THE END OF THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT…. I’ve long been fascinated by arguments against gay marriage, mainly because they’re so incredibly unpersuasive. Opponents of marriage equality tend to run into one specific hurdle that’s hard to clear: if consenting adults are able to get married, what, exactly, would be the negative result? What are the perilous consequences of loving couples getting married?

Rep. Steve King (R) of Iowa, one of Congress’ most right-wing members, told conservatives this week that the state should be in a position of “promoting marriage,” but if gay people can get married, it will lead to the downfall of civilization.

Speaking at an anti-abortion event in eastern Iowa Monday night, U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Kiron, warned that legalized same-sex marriage would lead to a complete dissolution of society and religion.

“I will tell you that I first came into this political arena with the belief innocent human life was the most important thing that I could be involved in,” said King, a Kiron Republican who represents the 5th Congressional District in western Iowa. “I still believe that is the most important value. But I also recognize that if we don’t save marriage, we can’t remain pro-life.

“The values we have we pour through marriage into our children and into the next generation. Our religious values. Our values of faith. Our values. Our work ethic. Our entire culture comes through a man and a woman joined in holy matrimony, being blessed with children and pouring those values into the children and then living vicariously through them as they go off and we are blessed with grandchildren.”

What I find especially amusing about this is the notion that men and women will stop getting married if same-sex couples start getting married. After all, King believes “our entire culture comes through a man and a woman joined in holy matrimony.” If policy makers and courts were pushing measures to prevent men and women from joining in holy matrimony, I could understand why King and his cohorts might get worked up.

But since that’s not happening, it seems King sincerely believes that marriages between straight couples will simply cease to be. Why? Because, well, just because.

King added that he “would prefer” to see Iowans simply defy the law and ignore the state Supreme Court’s unanimous ruling, but, “I don’t see the appetite out there to do that.” Go figure.

The irony is, the surest way to destroy a civilization is to put a population against itself and have elected officials start refusing to follow the rule of law. It’s a shame King doesn’t realize that.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. 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.