Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Polygamy advocates buoyed by gay court wins
Washinton Blade dot com ^ | Friday, December 26, 2003 | By JOE CREA

Posted on 12/30/2003 12:13:31 PM PST by hattend

NATIONAL NEWS

Polygamy advocates buoyed by gay court wins Some see sodomy, marriage opinions as helping their cause

By JOE CREA
Friday, December 26, 2003

Mark Henkel, a “constitutional conservative” and polygamy advocate, said two recent gay rights victories should pave the way to decriminalizing polygamy laws. He claims the U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning state sodomy laws and a Massachusetts case that some say will legalize gay marriage in the Bay State should help polygamists.

“The government does not have the authority to be in the marriage business in the first place,” said Henkel, founder of TruthBearer.org, a Web site devoted to the decriminalization of polygamy.

Some social conservatives have argued that both decisions, particularly Lawrence vs. Texas, which found state sodomy laws unconstitutional, will send the nation down a “slippery slope” toward the legalization of polygamy and “other societal ills.”

Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) stirred up the debate in April, ahead of the Supreme Court ruling, when he said sex between two men was not constitutionally protected and was harmful to society.

“If the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything,” Santorum said. “Does that undermine the fabric of our society? I would argue yes, it does.”

Utah polygamists Tom Green and Rodney Holm are currently challenging their convictions for having multiple wives based in part on the Supreme Court’s sodomy ruling. Holm’s attorney is arguing that there must be some other rational basis to ban certain behavior other than sheer moral disapproval.

Legal scholars say that while it is possible the bigamy charges against both men could be dropped as a result of Lawrence vs. Texas, their other convictions would likely remain. Green was found guilty in a separate case of child rape because his first wife was 13 when they first married and began having sex.

Holm, a former Utah police officer, was also convicted on two counts of unlawful sex with a minor.

“Yes, I think [Lawrence vs. Texas] would give a lawyer a foothold to argue such a case,” said Art Spitzer, a lawyer at the American Civil Liberties Union. “The general framework of that case, that states can’t make it a crime to engage in private consensual intimate relationships, is a strong argument.”

‘Slippery slope’
Henkel criticized his “fellow conservatives” for spearheading the “slippery slope argument,” noting that it was conservatives who “started the supposed ball rolling by involving government in marriage in the first place.”

“Marriage in this country is not defined as the union of one man and one woman,” Henkel said. “Marriage in this country is the union of three: one man, one woman and the government. Any valid Christian should be concerned about this because from the conservative Christian paradigm, that’s an abomination itself.”

Quoting biblical passages supportive of polygamy, noting that Moses had two wives and that no one in the Bible was “ever married by government,” Henkel says that “Christian polygamy,” which his group supports, has garnered steam after the recent gay legal victories.

Christian polygamy, Henkel says, is a relatively new movement, based strictly upon the Old and New Testament. He describes it as a “benevolent” form of polygamy, in which a husband might take two wives to help support them financially.

Polygamy lacks support
Despite Henkel and Spitzer’s assertions that the recent gay legal victories will be a powerful tool in court, some experts say that both decisions are unlikely to lead to the overturning of polygamy laws.

“That [slippery slope argument] is just an incendiary device by the right wing,” said Sarah Barringer Gordon, a professor of law and history at the University of Pennsylvania. “States have a significant interest in marriage and the defense of marriage, especially in Utah, which does not want either same-sex or polygamous marriage.”

Tom Green, a Mormon polygamist serving a sentence for bigamy in Utah, has argued his conviction should be overturned based on the Lawrence vs. Texas decision. Gordon noted that there is not enough “broad, political support” for polygamy and that many of the legal battles over polygamy occurred in the 19th century.

Gordon said that conventional Mormon polygamy, based heavily on religious command, was debated in the middle to late 19th century and abandoned in 1890 when “lawmakers and the courts made it clear that the government, rather than local religious groups, would set the terms and boundaries of marriage.”

Opposing the FMA
Henkel also voiced his opposition to the Federal Marriage Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that seeks to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. He called the proposed amendment, which has been introduced in both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, “nothing short of new liberalism” and “another call for big government.”

“After the Supreme Court overturned states’ rights in Lawrence vs. Texas, you now have conservatives saying let’s overturn states’ rights on marriage — well guys, make up your mind.”

Gordon said that Henkel’s argument “has a very respectable pedigree.”

“It’s basically a libertarian argument — unless there is harm or some tangible drawback to a given activity, then the government has no justifiable means of regulating it,” Gordon said.

Henkel wants the government to completely step out of marriage.

“You can identify contractual obligations that we now consider within the realm of civil marriage and it does need to be in the realm of marriage,” Henkel said. “Anybody can have civil unions by making contracts with other parties and it does not need the gold star from the government to call it marriage.”

Spitzer said that more lawyers will likely argue privacy cases based on consenting adults but said that courts will always find a way to say “no” to incest.

“That would always be considered non-consensual but where the line will be officially drawn is unknown.”


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Government; US: Utah
KEYWORDS: deviancy; gaymarriage; homoagenda; homosexualagenda; lawrencevstexas; polygamy; slipperyslope

Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) argued in April that if the Supreme Court legalized gay sex, that similar rights for polygamists would follow.

Tom Green, a Mormon polygamist serving a sentence for bigamy in Utah, has argued his conviction should be overturned based on the Lawrence vs. Texas decision.

1 posted on 12/30/2003 12:13:32 PM PST by hattend
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: hattend
Slippery slope bump..
2 posted on 12/30/2003 12:14:42 PM PST by Jaxter ("Vivit Post Funera Virtus")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: hattend
Tom Green, a Mormon polygamist...
3 posted on 12/30/2003 12:15:00 PM PST by maui_hawaii
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: hattend
Frankly, my pets are costing me a bundle in vet bills for various aging related health problems. I wonder if a marriage of convenience to get them covered under my health insurance as a partner would work?

After all, I love them...isn't that the criteria under Massachusetts law?
4 posted on 12/30/2003 12:18:49 PM PST by OpusatFR (Al Dean and Howard Gore, separated at birth.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: hattend
I completely agree that recent pro-Homosexual court decisions make polygamy almost unavoidable. And that raises interesting issues of taxation (my 7 wives and I are filing jointly. I have 22 dependants.) And it will greatly accelerate the coming bankruptcy of Social Security.

The slide has begun, and the thing that will reverse that slide has not yet appeared on the political scene.

5 posted on 12/30/2003 12:21:36 PM PST by ClearCase_guy (France delenda est)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: hattend
What the heck does broad political support have to do with anything? After all if this is about the Constitution, it says what it says whether the cause is unpopular or not. The American People as a whole are clamoring for Gay Marriage, so why not polygamy?
6 posted on 12/30/2003 12:23:38 PM PST by Keyes2000mt (Pray for Rush)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Keyes2000mt
The American People as a whole are clamoring for Gay Marriage...

They are?

7 posted on 12/30/2003 12:25:09 PM PST by hattend (Mr Bush, the Supremes upheld CFR...what's your plan B? Too late to veto, now)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: ClearCase_guy
And that raises interesting issues of taxation (my 7 wives and I are filing jointly. I have 22 dependants.)

Wow, this is going to make the tax business fun in the next few years ... and imagine the multi-state filing complications ... billing by the number of parties involved? It could work ...

8 posted on 12/30/2003 12:32:53 PM PST by Tax-chick (Some people say that Life is the thing, but I prefer reading.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: hattend
A few days before Christmas, President Bush told Diane Sawyer he would support -- "if necessary" -- a constitutional amendment codifying marriage as the relationship between a man and a woman, and only a man and a woman. Came The New York Times, a few days after that, with the news of a new poll showing majority public disapproval of gay marriage.

This is the opener of Bill Murchison's column on Townhall.com today. If even the NYT admits the public doesn't support gay marriage, I think it's safe to say they don't.

9 posted on 12/30/2003 12:35:21 PM PST by Tax-chick (Some people say that Life is the thing, but I prefer reading.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: maui_hawaii
Actually, I **WOULD** still call him a Mormon. The Mormon/LDS church suddenly decided polygamy was wrong when they were told that they wouldn't be allowed to be a state so long as polygamy was permitted/encouraged.

The Elders, or whatever you call them, caved and joined the US. That wouldn't change the original doctrine. . . .

Not defending him, just pointing out that the Government forced a change in Mormon doctrine a century or so ago. . .
10 posted on 12/30/2003 12:42:00 PM PST by Salgak (don't mind me: the orbital mind control lasers are making me write this. . .)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: Tax-chick
If even the NYT admits the public doesn't support gay marriage, I think it's safe to say they don't.

But that's the "beauty" of the MA court decision! It just don't matter what the people think. We don't get a chance to vote on it. The Court ordered the legislature to write a law legitimating gay marriage. It (apparently) doesn't matter what the legislature thinks either. And I'm sure you understand the "full faith and credit" clause.

It's coming, brother.

11 posted on 12/30/2003 12:45:14 PM PST by ClearCase_guy (France delenda est)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: hattend
What man, in his right mind, would want MORE than one wife??!!

BTW...Keep your eyes on Rick Santorum the next four years...I believe he is going places, much to my delight.

FMCDH

12 posted on 12/30/2003 12:52:25 PM PST by nothingnew (The pendulum is swinging and the Rats are in the pit!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: hattend
This nation would be so much better off with a government and court system full of Rick Santorums.
13 posted on 12/30/2003 12:53:47 PM PST by NeoCaveman
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: hattend
This may give a whole new meaning to the phrase, "a boy and his dog..."
Why not pets? Why not menages a trois? Why not me and my rutabaga? This is a slippery slope indeed...
14 posted on 12/30/2003 1:11:27 PM PST by Viet Vet in Augusta GA
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Viet Vet in Augusta GA
Why not me and my rutabaga?
Ouch!
15 posted on 12/30/2003 1:19:42 PM PST by eastsider
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: ClearCase_guy
I don't think so...if marriage can be a contract between 2 adult humans, it just wouldn't matter what sex they are.
16 posted on 12/30/2003 1:24:33 PM PST by conserv13
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: hattend
The big one is going to come when Muslims start demanding the right to marry four wives, according to their religion.
17 posted on 12/30/2003 1:26:38 PM PST by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: nothingnew
What man, in his right mind, would want MORE than one wife??!!

Not me. No sir. I don't want to disappoint another woman.

18 posted on 12/30/2003 1:36:07 PM PST by Go Gordon (The older I get, the better I used to be.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: Viet Vet in Augusta GA
See my post #16 -

Why not pets?

Because pets are not human and cannot consent to a legal agreement.

Why not menages a trois? Why not me and my rutabaga?

Marriage COULD be defined as between any 2 adults not related to each other. I don't know if it should be, but I don't think the slippery slope argument is a good one against it.

LOL...I have had a few ex-girlfriends who were not much brighter than a rutabaga..

19 posted on 12/30/2003 1:47:23 PM PST by conserv13
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: hattend
Tom Green, a Mormon polygamist serving a sentence for bigamy in Utah

Tom Green is not "Mormon." He is not a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints - he is not Mormon. How many times does this have to be repeated before the people who write this stuff get it right? Polygamists are excommunicated and therefore are not Mormon. He can call himself Mormon, but that does not make it so. He can call himself the Queen of England, but still he is not.

20 posted on 12/30/2003 1:52:11 PM PST by Spiff (Have you committed a random act of thoughtcrime today?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: hattend
"Christian polygamy, Henkel says, is a relatively new movement, based strictly upon the Old and New Testament. He describes it as a “benevolent” form of polygamy, in which a husband might take two wives to help support them financially."

What a great idea, now that there are more women in the management work force than men, I can get more than one wife to support me in a better manner. And having 3 or 4 wives, wow, I could live in relatively luxury.
21 posted on 12/30/2003 1:56:51 PM PST by XBob
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: conserv13
I don't think so...if marriage can be a contract between 2 adult humans, it just wouldn't matter what sex they are.

I think you are wrong.

If we look at dominant religious belief in the US for the past 300 years or so, marriage is between a man and a woman -- but that's not the new standard.
If we look at existing laws and all legal precedence in this country over the past 200 years or so, marriage is between a man and a woman -- but that's not the new standard.
If we look at popular opinion and allow the voters to decide, marriage would be between a man and a woman -- but that's not the new standard.

So we have a new standard that says marriage is more than just something between a man and a woman. Please explain for me the boundaries of this new standard and tell us all: Oon what grounds does this new standard block polygamy or incest?

I'll wait.

22 posted on 12/30/2003 2:03:15 PM PST by ClearCase_guy (France delenda est)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: ClearCase_guy
Please explain for me the boundaries of this new standard and tell us all: Oon what grounds does this new standard block polygamy or incest?

If marriage was defined as between 2 adults not related to each other, this would not allow polygamy (more than 2) or incest (related) or adult /child 'marriages'

23 posted on 12/30/2003 2:12:40 PM PST by conserv13
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 22 | View Replies]

To: ClearCase_guy
In the shadowy fringe of the pulsing penumbra of the bright line?
24 posted on 12/30/2003 2:12:54 PM PST by Old Professer
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 22 | View Replies]

To: conserv13
That's not a standard. That's your wishful thinking about how something might be codified to get us out of this mess. Once the genie is out of the bottle, in order to codify it in some manner like you have specified, you have to have a reason.

That's the missing standard. There is no longer any reason to explicitly state that it is between 2 adults not related to each other. To do so would be seen as 100% arbitrary.

They threw out religion. They threw out existing law. They threw out popular sentiment. Now, there is no reason to define it at all. Marriage is now whatever anyone wants it to be.

25 posted on 12/30/2003 2:20:51 PM PST by ClearCase_guy (France delenda est)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 23 | View Replies]

To: Viet Vet in Augusta GA
There is no slope. It's civilizational free fall.
26 posted on 12/30/2003 2:23:58 PM PST by onedoug
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: nothingnew
What man, in his right mind, would want MORE than one wife??!!

A man who marries several rich women!

27 posted on 12/30/2003 2:24:35 PM PST by AmericaUnited
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: ClearCase_guy
That's your wishful thinking about how something might be codified to get us out of this mess

You're right! I don't want a Constitutional Amendment added over this issue. I hate to say this but I would rather have gay marriage than an amendment in the Constitution defining marriage.

28 posted on 12/30/2003 2:31:40 PM PST by conserv13
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 25 | View Replies]

To: AmericaUnited
OK...ya got me...but I get a separate house!!!!

FMCDH

29 posted on 12/30/2003 2:52:07 PM PST by nothingnew (The pendulum is swinging and the Rats are in the pit!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 27 | View Replies]

To: hattend
"“It’s basically a libertarian argument — unless there is harm or some tangible drawback to a given activity, then the government has no justifiable means of regulating it,” Gordon said."

Wait a minute. Isn't marriage -itself- government regulation?

I would argue, using the exact same libertarian argument, that unless there is a tangible BENEFIT to government regulation, government shouldn't get involved. There is a tangible benefit to society for government providing a support structure for heterosexual marriage - the clear and documented benefit to their biological children. Biological children are not an issue in homosexual marriage, and they can and do adopt without it.

Therefore, using that same libertarian argument, government should NOT regulate homosexual marriage (by creating it) because there is no reason for government to get involved in it. If a gay couple wants to go to a gay church and call themselves married, fine, but setting up laws and structure to support it isn't supportable with a libertarian limited-government argument.

Qwinn


30 posted on 12/30/2003 2:58:32 PM PST by Qwinn
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: hattend
Tom Green wants to get a gang of women pregnant by him, and put them all on welfare, and raise his own little gang.
31 posted on 12/30/2003 3:00:37 PM PST by tessalu
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: tessalu
And he even can find a few not so bright folks that would help him in his plan.
32 posted on 12/30/2003 3:01:56 PM PST by tessalu
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 31 | View Replies]

To: hattend; rmlew; nutmeg; firebrand; Clemenza; PARodrig
I suppose it might as well be time to recognize the validity of Muslim marriages as well. Under Muslim law a Muslim may marry up to four wives provided he can care for them all.

Isn't multiculturalism grand? I can't wait until they argue that we should allow the practice of cannibalism on religious and lifestyle liberty grounds.

33 posted on 12/30/2003 3:05:23 PM PST by Cacique
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: ClearCase_guy
They (the powers that be) OBVIOUSLY haven't thought about the tax ramifications. Once they realize a loss of tax $$$, all this foolishness will come to a grinding halt.
34 posted on 12/30/2003 3:06:03 PM PST by Muzzle_em
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: hattend
I have enough trouble with the wife I got, I sure as hell dont want another one.
35 posted on 12/30/2003 3:06:47 PM PST by Delbert
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: tessalu
What woman in her right mind would have HIS baby?
I find him repulsive.
36 posted on 12/30/2003 3:08:27 PM PST by Muzzle_em
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 31 | View Replies]

To: hattend
Hey I said this way back on another thread.
If a "marriage" doesn't necessarily have to be between a man and a woman, then logically, it doesn't have to be limited to just two either. Either the word has a definition or it doesn't. I said this was coming.
37 posted on 12/30/2003 3:22:44 PM PST by Clinging Bitterly (President Bush sends his regards.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Qwinn
American legal marriage goes back through to English common law, which, on marriage, goes back to the middle ages, where 'legal' marriage was invented to define who was and was not eligible to inherit a noble's estate. If you remember Shakespeare and other authors, they were much more concerned with 'bastards' back then, particularly 'royal' ones, and who would inherit the throne, than we are now.
38 posted on 12/30/2003 4:04:20 PM PST by XBob
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 30 | View Replies]

To: hattend
O.K., people, please explain to me exactly what is wrong with polygamy? And no snide jokes about two menstuating women and all that...

If all involved are consenting adults , and hetrosexual, and are in it for love and children, what is wrong with this?

How will this bring about the decline of civilization? In the past it was accepted and, well, here we are, cities and nations and airplanes and all...

Admittedly, it would be difficult sometimes, but what is fundamentally wrong with this practice? I do not see it.

Nowhere in the Bible is it enjoined. And what about Moses.. he wrote "suppose a man has two wives..." in Kings, implicitly granting his approval, and Moses was the MAN.

39 posted on 12/30/2003 5:11:52 PM PST by BabaOreally
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Qwinn
Qwinn said: " ... the clear and documented benefit to their biological children."

What? I thought that "it takes a village ..."

Who needs heterosexual marriage if you have Hillary to arrange everything.

40 posted on 12/30/2003 7:06:39 PM PST by William Tell
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 30 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson