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Arguments Against Gay Marriage Literally Stop Making Sense

Yesterday, I was sent an e-mail from the Stand for Marriage Maine campaign, which I signed up for under a secondary e-mail account. The message suggests talking points that opponents of gay marriage might use when calling into local radio stations:

So, paraphrasing somewhat, the arguments that the Yes on 1 campaign seems to be making are as follows:

1. The new law won’t make gay marriage equal to straight marriage. Instead, it will create a new kind of marriage in which gay people and straight people are equal.
2. Although we may not have proven any connection between gay marriage and public education, our opponents haven’t disproven the connection, and it’s their fault that the subject came up.
3. If gay marriage is upheld, then marriage will exist solely to make people happy.

These arguments run from the literally incoherent (#1) to the sublimely unpersuasive (#3), with #2 somewhere in between. Yet, they are, apparently, the best arguments that the Yes on 1 folks can muster — the ones they’re using to close out their campaign.

The fact is that the overwhelming majority of people who dislike gay marriage do so for one of two reasons: either their religion has a taboo against homosexuality, or they find the practice gross.

But “Adam and Eve, Not Adam and Steve” does not make for a good tagline in a “serious” political discussion. And in Maine, for whatever reason (perhaps because it is one of the least religious states in the country), the Yes on 1 campaign has chosen to deemphasize the religious angle. Meanwhile, the primary “substantive” argument that they’ve made — that the same-sex marriage law might alter the public schools curriculum — has been discredited. This is what they have left to work with.

Nate Silver is the founder and editor in chief of FiveThirtyEight.