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Helpful tips for homophobic bigots, sodomy edition

Two men in Maine who oppose same sex marriage recently decided that the real problem with getting their fellow straight Americans to oppose marriage equality is that “same sex marriage” and “gay marriage” sound too cute and cuddly. And so they launched a Super PAC and asked their supporters to pledge to refer to same sex marriage as “Sodomy Based Marriage.”

Besides the hyphen-murder committed by their rebranding effort, their formulation rests on two immediately false assumptions: one, that some marriages are based on sex acts (or else they might call their own marriages “Vaginal Penetration Based Marriage”); and that sodomy is limited to either anal sex or any sex between two people of the same gender.

In fact, sodomy is any act of oral or anal sex in which two people of any gender formulation engage. In that, sodomy is like a rectangle and anal sex is like a square: high school geometry teaches us that every square is a rectangle, but not every rectangle is a square, because the definition of a rectangle encompasses many shapes, but a square is one specific kind of rectangle based on the length of its sides and its four 90-degree angles. Sodomy’s the same way.

By decrying sodomy — or, worse, limiting its use to same sex couples — these intrepid bigots are suggesting that any act of fellatio, cunnilingus or anal penetraion between consenting, opposite-gender adults creates an ungodly “Sodomy Based Marriage” that should not be recognized under the law. (Those limitations are, perhaps, why they refrain from referring to their own opposite-gender marriages as “Vaginal Penetration Based Marriages.”)

Their indictment of sodomy betrays either a fundamental misunderstanding of the definition of the word, or a fundamental misconception about the desires of many opposite sex couples, including married Christian ones, some of whom might even oppose marriage equality.

Given their lack of understanding of the definitions of basic sex acts — which this author got in her state-mandated health and sex education class the year after she took geometry — it probably comes as no surprise that the bigots behind the pledge also wish to stop “homosexual indoctrination into the curricula of our schools,” through which Maine children might themselves become acquainted with the actual meanings of words related to sex, including “sodomy.”

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Written by | Megan Carpentier

Megan Carpentier is the executive editor of Raw Story. She previously served as an associate editor at Talking Points Memo; the editor of news and politics at Air America; an editor at Jezebel.com; and an associate editor at Wonkette. Her published works include pieces for the Washington Post, the Washington Independent, Ms Magazine, RH Reality Check, the Women's Media Center, On the Issues, the New York Press, Bitch and Women's eNews.

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