In this thread, jtgain opines
In my opinion, this is not the worst analogy in the history of analogies, and I feel comfortable saying so only because I recognize the splendorous bounty of the universe–surely somewhere, somehow, someone has come up with a worse analogy. In that thread, jtgain brought this analogy up repeatedly with no clear recognition of the critiques raised against it, until finally a moderator made him stop. He then complained in ATMB, at which point I suggested a new thread might be in order where the terrible analogy could be put out of its misery (or perhaps jtgain could muster a truly brilliant defense of it that would make everybody change their minds about how awful it is).
So here’s the thread.
-Although it is arguably a change to the word’s meaning to say that two men can be “married” to one another, everyone can recognize what the word means in this case. There’s no mystery about how it would work: it’s just the application of the word to new circumstances.
-A contract is necessarily an agreement between two parties. We could change the law such that minors could sign contracts, and that would equally be a change to the word’s meaning, but it’d be obvious what it meant under those circumstances. If I propose a law that says a ten-year-old’s signature on a contract is legally binding, there’s very little confusion about the effect of the law.
-A washing machine cannot consent to anything. Suggesting that someone could enter into a marriage contract with a washing machine means changing the word “contract” into something wholly unrecognizable. What on earth would that mean?
-The laws around marriage, including taxes, custody, inheritance, spousal benefits through various programs, etc., easily adapt to SSM. It is wholly opaque what it would mean if a washing machine were a partner in a marriage. Does the washing machine’s warranty apply to its spouse? If the human throws out the washing machine, is it entitled to alimony payments? If the human’s children stop coming to school, is the washing machine a custodial parent who can be charged with aiding truancy?
jtgain’s basic idea appears to be that any change whatsoever to a word’s meaning is equivalent to any other change to any other word’s meaning. This is a profoundly foolish idea.