or heard specifically pointed to us; others we’ve just observed in a more public sphere. So this is something we are tuned into. And I can’t really begrudge anyone who hasn’t seen these things yet. Because although these religious right-wing organizations have been saying it for years, any kind of bigotry against Asexuality or Aromanticism doesn’t really get any press or publicity in any of the news sites that we frequent or we look to to keep up-to-date on social justice. Sure, bigotry against gay people gets covered, against trans people gets covered – as well they should – but we just aren’t getting this kind of coverage. But I need everyone to understand that this isn’t new. And that’s why we’re going to take a little journey to past, older articles saying similar talking points.
Royce: Ah yes, a little trip down Memory Lane. Is she also a relative of yours?
Courtney: [laughing] Oh yeah! Yup, Memory Lane, also a cousin. She’s Wikipedia’s sister. They live down the rabbit hole. [laughs]
Courtney: So, first article I would like to present for our listeners is from the site Biblical Gender Roles, so we know it’s going to be fair and balanced [laughs slightly]. But it specifically talks about Asexuality, and that’s why I want to start with it. It says “Asexual” by name. Because a lot of these articles will just be talking about general compulsory sexuality – how sexuality is a gift from God and how it should be expressed and needs to be expressed within marriage. But this here just goes to show that we Asexual people, for as much as we like to say “We’re the invisible orientation and nobody sees us,” they do. The wrong people are seeing us. The issue is that the right people aren’t seeing us.
Courtney: So this is entitled “Does God exempt asexual people from his marriage mandate?” and it starts right off with the first command God made to Adam and Eve being “Be fruitful and multiply.” This is something lots of these organizations were talking about on their own websites, because they’re taking this as a metaphor for all mankind, not literally just saying to Adam and Eve only. They’re saying by declaring that to Adam and Eve, God is mandating all humans, “Be fruitful and continue to multiply.” Even though I’d say, if you believe in Adam and Eve, they did a pretty good job, because we got plenty.
Royce: Some could even say possibly a few too many.
Courtney: Some could say that. You could make that argument.
Royce: Climate trends aren’t doing so well with eight billion humans. Maybe we should, like, slowly, gradually, non-violently –
Royce: – ease into, like, a comfortable five or so.
Courtney: At the risk of not sounding in any way genocidal… [laughs] we’re just gonna say, maybe we shouldn’t condemn people who choose not to procreate. I think that’s our first step. That’s the important one. [laughs] That’s the really, really key takeaway here. But this article is essentially… It’s part article, part almost like an advice column. Because this was a young woman named Jill, who is clearly a Christian woman, who was writing in to this author to ask questions. Because Jill says that she is Asexual. They start right off the bat by saying that God does have an allowance for celibacy in the New Testament. But they ask, is it a “cancelation of the marriage mandate or is celibacy only a limited exception to his mandate? Specifically in regard to people who are asexual, does God exempt such persons from his marriage mandate and thus allow them to live celibate lives simply because they do not want to have to have sex with someone?”
Courtney: Now, I also want to point this out because “be fruitful and multiply” they refer to as the marriage mandate. I find that very weird. But that is just another – like, think about the implications of that. They are, right there, once again, in a different form, saying that procreative sex is intrinscially linked to marriage. They are seeing it as exactly the same thing. God did not say “Get married.” [laughs] He, as far as I know, did not say, “I now pronounce you man and wife.” He said, “Be fruitful and multiply.” And they said, “Yup. That’s the marriage mandate,” is what they’re calling it. So the author of this even explicitly says that.
Courtney: So the quote here is “Celibacy is an exception that God makes to his first commandment to mankind in Genesis 1:28 to ‘be fruitful and multiply’” – adding that that means “to marry, have sex and have children.” “Have sex” is mentioned there. And as we covered in some of our previous organizations, a lot of them are anti in-vitro fertilization, because they think sex is mandatory for procreation.
Courtney: And the author continues that “celibacy should only be sought after either because a person has no desire for a spouse and no desire for children or their zeal and dedication to serve God is so strong that it makes any thought they would have of having a family seem like nothing. This kind of person wants to dedicate their life in an undivided way in service to God. Now that does not mean celibate women have to be nuns. They could be missionary nurses or doctors, they could be school teachers or a host of other occupations in undivided service to God.” So essentially, because Jill mentioned she does want to have kids and she is interested in a romantic relationship and she’s saying, “No, no, no, that’s not going to cut it. Just being asexual and not wanting sex is not good enough. This does not exempt you from the marriage mandate.”
Courtney: So this is actually what Jill says, in her own words. First she asks, “Is asexuality in itself a sin? The reason I am not interested in marriage is because I know I would not be good for a husband. I do not want to have sex. I love the idea of companionship and growing older together, but I don’t want sex. Therefore it would be selfish of me to enter a marriage. I cannot provide sex for a marriage. Much, much later in life, if it is evident my asexuality is never going away, I would adopt a child with no chance of getting adopted otherwise. I desire to make a difference in the life of a child. Only in that instance would I adopt – if the child had no chance of a better life otherwise. I still think kids need both a mom and a dad, but it’s better to have one than none. And, by the way, I have experienced no trauma in my life whatsoever, sexual or otherwise. I have an awesome family and enjoy close friendships with males. I just find myself asexual.”
Courtney: So that’s all from the words of Jill. And I do want to make that really, really clear, too, is that we are talking about someone who specifically said, “I don’t want sex. I can’t provide sex in a marriage.” Because far too often, when we talk about people who fall into this camp, we get people both in and out of our community who are really quick to jump in and say, “Well, Asexuality doesn’t mean you don’t have sex.” And can I just say, I’m kind of getting fed up with that? Every single time, every single time we’re talking about a specific case – whether it’s my personal experience, whether it’s the personal experience of a friend of ours, or someone who is explicitly stating that they don’t want sex, it’s like we can’t talk about them without everyone just jumping in, being like, “Well, actually, um, actually, some Aces do have sex, and some even like it.” [laughs]
Royce: Right. But the conversation was on an individual and their experiences, not the entirety of the Asexual spectrum.
Courtney: Well, and that’s the issue, is that people are way too concerned about talking about everything in such broad, sweeping strokes that are going to accommodate every possible situation, which is not productive when we’re talking about individual experiences and feelings. Because, I would argue, the reason why we do our advocacy and we want Aces to have a better quality of life and to feel comfortable in who they are is for the benefit of individuals.
Royce: Yeah. I mean, that attempt to turn every dialogue into something that accommodates everyone is going to accomplish nothing.
Courtney: It’s also an impossible standard. Nobody could possibly speak on every single iteration of an experience. Like, no possible way. And that’s what… [affected tone] That’s what really gets my goat. [regular tone] I don’t know why I pulled that phrase out. [laughs] That’s not a phrase I usually say. But that’s what really gets me, because… It even happened recently. We had someone – this has happened a couple of times, by the way, so this isn’t just the recent experience; it’s happened on more than one occasion – where we will tweet something on our account where we say, “We are The Ace Couple. We are an Asexual married couple. We have an Asexuality podcast.” And we’ll make a post about Asexuality, and occasionally, someone who doesn’t follow us will be like, “That’s not even what Asexuality is. Gosh, Google what Asexuality means before you tweet about it.” [laughs] And it’s like, hmm, okay, we’ll do that next time. [laughs] And it’s like, never once have we said all Asexuals are sex-repulsed. Never once. But I personally am. I have a lot of friends who are. And it is getting increasingly more difficult to talk about sex-repulsed issues, because everyone has, like, been socially trained at this point. It’s like we’ve all been conditioned to “um, actually” everything that isn’t a broad sweeping umbrella-spectrum statement. And I don’t think it’s productive when we have very organized right-wing religious groups like this who are actually trying to take our rights away, and we’re just arguing with ourselves about nothing. [laughs]
Courtney: But I digress. We are specifically talking about someone who has said “I don’t want sex.” So this author, in response to what Jill, our concerned Asexual Christian is saying – she says, you know, “Asexuality itself is not a sin. In fact, asexuality can be part, and I stress part, of the gift of celibacy that God gives to some people. But if a Christian is asexual, they should not automatically equate this to having the gift of celibacy. I talk about asexuality in my article ‘For what reasons does God allow celibacy.’” And she’s linking to all these other articles. So she’s talked about Asexuality on multiple occasions.
Courtney: But she says here, “Asexuality is when a man or a woman has no desire to have sexual relations. But is asexuality the same as the gift of celibacy that Paul alludes to in I Corinthians 7:7? The answer is no. Asexuality may be one component of the gift of celibacy, but this gift has more to it than that. Remember that Christ said that men became eunuchs ‘for the kingdom of heaven’s sake’ and the Apostle Paul said the gift of celibacy was given so that one could ‘attend upon the Lord’ without distraction. So if you have no desire for sexual relations, this by itself does not give you an exemption from God’s command to ‘Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth’ in Genesis 1:28, or in other words marry, have sex, and have children.”
Courtney: And so, like, here’s also a really weird thing, because I would almost… Well, I’ll just read this and then we’ll unpack it. So she cites Jill’s statement of “Therefore it would be selfish of me to enter a marriage since I can’t provide sex.” She says, “Jill, let me correct your misunderstanding when it comes to sex. Our culture teaches that sex is based on desire. We are told that if you desire sex then you should have sex or if you do not desire sex than you should not have sex. This is why, in our culture, people have sex outside of marriage, and then in marriage they refuse their spouses sex. Because today we have made sex based on feelings and desire. But the truth is that the Bible calls sex a kindness, a duty and right within marriage.” Gag.
Royce: So that is another instance of the rejection or denial of autonomy, bodily or otherwise –
Royce: – that we spoke about in a prior episode.
Courtney: This is rape culture. And we didn’t have time to go into extreme depth on all of the previous organizations we went into, but there were definitely some of them – many of which were, like, colleges, Christian universities, who are almost as concerned, if not more concerned, at, like, pairing students off for marriage as they are actually educating them. But there were many of these who were talking about, like, “Oh, with all of these fake rape accusations, it’s hard to know the difference between a real rape and a fake one these days.” And that’s just utterly disgusting. Because these people have a fundamentally different worldview of what marriage means and therefore also what rape means.
Courtney: And like, here’s also the thing, because when I’ve been asked before, like, “Well how are Asexuals oppressed,” I have mentioned things such as rape within marriage, whether that be a situation of being in a place where there are marriage consummation laws and where one spouse might have the power to hold the threat of a divorce or an annulment over the head of a spouse because of that, or the fact that still, in this world – we don’t talk about this a lot in the US or in the Western conversation, but it’s still estimated that over 50% of marriages in this world are arranged to varying degrees of consent. But every time I say that, people will come back and be like, “Well marital rape is still rape, and rape is still wrong and doesn’t have anything to do with the fact that you’re Asexual.” It’s like, but how can you not see that an Asexual person could be further at risk of this than other demographics because of all the reasons I just laid out? And they’re like, “Well, if it’s wrong, it’s wrong.” It’s like, if you live in this world, if this is the religion you grew up with and this is what your church is saying and your religious leaders are saying, then you’re going to have a really complicated view of these things. And it needs to be a part of this conversation.
Courtney: But she even cites the Bible passage I Corinthians 7:3: “3. Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. 4. The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife.” So again, they’re like, “Yeah, our Bible says you don’t have bodily autonomy in marriage.”
Courtney: She says, “The term ‘render’ has with it the idea of giving what is owed, and benevolence literally means ‘kindness.’ Sex is a duty and kindness we owe in marriage and it is also our right. So if you were to marry, you could absolutely provide sexual relations to a future husband. The only reason you would not is if you chose not to.” So she says, you know, inherently, being Asexual is not selfish, but she does go on to say, “It is only selfish if you sought to have the companionship of marriage without sex, as some women do.” What the hell?
Royce: I don’t know how to unpack that last part, the “as some women do.” Is that, I guess –
Courtney: I did that. I think this bitch just called me selfish! [laughs]
Royce: I mean, I read that as it doesn’t seem that she actually sees Asexuality as a thing in the same way that we do, first of all.
Courtney: Oh, we’ll –
Royce: First of all.
Courtney: We’ll get into that further. But yeah.
Royce: The “as some women do” – we’ve already gotten to the point where her view of sex and sexuality is distorted to the point where I am having trouble conceptualizing it appropriately.
Courtney: [laughs] Yes.
Royce: But it seems to be the refrain that women don’t inherently have sexual desires. And so, it seems that she is saying, “Some women, regardless of sexual orientation” – because I’m not completely convinced that she agrees that sexual orientation is a thing.
Courtney: Well, you’re onto something there.
Royce: It seems like – not even talking about Asexuality – it seems like she’s saying that, by virtue of being a woman, a lot of women or potentially all women do not have an innate desire to have sex outside of the religious connotation, outside of the marriage pact.
Courtney: Yeah. So that could be one way she’s thinking, and I definitely know some people in this camp that do feel that way. She could do the whole, like – Because there are also a lot of religious people who just say, like, “Oh, well, basically, what you’re describing is Demisexuality is just what women are.” Like, there are definitely people who feel that way, which is just… Whether or not she believes that, what we do know from digging into the previous organizations is that they consistently, time and time again, said, “Sexuality is a gift from God.” And repeatedly, they said that. So it sounds like – and their idea of sexuality is “one man, one woman.” That is what sexuality is. They are not seeing any other sexuality as even a thing. So they’re saying, “Sexuality is straight. Sexuality is a gift from God.” But they’re also saying, “The gift of celibacy is a gift from God. But Asexuality is not celibacy. The gift of celibacy is not only the lack of interest in sex, but also the lack of interest in companionship and the lack of interest in raising kids and an extreme overwhelming desire to pour all of yourself into God.” Which is interesting, because as an Asexual person, I have absolutely had some very religious people say, like, “Well, you you just have the gift of celibacy. Have you considered becoming a nun? [laughs] Have you considered dedicating your life to God?” And so, there are some religious people who will hear “Asexuality” and they will equate it to the gift of celibacy, but not this camp of people.
Royce: Well, it seems like they see it as a potential step in that direction, but it needs to also be paired with Aromanticism.
Royce: And also come with the feeling that if you are not following God’s will through procreation, that you have to expend all of your efforts to make up for that.
Courtney: Yes. Well, and – so actually, I’m glad that you mentioned that, because that made me I think of this additional point. I know some Christian Aspecs who are Asexual and/or Aromantic, and clearly, I mean, there is every type of flavor of Christianity, so what we’re reading here is obviously not representative of everyone who subscribes to this religion, but I know religious Aspecs who look at Paul the Apostle – who is mentioned in this very article – and very much view him as an AroAce, someone who is Aromantic and Asexual. And to them, that is something that they see as very empowering to their own faith and their own sexuality. So it’s just wild all the different readings that people are taking. [laughs] And I’d much rather be like, “Yeah, Paul the Apostle’s AroAce, and that’s that’s valid as heck. Good for you, religious Aspecs!” Like, I am all on board with that reading. I am by no means on board with, “Well, Asexuality isn’t actually the gift of celibacy if you want a kid or if you want romantic companionship.” And I’m… I can’t do it. I can’t do it. And especially when you pair it with lack of autonomy and say, “Well, you know, sex is an obligation of marriage,” I’m not down with that. And that’s where I start to say: we don’t live in a theocracy. You should not be lobbying Congress to get your religious views enshrined in law.
Courtney: But to your point, where she doesn’t really understand Asexuality in the same terms that we do, she does go on to say, “I believe you have a condition called Genophobia, which is a fear of sexual touch or sex relations of any kind. You mask it in ‘I just don’t want to’ but the reality is you are afraid of sexual touch. But let me stop here though to give you some comfort. Genophobia is now and has always been more common in women than in men. Many a bride while be excited for marriage and having children has had great anxiety about what her wedding night holds for her. This is normal for many women.” So here, you’re also saying, “No, no, no, you’re not Asexual. You just have a fear of sex.” So we love that pathologizing of it. We’ve complained about the pathologizing of Asexuality numerous times in countless previous episodes. But also to then go on and say, “This is just really common for women, to have a fear of sex. Like, you’d be surprised how many brides are afraid for their wedding night. This is normal.” Because I just – I know so many women who really love sex and weren’t afraid their first time. And just the conflation of a fear of sex with Asexuality.
Courtney: I wouldn’t – And here’s the weird thing, too. Because if someone who genuinely had genophobia considered themselves Asexual, I’d be fine with it. Honestly, I don’t think there is ever a situation – medical, emotional, social, or otherwise – where someone doesn’t want to have sex and your impulse is “Fix them. Correct that. Make them have sex, or get them to a point where they will have sex” – I don’t think that’s ever justified. So someone has genophobia and they’re just like, “Yep, I’m Asexual and I’m cool with that,” I don’t care. I genuinely do not care. And I know that is a hot take [laughs] because there a lot of people who will say, like, “Keep any diagnosis of anything as far away from Asexuality as you possibly can,” but I don’t care. At the end of the day, if that’s how that person feels and they’re happy and content with their life, power to them. But how dare you take someone who is defining themselves as Asexual and say, “No, you’re not Asexual, you have a phobia.” That will not fly. Absolutely not.
Courtney: And also, just… So I’ve kind of lightly told this story before. I think it’s normal for young, like, preteen and teenage girls who are just starting to learn about sex and sexuality to be kind of freaked out about it. I think that is really normal because a lot of girls in the US grow up in places where views like this are very normal. And there are places where they are having very abstinence-only sex education. And what I was surely told, and many many girls like me were told, was, “Your first time having sex is gonna be painful. You are going to bleed. This will break your hymen, and it is going to suck. And also, it should only be your husband who is doing that, because this is a very sacred holy thing.” So it’s kind of like the carrot and the stick. Like, the carrot is, “Oh, well, sex inside of holy matrimony is this whole new level of spiritual experience, and it’s so much better than the alternative,” but also you don’t want to have sex anyway, because that first time is going to be miserable. [laughs] So I do think that’s normal.
Courtney: But I also, as a very Asexual-on-the-repulsed-side-of-the-spectrum young person, I was like, “Yeah, sex, nope. Sounds gross. Sounds painful. Sounds like a headache. Don’t want anything to do with that. Nope.” And there was a period of time where every young girl around me was agreeing with me. We’d have conversations; we’d be like, “No, I don’t want to have sex. That sounds horrible. It sounds painful. It’s scary. I don’t want that.” But at a certain point, they all grew out of that, and I didn’t. [laughs] At a certain point, they were like, “You know what, actually, I am very sexually attracted and I do want to have sex.” And they did, and it was great for most of them, [laughs] so.
Courtney: But to say – well, I haven’t looked far enough into this Biblical Gender Roles. I don’t know if they’re literally marrying off minor girls or not, but I know there are religious organizations in this country that are doing that. But if there’s, like, a grown-ass woman who’s saying “I’m Asexual” and you’re like, “No, no, you’re just afraid of having sex for your first time,” that is so infantilizing. It is so infantilizing.
Courtney: But this author goes on to say, “There’s a big difference in asexuality that is based in choice and asexuality that is based in fear. If a person is choosing to serve God in celibacy, not because they fear sex, but because they genuinely have such a strong desire to serve him in an undivided manner that they have no desire for it, then it is honorable before God. But when a person uses celibacy as a cover for their fear of sex, this does not honor God. [laughing] I believe you should seek counseling and talk to other women about this – you would be surprised to find how many Christian women were anxious about having sex with their husbands.” I don’t like that. I don’t like that this specific branch of this religion is fostering a community where they’re saying, “Lots of women are anxious about having sex with their husbands.” I don’t like that. I think you are fundamentally doing something wrong if that is true.
Courtney: She also then says – and I don’t even know, I don’t know if she’s being cheeky, if this author has paid so close attention to Aces that she knows our cake thing or if she’s just using an easy proverb – but she goes on – she literally, she uses cake against us, people. The audacity! How dare! [laughs] “There is an old English proverb that states ‘You can’t eat your cake and have it too.’ In modern English, this would be restated as ‘you cannot simultaneously retain your cake and eat it.’ It speaks of wanting two things that are contradictory to one another. You admit that you ‘love the idea of companionship and growing old together’ and you also admit that you ‘desire to make a difference in the life of a child.’ So based on your words I would summarize your position as follows: ‘I want both the companionship and raising children aspects of marriage. However I don’t want the sexual aspect of marriage. Therefore, since I don’t want the sexual part of marriage, I realize I can’t have the companionship aspect of marriage, as they are intertwined. However, I still want the raising children aspect of marriage.’ Here’s the problem with your thinking. God designed having children and raising children to flow from marriage. So in the same way you can’t have the companionship aspect of marriage without the sexual aspect of marriage, so too you cannot have the raising children aspect of marriage without the companionship and sexual aspects of marriage.”
Courtney: You know what, I was kind of gonna say, you know, “How dare you use cake against us,” but if you’re gonna say “having your cake and eating it too” is having a romantic marriage [laughing] without the sexual component, I’m gonna say, “Alright, maybe you can’t have your cake and eat it too.” [laughs]
Courtney: So, continuing on, she says, “Our culture today takes a ‘buffet’ approach to relationships. Men want sex from women without the responsibilities of marriage and children. Women want romance from their husbands without having to give sex. Some women actually want marriage and sex without having to have children. Other women want the companionship, sexual aspect of marriage and even having children, but they don’t want to stay home and raise those children. They want their husbands or a nanny to take care of the children so they can pursue a career outside the home. All of these groups have one thing in common – they all want to have their cake and eat it too. They want some aspects of marriage or family but they don’t want to accept the others. That is not how marriage and the family work. Marriage and family in God’s design is a ‘take it all’ or ‘leave it all’ proposition, it is not a buffet where we can choose things we want that only marriage was meant to give us but not accept the things we don’t want.”
Courtney: And this is how I don’t know… Like, aside from just taking this directly to Congress and lobbying for legislation that we know is for the good of our people, of queer people, of anyone who wants any type of relationship structure outside of this or doesn’t want one at all, there’s really no way to debate these points with someone who believes this.
Royce: Yeah. Nothing you say is going to change their mind because they believe that they are repeating the words of a being that is beyond humanity. Like, a human viewpoint cannot challenge that.
Courtney: No, absolutely not. Because, like, I think of a “buffet approach” to relationships, and I’m like, “Work! Let’s do it! Relationship buffet! Take what you want, leave what you don’t. Abso-fucking-lutely.”
Royce: I was trying to think about what that sect of Christianity would be called. Like Buffet-deism?
Courtney: [laughs] I’ll drink to that!
Royce: I mean, that’s kind of what every religious sect does. They pick and choose the parts of the Bible that they want to honor and the ones that they want to ignore.
Courtney: That’s what – every single sect does that. Every single one. Absolutely. And we’re Asexual atheists, so just give us our cake. [laughs]
Courtney: So, then she comes back to the point where Jill said, “Well I might want to adopt a child.” She says, “Jill please hear me. You are revolving your entire life around your asexuality. Your reasons for seeking to live a celibate life are not the reasons that God allows celibacy.” She’s literally saying, “No, God is commanding you to have sex.” I don’t like that. I don’t like that. I don’t like that one bit. If anyone’s telling you to have sex,when you don’t want to, we call them predators, creepy, we call that rape culture. I don’t care if that’s coming from God. If you’re saying God is saying that, God’s kinda rapey. [laughs]
Courtney: I do want to reconfirm, we are yukking it up because this is a very extremist view. But I do want to make very clear that we support any and all religious Aspecs, religious queer people. The reason these people are on our chopping block is because they are actually lobbying Congress. They are trying to make platonic marriage, Asexual marriage, open marriage, plural marriage illegal, and they aren’t going to stop there. Many of these organizations have also said that they will not stop until gay marriage is once again illegal. And that is not okay. You cannot use your religion to impose laws on other people who do not subscribe to it. That is where we draw the line.
Courtney: But she continues, “You are not seeking celibacy in undivided service to God. You are seeking it because you don’t want to have sex, which you have admitted is a requirement of marriage. But what you are failing to see is that not only is sex a requirement of marriage, but marriage itself is a requirement. Each and everyone one of us are required to actively seek out marriage in obedience to God’s first command to mankind.” Thanks, but no thanks. [laughs] I don’t like it. I love our marriage. I love being married to you, specifically. But I don’t think I need marriage. If I didn’t meet you, I wouldn’t be, like, seeking a spouse. And that’s both Acephobic and Arophobic – whether it’s the sex or the romance or a combination thereupon, they’re saying, you know, “Tough luck. You have to have both. You must. It is a mandate. It is an order from God.”
Courtney: There’s also, I mean… Just in case we’ve been focusing too much on women and celibacy, there is a side note: “Side note for men who pursue celibacy. Men also should not use celibacy as cover for fear of sex or fear that women may hurt them in marriage or divorce them. They should not use celibacy as cover for greed and ambition where they want to pursue money and power and not be saddled with a wife and children.”
Courtney: In conclusion, “Asexuality in and of itself is not a sin, but being asexual does not automatically mean you are called to a life of celibacy. Asexuality which is based in the fear of sex or fear of having to follow gender roles in marriage is not a proper basis for a Christian to seek a celibate life. Only asexuality that comes not from fear, but from the gift of God to do work in an undivided manner for the kingdom of God is honored before God.” That was a very Godly sentence. There was, like, four “God”s. [laughs] Nope, it was three. [gasps] The triune God! That was our vocabulary word of the day [laughs] from last episode.
Courtney: “Christians have a moral responsibility based on their love for God to cast out this fear and replace it with a desire for what God would have them to desire.” So, if you don’t want to have sex, just remember, God wants you to have sex. Think about that. I don’t like it! I don’t like it! This is not only religious abuse, but this is sexual abuse. Is there a word that combines religious and sexual abuse? That’s the word I want to use.
Courtney: “The Bible calls sex in marriage ‘undefiled’ which means it is pure and [emphasizing] clean.” “Clean” is in all caps. “That means someone who is desiring and looking forward to sex in marriage in their heart does in fact have a clean heart before God. The irony is that people who are afraid of sex and afraid of thoughts of sex are actually the ones who have unclean hearts as far as God is concerned. This fear will inhibit a person from serving God as fully as they were meant to do. Jill, I pray that you and others like you will seek help from God as well as those he has placed in your path so that he can renew a right spirit within you in regard to your asexuality.” Gross!
Courtney: So, I’ve read this article a fair few times, but Royce, I just realized… there’s a comments section. Do we dare?
Courtney: Do we dare?
Royce: You know it’s gonna be bad.
Courtney: But do we? Should we, should we, should we just take a little peek? [laughs]
Courtney: So yeah. One of the comments near the top says, “Women like Jill scare me half to death lol. I would avoid an asexual woman like the plague, and I would hope to God that she has enough decency to warm off any potential man interested in her that she will not give them sex. Yes she is quite correct when she says she is being selfish because of her asexuality.” Wow! Also, the… I cannot with people who still, in the year 2022, use “avoid like the plague.” Because what are the chances this person is an anti-masker and/or an anti-vaxxer? Or at the very least, wasn’t following social distancing protocols?
Royce: Yeah, you’re probably actually really bad at avoiding the plague.
Courtney: You’re probably like, “What? What plague? My God is stronger than the plague! Come at me, plague!” Now we have two pandemics going! I hate it here.
Courtney: So then we have an article from 2021 – so it’s a little over a year old now, by this point – called “Why We Should Push Back Against Platonic Marriage.” So “platonic marriage” is definitely a word that has been picked up and reused over and over by people with these talking points. For all intents and purposes, I think we can probably just, based on their understanding and what they have said, pretty much make it interchangeable with anybody who is Asexual, anyone who is sex-repulsed or -averse, anyone who is not fitting into their definition of a proper Biblically sexual relationship. But “platonic” was what they picked up on because the New York Times actually did a feature on queerplatonic marriages.
Courtney: Fun fact, I was actually interviewed for that article, but after talking more to the writer of that article… Because when I was reached out to about this, it was, “We want to talk to Asexual married couples.” So I was like, “Well, great! That’s us. That’s me.” So I had some emails and a phone call with this journalist. And after just sort of hearing the questions being asked and having more of a conversation about what the scope of this article is, it did become very clear that they were talking about queerplatonic partnerships. Which, I know everybody kind of has their own association and connotation with this vocabulary, but often in the Asexual and Aromantic communities, usually “queerplatonic” is used to mean both Asexual and Aromantic. And knowing that and also kind of having that connotation and hearing the questions asked, I did kind of self-select out of that interview and did kind of say, like, “I don’t know if I’m exactly what you’re looking for here,” because I would have much rather, you know, seen an entire feature on completely AroAce partnerships, and I wouldn’t have felt like I fit into the scope of that article. And that’s honestly something I’ve done quite a bit – either for that reason, which was a very, like, “I like what you’re doing, but I’m not right for this scope,” but then there are also some journalists I’ll talk to where I’ll be like, “I’m getting bad vibes from you. I don’t think you’re actually going to be representing this orientation well, so let’s not. Let’s pull the plug on this.”
Courtney: So, yeah, I actually knew that that New York Times article was coming out. And I haven’t read it, I think, since it came out. I might need a refresher, but as far as I recall, it was a pretty decent article. But then I saw a lot of religious right-wing organizations pick up on that and be like, “Oh no, no, no! This can’t fly!”
Courtney: And they open with, simply, “The meaning of marriage matters.” Oh, they do actually mention the exact New York Times article and link to it. The article itself from The New York Times was entitled “From Best Friends to Platonic Spouses,” which is great and I love that for all of them, but that also just kind of goes to show why our current relationship didn’t particularly fit in with the parameters of that. Because right from the get-go, we kind of felt that romantic attraction and fell into a romantic relationship. It’s not like we were best friends for a period of time and then remained platonic best friends and got married. Which I think is great to people who find that, and as someone who has experienced a queerplatonic relationship in the past, I understand where there’s a lot of great value.
Courtney: But people see, and this is their words, they say, “advent of sexless marriages.” They say, “Platonic couples make it clear to others that their unions are platonic; it is not a quiet secret. Of course, we know that there are and have always been sexless or sex-starved marriages – by neglect or circumstance – but such marriages were not intentionally designed to be platonic. The latest innovation is. Thus, it challenges the most basic social and legal understanding of marriage as a sexual union. Sex has been the core of marital meaning. Even in the debates about marriage over the past twenty years, sex has been at the heart of the disagreements. Having remodeled marriage to accommodate same-sex couples, it’s easy to wonder why we can’t further amend marriage to accommodate those who want the benefits and responsibilities of marriage but don’t want the sex. Those who identify as ‘asexual’ can now find a place within the institution of marriage, as can those who have just sworn off romance, or uninterested in maintaining a committed romantic relationship, or just prefer to separate sex from marital obligation. Coming up with a court case that challenges the sexual meaning of marriage will be trickier than previous debates over the meaning of marriage, because no one is excluded from the institution in this instance. However, consanguinity laws, which prohibit certain kinds of marriages to close family members, could come under increased pressure. If marriage doesn’t have any necessary connection to sex, then what’s the problem with marrying one’s sibling?”
Courtney: I don’t get it! I’ve heard this before. I have heard people make this claim. There are genuinely people out there who think, you know, “Same-sex marriage logically makes more sense than Asexual marriage vecause at least sex is still involved. I disagree with it, but at least sex is still involved. But if we open it up to platonic marriages, marriages without sex? Why, that’s a bridge too far! People will be marrying their sisters next!”
Royce: It’s just clear by that comment that they don’t understand a reason to be married other than to procreate.
Courtney: Yes, exactly. “It’s possible, too, that a case could arise if a justice of the peace declines to marry a couple who have made it clear that their ‘besties’ marriage will be platonic, because that view of marriage does not align with its legislative meaning and once was grounds for fraud and annulment.” So they’re outright claiming that the legal definition of marriage inherently requires sex. Sex is a prerequisite to a legal marriage. And they’re saying this legislatively, not even religiously – which, in some cases, is kind of true. There are still marriage consummation laws on some books. Some of them have been scrubbed – it’s not universal anymore – but they do still exist in many a place.
Courtney: In fact, when we were first deciding to cohabitate and I lived in South Dakota and you lived in Kansas, before I decided that I was really intrigued by Kansas City and wanted to move down here, we were considering the possibility of just moving somewhere else altogether. And at one point, we floated the possibility of Minneapolis – being also a larger city but still Midwest, something I was really familiar with but also a new place for both of us. But I distinctly remember at one point looking up the marriage laws for Minnesota, and Minnesota had marriage consummation laws on the books, but Kansas I don’t believe did. Kansas had common law marriage, which, I was like, “Why, that’s even better in the other direction! [laughing] I like that. Let’s go there.”
Courtney: And I understand that an Ace-Ace married couple is still quite a rarity. There aren’t a lot of us. And of those of us that do exist, there aren’t a lot of us that are as public as you and I are. But people being like, “Oh, well, you’re not actually going to face any issues.” It’s like, I don’t think people realize that, like, before we got married, we were looking up laws in places. That’s a thing we had to do. And granted, I mean, we even got married before gay marriage was universal in this country too, so, there were other additional hurdles. And we still – like, if someone decided to say, like, “You know, Royce and Courtney have a sham marriage and we’re gonna sue them for it,” like, that would be ridiculous, probably unlikely, but I have to hope we don’t get in front of a judge who sees marriage by this definition, right?
Courtney: This author even says, “I think it matters deeply that we continue to define marriage as a sexual union. It matters because the continual pruning of marriage reduces its core purpose to something that does not really set it apart from other committed relationship possibilities. This ongoing thinning of marriage’s meaning leaves less and less of the concrete conjugal elements that can bind marriages together. Also, it seriously erodes the legal justification for the benefits, responsibilities, and protections with which the law endows marriage.” To which I say, “Good. Let’s erode them.” [laughs]
Courtney: I want them eroded. We saw in our previous episode, going through these religious right-wing organizations, that they were specifically advocating for tax breaks for the nuclear family for the purpose of incentivizing people to have that relationship, and the reason why they want to incentivize people to have that relationship is because their religious view dictates it. So, yeah, I do think it should be eroded. I say that as someone who has gained benefits from being married. It was easier to buy a house if we said we’re married. We have tax breaks. Technically, yeah, I wasn’t on Disability. It would be harder now for me to apply for Disability than before getting married. So the disability element does still complicate it. But I still very much do benefit from being married. And as someone who does, I say: I shouldn’t, I don’t think I should. I think we should change that and overhaul that tax code. But that’s not the only issue I have with our country’s tax code either. [laughs] So let’s just throw the whole thing out and start from scratch, why don’t we?
Courtney: But then they also say – because this author’s very concerned about the thinning of marriage and, well, eroding the true meaning of marriage is probably the reason why the marriage rate is decreasing, because “If getting married doesn’t really create much of anything that is unique, then the motivation for marrying is merely personal, more of a lifestyle choice than an ethical endeavor and a contribution to our communities.” Yeah! It is literally that. It is literally a lifestyle choice. That is what it is. That is what I want marriage to be. I…
Royce: You figured it out!
Courtney: You figured it out! [laughs] You’re so close [laughs] but yet so far.
Courtney: “Platonic marriage lacks the richness and color that sexual union bestows on relationships. Our culture should not deny or marginalize that beauty.” This is how you know the person writing this article has just like so many privileges they don’t even know what to do with them all. Because they see people who are not just like them getting privileges from marriage and they can’t help but see that as them losing privileges. They’re saying, “You are marginalizing the beauty of sexual marital unions.” Who is marginalizing that? That is still very much the norm.
Royce: It’s the 99% minority.
Courtney: [laughs] Yes. I mean, I fully believe, like, that “1% of the population is Asexual” is a bit antiquated at this point. I saw another study that was more like 1.7, at minimum, percent, plus, within a range. Like, I fully believe that the more people know about Asexuality, the more people will come to understand that they’re Asexual. So I take that a little bit with a grain of salt. But even still, like, Asexual people, Aromantic people, AroAce people: very, very, very, very much the minority. Very much the minority. [laughs] And you’re saying that by giving us the ability to marry the same way allosexual people marry is marginalizing you? [laughs] I can’t. I can’t with this.
Courtney: And they say, “Yes, friendship is important. A common platitude about successful marriage is that you should ‘marry your best friend,’ and this has some validity. And, as any marriage therapist will tell you, sex is often a source of significant conflict and disappointment in marriage. But sex makes marriage much more than just friendship with ‘benefits.’ The sexual excitement, the powerful bonding, the oneness, the potential creation of human life, even the vulnerability – all of this alchemizes friendship and sexual attraction into marriage.” Uh oh, folks! We’re breaking out the Alchemy. [laughs]
Royce: Well, it makes sense because all of this is several hundred years antiquated.
Courtney: Do right-wing religious United States Christians believe in alchemy? Most of the people I know would be like, “Alchemy, that’s witchcraft.” [laughs] “Alchemy is against God, unless the alchemy you’re doing consists of friendship and sexual attraction.” Which is interesting, because when I think “friendship and sexual attraction,” I’m like, “Well, friends with benefits exist,” but literally the sentence before this, he’s like, “Marriage is more than friends with benefits.” It kind of sounds like you’re making the case otherwise. [laughs] And as a married person who in no way sees my marriage as “friends with benefits,” for lots of different reasons [laughs], I just… I can’t follow your own logic that you are putting out on paper.
Courtney: But they do say, “We have been separating sex from marriage for decades now, with foreseeable destruction. This latest innovation adds more fuel to the inferno.”
Royce: I assume they mean Dante’s.
Courtney: Yes, that’s the one. I’ve heard of him. [laughs] In fact, I believe I met him at a charity gala once. I also, just like… These people are so into sex, and way too many people, way too many people who don’t actually listen to these viewpoints are like, “Don’t Christians hate sex? Don’t they, like, hate sex? Aren’t they pro-celibacy? Like, why would they possibly hate Asexuals?” I don’t think you understand how totally and completely into sex they actually are. [laughs] They are very sexual. They’re literally – the way they’re describing “sexual excitement” and “powerful bonding” and “oneness” and “the richness and color that sexual union bestows” – like, calm down! It is just sex. It is not that deep. [laughs]
Courtney: “Moreover, we don’t really know how stable platonic marriages will be.” Which is… well, then. As if this is purely just a new invention and nobody ever, ever, ever in the history of the world has taken a platonic life partner before. “Yes, subtracting sex from the equation removes one potential element of disagreement and discord. But a host of social science theory and scholarship documents the obvious point that sex bonds married couples, both directly, through bonding hormones released during sex, and indirectly, through the children that may result.
Royce: Oh, those bonding hormones!
Courtney: [laughs] Tell me more about the bonding hormones. [laughs]
Royce: Just as a general sense, you should always fact-check information, but hormones that control behavior or response to other people are one of those things that should set people’s bullshit detectors off.
Royce: It’s one of those things that is very commonly mentioned in a variety of different factors that just has no scientific weight.
Courtney: Which… actually, now that you say that, we’re going to come back to this article. Let’s put a pin in that. There is an article I also have pulled up, which is a great gateway to just mentioning this real quick. It’s called “Sex is a Relational Need,” from 2009, so over a decade ago. As I said, none of this is new. This is a very, very, very gendered article, of course, because this is their worldview, of course. They say “man,” “woman,” those are the only two, there’s nothing in between. There’s no changing. It’s purely “sex-based,” not “gender ideology.” That’s what they say. And they do think there are inherent differences between a man and a woman.
Courtney: But they say, in this article, “The lack of regular sex is a significant barrier to emotional connectedness and intimacy for men. Research indicates that sexual satisfaction and marriage go hand and hand. Surprised? Probably not. From a woman’s perspective, it makes perfect sense that people are much more sexually satisfied when they have a good relationship.”
Courtney: But then it goes on to talk about “Oxytocin, often called the ‘cuddle hormone.’ The presence of this hormone causes people to feel bonded to each other and experience relationships as emotionally gratifying and positive. Both men and women have oxytocin in their bodies. However, the presence of estrogen in a woman’s body makes the impact of oxytocin much more powerful. This partly explains why women are far more likely than men to seek emotional intimacy in their relationships. In women, levels of oxytocin skyrocket during labor and breastfeeding, encouraging the maternal behaviors and bonding so powerfully experienced in new moms. But the only time levels of oxytocin significantly increase in men is right after orgasm.”
Royce: I’m just going to take a wild guess and say that there are no linked peer-reviewed studies in this article?
Courtney: Not on that point. There are some links earlier on, in the “sexual satisfaction in marriage go hand in hand.” That is the only –
Royce: Well, yeah, that’s –
Courtney: – source I see cited.
Royce: That’s a vague study.
Courtney: Yes. [laughs]
Royce: Because, yeah, for a lot of allosexuals, not having their sexual needs met is a point of contention.
Royce: That doesn’t prove the point that they’re trying to make in the article.
Courtney: Not at all. Not one bit. So, yeah, for them to be like, “Well, women get oxytocin during labor and breastfeeding, but men only experience it after orgasm”? It even goes so far as to say, “Have you ever noticed that your husband seems to treat you differently after sex? He’s more attentive, more affectionate, and more appreciative? This isn’t just your imagination. He is biologically wired to bond with you after sex. He literally feels emotionally closer to you after orgasm. The lack of regular sex is a [emphasizes] significant barrier to emotional connectedness and intimacy for men. Likewise, sex is perhaps the most powerful force bonding a man emotionally and relationally to his wife. Beyond just the act of having sex, sharing and embracing your husband’s sexuality is perhaps the most powerful way to build the intimacy you so desire in your marriage. How can you truly be connected with him if you ignore or minimize the one aspect of his life that dominates him physically, emotionally, spiritually, and relationally?” So, uh, yikes. [laughs] That’s a whole lot. As if romantically-inclined Asexual men don’t exist. They surely do.
Courtney: But to return back to “Why We Should Push Back Against Platonic Marriage” – which, again, this is 2021, and they’re reiterating some of the same points from this previous article from 2009. None of this is new. Absolutely none of this is new. When they’re questioning how stable platonic marriages will be, they again mention the bonding hormones released during sex. “These bonds make relationships more stable, a key ingredient for children’s well-being.” So again, “Think about the children!” Think about the children. Have sex. You having sex helps the children. [laughs]
Courtney: “How sticky will the glue of platonic friendship be in the face of colicky infants, defiant teens, parenting style disagreements, dirty dishes in the sink, and unexpected bills?” Which is such a wild thing to be saying. Because isn’t, like, the number one indicator of a divorce that you had children? Like, children are just stressful, period. And I’ve read studies where, like, yes, having a child increases your likelihood of getting divorced. I don’t think that means people shouldn’t have kids. I think kids are great. But they’re saying that the reason why platonic relationships won’t be able to get through the struggles of fussy babies and angsty teens and dishes and bills is because they’re having sex?
Royce: Right. Without that good, good, sex oxytocin –
Royce: – you can’t make it through.
Courtney: I need that sex oxytocin! I need my fix! [laughs] No, it’s ridiculous. Because how often do we also see examples of… like in media portrayals, when a relationship is fundamentally flawed, they have a major disagreement, and they just kind of ignore their struggles and just have, like, hate-sex, and instead of talking things out, they have sex. And we talk about, like, how unhealthy that is. That is really unhealthy. Because all you’re doing is just kicking the issue a little further away from you, and it’s just gonna keep coming back and back and back if you don’t actually address it.
Courtney: Like, I have no doubt in my mind that for allosexual people, sex can actually be a very good, beautiful, positive experience, of course. Even for sex-favorable Asexual people, it can be a very beautiful thing. But it is not a substitute for open vulnerability and emotional conversation and discussion and sorting out your shit, talking through your problems, communication. And I even – I know a lot of allosexual people who haven’t had a lot of healthy relationships in their life who actually talked about how sex complicates relationships and makes it harder to have, like, open conversation, which I think is odd and fascinating. But like, if you’re an Asexual listening to this podcast, how many people – if you’re someone who is out and open and has had a lot of discussions, online and/or in person – how many of you have heard, like, “Wow, I wish I was Asexual because things would be so much simpler.” So many of us have heard that! I heard that from my own goddamn grandmother! My grandma, a very, very sexual person, was like, “Wow, that’s why you two have such a great marriage! I get it now.” [laughs] “I wish I was Asexual. Relationships would have been easier if If not for that pesky sexuality.” [laughs] Which, for as weird and, like, fundamentally flawed as that line of thinking is – like, we know sex is not a cure-all, it’s not a substitute for therapy if you have serious relationship issues, but these people are talking about it as, like, “Sex is the pinnacle. It is the end-all be-all. It is what makes things holy and it’s what makes it colorful and beautiful and worthwhile. And it’s what makes you a good parent.” [laughs] O-kay.
Courtney: And here’s the interesting one. Because I’m not in any way disparaging people who are polyamorous or are in open relationships. I think we’ve said time and time again that we are very pro people who that works for. But what I find absolutely absurd is the, still, assumption that people in a platonic marriage are still having sex somewhere. Because listen to this sentence: “When your parenting partner is spending all her spare time with her new lover rather than your children, how will you relationship fare? I suspect most platonic marriages will be chosen as a pragmatic way to rear children, more as a parenting plan than a companionship commitment.” So they’re still like, “Okay, you’re two best friends who got married, but you’re both still having actual lovers,” in the lover-lover sense. [laughs]
Royce: They’re thinking “roommates exploited the marriage system and that are dating other people.”
Courtney: Yes. Because it’s still baffling to them that someone can still have a totally healthy, fulfilled, happy relationship that isn’t built around the backbone of sexuality literally being the foundation of marriage – what they are saying. And it even says, “Other ways of doing the family thing have yet to match the stability of the traditional sexual union of two people who are biologically bound to the babies they make.” Which again seems shockingly anti-adoption. [laughs] That’s not the first time we’ve heard people with these views say things that seem shockingly anti-adoption.
Courtney: And the final paragraph here again just really drives home the fact that sex and marriage to them is one and the same, is the same thing. This final paragraph says, “Secular and religious marriage officiants may give legal status to platonic marriages, but we shouldn’t celebrate them, because they ask us to diminish a beautiful and powerful meaning of marriage. That meaning matters. If platonic couples want to build a life and family together, they can do so with the blessing of some new form of social contract. But please: let’s leave the sexual core of marriage intact.” I find that appalling and I find it disgusting. I can’t stand the idea that someone might look at our marriage and be like, “Yeah, sex is the foundation of that relationship.” It’s revolting to me. [laughs] It is, it’s horrendous. It is horrendous. This is not what marriage is in a modern context.
Courtney: So we also have another article, then, called, “If Love is Love, Why Can’t Friends Get Married?” And it starts with, “‘Love is Love.’ It’s a new mantra intended to silence anyone of the opinion that some family forms are more praise-worthy than others.” And the thing is… We’ve discussed “love is love” before. We think there is much to critique about it, socially, because there are very much still allosexual queer people who believe “love is love” still also inherently means “sexual.” They basically say, “This is the exact same kind of love as these right-wing religious Christian organizations are saying, with the only exception being it’s not necessarily one man-one woman. It could be one man-one man or it could be one woman-one woman.” And a lot of our critique comes from the fact that that is still way too narrow. Like, Asexual love, queerplatonic love, polyamorous love are also very much equal.
Courtney: But the “love is love” is kind of inherently… I’m of two minds with it, because politically, it worked. That was the number one slogan leading up to the years where Obergefell versus Hodges actually passed and legalized gay marriage in all 50 states. So I don’t want to minimize the political power that that statement had. Because what happened on the day Obergefell versus Hodges passed, everyone was posting banners on social media that said, “Love wins. Love wins.” Like, “Love is love, and love wins” was the preamble and the conclusion of that. And I did that myself. I’m almost certain – I wasn’t even on Twitter. I don’t even think I was on Instagram yet. [laughs] I think I had a Facebook, and I was still pretty new to Facebook at the time. But even then, I was just so overjoyed at the Obergefell versus Hodges ruling that I had to do something. And everyone was saying, “Love wins.” So I was like, “Yes! I agree. Love wins.” And I put a “Love wins” rainbow banner on my Facebook page. So I’m critiquing my past self here, also. [laughing] I’m not just pointing fingers and being like, “You’re doing activism bad.”
Courtney: What I’m saying is that the “love Is love” crowd of people have almost taken that to be the reason why we won this political ground is because we equated gay marriage to straight marriage and we said, “It basically looks exactly the same. It has the same sexual and romantic requirement, so it is the same. We are the same as you. The difference we have is just very minor and superficial, and don’t pay attention to that. We are basically just like you.” Which had political power and worked. Which is frustrating, because it can also be seen as respectability politics, where you are trying to appeal to the accepted social norm. So you are essentially saying, like, “I’m not so different from you! Look at all the things we have in common!” Which neglects to actually celebrate the real diversity that we have in the human experience and in the queer community. Because a lot of the “love Is love” crowd are the same kind of people who will say, you know, “Asexuality isn’t queer because Asexuality doesn’t involve sex, and sex is required for romantic love, and romantic love is required to, you know, X, Y, and Z, to be seen as a valid marriage.”
Courtney: And so that’s why, as an Asexual person, I have become very cynical toward the “love, Is love” mantra. I think it had its time and place back then, but I think it’s time to retire it. It doesn’t have any political power anymore, right now, in this day and age. Like, we need to fight like hell to make sure Obergefell versus Hodges stays intact, which we know these organizations we’re talking about are actively trying to overturn. That needs to stay intact. But “love is love” is what got us there; now, we need to push the envelope farther. “Love is love” is not enough. It is way too simplistic. Its time is over. We need a new slogan. We need something with new teeth, something with claws. Something that actually has political power. I don’t know what that is yet. [laughs] If you have any ideas, please send it to me. Let’s pitch them and we’ll start organizing. [laughs] But I just calls ’em as I sees ’em.
Courtney: But this argument here is like, “This is a silly phrase because it doesn’t say anything. It says as much of a thing as saying ‘a thing is a thing.’ You can’t argue with it because it’s not assessing anything new.” So, like, yeah, for as much as I have, like, real in-depth social critiques of that phrase in a modern context – like a post-pre-Obergefell versus Hodges ruling – they’re critiquing it as just, like, [mocking] “You might as well say, ‘a thing is a thing.’ It’s not saying anything.” [laughing] And it’s like, that’s not the same kind of critique. That’s not the same.
Courtney: But they, too, bring up the New York Times article about platonic spouses, and they call them “friend marriages.” And they’re like, “No, this isn’t one man and one woman marrying ‘their best friend,’ because there’s nothing wrong with that.” They call this “platonic marriage.” “A platonic marriage is a deep bond and lifelong commitment to a nesting partner you build a shared life with.” And they call attention to things which we know are not wrong and we are very much in favor of, but I know this person writing this is saying it derogatorily. I know they’re – I can hear their tone of voice as they’re typing these words, just being smarmy, being like, [mocking] “The besties, both queer and open to dating anyone but each other, met in 2011, and decided to get married in September. They sleep in the same bed but their relationship remains platonic.” Like, I know this person thinks this is horrible, blasphemous, and saying that they wanted to be legally and socially recognized as a family, which is, again, just like… platonic or not, Asexual or Aromantic or not, the concept of a found family is a very, very queer experience. And of course, there are straight, you know, allosexual cis people who can also have a found family in really deep, meaningful friendships. But found family has such an enormous weight in the queer community. Because for a lot of us, that is most of our family, if not all of our family, is found.
Courtney: But this article claims that the “basic ideal of marriage is fidelity. But what if sex is not a part of that relationship? In this new conception, it does not have to be a part of your life. One featured couple ‘has never been intimate with each other, and they both have given each other the freedom to date outside their marriage.’ But such an easy and casual comment forces one to ask what this new conception of marriage leaves standing. Marriage becomes, literally, whatever at least two people want it to be. Piggy-backing on the ‘love is love’ dismissal of any criticisms to this continuing redefinition of marriage.” [laughs] And it’s like, again, yeah! Marriage should be whatever at least two people want it to be. That is exactly what I want marriage to be. Literally, yes.
Courtney: You can’t argue with them because they think what we want, what we think is good and what we’re fighting for, they think is inherently sinful and wrong. So you can’t prove otherwise to them. Because they know what we want. They know what we want. You can’t educate them into a corner and be like, “If you understood us, you’d get it.” No. They’re listening. They just don’t care.
Courtney: And again, they’re phrasing, like, this “new concept of marriage” as something that’s inherently selfish. Because they’re saying – and they’re saying this has been happening for a while. It says, “Even beginning in the late 1950s, ‘Marriage has changed from a formal institution that meets the needs of the larger society to a companionate relationship that meets the needs of the couple and their children and then to a private pact that meets the psychological needs of individual spouses.’” Like, as if that’s a bad thing. But also, if you’re bringing this critique back to the 1950s, this is just something that, like, religious extremists have always been ringing the alarm bells about. Because we know what their definition of marriage is. We have been unpacking that for episodes now, for weeks. Anything outside of that, even remotely, is a threat to them. So, of course they’ve been ringing the alarm bells for literal decades.
Courtney: “Expressive marriage naturally led to intentionally childless marriages, unquestioned no-fault divorce, same-sex marriage, polyamory and now, ‘friend marriages.’” [laughing] “Friend marriages” was the only one in quotes there, by the way. “It is important for students of the family to know that each of these are not increasingly concerning slides down the slippery slope. They are each natural manifestations of the bottom of that slope.” [laughing] You heard it here first, folks! Platonic marriages are the bottom of the slippery slope – the slippery slope being gay marriage. Like, gay marriage was the slippery slope [laughing] that brought us to Asexual marriage. Are you kidding me? It feels like a joke. It feels like a parody. I know this is, like, absolutely absurd brand new news for some of you, but like, this is what I’ve been seeing for years – people literally saying, “friend marriage” or platonic marriage or Asexual marriage or just “marriage devoid of the bond of sexual intercourse” being the bottom of the slippery slope. This is what they are literally saying. This is their words, not mine.
Courtney: And yet people still come to me on a near-daily basis saying, “But how are Asexuals actually oppressed, though?” Well, we’ve been designated to the bottom of the slope! I don’t know what more there is to tell you! [laughs] I’m flabbergasted. But at the same time, not really. Because I’ve been reading this for years. This isn’t new. I don’t know what more I can tell you to drive that home. This is not new. It’s also just like – maybe it’s lightly more personal because I was literally interviewed for this article. I wasn’t cited in this article, but I knew this article was gonna be a thing before it was published, because I was talking to the journalist. So the fact that we very easily could have been in this article if I didn’t kind of say, like, “I don’t think you’re writing about exactly the same kind of situation we’re in,: people would literally be talking about our marriage. If we made it into this article, they would literally say our marriage, The Ace Couple, Courtney and Royce are the bottom of the slippery slope. I kid you not! [laughs]
Courtney: And you know honestly it’s nonsense like this that, like, almost makes me want to take it all the way and just, like, own the satanic nature [laughing] that our relationship apparently has. In fact, our friend, uh, Satan from the Satan and Sharky show from Aces Playing At Attraction on Twitch, twitch.com – is it twitch.com? No, it’s twitch.tv. I lied. It’s not even twitch.com. – read the transcript of our episode when we were talking about the utterly bigoted article that was very transphobic and very Acephobic and talking about how Asexual people aren’t actually oppressed, but also was trying to say, like, “Well if we can’t call women ‘women’ anymore because of the trans agenda, why don’t we call them ‘rib-stealers’?” Satan was literally like, “You know what, I kind of like ‘rib-stealer.’” [laughs] And the more I listen to them saying that, I was like, “You know what? You know what? Yeah, let’s own that. Let’s just do it. Let’s just say we’re rib-stealers.” [laughs] We are rib-stealers who are fueling the fire of Dante’s Inferno [laughs] by not having sex, [laughs] by not being allosexual straight married couples. [laughs]
Courtney: Which I mean, I don’t know. Maybe I’m also just really cynical by this point. Maybe I’m just really tuned into what these people in particular are saying and what they are actually advocating for in law. But I always have to kind of take a step back every time I post receipts like this and I say, “This is literally a quote, this is literally an article, this is literally an example of discrimination that Aspec people face.” Almost inevitably, someone will say, “Well, I get that they hate gay people, and I get that they hate trans people, but why would they hate Ace people? Why would they hate Aromantic people?” And as much as I know that most of these people saying this are actually allies, some of them are queer themselves, some of them are Aspec themselves – it really to me feels like that defeats the purpose. Because you’re almost saying, like, “I understand what their justification is for hating these other queer people. Even if I don’t agree with it, I understand their justification. But this justification I don’t get. Like, this one’s a bridge too far.” It’s like, I need all of you to understand that this bigotry comes from exactly the same place. It is one and the same, end of story, period.
Courtney: So I don’t know if we’ve said this phrase in this episode yet, but it was something that we’ve seen a couple times over the last couple of weeks from other organizations. They keep talking about “sexual complementarity,” and their idea of “complementarity” is one man-one woman, one has penis [pronounced “pennis”]-one has vagina [pronounced “VAG-in-uh”], insert penis into vagina, and then bébé. [laughs]
Courtney: This article from 2014, “The Mainstream Media and Its Ignorance on Marriage,” is a response to a column from The Chicago Tribune where they say the author apparently thinks “the elimination of sexual complementarity from the legal definition of marriage can change non-marriages into real marriages as opposed to merely unions recognized as marriages.” Which is not the most eloquent way to say that sentence, if I might add. [laughs] But the the basic gist of that being, sexual complementarity, this author believes, is inherently linked with the legal definition of marriage.
Courtney: So they go on to list a bulleted list of, “Here are truths that scores of foolish Americans seem profoundly ignorant.” One of them being profoundly ignorant truth, “The belief that marriage is inherently sexually complementary is no more hateful than the belief that marriage is inherently binary.” And that “The government’s legal recognition of only sexually complementary unions as marriages no more denies citizens the ‘right’ to marry than does the government’s legal recognition of only unions between two people not closely related by blood denies citizens the right to marry.” So again, they’re comparing non-sexual complementarity to incest. Again. That’s why I say this isn’t new. This is from 2014. It’s also kind of echoing things we’ve heard from as early as 2009. I’m sure there are earlier ones. I just don’t have them in front of me right now. But we’ve been hearing this for decades.
Courtney: “Claiming that marriage is solely about who loves whom with no connection to reproductive potential necessarily means legalizing plural marriages and incestuous marriages. Actually, if marriage is solely constituted by the presence of intense loving feelings with no connection to reproductive potential, then there is no reason for government involvement at all. The government has zero invested interest in recognizing, affirming, regulating, or promoting deeply loving inherently non-reproductive types of relationships.” So first, we had a comparison of Asexuality to incest. Now, we have a comparison of polyamory and/or open relationships to incest. Why does it always come down to incest with these people? These are also the same kind of people who already said, “‘Friend marriages’ are already the bottom of the slope.” So are they really putting queerplatonic marriages on the same level as incest? They literally are. They literally are.
Courtney: But they – again, we’ve, over the last couple of weeks, talked about the link between people who believe this way and also believe in all anti-abortion policies. They say, “No, the debate over the nature of marriage and the government’s recognition and regulation of marriage will never go away. If ‘progressives’ – our current public censors – don’t ban dissent on issues related to homoerotic identity politics, this debate, like the one over legalized feticide, will persist. Protecting true marriage is second only to protecting the lives of the least among us in terms of its importance to the health and welfare of this once great nation. The twin moral crimes of legalizing the slaughter of the unborn and legally recognizing homoerotic unions as ‘marriages’ are dramatic manifestations of the enmity between unsaved man and God. This issue will remain until the end of this great nation or the end of redemptive history, whichever comes first.”
Courtney: So if you think for one hot second that they’re coming for abortion rights but they’re not coming for gay marriage or any other marriage structure, think again. This article literally just called them “twin moral crimes.” They see them on the same level. And why? Because it all comes down to sex. It all comes down to procreative marital sex. That’s what they want. That’s what they’re saying is God’s first commandment to man – the first institution that God created before man created any of its own institutions. That is what we’re hearing time and time again.
Courtney: So yes. For as much as we can currently say “gay marriage is the law of lands,” like, “Obergefell versus Hodges is still in place,” we know they’re trying to overturn it. We can’t let that happen. But for as easy as that is to say, because there is still a Supreme Court case we can point to, platonic marriages, queerplatonic marriages, Asexual marriages – there is a lot more legal gray area. And that’s where things can get a little scary.
Courtney: This article is called “Friends are Saying ‘I Do’ – But Might Not Understand the Legal Risks of Their Platonic Marriages,” which talks about how “‘nonconjugal couples’ – mutually supportive friendships or friends or relatives that lack a sexual component – are powerfully challenging dominant social and legal norms around what constitutes family.” This author mentioned that they had recently written about how “nontraditional couples could one day gain legal recognition – and thus tax breaks and couple benefits – in the courtrooms of the U.S., Canada, Europe. But legal recognition, as of today, does not exist. So there are risks in saying ‘I do’ to a friend.” Which again, “friend” is not a legal term, either. So all of this is inherently subjective. Because if you’re going against someone who says, “Sex is marriage, and marriage is sex, and there’s no separating the two,” they’re going to say any couple of any kind who is not having sex is friends. And we know that that is just way too reductive.
Courtney: But they talk about how these platonic marriages “might not believe in traditional heterosexual family and wish to challenge it. They might simply think that their best friend is the person they want to share chores, meals and finances with. Or they might also believe that, as law-abiding taxpayers, they should also be able to receive the family benefits that other married couples receive, like filing their tax returns jointly.” Which is like… Again, the reason why we incentivize certain family structures is because of religious lobbyists. And we’ve seen on their own websites that, “Yes, we support tax policy that incentivizes this lifestyle.” So, none of this is subtle. And yeah, as someone who is an atheist, who is a romantic monogamous person, I was like, “Absolutely, I should get the same tax benefits as any straight couple or any legal gay couple.” [laughs] Like, “Yes. Yes, I should get these same things, too.” Because I reject it altogether, [laughing] so if there is a system to exploit, why the hell not? But also, like, there is more legal implications than just tax benefits. So it’s not like we’re saying, like, “Oh we just got married for the tax benefits,” because that’s 100% not true. We’ve talked about estates and death benefits and medical powers of attorney. There are many other legal implications that tie into marriage that aren’t just tax breaks.
Courtney: “However,” the article continues, “any two consenting adults – regardless of their genders – can get married in the U.S. Two friends, therefore, can pretty easily pull it off. But they can’t admit that they’re only friends. Legally speaking, it could be seen as a sham marriage. For this reason, two friends who tie the knot and receive a marriage certificate can still face considerate risks. They expose themselves to criminal sanctions and civil penalties on grounds of ‘marriage fraud’ if a federal or state agency becomes suspicious of the union. And they may also be denied benefits usually granted to married couples.”
Courtney: They go on to then cite a paper by Kerry Abrams, the current dean of Duke University School of Law, which outlines different doctrines developed in welfare law, social security law immigration law specifically for detecting fake or sham marriages. “Whether it’s two people tying the knot so one can gain citizenship, seeking to obtain a housing allowance or getting married ahead of a trial so they can’t be forced to testify against one another, the conclusions of the courts are the same: Their marriage is a sham, and the individuals expose themselves to criminal or civil liability and a termination of benefits.”
Courtney: It’s one thing if you’re both named in a trial where you’re going to be made to testify against one another and you say, “Let’s get married real fast so we don’t have to do that.” Because, like, to me, that is a sham marriage. Like, that is one of the only examples I can think, “Maybe that’s a sham marriage.” [laughs]
Royce: Sounds like there’d also be a pretty heavy timeline or paper trail leading up to that.
Courtney: Yeah. Yeah. But, like, the unfortunate thing is that that’s being put on the same level as a housing allowance. And I am going to be really, really real here when I say, if getting married to someone you’re already, like, in some sort of partnership with – maybe you’ve been dating for a number of years and you just didn’t see marriage as a priority, but now you’re seeing that if you get married, you can get a housing benefit that will deeply benefit both of you, and you decide, “Well yeah, heck, let’s get married,” I think that’s a valid reason to get married! [laughs] Given our current system. Given our current system. You can critique the system itself. But at the end of the day, there are people who are part of marginalized identities. There are people who are impoverished. There are people who are just trying to survive or get ahead in life. And if something as simple as signing a piece of paper saying, “Okay, we’re married now” and the nature of your actual day-to-day relationship hasn’t changed any versus the day before signing that paper, I see no issue with it. I don’t care. That is what the system has created. If the system is liable for “abuse,” if this is what they’re calling abuse of the system, then the system itself is flawed. And you can’t blame the individuals for trying to survive or trying to utilize it to the best of their ability. And that’s not the same as trying to get out of a criminal trial so that you can’t testify against one another. [laughs]
Courtney: Because again, when we go to these religious organizations who are lobbying Congress for right-wing politics, they are saying, “We want our tax code to specifically benefit this family structure.” So they’re also using the tax code as, like, a means to their own end. So how is that any different from any non-religious person using it for, like, a moderate tax break or a housing allowance? It is no different. You’re all using the current system as a means to your own personal end, regardless of which way you slice it. So it is no different. It is no different whatsoever.
Courtney: And even things like… Even outside of text benefits, there are so many things that are easier for a married couple than a couple who is dating, even a long-term relationship, or fiancees, anything that isn’t, like, checked off as “Yes, legally married,” things are more difficult for. It’s faster and easier to buy a house as a married couple than a couple who is not married. There are extra steps if you are not married. In fact, there was a really great – we just, for the very first time, watched Tuca & Bertie, which was the same creators as BoJack Horseman, but a show with a very, very different vibe. They had a couple who were, like, long-term dating, living together, very committed relationship, just not legally married. And they were like, “Oh, well, if you’re married, here, sign this one piece of paper.” And they’re like, “Oh, actually, we’re not married.” And they’re like, “Oh, you’re not married?” And then they bring out this massive stack of papers, [laughing] and they’re like, “Well, then actually, you’ll have to sign all of these.” And I was like, “Wow, if that ain’t the truth.” [laughs]
Courtney: Which also – just again, to bring this back to disability, like, I am so upset that people are picking issues with people who are saying like, “Oh, why do people get married for housing allowance?” when there are literally disabled couples or a couple where at least one of the two are disabled who can’t get married despite wanting to, because the disabled person in that relationship is going to lose valuable, important, life-saving benefits. So like, to me, let’s focus on the people who do not have marriage equality. Let’s build the system to make it more equitable for them, so that people aren’t saying, like, “Gosh, I’d really like to get married, but I can’t, because…” Because they are so much more of a priority than the one or two edge cases of people who are [laughing slightly] exploiting the marriage system. I just, I can’t with these people.
Courtney: But this article recognizes that “Detecting a sham marriage isn’t easy. And courts acknowledge that there are many reasons that may motivate a person’s decision to marry that aren’t ‘romantic,’ such as a desire to file income jointly and gain tax exemptions. Therefore, courts look at whether there is what they call a ‘specific illicit purpose.’ As one judge wrote in his ruling in a case about a couple that fraudulently got married to gain a housing allowance: ‘It is not the absence of a perfect or ideal “love, honor, and cherish” motivation of the parties that renders the consequences flowing from the appellant’s actions in the case before us criminal; rather, it is the affirmative presence of a singularly focused illicit one – an intent to fraudulently acquire a government payment stream – that does so.’” So, basically, what they’re trying to get at is, if you have a lot of different reasons that just, like, kind of make sense, then you’re probably fine, you’re probably okay. But if there’s just one thing, if you’re like, “I want that one benefit,” then that’s probably a fraud or a sham marriage.
Courtney: But it says that “Two –” and they use here “married friends,” but I would argue that, for their purposes, you could substitute other language, like “platonic marriage” or “queerplatonic marriage” or “Asexual marriage.” It says, they “have a hard time doing so. That’s because when courts seek to understand whether the couple intended to live together as husband and wife, they’ll be assuming the family norm in which the couple has a sexual relationship.” So there you have it. There are saying the “family norm” for marriage is a sexual relationship. And that’s the hurdle to proving that a marriage is not a fraudulent or sham marriage in a court of law. I mean, I’d also argue, depending on what judge you get in front of… Because we’ve already seen them say there is a “conjugal marriage,” which is the biblical sexual definition of marriage, versus a “consenting marriage.” So it’s like, well, what school of law is the particular judge here in front of, if someone decides to bring this to court? It’s kind of horrifying that there doesn’t seem to be a clear answer. It seems like it’s just a matter of who do you get in front of you? This seems so subjective.
Courtney: Which like… here is also the part that really bothers me. So they talk about a case called the Moreno case, which “concerned a group of impoverished, unrelated people living under the same roof who, at some point, were denied food stamps by the government. The government argued that its goal was fraud prevention: In its view, households with unrelated people – such as friends – are more likely to commit fraud to illegally obtain government benefits.” Doesn’t that seem completely counterintuitive to what we were reading earlier, when they were like, “Yes, we want the tax code to incentivize this marriage between a man and a woman”? They’re like, “A man and a woman who have kids as the ideal. So we want the tax code to incentivize that.” Incentivizing kind of implicitly implies that, like, this is the carrot. This is the reason why you would do this. This is a little… this is a little benefit that you’ll gain for doing this. So now they’re also just punishing poor people who are taking those incentives that they put in place on purpose? The only argument that this is abusing the system instead of using the system is that sex isn’t involved. That’s literally the only thing it boils down to. If they’re having sex, this is a good incentive to marry them. If they’re not having sex, they can’t be married. They can’t take these incentives we put in place, even if it’s monogamous, even if it’s romantic, even if it’s one man and one woman, sex is the requirement.
Courtney: However, this author states, “I would argue that the constitutional decision that says something about the fate of platonic marriages is not Moreno, but Obergefell v. Hodges, the Supreme Court judgment on same-sex marriage. The idea of marriage Obergefell puts forth is one founded on rather traditional family norms. The plaintiffs in the Obergefell case – a gay couple – were, in every way aside from their same gender, congruent with what most Americans understand a married couple to be. Their relationship was sexual, exclusive, romantic, nuclear and involved two people. They were also committed to each other for life. To show that same-sex marriage is a subset of the broader fundamental right to marry, LGBTQ litigators chose to reinforce preexisting norms of marriage and family. They marshaled evidence showing that a gay or lesbian couple had the same ability to love, be intimate and raise children. Friends do not necessarily adhere to these norms: They are not intimate, and they are not necessarily interested in raising children, though some of them are. Ironically, it seems that LGBTQ activism has made it much harder for nontraditional families to gain access to marriage. Polyamorous and polygamous relationships are among them. And, yes, friends, too.”
Courtney: So that just summarized my critique of “love is love” as a statement even better than I have. Because it is, again, it is reinforcing the norms. It is very, very, very lightly expanding the definition of a norm, but it’s keeping the underlying structure in place. So, this argument here is for “friend marriage” or platonic marriage, queerplatonic marriage, Asexual, Aromantic marriages are less likely to be harmed by sham marriage or fraud marriage, but more likely to be harmed because Obergefell versus Hodges was like, “Yeah, as long as a gay couple is essentially functioning as a straight couple, they’re cool,” and didn’t allow and enough room or nuance for the rest of of us! And that’s something we need to be very, very aware of.
Courtney: Because it will be – don’t get me wrong – disastrous if this religious right succeeds in overturning Obergefell versus Hodges. That is the last thing I want. I do not want that to happen. I will weep for our gay, lesbian brothers and sisters who will suffer if that happens. But Asexual marriages, queerplatonic marriages, open marriages – none of these structures are actually protected under Obergefell versus Hodges. So when I say, I’m pro-Obergefell versus Hodges, it is exclusively for other people. I am happy that more people have more rights. I will never be in favor of limiting rights for other people. But that is not enough. That is not far enough. We need to push It further with the same fervor that these right-wing religious extremist Christo-fascist organizations are trying to repeal it. And we’re not doing that right now.
Courtney: And honestly, like, a lot of people are going to say, like, “Well, how are they gonna know the difference? Are they gonna start installing video cameras in the bedroom? Like, how are they going to enforce this?” It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter how they’re going to enforce it. Because at the end of the day, regardless of what the law says, what matters is the Court’s decision the first time someone decides to take it to court. That’s what it is at the end of the day. If someone decided that The Ace Couple is too much of a pain in their ass, we are making too much political ground, and we’re cramping their style, and they’re like, “Well, I’m going to say you have a sham marriage and I’m going to sue you and I’m going to take it to a court of law,” then we’re going to say, “Well, game on. Guess we’re going to hire a good lawyer.” Like, thank God, knock on wood, hopefully, we have enough money to hire a good lawyer, but like, that would be a landmark case [laughing slightly] in like all Asexual rights. Because people could argue, “Well, you can just say you consummated the marriage. Like you, you fucked, or you are having sex. You could say Asexuality doesn’t mean you’re not having se, it means you’re lacking sexual attraction.” To which I say: it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter. This isn’t about my rights. This isn’t about our relationship’s rights. This is about all human rights and the rights of more relationship structures to thrive. So like, if they say, “Oh ,well, if you go to court and just say like, ‘Yeah, we’re having sex. Like, case over,’ because that’s what they’re looking for,” I don’t want to do that, thank you very much. Because it’s not about me. This is about the bigger legal issue. And I think it needs to be fought. And I’d rather it be fought in legislation preemptively than in a court of law later that is actually going to have a real financial, legal,marital implications for real life people, whether that be us or anyone else. Because it’s not fair.
Courtney: So on that really depressing note, we have been talking about these issues for weeks. I hope this has given you all, as our listeners, a very good solid foundation of what we are up against, why this is not new, who is at risk, who is being targeted, and perhaps you have a few new tools in your toolbox to use the next time someone says, like, “Well, how are Asexuals actually oppressed?” Because although it is quite true that we don’t have a very huge obvious court case to point to, there is a lot of legal gray area for it to happen. And I’d rather we nip it in the bud before it becomes an emergency. And it will become an emergency. I am not trying to fear-monger, but again, we just saw Roe versus Wade overturned. These are the same people who have been working to overturn Roe versus Wade. They know what they’re doing. They know how to win the long game. To we need to pay attention to that.
Courtney: Next week, we’ll do something a little fun and silly. [laughs] We’ll have some jokes. We’ll just do some silly, fluffier nonsense that doesn’t have as many existential legal nuggets of dread as these last few weeks have. But if you have been with us for the entirety of this episode as well as the entirety of the last few weeks, we deeply appreciate you.
Courtney: Please make sure that you are subscribed, following, what-have-you to wherever it is you are consuming this podcast – on your favorite podcast platform or our YouTube channel, if you’re someone in our audience who downloads directly from our website or reads the transcripts on our website. Check us out on Twitter @The_Ace_Couple. Send us a little tweet or drop us a little review to tell us that you are getting benefit from what we are doing, because these last few weeks haven’t been fun. [laughs] I can’t say this is fun for us. But we do think it’s important, and it will make a big difference if we know that you, our listeners, are getting value from this. We are not exclusively going to be this doom and gloom. We do want to intersperse nuggets of queer joy and positive representation and just general awesome things about Asexuality and Aromanticism when and where we can. But we feel it would be negligent of us to completely ignore and disregard the very real legal and human rights threats that we are facing, especially considering the fact that we are not getting anywhere near the same level of publicity as other human rights concerns are. So thank you so much. We love each and every one of you, and we will see you all next week.