Saturday, September 11, 2004

Are hetero S&M marriages illegal?

Rightwingnut Lester Kinsolving is all up in arms about an email that he received from gay rights pioneer Dr. Frank Kameny, who suggested that perhaps purveyors of S&M have a “right” to partake in the behavior and marry one another.

Kinsolving wrote in a previous column:

What if Mr. One-Heartbeat-Away in the White House had a daughter who was a masochist who fell in love with a sadist? (And she loved being beaten, as much as her lover enjoyed beating her.)

Would Mr. Cheney have announced in Davenport his support of weddings with leather dresses, whips and chains?

To which Kameny responded:

If a sadist and a masochist wish to marry, on that disclosed basis, what possible rationale is there for prohibiting such a marriage? There is none.

The rest of the article—Kinsolving’s hysterical reaction—is what you would expect from him. But my question is, under current marriage law, if the marriage is between one man and one woman who happen to be S&M enthusiasts, is such a marriage illegal in any state in this nation? If the answer is “no,” then there already exists such a right, so what is Kinsolving so hysterical about? If the answer is “yes,” then I’m completely unaware of this, could someone please fill me in? If a prospective husband and wife like to partake in S&M, and if they made it clear that “a lot of that” would be going on in their bedroom during the course of their marriage, on what legal grounds would they be forbidden from obtaining a marriage license?