Ben Carson: Marriage for gay people is like car seats for conjoined twins

There are a lot of bad analogies for same-sex marriage. It’s been compared to marrying turtles and lawnmowers. It’s been compared to slavery and Hitler. For some, saying that same-sex marriages should be equal to opposite-sex marriages is like saying that water is actually beer.

But I’m not sure any of these analogies can top Ben Carson’s assertion, reportedly included in his new book, A More Perfect Union, that sanctioning same-sex marriage is like mandating that car seat manufacturers make a car seat for conjoined twins. As he wrote, per PinkNews:

Changing the law governing the normal situation in order to accommodate the abnormal situation is like requiring that car seats be designed to accommodate conjoined twins as well as anatomically normal children.

The more sensible thing would be to require car seats to accommodate typical children and design special car seats for atypical children as needed.

This principle can be applied to a host of situations in our nation.

For example, most people are heterosexual, and changing the definition of marriage to suit those outside that definition is unnecessarily complicated.

The analogy is a not-so-subtle nod both to Carson’s history as being the first person to separate twins conjoined at the head and to the GOP’s increasingly tired meme of same-sex marriage constituting a “special” right.

In case it wasn’t entirely clear, “unnecessarily complicated” in Carson’s example means lifting a restriction on who can sign a marriage license. Marriage licenses don’t ask for the sex of the signees, so you don’t even have to change the form! How is that complicated? If anything, the previous definition of marriage was more complicated, because it set an extraneous condition on the state’s legal recognition of love.

What’s more, Carson’s logic can be applied to literally any minority group. I could write, “For example, most people aren’t in wheelchairs, and changing the definition of marriage to suit those outside that definition is unnecessarily complicated,” and it would make the same amount of sense. As would arguing that interracial marriage is “unnecessarily complicated” for the same reason.

Then again, maybe Ben Carson thinks that people in wheelchairs and of different races shouldn’t be entitled to marriage rights. At this rate, who knows?

Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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40 Responses to “Ben Carson: Marriage for gay people is like car seats for conjoined twins”

  1. AnnieLaurie Burke says:

    So if a person is sterile, he has no right to marry? Couples past childbearing age have no right to marry and must “live in sin”. What stupid BS! Marriage, even traditional marriage, carries no requirement to reproduce. And you think that heterosexual couples never have to go through “unnatural” means to conceive, or to have someone act as surrogate for one of them. And what, pray tell, is the “right” to procreate? Who decides which persons are given this “right”? This comment is just as ridiculous as Carson’s.

  2. truthseeker4ever says:

    no matter what ben carson says, or anybody else… homosexuality is an extremely serious sin – next to murder, in fact – and in the end that’s all that really matters

  3. UncleBucky says:

    Separate but equal.

    But I’d go for a form where the “roles” are part of what is to be filled in.

    Spouse and Spousette, etc. :P

  4. cleos_mom says:

    Civil unions were a fad two POTUS election cycles ago. They enabled politicians to proclaim their support for a 21st century Jim Crow while congratulating themselves on their statespersonequeness.

  5. The_Fixer says:

    its limited to couples that have a right to reproduce. Couples that don’t, like siblings, children, etc, are never allowed to marry. Ability is irrelevant, what counts is having the right, the benefits and obligations come with being approved and allowed and supported and being officially publicly recognized as having the righAt.

    It’s limited to couples who have a right to reproduce? Says who? That’s not the way the laws for marriage are set up. Yes, siblings and anyone who can’t willingly enter into a legal contract are disallowed from marriage. But the law does not say anything about reproduction being a prerequisite.

    Remember, we’re talking about civil marriage, not religious marriage. No one is arguing that religions should marry anyone who wishes to be married it’s their right to refuse. This is about the government recognizing a partnership entered into by two willing adults of legal age. Nowhere does any marriage law say anything about anyone having the right to reproduce. It’s that way simply because one’s personal plans (as long as they don’t break other laws) once in a marriage have no bearing on society or the government.

    Your response regarding in vitro and surrogacy appears to me to have dodged the question. Telling me to go on the web does not make a point, let alone support it with any kind of argument. You’ll have to do better than that.

  6. Indigo says:

    I’m not entirely clear about that.

  7. zorbear says:

    Wait…what? Hey — are you trying to tell me he’s been SERIOUS all this time?

    Oh crap…

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  9. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    Have a right to reproduce? Sarah Palin’s death panels have been proved not to exist, but it sounds like you want to have reproduction panels. In other words, you are a bigot.

  10. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    Is he also saying that marriage isn’t for couples too old to conceive? How about couples where one or both are sterile due to cancer? If a couple doesn’t want children, are they allowed to marry? if a couple has reason to expect a genetic illness may be passed on to their offspring, are they allowed to marry?

  11. DoverBill says:

    Why does listening to this loser remind me of Rumsfeld?

  12. JohnHoward says:

    its limited to couples that have a right to reproduce. Couples that don’t, like siblings, children, etc, are never allowed to marry. Ability is irrelevant, what counts is having the right, the benefits and obligations come with being approved and allowed and supported and being officially publicly recognized as having the righAt.

    There are lots of websites and articles on surrogacy and donor conception you can find. My proposal doesn’t affect those, they’d still be legal because they still join a sperm of a man and an egg of a woman.

  13. The_Fixer says:

    Analogies may not need to be perfect, but they should at least make sense and be in the ballpark.

    Anyone with the powers of reasoning and observation knows that marriage is not limited to couples who can reproduce. Otherwise, infertile couples would not allowed to get married.

    In vitro and surrogacy violate human rights? That one puzzles me greatly.

  14. unreligious says:

    Actually despite common belief the quote is neither Mark Twain’s nor Abraham Lincoln’s (the other popular contender). It most probably originated with Proverbs 17:28.

  15. JaneE says:

    If you don’t want to change the standard forms used for opposite sex marriages, how about a print-on-demand version for same sex couples that could be printed specially when same sex couples request a marriage license? That would be exactly the same as your conjoined-twin car seat. Except there are a lot more same-sex couples than conjoined twins.

  16. Hugh1 says:

    The man is walking, talking, toxic, babbling brook of inane comments. Good grief!

  17. woodroad34 says:

    He’s really a one-trick pony…an idiot savant. He was good at neurosurgery…but apparently it doesn’t take a neurosurgeon to be president.

  18. Hue-Man says:

    It reminded me of that SNL bit when Tina Fey did her first (I think) impression of Sarah Palin. At the time, I wondered why they were mocking this woman I’d never seen nor heard before and who might become VP of the US – it was only the following week that I learned that it was Palin’s exact word salad not a parody.

    “It’s better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than open it and remove all doubt”

    Mark Twain

  19. Thom Allen says:

    Marriage Equality is a done deal. Ben’s behind the times, as usual. Procreation has nothing to do with marriage.

  20. JohnHoward says:

    Analogies are never perfect. All he needs to say is that marriage and the benefits of marriage are only for couples with a right to procreate offspring together, not siblings, not parents and their children, and not same sex couples. Creating offspring of same sex couples is incredibly complicated and hasn’t even been done yet in animals. And sperm and egg donation and surrogacy are also very complicated, and violate human rights and cost us lots of money.

  21. Kelly R Burnett says:

    You and Kanye should marry, your on the same intelligence level. Phuck your degree’s your one dumb negro.

  22. BeccaM says:

    Carson, like so many others on the conservative right, seem to think that civil rights are made more valuable by limiting the number of people who can enjoy them. After that, it’s just a matter of identifying which undesirables are to be singled out for inequality and discrimination.

  23. BeccaM says:

    No, and he won’t be because his run for the presidency isn’t serious. Just like last time, it was solely to juice his book sales and speaking fees…although given the shambling, incoherent wreck he’s become, I suspect even those won’t last much longer.

  24. Indigo says:

    Carson is difficult to satire because he is so close to being a satire of himself.

  25. Indigo says:

    That would depend on what her astrologer has to say about his chart. I’m doubtful she’d be willing to coach someone so negatively aspected in the House of Good Sense.

  26. Hue-Man says:

    The Daily Show piece last night was the first time I watched and heard him speak (I normally avoid RWNJs). It was like watching some 1970s hippie drugster with the half-closed eyes and the slow speech. He makes Mitch McConnell seem hyper-active by comparison!

    May be that Fox “psych” quack could do a remote diagnosis…

  27. goulo says:

    It would be “unnecessarily complicated” to permit someone as crazy as Ben Carson to be president.

  28. TomL says:

    Well, at least we know why he doesn’t understand the concept of “Debt Ceiling.” Apparently, that would be “unnecessarily complicated.”

  29. 2karmanot says:

    He’s just another 999 bad pizza Republican token.

  30. 2karmanot says:

    I suspect his lobotomy is hidden on the inside.

  31. 2karmanot says:

    Soft spoken, cracked-pot sociopath Carson is mentally ill. If he wins the Presidency, they’ll have to bring Nancy Reagan out of mothballs to coach him.

  32. dcinsider says:

    Wouldn’t it be easier and cheaper to have left the white only and black only water fountains in the Jim Crow south the way they were?

  33. Don Chandler says:

    I remember a time when gays and lesbians would have been happy with ‘domestic partnerships’. Yeah, it was a long time ago. But people like Ben Carson threw a hissy fit at such recognition and said “no” to ‘domestic partnerships’. So we went for the whole enchilada: ‘civil marriage’. The idea was that if you gave gays a “domestic partnership” with all the same benefits as marriage short of religious recognition, why not just call it “marriage” or “civil marriage”. Then you don’t have to change any laws at all! Brilliant. Convenient. Consistent with the First Amendment. Money Saving. And it was prescient ;) We totally bypassed ‘domestic partnership’. And when the political winds changed making ‘marriage equality’ the law of the land, all those Ben Carson-types started saying, “why not just call it ‘civil unions’? Why do you have to call it marriage?” Too late Ben. That is called hindsight. You lost. Get over yourself. So now to win the Republican nomination, you got to be the biggest dickhead; hence Trump, Perry, Cruz and Fiorina. I mean, why do we need to design underwear that goes over the head that is conjoined at the neck. It’s much more proper to snap underwear around the waist…not to mention, more seemly, and yeah, so much sexier.

  34. Silver_Witch says:

    Or to prove they are not “really” racist which of course is not proved at all with Murdocks crazy statements.

  35. nicho says:

    Ben Carson is like conjoined twins joined at the head and rectum.

  36. nicho says:

    No, and neither can anyone else — which is why he won’t be. There is no way that the people who really run the country — the corporatists — will allow him anywhere near the White House. He’s merely there as a distraction and perhaps comic relief.

  37. Sally says:

    After his deftly idiotic explanation of the debt limit yesterday on NPR, I’m surprised he can still show his face in public. And does he have eyes?

  38. iamlegion says:

    Well, he’s kinda right, but not (as always) in the way he thinks he is… Nobody “chooses” to be gay any more than they “choose” to be a conjoined twin… It’s purely a consequence of birth. I wonder what he thinks parents of conjoined twins who can’t afford his kind of massive surgery should do – pray the conjoining away?

  39. Indigo says:

    Is he stupid or is he just a low-rent potty mouth?

  40. Kelly R Burnett says:

    Can you every imagine this man as POTUS? Terrifying. The man’s living in a very strange world.

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