Dear Prof. William A. Jacobson of Legal Insurrection sent me a heads-up on his latest post on Newsweek’s story on polyamory in its current issue. I didn’t notice in Newsweek’s story any call for polygamous marriages by the polyamory movement. Marriage is an option for them and it appears they are just consistent and organized about their extra-marital partners.
Somehow the Newsweek reporter finds an analogy between the polyamory movement, if there even is one, and the movement for equality by homosexuals, including marriage equality, because somehow gays and lesbians being able to be more open about their lives and keep their jobs, homes and families and not get killed for a being crime is just like the Internet making it possible for polyamorous groups to communicate with and validate one another. I do not quite understand why lesbians and gays being able to be more open about their lives is not just as analagous to people who love online role-playing games or re-enacting the Civil War being able to confess their forbidden passion openly and find one another, but whatever.
Prof. Jacobson notes:
The article is sure to re-ignite the slippery slope argument over gay marriage, that legalizing and institutionalizing gay marriage inevitably will lead to the requirement of similar treatment for polygamous groups of people.
It appears that, somehow, if homosexuals ever have equality and can legally marry, there is a slippery slope somewhere and everyone will slide down it into a heavenly meadow of sunshine and bliss where we will all have eternal love, enlightenment, ever-lasting joy and world peace.
I’m quite looking forward to it.
Oh, wait, I see now that the dear professor is saying OTHER people are saying that if two — and only two, really, that’s all we’re asking — same-sex persons can marry one another that we will immediately slide into an abyss of hell where anything goes, marriage-wise. I’m not sure why the law EVOLVES when we like where it’s going, but it has slippery slopes when we don’t, but there you are.
In Christian cults — they become religions, officially, once they are large enough to destroy any opposition, that’s how democracy works — that are on the make, so to speak, the very best strategy is polygamy because it’s the fastest way to take control of women’s reproductive capacity and produce babies to be brought up in the cult. Oh, and Muslims, I hear tell, here and there, are big on polygamy — same reason.
Christians who oppose homosexual equality and marriage equality for same-sex couples seem to me always to resort to the Bible and their particular religion’s dogma to make their case that the apparatus of the state should be appropriated to turn their religion’s teachings on marriage into the law of the land. This is their end-run around the case homosexuals make that homosexual equality is a civil rights issue on account of the 1,138 rights, privileges and protections provided under the law to married couples according to a 2004 report of the General Accounting Office of the U.S. Congress. No, no, they say. When we want to define as second class citizens an entire class of people we don’t like because they are unlikely to produce children to increase our power and wealth, that is not a civil rights issue as it was with blacks, no, no, that is a MORAL issue. This, by the way, is how blacks are sold on crushing another minority’s access to civil equality.
Well, it seems to me that the problem with constantly pointing to the Bible to define marriage is that polygamy is the dominant form of marriage in the Bible. So, if we fall down the slippery slope to legalize polygamous marriages, it will have nothing to do with homosexuals wanting equality as citizens, including all the civil rights that attend marriage equality and the right to marry a same-sex spouse. No. What is making that slope slippery is the insistence that marriage is defined by religion and pointing for proof to a book filled with polygamous marriages.
I really do not see how equality for homosexuals, including the right for same-sex couples to marry, has anything to do with the demands other groups might make.
If other groups do make demands to marry legally in some way not currently allowed, I wish to goodness they would argue their case on its own merits, which, I must add, have to be more compelling than saying, “No fair! The homosexuals got their marriages! Now it’s OUR turn!”
The Newsweek polyamory story quotes Andrew Sullivan drawing a pertinent distinction between the rationale for homosexual marriage equality and polygamy (which, by the way, is not the same as polyamory): “I believe that someone’s sexual orientation is a deeper issue than the number of people they want to express that orientation with.” This is another way of saying that homosexuality is not a choice, but polygamy is, so there is no comparably compelling reason to legalize polygamy. I agree.
I personally oppose polygamy because it is a type of marriage where women are property. Also, it really is used to exploit women and children to gain wealth and power rapidly. Legalizing polygamy would be a fast way to use democracy to destroy itself. I would expect a wave of new Christian sects embracing polygamy to build the power of their charismatic leaders. Women would lose their equality and rights as persons and become legally more like livestock. Again.
I also would expect that legalized polygamy would make us no more than two generations from becoming a Muslim country because of the enormous advantage democracy confers on groups like Islam that approve of polygamy, consider women to be property and ruthlessly control women’s reproductive capabilities.
But mostly, if I were worried about polygamy being at the bottom of a homosexual equality slippery slope, I would not have made the footing at the top so treacherous by insisting that everybody has to stand on all those copies of that book with the polygamous marriages in it.