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OPINION - After gay marriage, who's next?

by Chris Conley

NEWS BLOG (WSAU) Many pundits believe that Wisconsin's same-sex marriage ban is doomed. I agree. Judge Barbara Crabb's ruling from last Friday is unlikely to be overturned. It's entirely possible that the U.S. Supreme Court will allow gays to marry everywhere in the U.S.

So what comes next? Time Magazine says transgendered citizens are the next to stand up for more rights. Some states have anti-discrimination laws that exclude transgender; they will be challenged in court too.

Are we going down a path of bigamy or marrying their pets? The sands shifted quickly on gay marriage. It could for other groups too.

I think the next in line -- that is, the easiest argument to make when marriage-rights expand again -- is incest. If adult brothers and sisters, mothers and sons, etc have a consensual sexual relationship, what's the legal argument to keep them from marrying in this new post-gay-marriage world? Theres only one I can think of. The offspring from these relationships face potential health problems. And that's not an insurmountable hurdle. By allowing gays to marry, procreation is no longer a specific societal interest when people wed. All that remains is for society to change its attitude about what had been taboo. Just like we have, over time, with homosexuality.

I'm certain of this: once the gay marriage debate is settled, in my lifetime marriage rights will be extended to other groups too.

Chris Conley

Image:A gay couple hold hands during their symbolic wedding ceremony REUTERS via wsau.com