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Doing it doggy-style on the homophobic right

Perhaps a Freudian theorist could explain it. Perhaps not. But have you ever noticed that those on the homophobic right can’t seem to splutter out a sentence fragment about what lesbians and gay men do in bed without working in a reference to our four-legged friends?

Last week’s Supreme Court decision in the case of Lawrence v. Texas, which affirmed the right of consenting adults to engage in sodomy, inspired a veritable orgasm of warnings about the dangers of cross-species sex.

Not only did the court reverse its anti-gay 1986 decision in Bowers v. Hardwick, but it also may have set a course that will eventually lead to the constitutional recognition of same-sex marriage. But all the right-wingers seem able to think about is ... bestiality. As if sheep and dogs were all that attractive.

Herewith, we offer a modern history of bestiality and the rhetoric of homophobia.

• " It is teaching kids to fornicate, teaching people to have adultery, every kind of bestiality, homosexuality, lesbianism — everything that the Bible condemns. " — The Reverend Pat Robertson, speaking about Planned Parenthood on The 700 Club, April 9, 1991.

• " Petitioners’ protestations to the contrary notwithstanding, a constitutional right that protects ‘the choice of one’s partner’ and ‘whether and how to connect sexually’ must logically extend to activities like prostitution, adultery, necrophilia, bestiality, possession of child pornography, and even incest and pedophilia (if the child should credibly claim to be ‘willing’). " — Alabama attorney general William Pryor, in a " friend of the court " brief he wrote regarding the Lawrence v. Texas case in 2002. Pryor has been nominated by President Bush to be a judge on the US Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit.

• " The Democrats should stop hiding behind ‘freedom of choice’ and become blatant advocates for divorce, illegitimacy, adultery, homosexuality, bestiality, and pornography. Indeed the Democrats could become the Party of the Seven Deadly Sins. The political advantage of this approach is that the Seven Deadly Sins are immensely popular. Imagine the political opportunities if all vices were associated with the Democratic party! " — Dinesh D’Souza, writing for National Review Online, November 7, 2002.

• " In every society, the definition of marriage has not ever to my knowledge included homosexuality. That’s not to pick on homosexuality. It’s not, you know, man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be. " — Senator Rick Santorum (R-Pennsylvania), in an interview with the Associated Press, April 7, 2003.

• " State laws against bigamy, same-sex marriage, adult incest, prostitution, masturbation, adultery, fornication, bestiality, and obscenity are likewise sustainable only in light of Bowers’s validation of laws based on moral choices. Every single one of these laws is called into question by today’s decision ... " — Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia, in his dissenting opinion in Lawrence v. Texas, June 26, 2003.

• " If the Court is logical and consistent — and thank God they often aren’t — then it’s only a matter of time before the taboos and legal prohibitions against incest, polygamy, and bestiality fall. We will have to call it Santorum’s Revenge — but don’t hold your breath waiting for that. " — Former Nixon aide Chuck Colson, founder of Prison Fellowship Ministries, writing about the Lawrence v. Texas decision for BreakPoint Online, June 26, 2003.

• " The court allowed the right to privacy to trump the compelling interest the state has in promoting the family interests of right and wrong. It just says that privacy permits anything between consenting adults. It would actually make bestiality legal if it’s taken to the limits of privacy. " — The Reverend Jerry Falwell, founder of the Moral Majority, in an interview with the Associated Press, June 26, 2003.

• " Once consent — ‘choice’ — supplants marriage as the important interest served by cloaking sexual activities as constitutional rights, by what principle is any consensual adult sexual conduct not a protected right? Bigamy? Polygamy? Prostitution? Incest? Even — if we assume animals can consent, or that their consent does not matter — bestiality? " — Syndicated columnist George Will, June 27, 2003.

• " Apparently any sexual relationship, with man or beast, is constitutionally permissible, provided that the parties to the personal bond give consent. Since animals can’t give proper consent, perhaps the court will let certain uptight communities outlaw bestiality. " — George Neumayr, writing for the American Spectator’s Web site, June 27, 2003.

• " Once again the government has invented a right where no other existed before. Now [laws against] bigamy, incest, polygamy, bestiality, prostitution, and anything else you can think of ... are now going to come under attack. " — Richard Lessner, senior analyst for the Family Research Council, interviewed by the Los Angeles Times, June 27, 2003.

• " The decision calls into question the sanctity of bans on other illicit activity, like bestiality and prostitution. This throws into question the whole tradition of Judeo-Christian heritage and marriage. " — Gene Mills, executive director of the Louisiana Family Forum, interviewed by the New Orleans Times-Picayune, June 27, 2003.

• " Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) predicted two months ago that if the court struck down anti-sodomy laws, challenges would soon follow to laws prohibiting bestiality, polygamy and all sorts of other sexual practices. We will now see him proved right. " — Syndicated columnist Cal Thomas, July 1, 2003.

• " A short while ago, Sen. Rick Santorum was ridiculed for saying that if the court struck down the Texas sodomy law based on a presumed right to privacy, there would be no logical reason to outlaw polygamy, incest or bestiality. Significantly, no one attacked the logic of his statement, since the logic is unassailable; they simply called him names ... " — Denver Post columnist Tom Neven, July 3, 2003.

Issue Date: July 11 - 17, 2003
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