How the Death of DOMA Ended the Right's Fear of a Dog-Marrying Planet

This article is from the archive of our partner .

For years, same-sex marriage opponents have warned of a dystopian legal future in which humans marry their dogs, a recurring "joke" that had more bark than bite, more offensiveness than humor. But, hey, the anti-gay crowd still had the official upper hand when it came to the letter of the law, if not public opinion. Today, the joke's on the bigots. 

Indeed, one of more popular social-media responses from the LGBT community following today's decisions has been simple: Save the date.

Enright doesn't even have a dog (he's a friend), but that's neither here nor there — he and Comedy Central and many, many others are riffing on the slippery-slope argument that the Rush Limbaughs of the world have long employed to scare people into being afraid of gay marriage. Just this past February, Limbaugh himself told his listeners:

Definitions of family, what constitutes families is now wide open, and pretty soon you're gonna be able to marry your dog, your dog's going to be an official member of your family and will qualify for benefits.

Obviously, gay-rights advocates didn't put up the huge legal fight — the one that ended up today with Edie Windsor wanting "go to Stonewall right now" and Kristin Perry and Sandra Stier on the phone with President Obama on live TV — just so they could marry their pets. But the running bigoted logic aims to draw a comparison between gay people and bestiality (see: Montana's state legislature) and to scare straight people into believing a lawless dog-marrying society would be the result of, you know, equality. Tomorrow magazine actually had a great cartoon (pictured at right) displaying the ridiculousness of this argument.

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But now it's okay to be comfortable with the joke. Now it's even in Buzzfeed territory. Because, you know, the overwhelming majority of Americans know that their gay friends and the gay people in their lives aren't animal rapists. And gay people wouldn't be joking around about this bigot classic today if they actually thought their friends might think they were animal rapists. And they don't. According to a poll from Quinnipiac University from July 2008, American voters opposed same-sex marriage by 55-36 percent. In a sharp contrast, a Washington Post/ABC News poll from May 2013 showed that number has flipped, with 55 percent of Americans saying they support the right for same-sex couples to get married. In a short five years, Americans' feelings on gay marriage have completely flipped, which would not happen if people really believed that human-dog weddings were in our future. 

Still, though, there are some people out there in the social conversation on whom the humor is lost — unless it's brilliant sarcasm:

And reaching into the bowels of Twitter reveals some people who are clearly in that 36 percent:

But today, the trolls will be trolled:

Image via Shutterstock by aceshot1

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.