New York — Traditional-marriage defenders claim that gay marriage jeopardizes husbands and wives. It’s as if when two Massachusetts men wed, they exchange 24-karat-gold crow bars, all the better to pry straight couples apart.
Former Senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) has said that same-sex marriage “threatens my marriage. It threatens all marriages.” Mixed-sex-matrimony guru Maggie Gallagher wrote on Townhall.com last June 20, “If the word ‘marriage’ can be redefined as a civil rights imperative, why balk at lesser ideas like ‘monogamy’ or ‘fidelity’?”
But as outspoken as these and other social conservatives are about Allen and Steve’s clear and present danger to Adam and Eve, they have held their peace about an enterprise that profits from adultery.
AshleyMadison.com calls itself a “dating site specifically designed to help married people cheat on their spouses.” Its slogan is “Life’s short. Have an affair.” It boasts 3.5 million registered users, among whom some 400,000 active members each pay up to $249 quarterly. Participants post photographs and profiles and seek other husbands and wives itching for extra-marital copulation.
“We made tens of millions of dollars” last year, company president Noel Biderman says from its Toronto base. “We are very profitable and successful.”
Surely AshleyMadison.com has enough shame to conduct its shady business in the shadows. Wrong! AshleyMadison.com advertises on CNN, ESPN, NBC, and even the conservative-leaning Fox News Channel.
Its current TV ad features a lady in a restaurant whose monstrous dinner companion yaps into his cell phone, hushes her when she tries to talk, ogles another woman, and eventually says, “Happy anniversary, honey,” before sauntering alone out the door. This disenchanted wife eyes a sympathetic gentleman on a barstool and smiles alluringly at him.
This woman clearly is empathetic. Her boorish husband deserves to have his cell phone pulverized with the chef’s rolling pin.
If this ad discouraged spousal self-absorption, it would be a home run. Ditto if it promoted marriage counseling, or suggested that everyone exercise extreme caution before picking a spouse. But something completely different is for sale.
Even a business this depraved should remain free to operate. But it should be humiliated, and shunned. Viewers should ask TV networks that broadcast this website’s ads if they are proud to share in the spoils of infidelity.
Socio-cons should stop theorizing about gay marriage’s supposed danger to straight matrimony and instead denounce this insidious assault on that institution.
Even if same-sex marriage undermined conventional marriage, this would be by unintended consequence, not deliberate broadside. Straight-marriage advocates’ obsession with gay marriage versus their quietude about AshleyMadison.com is like declaring a War on Toasters that might malfunction and ignite, but ignoring arsonists who toss lit flares around Malibu during a Santa Ana wind.
According to the Nexis database, key gay-marriage foes are mum about AshleyMadison.com.
Over the last six months, for example, Rick Santorum appeared in 22 stories that mention “gay marriage,” but in zero citing AshleyMadison.com. Maggie Gallagher materialized in 41 gay-marriage stories and zero on AshleyMadison.com. Former governor Willard Mitt Romney’s (R-Mass.) numbers are 276-0, respectively. For Focus on the Family, the score is 389-0. All of the above were absent from the 67 Nexis-archived stories on AshleyMadison.com between September 5, 2008 and March 5, 2009.
Clearly, straight-marriage fans fret about what two men wearing wedding bands might do to a man and women with rings on their fingers. Whether this concern is scientific or superstitious, surely they must acknowledge that seeing Bob and Steve together in a porch swing is trivial compared to Adam mounting his new AshleyMadison.com adulteress as Eve waits at home, watches dinner grow cold, and wonders why on Earth he’s so late.
Conversely, if Adam caught Eve cavorting on the kitchen counter with her new AshleyMadison.com buddy, that would not be a blow for marriage.
AshleyMadison.com is a genuine threat to traditional matrimony. That’s where those who claim to defend that institution should aim their fire.
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