One of right-wing media's leading voices on what should or should not define the institution of marriage has said that same-sex marriage will lead to legalized incest and polygamy, and has argued instead for a definition of matrimony that requires women to consent to sex with their husbands as often as possible, regardless of their “mood.” Now the media figure -- talk-radio host Dennis Prager -- is being embraced by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).
Prager, a conservative talk show host, author, and contributor to National Review Online, will host a fundraiser on March 19 for McConnell, who is in the midst of a competitive reelection campaign against Democratic candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes. McConnell, who voted against closing the gender wage gap in 2012, is losing female voters by a large margin. Given Prager's history of inflammatory rhetoric on gender equality issues, McConnell's decision to attend a Prager-led fundraiser is an interesting demonstration of the weight of the conservative talker's influence in right-wing circles.
Indeed, Prager has been a leading voice in the conservative fight against marriage equality, and his views are often extreme. He has said that marriage equality will lead to the legalization of polygamy and incest and that tolerance of the LGBT community will lead to “fascism in America.” He compared the 2013 Supreme Court marriage equality ruling on Proposition 8 to the Egyptian military coup of the country's elected government.
In Prager's view, civil society will erode if we fail to enforce a strict definition of marriage as between one man and one woman. But what does Prager's vision of that institution actually look like?
The Hill highlighted a 2008 column in which Prager argued wives “ought to consent to at least some form of sexual relations as much as possible,” regardless of their “mood”:
Writing on TownHall.com in December of 2008, Prager compares a man's obligation to go to work, regardless of his “mood,” to a woman's obligation to have sex with her husband.
“Why would a loving, wise woman allow mood to determine whether or not she will give her husband one of the most important expressions of love she can show him? What else in life, of such significance, do we allow to be governed by mood?” he writes.
“What if your husband woke up one day and announced that he was not in the mood to go to work?”
He goes on to compare a wife's commitment to meeting the needs of their children or parents or friends even when not in the mood to having sex with her husband, asking that, because the woman is doing what's “right in those cases, rather than what their mood dictates,” “Why not apply this attitude to sex with one's husband?”
Prager also argued in 2011 that as a result of feminism, women squander the “decade or more during which [they] have the best chance to attract men” by instead being “preoccupied with developing a career.” Prager noted that women are “not programmed” to prefer a career over a husband and family, and that “most women without a man do worse in life than fish without bicycles.”
The fact that Prager still receives such high billing in conservative circles despite a record of such commentary is just more evidence that the right-wing gender war marches on.