NC Rep: Gay Marriage Philosophically Same as Incest, Polygamy


North Carolina’s House Majority Leader Representative Paul “Skip” Stam of the 37th District said during a Tuesday press conference that there is no philosophical difference between legalizing same-sex marriage and legalizing polygamy or adult incest. This comes ahead of North Carolina lawmakers taking up a constitutional amendment to codify a ban on same-sex marriage in the state.

At Tuesday’s press conference Stam was asked by a reporter if the amendment would constitute government overreach, to which he replied with the following via On Top Magazine (which also has the audio):

“Well 90 percent of all laws affect people’s lives, so that’s an argument without any content to it. … We prohibit adult incest, we prohibit polygamy. What would be their answer to that? We’re involved in people’s lives. That’s a slogan without analysis.”

Stam is then asked if he is comparing same-sex marriage to incest and polygamy, he responds he is not but then, well, goes on to compare same-sex marriage with adult incest and polygamy:

“What I’m saying is you cannot construct an argument for same sex-marriage that would not also justify philosophically the legalization of polygamy and adult incest.”

Stam concludes by saying that supporters of same-sex marriage need to come to the floor to say why there’s a distinction.

So, let’s break it down.

First of all, the government overreach question is viable if one considers that curtailing government involvement in how people regulate their private lives is a big Republican cause, and there is a general consensus that such involvement is only acceptable when there is a legitimate government interest in preventing certain behaviors due to inherent risks either to the parties involved or wider society. With the federal government abandoning defense of the federal Defense of Marriage Act because the government has determined it is unconstitutional and discriminatory without justifiable government interest, and various states legalizing same-sex marriage on grounds of equality, the burden of proof is on Stam and his associates to qualify what exactly the legitimate government interest is in this case.

Secondly, Stam frames the wider debate as though passing the constitutional amendment means the difference between legalizing same-sex marriage or preventing that from happening. This isn’t true. North Carolina already has a statutory ban on same-sex marriage which was enacted in 1996, and if he is concerned that the ban may in fact be vulnerable to judicial action — i.e. a plain reading of the constitution that would find the ban unlawful based on constitutional guarantees of equal treatment — then perhaps that should inform him about the nature of the constitutional amendment he and the rest of the Republican leadership in the state are supporting.

Third, that there is no philosophical difference between legalizing same-sex marriage and legalizing polygamy or adult incest. Well, there certainly is a legal difference, that is to say that at this time the latter two activities are unlawful — this is not the case with same-sex relationships, which are no longer criminalized in the US and in several states are in fact recognized through civil marriage rights or state level equivalent unions.

Addressing the lofty philosophical angle directly, gay marriage does not automatically lead to the legalization of adult incest or polygamy, and to even suggest such is disingenuous,  but could it necessitate a discussion on why society has decided to make those relationships illegal? Perhaps. And any discussion about such a topic should be welcomed, given that we are all adults capable of critical thinking and as critical thinkers we are also able to see the clear distinctions between same-sex marriage, multiple partner marriage and marriage between biologically related consenting adults. So, please, let’s stop with the scare tactics.

The Republican Leadership in North Carolina is pushing for a vote on the constitutional amendment in the September special session which begins September 12. The proposed senate version of the amendment would not only ban same-sex marriage but would also prevent all marriage-like relationships. If passed by the Legislature, the issue would go before voters at the 2012 ballot where it is expected, though not certain, to pass.

Related Reading:

NC Gay Marriage Ban Destined for Special Session

Judge Denies Motion to Vacate Prop. 8 Ruling

University’s Gay Friendly Church List Riles Professor

Image used under the Creative Commons Attribution License with thanks to Made Underground.


Duane B.
.5 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Trudi Gray
Trudi Gray6 years ago

Incest= screwing your mother/father/daughter/son
Polygamy= having more than one wife(ie having a prohibited union)
Same-sex marriage = 2 people who love each other wishing to formalise their union(ie doing no harm to another human being- unless love is a harmful thing in this context)

OK- I give up- where's the similarity?? The man is a jackass.

Janice Redinger
Janice Redinger6 years ago

So, Harry T, You have finally given me permission to call the repuglicans Sodomites? It seem that THEY and all their extreme religious leaders are following that lifestyle.

Marjaana V.
marjaana v6 years ago

christopher c:

"He probably never heard of same sex people whose natural state ws sex with people of the same gender."

are you kidding me? seriously? ever read of the greek and roman history; homosexuals were a dime a dozen!? the WORD homosexual had not been invented until whenever, because there was no need to invent any 'fancy' words for it.

the council of nicaea decided what the christians should/should not believe in and if you think about the stats [up to 10% of any species id gay] - well, among jesus's followers there then would have been at least one gay dude tagging along.

as for skip [ROFL!], he really acts like his closet is full of moths...

Glen P.
Glen P6 years ago

Aren't these guys rapidly beginning to look like dinosaurs.

Asiatic Lion
Asiatic Lion6 years ago


Christopher C.
Chris C6 years ago

And in St. Paul: PTL...Poor old St. Paul is so misunderstood. Two-thousand years ago St. Paul condemned gay sex as "against nature" and his viewpoint has been taken for justification for centuries of persecution against gay people. A careful reading of St. Paul"s Epistle to the Romans, shows Paul was condemning straight Christian men and women who were having sex with temple prostitutes of the same sex in pagan Rome. The unnatural action was trying to teach the Roman Christians to lead a moral life and worship God in some measure of purity, "decently and in order." Paul was not writing about gay people having sex with gay people. He probably never heard of same sex people whose natural state ws sex with people of the same gender. He never heard of same gender people being in a relationships with each other. He never conceived of gay people wanting to marry other gay people. The word homosexual was not invented till the 19th century. Certainly the words gay and lesbian are a tad more recent in usage than was the case in St. Paul's time in the first century. Paul was condeming unnatural behavior among straight people. Taking Paul's words out of context is a favorite tool of Christian fundamentalists as well as Biblically illiterate critics of Christianity. The fact that people down through the ages lead on Paul's words to condemn homosexuality is no excuse for the intelligent to do the same in making their case for the rights of homosexuals.

Christopher C.
Chris C6 years ago

Also: Mathew 10:15 Jesus was referring to the lack of welcome as the sin in Sodom. "This was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy."

Christopher C.
Chris C6 years ago

@ Harry T...I like your posts! Here's some more re: the Levitical passages:If you read all of 18:1 through 19:29 you'd understand that Lot, Abrahams nephew and an outsider (alien) to the citizens of Sodom. Additionally the phrase uttered by the men of Sodom, "Bring them out to us, so that we may know them" does not have to be interpreted in a sexual manner (like so many so-called christian pure minds always seem to travel in that direction). The mis-interpretation of it is to think of it as a gang-rape. But it was actually part of the towns people to find out who these strangers are that are staying at the house of a resident alien. By reading 18:1, one can compare & contrast the hospitality offered to the strangers by Abraham and Lot to that of citizens of Sodom. This lack of welcome seems to be Jesus understanding of the sin of Sodom as indicated in Matthew 10:14-15, Ezekiel 16:49 refers to the Sin of Sodom: "This was the guilt of your sister Sodom; she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy". There is nothing in the story of Sodom that justifies condemnation of homosexuality. There is much in the story that suggests strangers be welcomed , given hospitality. How ironic that this story is used to condemn and be "inhospitable" to lesbians and gay men, the "strangers" among us. Those who really commit the sin of sodom are those who do not welcome the different ones, the strangers among us.

Cheryl M. D.
Cheryl Dare6 years ago

Harry T: Thanks, so much. It's much clearer to me. I knew little except that the Sodom and Gomorrah story was definitely NOT about homosexuality. Although offering his daughters was a bit patriarchal.Defile a woman in those days and she was unmarriageable! A liability to the father in that time.