As we already proved in this handy pie chart on gay marriage, the world will not end if two people of the same sex are allowed to get married. The only thing that will happen is that some gay men and lesbians will get (gasp!) married. (Maybe some of them will also get divorces and alimony and shared child custody, eventually, but let’s look on the bright side.)
So why is same-sex marriage still not legal in 45 states while other terrible acts and laws remain legal? Here’s a list of 10 such acts or laws that, despite being a hell of a lot worse than two people getting married, remain absolutely legal.
In several states, it is legal to own exotic pets such as tigers, bears, lions, and monkeys. No longer the territory of guys like Zigfried and Roy, apparently, there are enough exotic pet enthusiasts to warrant internet how-to’s. Exotic pet breeding is a flourishing industry, regardless of concerns for animal welfare or public health and safety. Many have clamored to illegally transport animals into the country in hopes of selling them for a large profit. Smuggling exotic pets is a $10 billion dollar a year industry, second only to drugs. Tens of thousands of dollars in ‘merchandise’ die slow and cruel deaths each year. Forced to travel hidden in cramped boxes or cages, improperly cared for, starved, and generally neglected, many smuggled animals such as the endangered Slow Loris (or even Tigers) suffer diseases and slowly die. Those who don’t die are often abandoned when their new owners realize keeping a Tiger requires more than kitty litter and Fancy Feast.
An epidemic of suicides last summer and autumn spotlighted a major problem faced by many teens: cyberbullying. The National Crime Prevention Council defines cyberbullying as “the process of using the Internet, cell phones or other devices to send or post text or images intended to hurt or embarrass another person.”
Cyberbullying is another issue in which advancing technology has outrun authorities’ ability to deal with it. Anonymity, free speech, and murky privacy laws all make trolling nearly impossible to prosecute. Because most cyberbullying takes place outside of school, administrations and teachers are at a loss as to how to prevent it, or punish it when it’s discovered. Parents have successfully sued school districts for failing to prevent such harassment, but otherwise, little legal action can be taken.
The Animal Welfare Act, put into law in 1966, prohibits cruelty of animals. However, the law itself is strangely narrow: birds, amphibians, reptiles, farm animals, and rodents bred for research are all exempt from the bill. This means that while mammalian pets are afforded legal protection, the vast majority of animals in the US are not. Factory farms, puppy mills, and animal experimentation all have horrific practices that would nauseate any sane person, though all of these practices are legal under the Animal Welfare Act.