Is Polygamy Next?

 

shutterstock_124665844-2John Roberts seems to think so. From his dissent in Obergefell:

Although the majority randomly inserts the adjective “two” in various places, it offers no reason at all why the two-person element of the core definition of marriage may be preserved while the man-woman element may not. Indeed, from the standpoint of history and tradition, a leap from opposite-sex marriage to same-sex marriage is much greater than one from a two-person union to plural unions, which have deep roots in some cultures around the world. If the majority is willing to take the big leap, it is hard to see how it can say no to the shorter one.

He continues:

It is striking how much of the majority’s reasoning would apply with equal force to the claim of a fundamental right to plural marriage. If “[t]here is dignity in the bond between two men or two women who seek to marry and in their autonomy to make such profound choices,” ante, at 13, why would there be any less dignity in the bond between three people who, in exercising their autonomy, seek to make the profound choice to marry? If a same-sex couple has the constitutional right to marry because their children would otherwise “suffer the stigma of knowing their families are somehow lesser,” ante, at 15, why wouldn’t the same reasoning apply to a family of three or more persons raising children? If not having the opportunity to marry “serves to disrespect and subordinate” gay and lesbian couples, why wouldn’t the same “imposition of this disability,” ante, at 22, serve to disrespect and subordinate people who find fulfillment in polyamorous relationships? See Bennett, Polyamory: The Next Sexual Revolution? Newsweek, July 28, 2009 (estimating 500,000 polyamorous families in the United States); Li, Married Lesbian “Throuple” Expecting First Child, N. Y. Post, Apr. 23, 2014; Otter, Three May Not Be a Crowd: The Case for a Constitutional Right to Plural Marriage, 64 Emory L. J. 1977 (2015).

I do not mean to equate marriage between same-sex couples with plural marriages in all respects. There may well be relevant differences that compel different legal analysis. But if there are, petitioners have not pointed to any. When asked about a plural marital union at oral argument, petitioners asserted that a State “doesn’t have such an institution.” Tr. of Oral Arg. on Question 2, p. 6. But that is exactly the point: the States at issue here do not have an institution of same-sex marriage, either.

In theory, slippery slopes do not exist. Jonah Goldberg has argued that in democracies, the people draw lines where they want them. And in the case of SSM, I’ve heard arguments (albeit strained) from proponents as to why, in Roberts’s phrase, “the two-person element of the core definition of marriage may be preserved while the man-woman element may not”.

But in practice, the slippery slope is real. Once people pushing for policy X get their way, they almost never stick around to help defend against the next encroachment. Instead they tend to lose interest, and vacate the field. Do you expect SSM advocates to now turn around and forcefully argue for “only two”? Neither do I. So down the slope we slide.

Exhibit A is an article in Politico, only the latest mainstream outfit to publish an op-ed endorsing the descent.

Polyamory is a fact. People are living in group relationships today. The question is not whether they will continue on in those relationships. The question is whether we will grant to them the same basic recognition we grant to other adults: that love makes marriage, and that the right to marry is exactly that, a right.

Civilization’s ultimate renunciation of polygamy was part of a strengthening of the rights of women and the protection of children. As traditional marriage erodes, whether through unmarried couplings, SSM, or polygamy, people may be surprised by the collateral damage wreaked on society’s weakest members.

Then again, maybe it will not come to pass. Roberts notes that there is no logical basis for failing to extending the Obergefell reasoning to polygamy. However, earlier this week, in King v. Burwell, Roberts demonstrated that reasoning and logic matter little in the law these days. So perhaps there is hope after all.

Published in Culture, Marriage
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  1. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive
    Ball Diamond Ball
    @BallDiamondBall

    Kozak:

    Ball Diamond Ball:

    Kozak:

    Ball Diamond Ball:Stay safe, Kozak. Bring the goats in at night.

    I’m literally counting the days. It’s been interesting, but I’m so ready to come home, even though I don’t recognize much of it as home anymore…

    Tell me about it. I’ve been bouncing around overseas for about twenty years, and would like to make that LESS than an even twenty.

    I’m going to live from now on by the motto “The best revenge is to live well”.

    Frasier: You know the expression, “Living well is the best revenge”?

    Niles: It’s a wonderful expression. I just don’t know how true it is. You don’t see it turning up in a lot of opera plots. “Ludwig, maddened by the poisoning of his entire family, wreaks vengeance on Gunther in the third act by living well.”

    Frasier: All right, Niles.

    Niles: “Whereupon Woton, upon discovering his deception, wreaks vengeance on Gunther in the third act again by living even better than the Duke.”

    Frasier: Oh, all right!

    • #31
  2. Asquared Inactive
    Asquared
    @ASquared

    In this case, it may be less where “the people” draw the lines and instead where Anthony Kennedy draws the line.

    Yes. Polygamy would be next if we lived in a rule of law, but we don’t. As long as 5 SCOTUS justices remained bigoted against polygamy, it won’t happen. What the law says doesn’t matter, what the Judges think is the only thing that matters.

    • #32
  3. Fake John Galt Coolidge
    Fake John Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    @asquared#32: this is true. It is no longer rule by law or rule by logic but it is rule by whim. The Lawerance vs Texas ruling could have been said to have legalized prostitution as long as it happened between adults behind closed doors, it is not the states business. But so far nobody has pushed to make the state follow the logic of their decision. Why? Because logic, principles in law no longer matter. All that matters is judicial / governmental whim and mob rule.

    • #33
  4. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    Kozak:

    Son of Spengler: Son of Spengler Aaron Miller: The marrying of first cousins is already normal in some parts of England, as I recall, among immigrant populations. Members of those “immigrant” (often second- or third-generation Pakistanis) groups in the UK have actually filed for welfare benefits for second wives. So these things can go hand in hand.

    I’m currently working in a Middle Eastern country where it’s the norm.

    In my 30 years of medical practice I have never seen so many cases of hereditary genetic illness. It’s quite the educational experience.

    Would not recommend it.

    Everything I’ve been reading lately is saying that incest is great and family members’ mating doesn’t result in birth defects or genetic problems. I’m trying to figure out if that is a lie that is being repeated intentionally to make it true or if incest isn’t such a big deal after all.

    Just my own observation: I lived near Seabrook, New Hampshire, for a while, which was the site and inspiration for the L’il Abner comic strip. Seabrook was the town the rest of New England forgot at that time, and it was very strange place.

    There were also a great many physically deformed people living there, which the people in the neighboring towns ascribed to incest.

    I am confused now. Are birth defects caused by incest or not?

    I better find out now before politics obliterates the truth.

    • #34
  5. user_331141 Inactive
    user_331141
    @JamieLockett

    Mike H: Two things. Yes, polygamy follows from the same logic. And it’s not that slippery slopes don’t “exist,” it’s that their existence doesn’t show that an earlier part of the slope is incorrect.

    A 1000x this.

    • #35
  6. user_331141 Inactive
    user_331141
    @JamieLockett

    Can we stop with the Christianity is going to be outlawed nonsense?

    If being opposed to SSM or homosexuality is so central to your faith that recognizing SSM will cause its collapse, then I submit that your faith pretty worthless.

    • #36
  7. Son of Spengler Contributor
    Son of Spengler
    @SonofSpengler

    Mike H:Two things. Yes, polygamy follows from the same logic. And it’s not that slippery slopes don’t “exist,” it’s that their existence doesn’t show that an earlier part of the slope is incorrect.

    Mike, when you say “incorrect”, do you mean the reasoning or the conclusion? A conclusion can be correct but arrived at based on flawed logic or a flawed premise.

    It matters because the existence of a slippery slope can be evidence of a flaw in the argument. If you believe that A is right and B is wrong, then an argument that supports both A and B probably has a hole somewhere.

    • #37
  8. Son of Spengler Contributor
    Son of Spengler
    @SonofSpengler

    Jamie Lockett:Can we stop with the Christianity is going to be outlawed nonsense

    Jamie, I don’t see anything about outlawing Christianity in the OP or the comments. Where are you getting this from?

    [EDIT: I re-read the thread and I see RMcR’s comment #2. My error.]

    • #38
  9. Son of Spengler Contributor
    Son of Spengler
    @SonofSpengler

    Jamie Lockett:Can we stop with the Christianity is going to be outlawed nonsense?

    If being opposed to SSM or homosexuality is so central to your faith that recognizing SSM will cause its collapse, then I submit that your faith pretty worthless.

    Separately, Jamie are you unaware of ministers being prosecuted in Canada and the UK for expressing Christian teachings on homosexuality, on the grounds of “hate speech”?

    Are you unaware of the oral arguments at SCOTUS, where the Solicitor General basically admitted that a ruling in his favor would lead to a loss of tax-exempt status for religious organizations that don’t endorse SSM? That’s not outlawing traditional religion, but it does raise the stakes considerably. It would make it 50% more expensive for me to support my synagogue or Jewish school — institutions that are already functioning on a shoestring. Ditto for most Catholic charities.

    SCOTUS has effectively declared that opposition to SSM is irrational bigotry. That will have implications for those of us whose religious observance is about fidelity to God’s revealed word. SCOTUS doesn’t get to tell me what’s central or not central to my religion, and neither do you.

    • #39
  10. PHCheese Inactive
    PHCheese
    @PHCheese

    SCOTUS, why shouldn’t a bi- sexual want to marry one of each and then one or both of them also also have a preference. Sounds like the sixties.

    • #40
  11. user_331141 Inactive
    user_331141
    @JamieLockett

    Son of Spengler: Separately, Jamie are you unaware of ministers being prosecuted in Canada and the UK for expressing Christian teachings on homosexuality, on the grounds of “hate speech”?

    As far as I am aware neither the UK nor Canada have something akin to the 1st amendment.

    • #41
  12. Kozak Member
    Kozak
    @Kozak

    MarciN: Everything I’ve been reading lately is saying that incest is great and family members’ mating doesn’t result in birth defects or genetic problems.

    Whenever you marry from a small genetic pool, the chances of bad recessive gene’s getting expressed is increased.

    Consanguinity – Inbreeding

    • #42
  13. user_331141 Inactive
    user_331141
    @JamieLockett

    Son of Spengler: SCOTUS has effectively declared that opposition to SSM is irrational bigotry. That will have implications for those of us whose religious observance is about fidelity to God’s revealed word. SCOTUS doesn’t get to tell me what’s central or not central to my religion, and neither do you.

    While I found the decision to be a bad one based on the legal reasoning and precedent it sets I do not think that this is warranted. Kennedy explicitly stated that religious institutions were still free to object to SSM on moral grounds.

    • #43
  14. Kozak Member
    Kozak
    @Kozak

    Jamie Lockett:

    Son of Spengler: SCOTUS has effectively declared that opposition to SSM is irrational bigotry. That will have implications for those of us whose religious observance is about fidelity to God’s revealed word. SCOTUS doesn’t get to tell me what’s central or not central to my religion, and neither do you.

    While I found the decision to be a bad one based on the legal reasoning and precedent it sets I do not think that this is warranted. Kennedy explicitly stated that religious institutions were still free to object to SSM on moral grounds.

    From the UK but expect it here soon…

    Millionaire gay couple is suing to force a church to hold their wedding

    • #44
  15. user_331141 Inactive
    user_331141
    @JamieLockett

    Kozak: From the UK but expect it here soon… Millionaire gay couple is suing to force a church to hold their wedding

    The UK doesn’t have the 1st amendment. Completely un-analogous.

    • #45
  16. Kozak Member
    Kozak
    @Kozak

    Jamie Lockett:

    Kozak: From the UK but expect it here soon… Millionaire gay couple is suing to force a church to hold their wedding

    The UK doesn’t have the 1st amendment. Completely un-analogous.

    Care to make a wager?

    • #46
  17. Larry3435 Member
    Larry3435
    @Larry3435

    When a challenge to laws against polygamy shows up in the courts, it is more likely to be dressed in the rhetoric of “religious freedom” than of substantive due process.  There are a lot of people who follow religions that permit polygamy, and I don’t mean Mormons.  So while we are talking about slippery slopes, where does that whole Hobby Lobby reasoning come to a stop, and why was nobody wringing their hands about the possibility of polygamy when that case was decided?

    • #47
  18. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive
    Ball Diamond Ball
    @BallDiamondBall

    Jamie Lockett
    “Can we stop with the Christianity is going to be outlawed nonsense?

    If being opposed to SSM or homosexuality is so central to your faith that recognizing SSM will cause its collapse, then I submit that your faith pretty worthless.”

    What do you mean “we”?

    • #48
  19. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller
    @AaronMiller

    Agreed, Larry.

    Religious liberty is an illusion. In reality, it is necessary and just to favor some philosophical and moral premises over others.

    It is impossible to distinguish a religious practice from an irreligious one without granting government the authority to define the limits of religion.

    A religion is basically a truth claim. No government can pretend all perceptions of truth and justice are equally valid.

    • #49
  20. Leigh Inactive
    Leigh
    @Leigh

    Jamie Lockett:

    Kozak: From the UK but expect it here soon… Millionaire gay couple is suing to force a church to hold their wedding

    The UK doesn’t have the 1st amendment. Completely un-analogous.

    If Americans were convinced of the Courts’ fidelity to the Constitution, this would be a completely different discussion.

    Now I do happen to think that recent rulings on religious liberty have been encouraging, and that, for now, Kennedy is very likely to come down on the right side of this issue.  But given this Court that rewrites laws and tortures the meaning of words, those liberties now rest on the will of five judges and not the plain meaning of the Constitution.

    • #50
  21. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    And what happens over the five-year period it takes for something to get before Justice Kennedy to be protected by him, assuming he will be true to his word?

    Confusion, fear, and self-censoring.

    • #51
  22. Julia PA Inactive
    Julia PA
    @JulesPA

    Jamie Lockett: Kennedy explicitly stated that religious institutions were still free to object to SSM on moral grounds.

    But does it guarantee religious institutions and people won’t be punished for said objections?

    • #52
  23. Fake John Galt Coolidge
    Fake John Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    The only issue I see is that everybody keeps thinking of polygamy in its traditional one husband multiple wives defination. The actual defination that will be legalized will be much more flexible, much more of a group marriage thing. Maybe a wife and multiple husbands. Maybe multiple husbands and multiple wives. Maybe even a chain sort of a thing that has a person (A) married to persons (B) & (C), and person (B) married to person (A) and (D), etc. basically whatever is legalized will have to have the maximum amount of flexibility of connections and genders or it would be discriminating against somebody. And as we have seen, discrimination is bad.

    • #53
  24. DocJay Inactive
    DocJay
    @DocJay

    Kozak, the close relative studies you’re conducting have just caused a giant collective groan in rural Nevada.

    • #54
  25. DocJay Inactive
    DocJay
    @DocJay

    Outlawed Jamie? Of course not. Persecuted though and it’s going to get ugly. The lions have been fed but the hunger for Christians continues. BTW, the first amendment doesn’t mean diddly without the second one.

    • #55
  26. user_331141 Inactive
    user_331141
    @JamieLockett

    Jules PA: But does it guarantee religious institutions and people won’t be punished for said objections?

    By the government? Absolutely.

    There is no guarantee for any ground in society that your opinions and beliefs won’t engender approbation from society at large.

    • #56
  27. Concretevol Thatcher
    Concretevol
    @Concretevol

    Jamie Lockett:

    Jules PA: But does it guarantee religious institutions and people won’t be punished for said objections?

    By the government? Absolutely.

    There is no guarantee for any ground in society that your opinions and beliefs won’t engender approbation from society at large.

    So would you consider ending churches tax exempt status because of their objection to ssm punishment by the government?  I mean, these are the same people that hounded/audited and refused tax exempt status to various tea party groups solely because they opposed them politically but who am I to judge the motivations of such noble people.  I think you may be forgetting the extent that the Obama administration has politicized every facet of life.

    • #57
  28. user_331141 Inactive
    user_331141
    @JamieLockett

    Concretevol: So would you consider ending churches tax exempt status because of their objection to ssm punishment by the government?  I mean, these are the same people that hounded/audited and refused tax exempt status to various tea party groups solely because they opposed them politically but who am I to judge the motivations of such noble people.  I think you may be forgetting the extent that the Obama administration has politicized every facet of life.

    I don’t believe any organizations should be tax exempt. I think that we should exempt either all organizations or no organizations (I favor not taxing organizations, only the individual). So I don’t see this as a punishment so much as a return to my preferred ideal.

    • #58
  29. No Caesar Thatcher
    No Caesar
    @NoCaesar

    Before long there will be a push to remove tax-exempt status to churches who do not endorse and consecrate SSM.  They will use case law to get there (i.e. the Courts), because it will not get through Congress.  If it gets to the Roberts Court it will pass.  Roberts’ and his ilk will say the Constitution prevents a state religion, it does not require tax-exempt status to religious bodies.  The only defense will be to blow up all non-profits.  If that happens, then we will need to push for removal of tax-exempt status for all.  Then the Left will think twice.

    Everyone who does not affirm SSM, will be persecuted and “othered”.

    • #59
  30. Fake John Galt Coolidge
    Fake John Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    Jamie Lockett:Can we stop with the Christianity is going to be outlawed nonsense?

    If being opposed to SSM or homosexuality is so central to your faith that recognizing SSM will cause its collapse, then I submit that your faith pretty worthless.

    Outlawed?  To a degree they will be.  First will be the removal of tax exempt status and tax breaks and exemptions.  This will cut churches operational budgets by 50+ percent.  Then will be the legal challenges to various church’s opposition.  They may win or not these, but the process is the punishment and the cost of constantly defending themselves will put pressure on the already pressed restricted budgets.  Added to this will be regulations enforced on their operations that will restrict their freedom to perform their mission thus causing them to shutdown theses services.  Example of this is Catholic Charities being forced to shut down their adoption services because of their non support of the LGBTTQQIAAP lifestyle.  Another one is religious hospitals being required to close since they will not perform abortions.  Eventually members of the clergy, members of the church will be harassed through audits, investigations or other inspections.  Later church members and clergy will have to perform their services underground in order to perform what they consider their duty.

    Maybe my faith is pretty worthless in your eyes but your logic seems to show stage one thinking only and is not complete in mine.  I will take my worthless faith over your incomplete logic.

    • #60
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