Polygamy

Parts of Anti-Polygamy Law in Utah Ruled Unconstitutional by Federal Judge

Thanks to reality television

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what can brown do for you?
TLC

A federal judge with the US District Court in Utah ruled portions of the state's anti-polygamy law unconstitutional, effectively decriminalizing the practice of polygamous cohabitation. The Salt Lake Tribune explains:

[Judge Clark] Waddoups' ruling attacks the parts of Utah's law making cohabitation illegal. In the introduction, Waddoups says the phrase "or cohabits with another person" is a violation of both the First and 14th amendments. Waddoups later writes that while there is no "fundamental right" to practice polygamy, the issue really comes down to "religious cohabitation." In the 1800s — when the mainstream LDS Church still practiced polygamy — "religious cohabitation" in Utah could have actually resulted in "multiple purportedly legal marriages." Today, however, simply living together doesn't amount to being "married," Waddoups writes.

So polygamists in Utah can't apply for multiple marriage licenses, but neither can they be prohibited from living together as (generally) husband and wives.

In not ruling to overturn Utah's anti-polygamy law in whole, the judge argued that the plaintiffs hadn't proven the 1973 statute was a successor law to the patently anti-Mormon laws that preceded it. From the ruling:

As far as bigamy is concerned, therefore, it has not been sufficiently established that the Statute is necessarily a continuation of the federal government's nineteenth-century legislation at issue in Reynolds and Late Corp. It would be ludicrous to suggest that the federal legislation at issue in those cases did not specifically target the LDS Church and its practice of polygamy. If it had been sufficiently established and argued that the Statute was an extension of that legislation, the court would likely be pressed to find it is therefore not a neutral law of general applicability on that basis and would be required to apply strict scrutiny to the polygamy part of the law as well,

The case was brought to court by Kody Brown, who is married, lives with, and has children with four wives, and whose family is featured in TLC's Sister Wives. Most polygamists' lifestyles are not as public as the Browns', so the issue may not have come to a head absent the reality show. Connor Boyack of the libertarian Libertas Institute in Utah explains:

"With rare exceptions like Kody Brown and his wives, most polygamists throughout Utah have been living under a shroud of secrecy, forced into the shadows because the government has historically considered their lifestyle to be criminal activity. Today marks a new beginning, and an important invalidation of an unjust law."

"While child brides, abuse, and other problematic activities should be dealt with and appropriately prosecuted, consenting adults in a plural relationship should not be threatened with punitive action. Judge Waddoups' ruling will help integrate these communities into society so that when abuse does occur, it will be more willingly reported and investigated."

You can read the whole ruling, via the Libertas Institute, here (pdf).

Reason's Scott Shackford explained last year how the expansion of the legal definition of marriage (and, ultimately, the regulatory structure around it) will help make the libertarian case for pulling marriage and voluntary relations between two (or more!) people out of the realm of government, something this ruling is likely to contribute to as well.

NEXT: Nitin Rao on India's Wrong Moves Against Gay Rights

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  1. The reasoning seems largely effed up to me, but the result is bang on. The state can prohibit (itself) from issuing bigamous marriage licenses, but has no authority to regulate the living arrangements of competent adults.

    Interesting how this lines up with gay marriage. On the one hand, it makes pretty clear that you can duplicate marriage without a license and the state can’t touch it. On the other hand, it stands for the proposition that issuing a license is not a strict scrutiny activity of the state.

    1. The reasoning seems largely effed up to me, but the result is bang on. The state can prohibit (itself) from issuing bigamous marriage licenses, but has no authority to regulate the living arrangements of competent adults.

      Yep. The reason this law is atrocious is the italicized section:

      Waddoups says the phrase “or cohabits with another person”

      The argument against this phrase is spot on. You can’t outlaw people from cohabitating with anyone.

      1. Hey Irish, OT, but were you the one a couple weeks back who took down someone arguing that Walmart should spread its exec pay around to help its workers? I remember you (I think) pointing out that if Walmart devoted all its profits AND exec pay evenly to its employees, that it would only amount to a few thousand dollars.

        If that was you, I’m just wondering where you got the numbers from. I was telling this to my wife but when I tried to look up the numbers online, I saw “income per employee” for Walmart quoted at around $12,000. I’m just curious about where the difference comes in (maybe it is just in my memory…)

        1. That’s a pretty simple answer: My numbers were wrong and I accidentally took quarterly earnings instead of yearly.

          The point still stands though. If Walmart took massive amounts of their profits and devoted it to employees, it would kill shareholder dividends, Walmart stock would collapse, and they’d be incapable of raising revenue for expansion. Plus, that’s talking about TOTAL Walmart profit. If Wal Mart cut their profits in half tomorrow, they’d be able to give a couple grand to each employee while destroying their future viability as a company.

          People who shriek about the need for Walmart to pay a ‘living wage’ always seem to forget about the shareholders who are overall not super rich folk and would take a bath in pursuit of the leftist’s utopia.

          Left wingers are basically arguing that we should obliterate future American competitiveness in favor of one time, transitory gains for current workers that won’t be able to continue due to the destruction of capital accumulation necessary for economic expansion.

          I admit my numbers were wrong in that case, but it doesn’t really matter when you consider the economics of the issue, the shareholders, and the need for capital accumulation.

          My point about executive pay was completely accurate though. All the top executives at Walmart combine for about $60 million dollars a year. Take every penny from them and you’ve given Wal Mart floor workers a staggering $60 raise.

          1. Thanks. I agree your point is absolutely valid. And even $12,000 isn’t that much money. That wouldn’t even be enough to get most people out of debt.

    2. The reasoning seems largely effed up to me

      Not sure what you mean by this. The judge seems to have correctly interpreted the law and Constitution by saying that the state has the power to define what forms of marriage it will or will not legally recognize, while saying individuals can privately deem themselves married in a private ceremony and that the state is prohibited from interfering by the 1st Amendment.

      If you’re saying it’s fucked up that the state discriminates at all against poly versus non-poly couples due to the underlying religious beliefs of Mormon legislators in Utah, then fine, I’m with you there.

      1. Just as an example:

        He writes that there is no fundamental right to cohabitation, but that as long as its religiously motivated, that’s cool.

        Seriously? You don’t have the right to live with who you want to live with unless you have religious sanction to do so?

        That’s what I mean by effed up.

        1. Well, he said polygamy, which I assume is an actual sanctioned marriage. I didn’t interpret that as saying that cohabitation was only OK when there is a religious motivation.

        2. He writes that there is no fundamental right to cohabitation, but that as long as its religiously motivated, that’s cool.

          Can you quote the actual language from the ruling that says that? You may be misinterpreting what he said, since the following language seems to be saying (almost) the opposite, except that I would disagree that treating poly versus non-poly differently is hardly “neutral” or of “general applicability”.

          “the court would likely be pressed to find it is therefore not a neutral law of general applicability on that basis and would be required to apply strict scrutiny to the polygamy part of the law as well”

          I would interpret a “fundamental right to cohabitation” to mean that Cody Brown (or any other poly) has the right to openly reside in the same house with his many wives and have sex with them and not be subjected to arrest or other legal punishment for doing so — which this ruling says he can do.

    3. All this government sanctioning of who can live with whom goes back to 1630s Massachusetts Bay Colony, at least for the English speaking world. No, it did not start in England, their government took about a century to catch up, as it were.

      The French waited until after their revolution to mimic this particular church power within their law. Not sure why, but all sorts of libertarian Francophiles graft that lineage into the American experience.

      Until you get government out of the marriage licensing business, you will continue to have these injustices.

      1. Until you get government out of the marriage licensing business, you will continue to have these injustices.

        THIS.

    4. The state can prohibit (itself) from issuing bigamous marriage licenses,

      What bothers me is, since this is clearly so, why the felony criminalization? Do they not check?

      1. It is because the lawmakers believe that the actual conduct is harmful to society.

  2. BTW, while researching a totally unrelated topic, I noticed that AZ explicitly prohibits gay marriage. The statute struck me as ideal for a Constitutional test case on equal protection.

  3. help make the libertarian case for pulling marriage and voluntary relations between two (or more!) people out of the realm of government, something this ruling is likely to contribute to as well

    Uh, oh, Scott. Now the usual suspects can’t whine about gay marriage constantly and how you aren’t trying to eventually completely separate marriage from the state. I’m sure they’re going to be disappointed. How will they disingenuously try to pretend not to be homophobes now?

    1. Unless you’re going with a “the worse the better” backlash, I don’t think there’s anything going on in the courts or legislators that actually pulls marriage out of the realm of government.

      In fact, its going the other way. SCOTUS and miscellaneous other courts are leveraging gay marriage into treating gay people as a protected class, which works as an expansion of government, not a contraction.

      1. You’re missing the point. The constant whine from the usual suspects is that people who think that gays should at least be equal aren’t interested in the best possible outcome, which is a complete separation of the marriage and the state. It’s a disingenuous, sleazy argument and Scott states in this post that the ultimate objective is in fact to get the state out of the marriage business (as difficult as that may be). It’s just that getting the state out of marriage is going to be an extremely difficult project and will potentially take a long time to succeed, so in the meantime a little equality would be nice.

        1. Oops, it’s Ed, not Scott. My bad, but my point remains exactly the same.

          1. That’s you’re whining about whiners? Yeah.

            I find it hilarious that you were so eager to shoot your load that you couldn’t even point your stupid crybabying at the proper target.

        2. I agree that getting the state out of marriage is a long and difficult process.

          However, in our current system, achieving “equality” means “creating a new protected class”, which is moving in the wrong direction, IMO.

          1. No it doesn’t, it’s just that some people are trying to make it so, which is unfortunate. That still doesn’t take away the fact that equality is the right thing to strive for in our current system. Just because some bad actors are exploiting it doesn’t change anything. Your argument is really that because some people are trying to make a protected class, equality is therefore to be thrown out the window?

            I guess the perfect really is the enemy of the good.

            1. No it doesn’t, it’s just that some people are trying to make it so.

              And those are the people I am referring to when I say “in our current system.”

              Equality is the right thing to strive for, no question. However, little of the current striving involves shrinking government. Instead, it all seems to be aimed at growing it.

              What I want to throw out the window isn’t equality, its the bastardization of equality into the definition of protected classes and the granting of special privileges to such classes. But that’s our current system, as run by the activists, judges, etc. who claim to be striving for equality.

            2. However, in our current system, achieving “equality” means “creating a new protected class”, which is moving in the wrong direction, IMO.

              I’d say the first clause of this sentence is technically correct. Currently hetero marriages are a protected class everywhere, and gay marriages are becoming a smilarly protected class bit by bit one jurisdiction at a time, leaving still other arrangements (poly groups or couples who don’t want to have to beg the state for recognition of their relationship) legally discriminated against.

              If a protected class (or classes) encompasses 99% of the populace at the expense of the remaining 1%, its still a (really large) protected class.

              The latter part of the italicized quote above might or might not be disingenuous — you’d have to be able to see into someone’s heart to see if their opposition was rooted in homophobia or hatred of the state.

              1. Currently hetero marriages are a protected class everywhere

                Are they? Because the usual listings of protected class don’t refer to married status, hetero or otherwise.

                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protected_class

                1. Currently hetero marriages are a protected class everywhere

                  Are they? Because the usual listings of protected class don’t refer to married status, hetero or otherwise.

                  I’m not talking about someone’s listings on Wikipedia or elsewhere, I’m talking about actual laws that make hetero marriages a protected class subject to legal protections not available to other classes.

                  1. I’m not talking about someone’s listings on Wikipedia or elsewhere, I’m talking about actual laws that make hetero marriages a protected class

                    IOW, you don’t have any actual clue what “protected class” means in the context of civil rights laws and decided to graft it onto a completely unrelated legal construct.

              2. ” Currently hetero marriages are a protected class everywhere”

                You are hallucinating, just being created in law doesn’t mean protected. In fact most regulations which affect individuals with regard to marriage at all impose a marriage penalty.

          2. You’re a closet homophobe then. Epi has spoken.

            1. It’s good that you understand how things work around here. Eventually, you might be taken seriously. Keep at it.

              1. I mean it’s just really good to see that while the beliefs of the Left haven’t stuck in your mind, the arguments have.

                One can oppose gay marriage without being a bigot. I think on balance that there will be more liberty with gay marriage expanded, not less. But I can see how someone might have the opposite opinion, and I wouldn’t accuse them of bigotry without cause.

                Or to put it simply, someone who opposes gay marriage because “THE HOMOSEXUALS WILL BE TRICKING OUR SUPPLE YOUTH INTO GHEYNESS” is different from someone who opposes gay marriage because “on balance, I think the expansion of protected classes further erodes freedom of association. Freedom includes the freedom to be wrong.”

                1. Sure. And you’ll note that I did not accuse RC of being homophobic (I would have used the term “you” instead of “the usual suspects”), but both he and you got sensitive about it and assumed I was talking about you. There are principled arguments to be made for not wanting to create protected classes, and you guys are making them.

                  But the fact of the matter is that there is also a contingent of commenters here who are homophobic (considering some of them have literally said “I hate gays” on this very forum) but who cloak themselves in the language that you and RC are using. My original comment was directed at them. It’s too bad that you felt yourself to be caught up in that, but it wasn’t directed towards you.

                2. I think it depends on if they’re being genuine about their arguments and not using them because arguing for liberty is less repulsive to your average person than saying that a shadowy cabal of gays is coming for your kids. I usually switch from believing that it’s a good faith argument when I find out someone has a state marriage license lying around, or if they use the phrase “you people think…”

                  1. I usually switch from believing that it’s a good faith argument when I find out someone has a state marriage license lying around

                    I don’t think that is a good indicator of good faith or not. I have a state marriage license with my wife from whom I am informally separated. I would like to be able to make my GF happy by marrying her, without the stress and expense of dumping $100K plus into a divorce.

                    It’s like saying someone has to own a gun to REALLY favor a gun rights for others.

                    Currently married people can be your allies in wanting full equality — don’t dis them for being hetero and married.

                    1. Currently married people can be your allies in wanting full equality — don’t dis them for being hetero and married.

                      I have nothing against people who are hetero and married. I’ve had liberal friends proudly tell me they were waiting to get married until it was legal for me to and I’ve told them they’re being silly and to go get married.

                      I do have a problem when people tell argue that there is either no benefit to marriage that can’t be accomplished through contracts, or who see gay marriage as some kind of straw that will break America’s back, but are themselves married with a legally valid marriage license. The marriage license itself doesn’t bother me, it’s the idea that it was good enough for you at some point, but it is wrong for me at every point.

                    2. I do have a problem when people tell argue that there is either no benefit to marriage that can’t be accomplished through contracts

                      If they are arguing that you should have the exact same legal rights as them — pay the same tax rates, have the same hospital visitation privileges, be able to have your partner immigrate from another country to live with you, and in every other legal situation be able to have courts treat you the same as them — then they are on your side but dealing with a lot of cognitive dissonance, and should be treated gently and nudged the last little bit.

                      If they break out a “but” or “except for” in the list of legal rights, then you can assume at least a little bad faith.

                    3. I can treat them less gently if I’m told I should wait for some future libertopia where the government has no power of subpoena and we have open borders while they continue to benefit from immigration and 5th amendment protections?

                    4. I drove on state roads too.

                      Its the same fucking thing.

                      I also went to public school. And a state university.

                    5. Did you drive on state roads while arguing that others shouldn’t be able to until they’re all private roads?

                      I don’t think your analogy is that great.

                    6. I drive on state roads (not sure how the “o” got in there), while also advocating privatizing them and opposing building of new ones. Even new ones in places that would equalize things for the residents there.

                      The analogy is pretty fucking exact.

                      I also will cash social security checks while opposing the program, and favoring cutting it off for anyone born after year XXXX (where XXXX may be either before or after I was born).

                      The analogy is pretty fucking exact.

                    7. The analogy is pretty fucking exact.

                      With that additional information, absolutely. We’ll never agree on this since I prefer that the state and marriage be divorced*, but don’t see any kind of even large minority lining up behind that policy, so prefer gay marriage in the meantime.

                      *I preface just about every statement of support for gay marriage with that when talking with friends/family/strangers IRL.

                    8. With that additional information, absolutely.

                      That additional information is fucking default assumption. I dont know where you have been.

                      I pointed it out the last time we had this disagreement. Maybe you will remember it for next time.

                      I dont see any kind of even large minority lining up behind privatizing the interstate highway system either, but that doesnt mean I support new interstates to currently unsupported areas. Or bridges to nowhere.

                    9. I also will cash social security checks while opposing the program,

                      Why do you oppose the program? Do you consider wealth transfers immoral? Why? The fact that the government will be basically stealing the money for those SS checks doesn’t matter? You “paid in” so two wrongs make a right? Why the rationalization of evil?

                      If the only way you could collect your SS was to, legally, collect it at gunpoint would you still do it? There would be no threat of any type of sanction against you for holding the gun in your own hand. Would you stand, gun in hand, as those low paying workers cashed their checks so you could get your “cut”?

                      If you are going to steal based upon the idea that two wrongs make a right, why not rob a bank? You are probably smart enough to pull it off.

                      What makes stealing through government moral? As long as a little NewSpeak is applied, it isn’t really stealing?

                    10. privatizing state roads would be theft from everyone.
                      Public roads belong to the public, and there IS such a thing as public property. See: that norwegian or whatever chick who won the nobel prize in economics I think for her work on economics visavis the commons.
                      It just stands to reason, if property rights give me the right to give my property to someone, then I have the right to give it to everyone one. This is what developers do when they build roads.

                      A private owner could ban people from roads they don’t like and make their own policies. I reiterate privatizing public roads would be stealing.

                      If you mean you want to privatize the ADMINISTRATION/upkeep/funding/management/etc. of the roads, then we’re all hunky dory. I’ve often thought of various schemes as to how that could be done, as local roads provide a particular challenge: how would the roads be divvied up into sections?

                    11. others shouldn’t be able to

                      Im “fine” with everyone using our current marriage laws. I just dont want new laws.

                  2. It’s pretty easy to tell who is arguing in good faith and who isn’t. Their mask always slips, and usually quite quickly. And if you remember certain poster’s past comments, then you already know a number of them as well.

        3. The constant whine from the usual suspects is that people who think that gays should at least be equal aren’t interested in the best possible outcome, which is a complete separation of the marriage and the state.

          Actually, almost no one, liberals or socons or even minarchists, is interested in what you and I consider the best possible outcome. They just have different reasons for wanting government interference in what should be a completely private arrangement, other than treating any contractual arrangements like any other enforceable private contract.

          1. Yes, I know. It’s very tiresome, and why the usual suspects cloaking themselves in the language of liberty while actually just being pissed off that the hated gays might get some rights that they didn’t have is so annoying.

            1. Not as annoying as listening to you whine about them whining.

        4. Equality at the cost of an increase in government power.

          No thank you.

          I will take liberty over equality every day.

          1. Except “liberty” is not being taken away, unless we are talking about anti-discrimination laws, which are not the same thing, even if most of the people who support them also support gay marriage.

            1. In the same sense the “liberty” is not being taken away by universalizing any other government licensing scheme.

        5. It’s just that getting the state out of marriage is going to be an extremely difficult project and will potentially take a long time to succeed, so in the meantime a little equality would be nice.

          Speaking of disingenuous arguments…

          You can’t have “a little equality”. You’ve either got equality or you don’t. Expanding a privileged group by 1 does not equality make, and in no other area of government privilege-granting is expansion of the privilege to a few more people considered a step in the right direction in libertarian orthodoxy.

        6. “The constant whine from the usual suspects”

          Your second whine about them.

      2. I see no reason why gays should be a protected class and not polygamist Mormons.

        The entire reason Utah exists is because Mormons faced violent persecution and discrimination in other states. Such a minority, who hold religious views outside the mainstream, would undoubtedly face discrimination were they to move elsewhere.

        1. The entire reason Utah exists is because Mormons faced violent persecution and discrimination in other states.

          Well, one of the reasons Mormons faced violent persecutions was because the Mormon church actually advocated violent skirmishes with anti-Mormon locals and Brigham Young was involved in a bunch of murders.

          Mormons in Utah butchered 120 immigrants from Arkansas, possibly at the orders of Brigham Young.

          That’s obviously not true of Mormonism anymore, which is also why Mormons wouldn’t face violent persecution anywhere in the US in 2013.

          1. You’re putting the cart before the horse there Irish. Mountain Meadows came decades after the pogroms and expulsions which brought the Mormons to Utah in the first place.

            1. Mountain Meadows came decades after the pogroms and expulsions which brought the Mormons to Utah in the first place.

              Yes, but the Mormon church had a long history of using violence just as frequently as their persecutors.

              Plus, the Mormons were never persecuted by the 120 people they murdered at Mountain Meadows. They were Arkansans headed for California and a good portion of them were women and children.

              1. Right but the Mormon church never advocated violence in Missouri or Illinois. After they were driven from their homes, and after their people were killed by mobs, that’s when they got militant.

                It’s not to be condoned, but it’s understandable. “They started it” does not absolve the Mormons, but it is an important part of the historical context.

                1. At some point “they started it” becomes “self-defense”, after all.

                  1. Yeah it’s a shitty situation. From the Mormon perspective, they’ve been subject to persecution and mob violence for their entire existence. So they move to the middle of a godforsaken desert en masse, seeking only to be left alone. Then a few years later, all the trails to CA and OR run through their territory, and some people are stopping and settling in the place they came to get away from everyone who keeps killing them.

                    Plus the Feds are sending corrupt and bigoted scumbags to rule over them instead of letting them elect their own governor.

                    1. And there were also suggestions from some people in the federal government that, if the Mormons wouldn’t drop their insistence on polygamy and become part of the union, the federal government should dispatch troops to Utah to, ahem, persuade them.

                      Interestingly, in Turtledove’s alternate 20th Century history, Utah is portrayed as a state in constant turmoil that can only be kept in the union by military occupation.

                2. None of the current Mormon Church leadership defends Mountain Meadows. I’ve never heard a single Mormon ever defend what happened there. It is universally condemned as wrong.

                  I just moved to Texas from Utah, and while the Zion Curtain certainly exists for liquor laws and whatnot in Utah, non-Mormons are treated very well in person.

                  1. I’d like to spend more time in Utah. The food was delicious, the former Mormon guys at the bars hot, and the people were universally friendly.

                    1. There are quite a few current, active, Temple Recommend holding Mormons who are gay and, in a very complicated and conflicted way, want to have a partner to love and cuddle with, if the Craigslist ads there are to be believed.

                      People in Utah are almost always incredibly nice, if you can disregard what they do in the ballot box.

                      I left for Texas because it gets FN cold in the winter, and the GF wanted a bigger city to live in.

                    2. People in Utah are almost always incredibly nice, if you can disregard what they do in the ballot box.

                      I grew up with a close Mormon friend, and my grandparents think they’re cultural stuff is fascinating so I’ve been to stuff like the Hill Cumorah Pageant (EPIC MUSICAL THEATER!). When I lived in Korea I was always happy to see missionaries because I could shut down the missionizing quickly by identifying them as LDS instead of Mormon and we could get down to important things like giving them directions to find acceptable Mexican food.

                  2. None of the current Mormon Church leadership defends Mountain Meadows. I’ve never heard a single Mormon ever defend what happened there. It is universally condemned as wrong.

                    No shit. That’s why I added this:

                    That’s obviously not true of Mormonism anymore, which is also why Mormons wouldn’t face violent persecution anywhere in the US in 2013.

          2. Persecution need not be violent. Courts have ruled that declining to bake a gay couple a wedding cake is a form of discrimination.

            If you’re a polygamist Mormon, a minority within a minority, any place that denies you the freedom to practice your beliefs is discriminating against you. So why is the right to have a wedding cake baked for you more important than the right for three or more consenting adults to get married in accordance with their religious beliefs?

      1. Can you supply a vagina with that?

    2. “Uh, oh, Scott. Now the usual suspects can’t whine about gay marriage”

      Good thing it takes much more than that to stop your whining about them.

  4. So basically, conservatives were right about the “slippery slope” argument once you start loosening the definition of what “marriage” is…. which libertarians have no problem with.

    Of course, conservatives are quick to forget about their sacred Constitution and the freedom of religion protected in the first amendment when it comes to someone else’s religious practices, such as polygamy.

    1. No. Basically, you haven’t been paying attention. The ruling is very narrow, and all it does is strike down a section of the Utah law which says that cohabiting with B while legally married to A is illegal ONLY IF you call the cohabitation marriage. It is still illegal to apply for a marriage license to B while married to A. It is no longer illegal to live with B AND CALL IT MARRIAGE while married to A.

      Got that?

      1. Or to D and DD

      2. Or to D and DD

  5. So polygamists in Utah can’t apply for multiple marriage license, but neither can they be prohibited from living together as (generally) husband and wives.

    Yes. Just as before gay marriage, the state could not stop a gay couple from cohabiting. That still doesn’t address the question of why gay marriage is a right and not polygamous marriage.

    1. Because we don’t legislate on logic or principles. Polys are still different and therefor icky. When everyone knows someone who has done the poly thing for a while the laws will start changing.

      1. Seriously. I had a grand old time arguing the constitutionality of gay marriage in class once. As you can imagine, I had liberals and conservatives agreeing and disagreeing for very different reasons throughout the discussion. But the only time the entire class was unanimously opposed to me was when I said that polygamy should be legal.

        1. I have a really conservative religious family and some very liberal friends. When I argued that we should drop everyone to a basic domestic partner registry and leave the term marriage to be defined by communities rather than the state, both groups flipped the fuck out (for very different reasons).

          I think the arguments against poly relationships are worse though. I can understand religious conservatives’ issues with gays and their icky non-procreative sex, but polygamy shows up constantly throughout their holy book. And liberals with their “I don’t want Mormon splinter sects to be allowed to do this because it’s bad for women” is flat out awful.

          1. ” I can understand religious conservatives’ issues with gays and their icky non-procreative sex,…”

            You can? I could not care less what the guy across the street, that I never see or talk to, does in the privacy of his home. It affects me in no way whatsoever.

            I truly do not understand people who sit around and fret over such things. It makes no sense to me.

            1. Even without some of the specific statements about male homosexual behavior there’s Biblical support for disliking gays. Many Christians are still stuck the exhortation in Genesis 1 to “be fruitful and multiply” (although I’d argue that was supplanted by “go unto all the world and preach the gospel), and the tale of Onan has been consistently interpreted as anti-non-procreative sex even though it’s more about failure to do one’s filial duties.

              I don’t get being that concerned about the personal lives around me, but I think people like us are an exception in American society, not the norm.

              1. You can generally shut down the biblical support arguments pretty quickly with;

                ” There is also biblical support for stoning disrespectful children, so you can shit-can that right now.”

            2. ” I can understand religious conservatives’ issues with gays and their icky non-procreative sex,…”

              You can?

              “Understand” is not the same as “agree and empathize with”.

              You can understand someone’s POV, and and understand their reasoning for that, while disagreeing with their conclusions. You can still even like or love that person despite finding their views on that particulr subject totally wrongheaded.

              1. I am familiar with the distinction. I mean I really do not understand that way of thinking. I can understand someone who says ” I would never do that” or ” I dont like such and such”, but I cant understand someone who feels emotionally invested in what other people like.

                If I had to take a guess, they are imagining what it would be like if they did it, find it objectionable, and thus want to deny anyone else the opportunity to engage in that behavior because…..it might tempt them to do it? I dunno.

                I can say those words because I am working it out in my head like a math problem. I dont have any deeper understanding of it than that.

      2. Do not courts adjudicate on logic and principles?

        1. Do not courts adjudicate on logic and principles?

          HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

          Good one.

  6. I have it on good authority that the SoCon Oppression Dikkktatorship is on course, and ahead of schedule.

  7. This whole process needs to move along a lot faster. While I like my current wife, a young, hot second wife would be a nice addition to the household.

    1. But would your current wife like your young, hot, second wife?

      1. If you like your wife, you can keep her.

        and

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HSS5xujeRaY

    2. You’re nuts. Can’t imagine ANYONE wanting two of these things.

    3. Sometimes things you fantasize about are much better if left in the realm of fantasy.

      Or, as my grandfather was fond of saying ” Hell is having your dreams come true.”.

    4. kinnath, may I request that you have a camera running when you tell your wife “While I like you, a young hot second wife, etc.”

      1. I think in Kinnath’s case, the hot young second wife would quickly become the hot young only wife.

        Poly only works if you love ALL your wives just as much.

  8. that while there is no “fundamental right” to practice polygamy

    What exactly is the legal definition of “fundamental right”? Anyone know?

    1. For starters if you can do it (or not) without violating someone else’s rights, its a fundamental right.

      If that’s too circular, try substituting “harming someone else” for “someone else’s rights.”

      Then we can talk about what harm should be recognizable as one that matters.

      1. I should clarify. Does anyone know what the U.S. legal system defines as a fundamental right? I’m wondering what would qualify in the judge’s mind.

        Or maybe that is what you were answering. In which case I’m pleasantly surprised.

        1. what the U.S. legal system defines as a fundamental right

          Well, there’s abortion.

          And, that’s about it.

          1. I lol’ed.

          2. And voting.

    2. In order the understand the nature of a civil right, one must look into the nation’s history and tradition for a careful description of that right. Washington v. Glucksberg, 521 U.S. 702 at 710-719 (1997).

  9. “….Waddoups later writes that while there is no “fundamental right” to practice polygamy..”

    I am going to disagree. Unless I am mistaken, written in the law is not a prerequisite of a fundamental right which I think of as the same as inalienable rights.

    I will enter into agreements with as many of whatever gender and whomever I choose and it is my fundamental/inalienable right to do so.

    1. assuming you have willing parties, interestingly polygamous societies tend to have a much higher population of unmarried young men while the few higher status older men snatch up most of the women

      1. Is there any reason why this is so?

        1. I think he forgot to add that the higher status older men are also usually wealthy. & since women like security and stability more then insecurity and instability, polygamous societies trend towards high numbers of unmarried young men – with fewer prospects to get married.

          Which is semi-obvious given nature’s split of women to men, for every extra wife one man has, all other men have one less possible mate.

          You can see this in the middle east today.

  10. OT: last year, Sloopy set up a Reason for the college bowls at Yahoo sports. Anyone heard anything this year?

  11. So-con butthurt in 3…2….1

  12. this is a tough one for me. Granted I do not wish to tell people how to live lest I be told the same. On the other hand there is a problem with definition of things. Marriage in the western tradition has always meant a union between a man and a woman. When you mess with the meanings of things then they lose their value. By broadening the definition of marriage it loses its distinctiveness. Biologically, we are programmed to have one man and one woman create children. This has always been the optimal way to raise children all other factors remaining constant.
    Perhaps the government would be best served by getting out of the marriage business altogether.

    1. Um, biologically, we’re programmed to have many mates. It was that way in older and many tribal societies. It’s why people cheat. Even if you don’t, it’s not like you automatically stop thinking lustful thoughts for other people once you’re officially married.

      But I do agree the best outcome is for government to get out of marriage altogether. “marriage” itself was always relatively defined based on culture/religion/tribe/etc anyways. However, from the government’s perspective, they would actually NOT be best served by that, because that reduces their role in society.

  13. One woman is too may. Two or more are enough.

  14. Hey Dudes Dudettes & Dudesses? My turn to babble! I agree w/all good glibertardiacs everywhere, aspiring to be a good glibertardiac myself? To me, “respect other people’s freedom” is a simple, basic extension of the “Golden Rule”? So the less that Government Almighty is involved in defining or sanctifying marriage, the better! ? What gets lost in the shuffle, though, is, seems to me that we glibertardiacs obsess too much about what should be legal, and what should not, and our opponents pick up on that, automatically equating our stance of “should be legal” with “I advocate that”. Moronic, yes, but we need to walk that fence-line more carefully if we don’t want to get shit all over by the morons. In which light I would like to add? To fend off the usual BS chorus from conservatives, “Next thing you know, you’ll be allowed to marry 3 horses and five dogs and 2 cats”, that we should add some finesse. Yes, laws about who can live with who, and call their relationship what, are silly over-reach by the Mighty Laws of the Land. BUT? Polygamy itself is destructive to society.

    1. Unless these “Poly” fundamentalists are going to abort almost all of their male potential off-spring (only give birth to 1 male to 9 females, to match their real-life coupling habits), then they really actually DO end up dumping their young men (in the middle of their teens years) who are left mate-less, for the greed of their elders, on the rest of us to take care of! That’s what really happens! In the real world, they are not all so cute and cuddly as on TV? So when we say XY and Z should be LEGAL, if we are wise, we would also add, “but that does NOT mean I approve of it”.

  15. Getting kinky in Amazon:


    Zo’? Family and Tribal Sex Patterns

    From birth, the Zo’? know how important physical tenderness is.

    Zo’? young members of the family have learnt the ancient art of massaging for making their elders feel better.

    Even their sexual relationships go beyond social barriers.
    They practise simultaneous polygamy for both men and women. The initiation of sex is always with an older partner, for example, a 12 year old girl may marry with a 40 year old man; or a 13 year old boy may marry a 60 year old woman.


    Crossdressing in the Jungle

    The Zo’? tribe honors fertile women and celebrate the arrival of a baby with a curious crossdressing ritual.

    Men dress as women and even the baby is adorned with feminine details.

    A tribute to women as the natural origin of mankind.

    1. one form of marriage that I was very surprised and intrigued by is multiple fathers, a la the amazon tribes

      basically, they think a baby is made up of the semen from men, so kids can have multiple fathers. Each father is expected to help raise the child.

      I first read it in the “Cracked” magazine article, and the author argued that it had the benefit of avoiding the whole subjugation-of-women thing. But besides that, when you think about it, it really is the only alternative system for a society to deal with sex/pregnancy/obligation, other than traditional 1 man 1 woman marriage.

      It potentially could have worked for civilized societies* too, if the rules were tweaked a little bit.
      Lord knows it may have just come down to

      1. the actual initial belief about babies and pregnancy. Perhaps surviving in the Amazon the tribes HAD to always live in Congress, because that’s the only way to survive down there, so they only recognized the loosest associations between sex and pregnancy. Whereas in Eurasia, with its much better domesticated crops and climate (offering in particular much more protein), it was possible for new villages to be formed by individual couples settling in a new area, and so they noticed it really only took ONE man and ONE woman. It’d be funny to think that the next 5,000 of social policy came down to the oddities of very early human observations about how pregnancy worked.

        *”civilized” in the sense of the particular socio-economic set up of high centralization and very large cities, with high agricultural output supporting artisans. Amazonian societies had large cities, but they were essentially large tribal conurbations. There were no specific bakers or ironsmiths or potters because to a large extent they didn’t have any iron or other different types of resources that the East hemi did, nor as high an agri output. Everybody directly supported themselves like they still do now (grow cassava, fish, hunt, gather fruit, make some pottery, tie a house together and thatch its roof – that’s it, surviving in the Amazon)

  16. While we’re on the subject of how dismal government marriage is, I refer you all to Divorce Corp, a new movie coming out

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lZTOT6DKfZ8

    And obviously there are other clips from the movie on youtube

  17. Polygamist mormons fascinate me; multiple wives. Huh, an entire society of MASOCHISTS
    *cue joke drum/cymbal – BA DUM CHEEE!*

    1. Yeah, the sex and economies of scale sound pretty good but one wife is plenty.

      1. Don’t forget multiple mothers-in-law as a disincentive.

  18. Not sure why I never thought about htat.

    http://www.Anon-Go.tk

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