Paige Schilt

Gay Marriage and the Slippery Slope Fallacy

Filed By Paige Schilt | April 03, 2009 11:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Living, Marriage Equality
Tags: gay marriage, gay parents, LGBT parents, logical fallacies, slippery slope

A few days ago, I was hanging out in the backyard with my son, Waylon, and his friend, Mike. I was watering the garden; they were molding playdoh into fantastic, multi-colored monsters.

"Mama," Waylon asked. "Do you like stripes?" Since my sartorial preference for striped shirts is a well-established fact, I didn't think twice before answering "uh-huh."

"Do you love stripes?"

"Yes."

"Then why don't you marry stripes!?" asked Waylon, in the triumphant voice of a little kid who has just mastered a classic playground rejoinder.

"Silly, I'm already married to Mommy."

"Well, why don't you divorce Mommy and marry stripes?" he teased.

"I don't want to marry stripes," I said good-naturedly.

At this point, Mike decided to enter the conversation.

"Why not? You're already gay," he reasoned.

Although the tone of our talk was light and absurd, I have to confess that I was a bit surprised at how easily a six-year-old was able to summon the classic slippery slope argument.

Luckily, my combined experience as a rhetoric teacher and an activist has prepared me to answer this particular logical fallacy.

"Just because I'm gay, that doesn't mean I think stripes would make a good partner," I said as I turned off the garden hose. "Stripes can't make dinner. They can't rub my feet. They can't even talk."

And then, just to make sure I had the last word on the subject, I tickled them both soundly and then sent them inside to wash their hands.


Recent Entries Filed under Living:

Leave a comment

We want to know your opinion on this issue! While arguing about an opinion or idea is encouraged, personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please be respectful of others.

The editorial team will delete a comment that is off-topic, abusive, exceptionally incoherent, includes a slur or is soliciting and/or advertising. Repeated violations of the policy will result in revocation of your user account. Please keep in mind that this is our online home; ill-mannered house guests will be shown the door.


I love this. I'm a little scared at how much even six-year-olds have assimilated about gay marriage as the natural state of things, but I love it.

Your'e right, Yasmin: for instance, Waylon didn't even consider the possibility that I could form a polyamorous relationship with stripes...

Marla R. Stevens Marla R. Stevens | April 3, 2009 9:06 PM

But is that the fault of "gay" marriage or just that of the ubiquitousness of marriage as the relationship gold standard in our culture at large?

I can't help but bring a queer ethic to marriage anymore than I can help that such complex web of a thing as marriage ends up affecting me. But I can temper things to make something that fits me rather than permitting myself to be squeezed into a mold of someone else's making. One of the best reasons to claim queer supremacy, methinks!

And if the stripes ran in a *different* direction, yours would be a checkered relationship indeed...

Oh, Yasmin, that's bad.... Love it!

Wonderful story, Paige. I think the difference between your son and conservatives, however, is that your son will, I assume, someday advance beyond six-year-old logic. Those who still spout the "slippery slope" argument clearly haven't.