Social conservatives love to bemoan the disintegration of traditional values. Women in the workplace, babies born out of wedlock, a black man in the White House.
And then, of course, there is the greatest threat of all, the threat that could destroy the sacred institution of opposite marriage forever: gays and lesbians exchanging rings, registering at Macy’s, and committing to love each other forever. Horror of horrors!
In 2004, “values voters” flocked to the polls to ban gay marriage in 11 states, heeding the call by President Bush to protect the “most enduring human institution, honored and encouraged in all cultures and by every religious faith.”
Never mind that, as Nate Silver recently noted, divorce rates are actually higher in states that have banned gay marriage. Meanwhile, Massachusetts has the lowest divorce rate in the country, a divorce rate that has declined 21 percent since legalizing gay marriage in 2004.
And never mind that Alaska, the first state to ban gay marriage, has seen the highest increase in the divorce rate. As we all know, facts have a liberal bias.
It’s touching that social conservatives are so concerned with protecting the sanctity of marriage. Like thrice-married, admitted adulterer Newt Gingrich — who dumped his first wife, while she was recovering from cancer, to marry his mistress, whom he then dumped when she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, so he could marry his intern. Despite doing his personal best to drive up divorce rates, Newt knows that the real enemy of traditional marriage is the “gay and secular fascism in this country that wants to impose its will on the rest of us.”
Or Senator John Ensign, who supported the Federal Marriage Amendment Act because “marriage is the cornerstone on which our society was founded.” Apparently, a second, lesser-known cornerstone on which our society was founded is the ancient practice of getting your parents to pay off your mistress’s husband. Ah, tradition.
Or Senator David Vitter, a chief proponent and sponsor of the 2006 senate bill to ban gay marriage, who claimed that gay marriage has been as devastating for the nation as Hurricane Katrina and said that defending marriage is the most important issue ever. Naturally, when he talked about defending marriage, he meant defending it from homosexuality — not from, say, cheating on your wife with prostitutes you pay to dress you in diapers.
Or everyone’s favorite governor-in-love and Appalachian trail hiker, Mark Sanford, the great defender of marriage against presidential blowjobs and, of course, gay marriage.
The list of conservatives so concerned with protecting marriage goes on and on and on. But perhaps they would be more successful in defending marriage from these oh-so-dangerous threats if they turned their attention away from gay marriage and instead focused on a potentially bigger threat: the internet.
Yes, the internet.
A recent study conducted by a law firm that specializes in divorce claims that Facebook is responsible for 20 percent of divorces. Twenty percent! Married and bored, people are looking up old flames, remembering the good old days, and bam! Before they know it, they’re texting and sexting and sneaking around, just like they did in high school. And it’s wreaking havoc on the most sacred of institutions.
Online dating sites are big business, with tens of millions of members, and it’s only getting bigger. A 20 percent increase in users at Match.com last month. Same for eHarmony the month before. In fact, membership in online dating services is skyrocketing.
And with the explosion of online dating comes all the specialty dating websites. Dating websites for Jews. For liberals. For conservatives. For Indian transsexuals. For beautiful people — although if you gain weight over the holidays, you could be axed.
And then there are sites like AshleyMadison.com, the #1 dating site for married people. Yes. You read that right. A dating site for married people.
Ashley Madison is the world’ s #1 Married Dating service specifically for ATTACHED men and women who are looking to have an Extra-marital Affair.
If you’re looking to have a Discreet Affair use Ashley Madison – the ONLY certified Married Dating service that’ s been featured on Oprah, Larry King, 20/20, Ellen DeGeneres, Dr. Phil and Howard Stern.
Ooh, do you think it’s one of Oprah’s favorite things?
The tagline at AshleyMadison.com? “Life is short, have an affair.” No, really. But Noel Biderman, the founder of Ashley Madison, actually claims that his site is saving marriages. Biderman, a married family man who describes himself as monogamous (place your bets here), started his site in 2001 — with permission from his then-fiancé, of course.
Despite the favor Biderman thinks he’s doing for married couples everywhere, these sites that cater to married men and women who are looking for a little something extra may be doing more harm than good.
In 2004, Newsweek reported on the phenomena of an increase in married women cheating on their husbands, assisted, of course, by the internet.
Along with its 4 million porn sites, the Internet has exploded with sites specifically for people who want to cheat on their spouses–sites like “Married and Flirting” at Yahoo, “a chat room dedicated to those who are married but curious, bored or both!!” These sites contain all the predictable pornographic overtures, but also such poignant notes as this: “Ok, I know it is late almost 11:30 my time and I am still up on this pitiful Friday night. Hubby STILL at work.”
Bored? Lonely? Neglected? Snowed in?
IllicitEncounters.com, which provides a platform for married people to conduct affairs, said on Wednesday it has seen an unexpected increase in visitors over the past 24 hours, and received a record number of new profiles on Wednesday morning.
The website said most new members are registering from areas worst hit by this week’s extreme weather, including Hampshire, Berkshire, and the West Country, and the site has taken on several temporary staff members to cope with the rush.
Social conservatives, who often decry government intrusion into their private lives and yet clamor for intrusion into the private lives of others, are awfully obsessed with the mythical sanctity of marriage. They like to pretend that monogamous, heterosexual marriage is and always has been the cornerstone of civilization. It isn’t true, of course. The Bible — that book they love to cite as historical fact — is rife with polygamous marriages. And as much as they love to claim that Jesus himself said marriage is between one man and one woman, Jesus traveled around with a dozen other men and never settled down with a nice, Jewish girl. (And his parents weren’t exactly the model of conventional marriage either.) That very same Bible also recommends the death penalty for adulterers, but thus far, none of the social conservatives in Congress have proposed that bill.
If social conservatives are really so concerned with protecting the sanctity of marriage, they could stop divorcing their sick wives for their younger mistresses. They could cut back on the hiking. They could stop paying prostitutes to dress them in diapers. Instead of wasting energy on amendments that are correlated with increased divorce rates, they might want to look into that whole internet thing.
After all, as disgraced former Senator Ted Stevens taught us:
The internet is not something you just dump something on. It’s not a truck. It’s a series of tubes.
And that series of tubes (which is not a truck) just might destroy your marriage.