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…for about five seconds. But you know, that’s something.
Over at Slate, Saletan kindly explains to us why Justice Alito and Charles Krauthammer (in an old column still making the rounds) are wrong to suppose that the arguments made in favor of same-sex marriage might also be used to justify polygamous marriage. What it boils down to is that there are basic, natural facts about human beings that make monogamy stable and salutary in a way that polygamy just isn’t. Basically, the problem is jealousy. When we give our lives to another person, we want that person to be equally devoted to us. If we invite threes and fours to the altar (or county clerk’s office, or whatever), that’s just not going to work out as happily for anyone.
Let me pause for a moment to bang my head against the wall a few times. Letting the ear-ringing die down now. OK, I’m back.
Is the state permitted to consider natural facts about human nature and relationship proclivities in deciding what to recognize as a marriage? Then there are some very powerful arguments for privileging male-female unions as the most stable, and the most suitable foundation for family. In particular, if you think that kind of evidence relevant, it is absurd to suppose that there could be a constitutional right to same-sex marriage. We can argue about whether or not same-sex relationships are similar enough to opposite-sex relationships to be appropriately regarded as “marriages.” But they aren’t obviously the same, and if that is indeed the sort of reasoning the Court should employ, then the matter should clearly be left to the states.
If, on the other hand, it’s not the state’s business who loves whom, or why, or for how long… then what’s jealousy got to do with it? If three men, or three women, or four men and five women, say that they care deeply about one another and wish to be married, then what difference does it make whether the odds are in their favor? That’s their business. It’s not the state’s job to tell us how to love.
I personally am very disappointed that Slate would publish someone with such an obvious grudge against polys.