The slippery slope to robot love

THE SLIPPERY SLOPE TO ROBOT LOVE…. On Tuesday, about 1,000 conservative activists stood on the lawn outside North Carolina’s state legislature, demanding a statewide referendum on banning gay marriage. We heard plenty of the usual palaver about the destruction of Western civilization if two consenting adults get state recognition of their life-long relationship. Whatever.

But as Ron Chusid noted, one of the far-right activists raised an argument we haven’t heard before.

David Gibbs III, a lawyer who in 2005 fought to keep brain-damaged Terri Schiavo on life support, told rally participants gay marriage would “open the door to unusual marriage in North Carolina.

“Why not polygamy, or three or four spouses?” Gibbs asked. “Maybe people will want to marry their pets or robots.” [emphasis added]

The times they are a changin’. Rick Santorum warned us about “man-on-dog” relations; now we have David Gibbs raising the specter of man-on-robot action.

I think someone has been taking “Battlestar Galactica” a little too seriously.

I suppose, though, Gibbs’ disturbed slippery-slope argument does raise some related questions. He’s apparently worried about people having multiple spouses, marrying pets, and/or marrying robots. But what if we took this to the next logical level? How about preventing marriages between humans and multiple robots? Someone might be attracted to robots and want to pursue polygamy — and then what will happen to civilization?

Or better yet, let’s combine all of three of the ridiculous fears. As I understand it, there are plenty of popular dog robots on the market. Perhaps North Carolinians need to worry about someone marrying multiple dog robots. After all, if two consenting adults can get a marriage license, isn’t it reasonable to assume this might be the next step?

Support Nonprofit Journalism

If you enjoyed this article, consider making a donation to help us produce more like it. The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell the stories of how government really works—and how to make it work better. Fifty years later, the need for incisive analysis and new, progressive policy ideas is clearer than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on support from readers like you.

Yes, I’ll make a donation

Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.