Polygamy

Do Arguments Against Polygamy Hold Up?

Reasons to oppose recognition of polyamorous relationships don't do well under scrutiny.

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Creative Commons

If you're one of those rare people who think one spouse is not enough, your prayers may be answered. After the Supreme Court decision in favor of gay marriage, conservative critics spotted sister wives on the horizon. "Polygamy, here we come!" tweeted Weekly Standard editor William Kristol.

Some members of the Supreme Court agree. Dissenting Chief Justice John Roberts argued that "much of the majority's reasoning would apply with equal force to the claim of a fundamental right to plural marriage." In 1996, Justice Antonin Scalia claimed the court had put itself on the path to upholding the rights of polygamists.

They have a point—though it does more to highlight the problems with banning plural marriage than it does to discredit same-sex unions. There are, it turns out, parallels between the two. Those similarities are not likely to persuade the justices to strike down the existing bans. But they should make the rest of us reconsider.

Before the gay marriage ruling, there was nothing to prevent gays from living together, having sex and raising children like married straights. There is generally nothing to prevent polyamorous people from doing likewise. If several females want to live and sleep with the same guy, nobody will stop them. It's just that only one of them can legally put a ring on it.

Utah, where polygamy has some fans, chose to make it a crime when a married person "purports to marry another person or cohabits with another person." But in 2013, a federal court said that law violated the right to privacy—the same rationale the Supreme Court used to strike down sodomy laws.

The case for legalizing polygamy builds on the case for legalizing same-sex marriage. The sexual arrangements may offend some people, but they're not a crime. If they aren't done under legal arrangements, they'll be done without them.

If a man is living, procreating and raising children with two or three women, what do we gain by saying he can't easily formalize his obligations to them? Why not let his housemates gain legal protection?

Conservatives raise the specter of polygamy as though its evils are beyond doubt. But much of their opposition stems from religious objections, appeals to tradition or disgust with sexual tastes they do not share.

Those grounds were not enough to justify banning same-sex marriage—and in the long run, they are not enough to justify banning polygamy. If conservatives want to make sure plural marriage never comes to pass, they need better reasons.

Some plausible defenses have been heard. One is that polygamous weddings, unlike gay ones, actually harm other people—by reducing the stock of potential mates, dooming some people to singlehood. Another is that polygamy is associated with sexual abuse of minors. It may also be argued that polygamists, unlike gays, don't warrant constitutional protection because they haven't suffered relentless mistreatment.

Those arguments may be enough to keep the Supreme Court from concluding that the Constitution protects polygamy. But they aren't very convincing as arguments for banning it.

Plural marriage would decrease the supply of marriage partners—but so do informal polygamous arrangements, which take multiple people out of the dating pool.

Besides, no one is entitled to a preferred quota of possible spouses. Some women don't want to marry anyone but George Clooney. When Amal Alamuddin became his wife, she reduced their supply of suitable partners to zero. Too bad for them.

The abuses often seen in polygamist outposts are real, but they are more likely to flourish when Big Love can be practiced only in secret, and they can be prosecuted on their own. We don't outlaw traditional marriage because Ray Rice slugged his wife.

Polygamists have had their share of persecution, at least when they were numerous enough to alarm their neighbors. Mormons didn't migrate to Utah for the salt water. They did it to escape hatred and violence. In 1838, the governor of Missouri ordered their extermination.

None of these rationales, of course, is likely to convince the court to grant a freedom that few people want and that would produce far more complications than same-sex unions. Public opinion affects the justices, and there is no groundswell of support for plural marriage.

But maybe that's because we haven't given it much thought. Conservatives raise it in the context of same-sex marriage to create fear. They should be careful. If people bother to look at polygamy, they may find it's not so scary.

© Copyright 2015 by Creators Syndicate Inc.

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  1. Bwahahaha!
    My great-great-great grandfather was John Taylor, the third prophet and president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
    He died as the last and strongest defender of the principle of plural marriage, and while on the run from the U.S. Army.
    I think the Old Gangsta’s about to win that fight.

    1. ive spent a few months in utah which really is jam packed with mormons. joe smith is a terribly lame name for a prophet, but all the mormons i met there were super super nice. it is weird though how radically views on polygamy have shifted over the past few years

      1. They haven’t changed? Their just like Capt. Reynaud from Casablanca, shocked there is gambling going on here.

  2. I’ve been called a homophobe already 3 times for arguing this same point this week. “Live and let live. It’s about love, man. You’re filled with hate, so you don’t understand”. Two weeks ago that was right think, today it’s homophobia. This is just too juicy not to ram some faces in.

    1. *oh, and this commentariat has given me countless ways to mess with people. Hat tip.

  3. well, of course, polygamy is the next front. For a few centuries, absent the arranged marriages, we defined the institution as two people of opposite sex who are unrelated. At least this was the Western definition. With the middle aspect of that now a dead letter, why would any sane person believe the other two components would not be challenged?

    1. For a few centuries, absent the arranged marriages, we defined the institution as two people of opposite sex who are unrelated.

      It was more than a few centuries, and more than just we Americans.

  4. The “lgbt” crowd, overnight, has morphed into The Rainbow Moral Majority and The PTLGBT Club.

    Surely Robertson and the ghost of Falwell are GLADD to have them aboard.

    1. “are GLADD to have them aboard”

      *narrows gaze*

      1. Yes. Let us all narrow our gazes.

  5. Kennedy repeatedly used the word “couple” and made reference to a “two person” union multiple times, including in his second guiding principal, that the court should be able to amply side step the issue of polygamy, at least for the next few decades. However, this ruling has signaled that consanguineous marriage, between persons who share a close common ancestor, will eventually be sanctified with its invocation of the “two consenting adults” standard:

    it is appropriate to observe these cases involve only the rights of two consenting adults whose marriages would pose no risk of harm to themselves or third parties.

    When the majority examined the SCOTUS precedent regarding marriage it concluded

    each case inquired about the right to marry in its comprehensive sense, asking if there was a sufficient justification for excluding the relevant class from the right.

    The Court’s four guiding principles, in addition to limiting the relationship to two people, support constitutionally requiring consanguineous marriages just as much as, if not more than, same-sex marriage.

    1. Doesn’t the fact that marriage (in terms of the eyes of the law/secularly speaking) is essentially a contract that extends legal and tax benefits to one another mean that it inherently must be between two people (because a third party’s legal and tax interests would be harmful to the other two, and vice versa)?

      I always viewed that as the major obstacle to it becoming legal (as long as government stays in the marriage business) and not these other arguments.

      1. I agree, but can’t you enter into contract with multiple people so long as the terms of one contract are not in conflict with those of the others? I have no problem with the SC’s statement of ‘two people’…for EACH marriage. How does that necessarily exclude multiple marriages?

        1. I agree that if the terms of one contract are not in conflict with another than there should be no problem.
          I just think that the manner in which State and Federal government grant legal and tax privileges based on being in a marriage/”contract,” that it necessarily means that multiple parties would automatically be in conflict with one another and therefore multiple marriages (or polygamous marriage) would automatically be excluded.

          Maybe I’m just not wrapping my brain around it enough to see how that could not be the case?

    2. Kennedy repeatedly used the word “couple” and made reference to a “two person” union multiple times,

      (1) That’s because a two-person (gay) marriage is all that we before the Court.

      (2) The challenge they are facing is why limiting marriage to any two people is less of an artificial
      restriction that limiting it to any two people of the opposite sex.

      The opposition to plural marriages seems to boil down to “it’ll be too hard for us to write new laws for plural marriage”. Which is no reason at all for denying a fundamental right.

      Doesn’t the fact that marriage (in terms of the eyes of the law/secularly speaking) is essentially a contract that extends legal and tax benefits to one another mean that it inherently must be between two people (because a third party’s legal and tax interests would be harmful to the other two, and vice versa)?

      A third party’s legal interests are not necessarily harmful to a two-party deal. There are innumerable multi-party partnerships, organizations, and contracts out there. There’s nothing to this claim, in principle. In specific cases, there may be something to it, but (a) let people sort that out themselves and (b) why can’t they trade off some legal interest against some other perceived benefit?

      As far as tax goes, well, sounds like a problem with the tax code, not plural marriage, to me. If the tax code burdens the fundamental right to marriage, then I think the tax code needs to change, don’t you?

      1. Even polygamous marriages are between couples. They just involve partners who happen to be members of other couples.

        1. What if an orgy wants to get a license to marry?

          1. Citizens United!

  6. Consenting adults? Check.

    End of comment.

    1. Ding ding ding! Winner winner, chicken dinner!

  7. No. No they don’t hold up.

  8. Looks like the dam done broke.

    *throws bag of popcorn in microwave*

  9. Of course they don’t.

  10. Re: the stock photo, polyamory ? polygamy. One entails sexual activity, and the other is a form of marriage.

    1. I believe the next bit of activist marketing/Newspeak is to use “polyamory” in place of “polygamy,” because it sounds better.

      1. I thought this had already happened? Polygamy implies an opposite sex component (polygyny or polyandry) whereas polyamory just “implies” love.

        1. Thus, polyamory is “gay friendly”.

  11. At least Reason has stopped talking about gays all the time.

    1. Wait. What about gay plural marriage?

      We’re not done with the gays yet.

    1. As much as I hate to judge a book by its cover, why is it that people who do these things always look like the sort of people who would do these things?

      I’m tempted to send her a letter just to punish her for her abominable facial piercings.

    2. Do hate crimes even exist anymore? Seems like all the ones that have made news in the past few years were all staged. If they were as rampant as the Left claims then they shouldn’t have to make them up. Right?

      1. It’s a sign that the whole “hate crimes” thing has jumped the shark.

      2. Do hate crimes even exist anymore?

        Or teen vandals? Isn’t it their job to destroy ostentatious displays like this and then fade back into the shadows?

      3. Do hate crimes even exist anymore? Seems like all the ones that have made news in the past few years were all staged.

        OMFG CHARLESTON!!! *foams at the mouth*

        1. Was that even a hate crime? My understanding was that his first target was a college, but he changed his mind because they had too much security. Going to that church wasn’t part of the original plan. Besides, what’s the point in charging him with a hate crime since he’s already going to get the death penalty? Are they going to execute him twice?

          1. To the left, symbolism is paramount.

      4. Ever since Tawana Brawley, my working assumption, until I’m convinced otherwise, is that it’s a hoax unless the putative victim was killed or suffered broken bones or equally serious injury.

    3. Awesome. My liberal Facebook friends pleasured themselves to this story, and have an ongoing pleasure session with anything to do with George Takei.

      This has been a good day.

  12. I have too much love for one woman. Why should I be denied my RIGHT to be happy? Proggies are just a bunch of intolerant haters…

  13. Steve Chapman Considers Whether Arguments Against Polygamy Hold Up

    If those arguments based on question-begging assertions and appeals to tradition, then they cannot hold up.

    Unfortunately, the Booboisie respond much better to facile and emotion-laden arguments than rational ones. Any discussion in Disqus with leftists and rightists will give you an instant reading on the pulse of the people.

    1. I always have to drink heavily before going to Disqus.

  14. Devil’s advocate here. Couldn’t this open up a huge can of worms in criminal law? I’m thinking of spousal privilege and whatnot. Why not set up your criminal organization such that all the leaders are in a polygamous marriage?

    1. Re: DJK,

      Why not set up your criminal organization such that all the leaders are in a polygamous marriage?

      You mean they’re not currently? In a manner of speaking, of course.

      1. Sure. But this would further reinforce things with spousal privilege. I’m not sure that there’s a correct answer. The limited government type in me loves the idea of governments not having the ability to compel testimony and not to use one’s private communications. At the same time, criminal law is one of the few compelling state interests and criminal enterprises do need to be quashed.

        1. The correct answer is to legalize things that criminal organizations tend to monopolize, e.g. weed and prostitution

    2. I’m thinking of spousal privilege and whatnot.

      By “whatnot” do you mean “the 5th Ammendment”?

      1. “No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”

        Where is the issue with compulsion to testify here?

        1. From the text of the 5th, you have a few rights: indictment, no double jeopardy, no compulsion to testify against self, due process, just compensation. I don’t see how any of those apply to compelling someone else (including one’s spouse) to testify. If you choose not to testify, you can be charged with a crime. But you still have all of the rights guaranteed by the 5th in that criminal charge.

          Of course, SCOTUS has expanded/interpreted the 5th to be expansive. For instance, Miranda v. Arizona makes clear when the criminal case in “no shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself” starts and expands the 5th to require gov’t to read you your rights. I’m not aware of any decisions based on the 5th that expand to spousal privilege? Isn’t it a pre-U.S. common law thing?

          1. yes it is. Blackstone’s commentaries go into this. Marriage is legally the creation of one. So a spouse being compelled to testify is considered compulsion to testify against oneself. It long pre-dates the US

            1. Of course that has a religious basis – not a civil basis. So technically, there shouldn’t be a reason why civil marriage can’t compel spousal testimony

              1. Atheists should be all over this as establishment of religion. After all there is no white bearded monkey in the sky turning two people into one. There is only romance and love between two individuals

          2. And the Supreme Court seriously undermined spousal privilege in Trammel v. United States, 445 U.S. 40 (1980). The Court said that it wasn’t abolishing the privilege per so, just making it optional with the testifying spouse (where “optional” spousal testimony could mean “testimony given in compliance with a threat by the prosecutors to throw the book at the spouse unless she ratted out her husband”).

        2. You mean, other than the literal use of the word ‘compel’ and ‘testify’?

          I mean, the 5th, is the second time government-compelled speech is forbidden. How many times do we need it?

          Considering they can do similarly with their attorneyS, priestS, and therapistS, the idea of spousal privilege being a complication sounds retarded.

          1. The text of the 5th applies only to the defendant himself. Moreover, internal ethics of the attorneys, priests, therapists, etc. prevent them from forming organizations to commit crimes. And I’m pretty sure these privileges no longer attach in the case that they are use to commit crimes.

            1. This comes back to a larger point I make fairly regularly. The U.S. Constitution is not a libertarian document. There are far too many internal inconsistencies and blatantly statist provisions for that to be the case. If you can win a libertarian policy point on Constitutional grounds, great. But don’t be surprised that there are reasonable interpretations that don’t give libertarian outcomes and that libertarian outcomes don’t often come out of Constitutional interpretation. The document was not written to guarantee our preferred ends.

              1. You misunderstand. Spousal privilege is derived from the 5th (and 1st). If the gov’t could compel you to testify against yourself, testifying otherwise is immaterial.

                You’re pointing to the founding document as being complex and inconsistent and then saying we *can’t* interpret it in a different way because that would generate complexities and inconsistencies. One interpretation is as whimsically complicated (and can be imagined to be more so) as the next. The difference is morality, I don’t consider allowing felons to refuse to testify against themselves or someone else, for *any* reason, an intrinsically immoral act. Certainly there are cases where it’s advantageous to the government and even the public at large but, even then, compulsory testimony is an immoral means to achieve a (theoretically) moral end.

                1. You’re pointing to the founding document as being complex and inconsistent and then saying we *can’t* interpret it in a different way because that would generate complexities and inconsistencies.

                  I don’t really see how “no compelled testimony, period” even introduces any complexities or inconsistencies. Nothing in the Constitution says the government must rely on compelled testimony, or that compelled testimony is necessary for the functioning of government, or any other such thing. The 5th specifically restricts compelled testimony about oneself; it does not say that the restriction can’t be broader in scope.

                  Compelled testimony is a violation of a person’s conscience. As much as possible we should strive to avoid such things.

    3. Hmmm…can you imagine a Mafia divorce?

  15. I’m sure that one spouse is either way too many or not enough.

    1. Ha! Seems about right.

  16. One is that polygamous weddings, unlike gay ones, actually harm other people?by reducing the stock of potential mates

    Considering there are people who shouldn’t pair up ?ever? that may actually be a good thing.

  17. Licensing polygamy is a much easier csase to make than gay marriage, IMO.

    Not that licensing should exist.

    Marriage equality is impossible as long as licensing exists.

  18. For crying out load! Get the damn state out of marriage! It has no business endorsing any idea of matrimony.

    1. Exactly. But that just got harder to do, as we lost potential allies.

  19. Can we just take a moment and consider that, once again, a Conservative argument that was dismissed as nonsense and silly just a few years ago has proven correct?

    Ok. That’s done.

    Actually, I have nothing against polygamy, provided that it is a contract that gets enforced, and enforced fairly. These days marriage is easier to get out of than a cell phone contract, and the process is wildly unfair to men.

    In fact, as matters stand, I doubt like hell that Polygamy is going to be a problem. If a man has to be insane to marry ONE woman, considering divorce and custody trends, then willingness to marry TWO should be grounds for committal.

    1. People cvonfuse logical fallacies with real fallacies. Slippery slope is a logical fallacy, but it really exists in the real world.

      Sometimes an appeal to authority is the easiest way togo.

      Ad hominems, on the other hand, are still fallacies.

      1. People cvonfuse logical fallacies with real fallacies. Slippery slope is a logical fallacy, but it really exists in the real world.

        Indeed, and this is where you separate the wheat from the chaff in terms of logical thinking. That an argument is a logical fallacy does not negate its truth or establish its falsehood, it only refutes the reasoning that was offered.

        It is also important to remember that in proving arguments of the form “if X then Y”, it is not sufficient to simply establish that both X and Y are true. You must also show that without X, then Y would not be, and that is quite difficult in practice to do since it is a counterfactual.

        Put in less academic terms, it is entirely possible (and indeed quite likely) that both gay marriage and polygamous marriage are independent symptoms of a larger social trend.

        1. Not to be pedantic (oh, wait, I guess I am):

          “If X, then Y” does not mean Y would not be without X, it means Y necessarily follows from X. You could have two statements, “if X, then Y” and “if Z, then Y”, and, if both are true, either one of X or Z would be sufficient to ensure Y.

          Example: X is me getting a second job, Z is me winning the lottery, Y is me getting more money.

          But of course you’re right, X and Y both being true doesn’t imply “If X, then Y”.

    2. Can we just take a moment and consider that, once again, a Conservative argument that was dismissed as nonsense and silly just a few years ago has proven correct?

      Sure they made that argument. I’m sure people argued letting black men vote would lead to women voting too.

      1. Haha! And letting interracial couples marry would lead to gay couples getting married.

        1. I was around when Loving v. Virginia was decided. I don’t remember *anyone* making that argument. (On the other hand, when the Equal Rights Amendment was under consideration a few years later, people *did* make the argument that the ERA would mandate the acceptance of SSM, and just about everyone on the pro-ERA side said that was hysterical nonsense.)

  20. Joseph Smith was led by an angel to dig up golden plates engraved in “reformed Egyptian” that had been buried by a prophet descended from people who were led to the Americas from Jerusalem by God six hundred years before the birth of Jesus. He then translated the plates into English using seer stones, giving us the Book of Mormon.

    That millions of people believe this is beyond me. I guess if it was fed to you week after week since you could walk and talk, and everybody around you believed and affirmed the same thing it would seem as obvious as Washington, D.C. being the capitol of the U.S.

    1. I refuse to believe the latter.

    2. Dum-dum-dum-dum-dum! /southpark

  21. I’m just waiting for equal protection arguments to be applied to 2A. Given the wording of that (which doesn’t specify the federal congress, and instead just says “shall not be infringed”) and 14A (which states that federal law is supreme in areas of power granted to said federal gov’t), there is no reason that 2A rights should be able to be denied by state and local legislation. I take for granted that self defense is an actual individual right.

    1. You silly person, you think there’s some logic and consistency behind all this? (Other than “whatever the left wants”?)

      1. whatever the left wants

        I know, I know. To them the ends justify the means. And they consider it illegitimate to apply the same means to ends with which they disagree.

  22. How did all or our moral issues and obligations become state issues and obligations?

    1. The government threw off the shackles of limited, enumerated powers, that’s how.

  23. None of this would matter if governments would simply treat every individual exactly the same regardless of their personal relationships.

    The people who are primarily discriminated against are those who are not married at all. A single person who makes $100 K per year will pay more in federal income taxes than will a married couple who make exactly the same amount of money on a combined basis. There is no legitimate reason why that should be.

    1. But the couple makes only half the $ each.

      1. So what?

        There is no reason any income should be taxed at a greater rate than any other regardless who makes it or how much.

        1. Why do you hate teh porez?

    2. The people who are primarily discriminated against are those who are not married at all. A single person who makes $100 K per year will pay more in federal income taxes than will a married couple who make exactly the same amount of money on a combined basis.

      This is a criticism of progressive taxation, not marriage;

      A couple making $100K jointly and filing as such will pay more than two people making $50K each and filing independently.

      Moreover, the government treating everyone exactly the same regardless of their personal relationships is socialism and otherwise not very practical.

      1. “This is a criticism of progressive taxation, not marriage;”

        It is a criticism of both – as they are intertwined. in the federal tax code.

        Furthermore, that is only one example of economic favoritism bestowed on married people – there are plenty of others .

        “Moreover, the government treating everyone exactly the same regardless of their personal relationships is socialism and otherwise not very practical.”

        Exactly how is government treating each individual the same, socialism?

    3. If you abolish separate tax treatment for married people, then an individual making $100,000 will *still* “pay more in federal income taxes than will a married couple who make exactly the same amount of money on a combined basis,” if, for example, each spouse makes $50,000. That result is baked into the progressive structure of the income tax.

  24. Here is something for Big Gay, as the gay actvist mafia is known, to chew on. Suppose the Republicans win the White House in 16 and Kennedy retires and is replaced by a hard core conservative. Then after he is on the court, here come the Polygamists asking for marriage rights. You know what that would be? An opportunity to overturn gay marriage.

    Wouldn’t that be hysterical? Can you imagine the butt hurt the gays would have towards the poly community?

    1. John, history only moves in one direction…a progressive direction. There is no need to fear any backsliding.

    2. How could a judge do that? A couple, 1 of them already married, comes to court asking to be allowed to marry. How can the judge say, not only are you not married, but some other couple who’s not even in this court has their marriage dissolved or denied?

      1. How could a judge do that?

        With the stroke of his pen. Seriously, when we’re talking about the courts, the only real limits on their authority are the appellate system and the impeachment process, the latter of which is extremely rare in practice and almost exclusively limited to the personal misconduct of the judge and not to the nature of his decisions.

      2. That is not what the court would be dong. The poly couple would be asking for marriage rights consistent with the gay marriage case. The court would then rule agianst the Poly couple and overturn the right to marriage in general in doing so. No existing marriages would immediately be made invalid. But, states would be free to then stop recognizing gay marriages. What happened next would be up to the states.

        1. The court would then rule agianst the Poly couple and overturn the right to marriage in general in doing so.

          This is doubtful. The court composition would have to change by more than 1 member for the “right to marriage” to even be on the table for discussion. That is a precedent that I doubt any justice, even Thomas, is willing to touch.

          1. It’s like the 14th Amendment. Even though many people (perhaps a sizeable majority) want to get rid of birthright citizenship, the political capital to get rid of it is just not going to be there. Nobody wants to be known as the guy who undid one of the anti-slavery amendments.

            1. What birthright citizenship? It’s certainly not in the 14th Amendment.

              The key phrase proves the lie, the key phrase being, “and subject to the jurisdiction thereof”

              Just as, when a child is born to American nationals abroad is considered American. . . children born to foreign nationals are citizens of the same country as their parents.

              It’s just the pig-ignrant fuckwits are afraid to call anyone out on their bullshit.

          2. Thinking more on the 14th Amendment, the Radical Republicans were quite ingenious to shove their wishlist of reform into the law at that exact moment. Sure, they didn’t get the quasi-socialist utopia their most extreme members wanted, but they upended the legal tradition of the republic as it stood. Never let a crisis go to waste, indeed.

          3. no it wouldn’t. This was a 5-4 decision and the 4 in the minority were pretty adamant in their dissent. Why would they change their minds?

      3. What judges giveth, judges can taketh awayeth.

      4. Ask the court which affirmed the Edmunds-Tucker act (c. 1890). Mormons had been practicing polygamy for ~50 years. The court said that not only were those marriages not recognized, they were illegal, and always had been. The reason the church disavowed the practice of polygamy was because of that court decision, along with the fact that the federal government was going to dis-incorporate the church and confiscate their chapels and temples.

    3. Haha people losing basic rights.

      1. Yes Tony, we already knew how you felt about religious freedom ending in this country. You don’t have to always remind us.

        1. This country is so fortunate to have you, along with the entire rest of the conservative, libertarian, and Republican population, to defend the right of white heterosexual Christian males to 100% cultural dominance.

          1. Yeah, let’s pretend hearing a silly baker refuse to bake you a cake is the equivalent of slavery and segregation, just out of the sheer dignity of it all.

            It’s called playing the victim. Boo hoo.

      2. I’m sure the gays in Weimar Germany thought the same thing.

  25. I think there are good reasons to allow polygamy, but the main reason I’m actually in favor of it is that it hoists religious conservatives on their own petard. “Traditional marriage just like in the Bible!” Sure, like King Solomon– he had 300 wives.

  26. I think there are good reasons to allow polygamy, but the main reason I’m actually in favor of it is that it hoists religious conservatives on their own petard. “Traditional marriage just like in the Bible!” Sure, like King Solomon– he had 300 wives.

  27. Hey, this is a great opportunity for the court to create even more work for itself. Plural marriages have more opportunities for disagreement, and the divorce laws will need to be updated to consider all the various combinations of who owns what and who gets which kids and how to divide up the money. And the insurance companies and actuaries will have a great time adjusting their life expectancy tables and figuring out how to deal with more than one surviving spouse.

    It will be great for the economy – think of the jobs for the chattering classes!

  28. Marriage qua legal status means elevating one person above all others in terms of certain legally cognizable rights and obligations.

    If and when someone can explain to me how to simultaneously elevate two separate persons “above all others” in such a manner, then I will become a ferocious advocate of legally cognizable polygamy.

    In the meantime, this topic remains the sandbox of ignoramuses.

  29. It’s real simple, what living arrangement consenting adults make is their business, anything else is social engineering by the political class, or vocal majority, who think they know what’s best for the proletariat, and then use financially penalise those who don’t for their ideal model.

    The arguments against same sex adult consensual marriage are actually much weaker than those against polygamy. And Robert’s constant use of ‘couple’ might bring that to bear.

    Basically get the government the hell it of the marriage and social engineering business. Enforce consensual contracts and protect or rights and, to a very limited extent, prevent us from harm by aggressors.

    1. Mobiles are awful for comments…

  30. I have no problem with official recognition of polyamorous relationships. Their recognition raises numerous practical issues, though. For example, who has precedence when there are disagreements in financial and medical issues? Who gets social security survivor benefits? How do taxes work out?

    For gay marriage, all of this was simple because biological sex really is irrelevant to almost all these issues. But changing the number of people in a marriage means that the old rules simply cannot be applied.

    1. I don’t know. Who gets precedence when a married man and a married woman disagree about financial issues?

      You’re right though: governments are incredibly inflexible. There’d probably want more things changed than marriage licenses to accompodate multiple marriage partners. Definitely a bug in the system.

    2. How do taxes work out? Now THERE’s an intelligent argument against leaving people be!
      Well forget it then! Perish the thought that something consenting adults want might cause semiliterate tax bureaucrats to have to master long division in exchange for leeching on the public till their deaths! Militarized police squad, ten-hut! Open fire on those protesters and there’s a month’s paid vacation in it for you if anyone so much as squawks!
      Somebody pin the Order of Lenin on our libertarian sophist here for coming up with an argument even Stazi looters would be ashamed to blurt out.
      Reason readers who actually care to know might look at the “Harrad Letters to Robert Rimmer” for accounts of very real problems faced by pioneers since time immemorial.

    3. These are issues that have solutions and are common in other types of familial situations:
      1) A widower is on life support, and his three children disagree with what to do about his care. Who decides? (a living will?)

    4. (sorry hit return by mistake)
      2) SS benefits: the survivors can split the benefits. It shouldn’t be based on the survivors anyway, it is based on the deceased who had the benefits. So just like private life insurance, a person would have to declare the beneficiaries and percentages.
      3) And since taxes should be based on an individual, this would end up working itself it.

      But of course, these would be HARD, and we can’t ask the government to do what’s right when it is so hard.

  31. Sorry, but “reducing the stock of potential mates, dooming some people to singlehood” are among the reasons Senators and Congressmen–and their wattled contributors–seek to involve young males in so many murderous jihads. You never see a politician getting his precious jewels shot off in Crusades against Allah’s blackamoors. Conservatives–even ecosocialists like Gore–are going to need a LOT better argument than that there would be more exploitable young women vulnerable to their depredations.

  32. Google pay 97$ per hour my last pay check was $8500 working 1o hours a week online. My younger brother friend has been averaging 12k for months now and he works about 22 hours a week. I cant believe how easy it was once I tried it out.
    This is wha- I do…… ?????? http://www.online-jobs9.com

  33. “Some plausible defenses have been heard. One is that polygamous weddings, unlike gay ones, actually harm other people?by reducing the stock of potential mates, dooming some people to singlehood.”

    Only if polyandry is not allowed but polygamy is. Otherwise, 1-woman-multiple-men unions would act as a counterbalance.

  34. Plural marriage makes sense, especially with the economy being crap as it is.

    Let’s call them Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice.

    Bob and Alice have full-time jobs – pays the bills, lands the health insurance, etc.
    Carol has a part-time job – her wages go into the 2-week Tahiti vacation next year or at least into a rain day fund – plus having time to run family errands, pay bills, etc.
    Ted stays home – does the housework and supervises/teaches the children.

    This is a win-win-win with no downside.

    For those of you who want to bring paternity into the mix. . . 2 fathers are better than NONE.
    We’d be so much better off as a Nation, if more children had 4 parents instead of only 1.

  35. If adults choose to live in a poly marriage so be it. Why is it he government’s business? End government issued marriage licenses entirely. How can we consider ourselves a free society if adults need government permission to form personal relationships?

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