The marriage of Ben and Candy Carson is a perfect union. It is a normal car seat for a toddler.
My marriage is atypical and unnecessarily complicated. It is an abnormal car seat that has been manufactured to accommodate conjoined twins.
These odd analogies appear in the new book A More Perfect Union, written by Dr. Carson and his wife. Here is an excerpt:
Laws and regulations should be designed to address normal situations while providing special mechanisms for the creation of exceptions in abnormal situations. Changing the law governing the normal situation in order to accommodate the abnormal situation is like requiring that car seats be designed to accommodate conjoined twins as well as anatomically normal children. The more sensible thing would be to require car seats to accommodate typical children and design special car seats for atypical children as needed. This principle can be applied to a host of situations in our nation. For example, most people are heterosexual, and changing the definition of marriage to suit those outside that definition is unnecessarily complicated.
Dr. Carson was an accomplished surgeon who has separated conjoined twins. Perhaps he feels that he has some expertise when using this imagery?
Conjoined twins are extremely rare. Estimates are that 1 in every 200,000 births result in this phenomenon. Gay people are not so rare. A recent survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 1 in 50 adults identify as gay or bisexual. And that number may be low. Historical statistics have estimated that as many as 1 in 10 may be gay.
I have some experience with rarity myself. I am the owner of two dogs that have two legs each. One has front legs, the other has back legs. That is rare. When I take them for walks (they use wheeled carts), people stop, stare, point, ask questions, snap pictures, take videos. For most people, seeing a two-legged dog is as rare as meeting conjoined twins.
When I am not with my dogs, my husband and I are not a rare sight. Gay married couples are becoming commonplace. No one is snapping our picture and rushing home to show their family the unusual sight they encountered. The only people that might stop and point at us would be, say, Kim Davis or someone at Chick-fil-A. But those are fingers of condemnation, which is something else entirely.
Maybe some visuals from my personal photo album will help Dr. Carson understand:
These things are rare: conjoined twins, a 2-legged dog, a pink dolphin, a Harvest-Super-Blood-Moon, a Trump apology, a 100-carat diamond, a qualified and competent Republican presidential candidate.
These things are not rare: apples, Starbucks, homosexuals, internet cat videos, provocative and bullheaded statements from Ben Carson.
Dr. and Mrs. Carson's language choices are alarming and divisive. In the short excerpt from their book, heterosexuals are painted as the normal, typical and sensible majority. Homosexuals are abnormal, atypical, special, exceptional, unnecessary and complicated outsiders.
The statements are consistent with Dr. Carson's other thoughts on homosexuality. This week, he declared that "intact, traditional families with traditional, intact values" have more value than others families and that we should "stop pretending that everything is of equal value." He has said that being gay is "absolutely" a choice and cites prisoners who engage in gay sex as his proof. He has been "irritated" by comparisons between gay rights and civil rights. He compared homosexuality to bestiality and pedophilia, but then tried to clarify his statement with another obtuse analogy. In an MSNBC interview, he stated: "Just, you know, if you ask me for apple and I give you an orange you would say, well that's not an orange. And then I say, that's a banana, that's not an apple either. And there's a peach, that's not an apple, either. But it doesn't mean that I'm equating the banana and the orange and the peach."
With statements like these, Ben Carson has a snowball's chance in hell when it comes to winning over gay voters. For the analogy-impaired (like Dr. Carson), that means "little to no likelihood for success."