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Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert told an audience at the Heritage Foundation on Wednesday that the courts need "basic plumbing lessons" if they think homosexuality is natural. Perhaps Gohmert needs a quick overview of human "plumbing." 

In response to a question about a federal judge in Oklahoma undoing a ban on gay marriage in the state, Gohmert criticized an "omnipotent, omniscious, ubiquitous" federal judge who was "wise beyond his education." He then suggested that the country needs to "get back to real law and order and that includes by judges not becoming God in their place." But first he said this:

The Supreme Court said this was a matter for the states to decide. And I know our court, a few years ago, the Supreme Court had said that they didn't impart, basically, they didn't see any biological evidence to support marriage being between a man and a woman. They need some basic plumbing lessons.

It's not clear what case Gohmert's referring to. He's probably talking about a 2009 Texas case considering the ability of a married gay couple to get divorced in the state. Last November, the state Supreme Court heard the case.

It doesn't really matter though. What Gohmert is saying is that gay marriage should be banned because human "plumbing" supports it. Except that it doesn't.


When we talk about our "plumbing," we normally mean the alimentary canal — the route food takes from our teeth to our toilets. That's where the plumbing analogy comes in: processing waste. Clearly, gay men and women and straight men and women share a similar toolset in that regard, so there's no reason to think that it should be cause for blocking two people in love from getting married.

More generously, Gohmert is probably just referring generally to "the tubes in our body." Like, you know, the urethra. It's part of the system we use for extracting nutrients from food, of course, but in men, as Gohmert likely knows, it doubles as a conduit for sperm in the ol' asparagus. It doesn't serve that function in women. The urethra isn't the vagina, and the vagina and uterus aren't connected to the broader body "plumbing" system, as such.

What Gohmert is really trying to say in his balky, weird way is that "a man and a man can't make a baby." Instead of arguing that "I consider reproduction to be an irreducible component of marriage," he says, "judges need a plumbing lesson," because all those weird pipes and things that polite people don't discuss are tricky and strange. If we swallowed our pride to sit down and explain to adult judges that a penis and a vagina are needed to make a baby, which they don't know, Gohmert's confident they'd see things from his perspective.

And that perspective is this: If you can't make a baby together using your pipes or whatever, you can't be married. So when Louie and his wife hit a certain age, they'll need to get divorced. And if a gay couple augments their plumbing with the help of a doctor to have a child, Gohmert will embrace their marriage without hesitation. If you don't understand how that could work, ask a plumber.

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

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