The PJ Tatler

Legalize Polygamy!

Some of us have warned about the slippery slope presented by changing the definition of marriage. We have mostly been ignored. So I’ll just leave this right here.

While the Supreme Court and the rest of us are all focused on the human right of marriage equality, let’s not forget that the fight doesn’t end with same-sex marriage.

But if you’ve pointed this out lately as an argument against changing the definition of marriage, you’ve been dismissed, ignored or called a bigot, or you’ve been told that you’re just not in touch with younger voters. What if the younger voters just haven’t thought things through?

Now that the first battle appears won, the concern over further changing the definition of marriage has been validated over at Slate by Jillian Keenan.

We need to legalize polygamy, too. Legalized polygamy in the United States is the constitutional, feminist, and sex-positive choice. More importantly, it would actually help protect, empower, and strengthen women, children, and families.

Evidence presented to back that argument? None. The rest of the article boils down to “Well, who are you to judge?”

One response to this will be, to just get government out of marriage altogether. How we do that, and more importantly whether that’s wise or not, is never really addressed. Marriages deal with child birth and upbringing, property and asset ownership, money — all things that end up demanding government involvement in one way or another as disagreements arise. As we have watered down the meaning of marriage and divorce over the past few decades, has government become more or less involved in marriage? Through court cases and decisions, undoubtedly government has become more involved, not less. Are we better off as families and a society, or worse off? We could look at segments of society where out-of-wedlock births are highest and marriage rates are lowest to find our answer. Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan wrote about that once upon a time, but no one really cares about history anymore.

Now let’s add polygamy to the scene. It probably won’t happen through a vote, but through court action. The Supreme Court is looking at changing the definition of marriage right now, and if they’re not careful, they could change it a whole lot whether they intend to or not. Who wants to bet that the same court that found the ObamaCare mandate a tax when it wasn’t written into the legislation as such will be careful? That the same court that opened Pandora’s Box with Dred Scott and Roe v Wade will be careful? History doesn’t back up that faith, but then again, who bothers to learn from history?

The argument for polygamy rests on the lack of any sort of fundamental values. One cannot build a house without a foundation, but we’re attempting to build a society without one.

The definition of marriage is plastic. Just like heterosexual marriage is no better or worse than homosexual marriage, marriage between two consenting adults is not inherently more or less “correct” than marriage among three (or four, or six) consenting adults. Though polygamists are a minority—a tiny minority, in fact—freedom has no value unless it extends to even the smallest and most marginalized groups among us.

That’s teenage level thinking. The fact is, in many instances rights compete against each other. Rights are often invented in order to oppress, not liberate. The “right” to health care, for instance, can end up commanding someone to surrender what they have earned to pay for someone else’s doctor bills. The “right” to free birth control results in commanding others to give up their right of conscience, on penalty of losing their livelihoods. Sandra Fluke is in competition with the owners of Hobby Lobby on this point right now.

So let’s fight for marriage equality until it extends to every same-sex couple in the United States—and then let’s keep fighting. We’re not done yet.

That’s what some of us have been warning about all along.