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Keep it in the Family

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"Keep it in the Family"

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I’ve been waiting for a good issue to disagree with Ross about, and here we are: incest. He says he doesn’t think we’ll see a big push to legalize it: “not because the right to incest doesn’t arguably follow from the logic of gay marriage, as Jacoby says, but because I think the demand for marrying one’s sister is far too low to overcome the ‘ick’ factor involved. The gay population is small, but not that small – even at 2-4 percent of the American population, it’s large enough to create both a mass constituency for gay marriage and a still-larger percentage of Americans who count homosexuals as their friends and neighbors, and understandably wish them happiness as a result.”

Okay, wait, I sort of do agree with that. It’s hard to see a mass movement to legalize incest emerging. That said, if you had a genuinely consensual, adult, incestuous couple and some prosecutor took it into his head to charge them with a crime, I think you would see a serious countermovement. The couple would, among other things, have a decent constitutional case after the Lawrence decision and that alone would ensure a drawn-out battle that eventually becomes reasonably high profile. And a lot of people who would never dream of pre-emptively joining a pro-incest mass movement (me, say) might still be horrified by the idea of throwing two people in jail just for having sex with each other.

At any rate, the punditry world needs new controversies since I think the gay marriage debate has already become dull, so I certainly hope incest becomes a hot issue. Bestiality, interestingly, strikes me as a morally tougher issue.

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