Skip to comments.Same-Sex Marriage: Opening the Door to Polygamy
Posted on 04/17/2009 12:47:48 PM PDT by Colofornian
With the decision by the Iowa Supreme Court and an enactment of a statute Vermont Legislature sanctioning same-sex marriage, a great deal of commentary, filled with understandable but unwarranted optimism, has appeared on the possibility of same-sex marriage being legislated in additional states, including New Jersey.
Advocates are dismissive of the slippery-slope argument that is, by allowing same-sex couples to marry, then any restrictions on a parent marrying his child or his couch will logically fall. Such views are easily ridiculed if not rebutted, but the next logical step in this debate namely, polygamy is not readily dismissed and must be honestly considered by those who favor same-sex marriage.
We tend to think that culture wars are a unique affliction of our unsettled age. In the 19th century, however, the country was engulfed in a moral struggle not only against slavery but also and often with comparable fervor against Mormon polygamy. From Joseph Smiths revelation in the early 1830s that included plural marriage to the official repudiation of this teaching by the Mormon Church in 1890, Mormons were furiously persecuted and relentlessly prosecuted for their practice of polygamy.
The platform of the Republican Party in 1856 famously called for the prohibition in the territories of those twin relics of barbarism, polygamy and slavery. Moreover, the state constitutions of Arizona, Idaho, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Utah all have provisions banning polygamy and Congress required these anti-polygamy provisions as a condition of admission to statehood in all these states except Idaho.
This constitutional struggle over polygamy culminated in 1878 when the U.S. Supreme Court decided Reynolds v. United States. A bigamist named George Reynolds was prosecuted in the Utah territory. Reynolds sought a conduct exemption to the criminal prohibition of polygamy based on the guarantee of the free exercise of religion under the first amendment. With the correct observation that the practice of polygamy is incompatible with American political institutions, the Court determined that the prohibition was well within the authority of Congress in the territories.
Mormon polygamy was defeated by a culture stable enough in its understanding of public morality, particularly at the elite level, to thwart this great challenge. That understanding has essentially vanished today.
Proponents of same-sex marriage invariably wonder what harm would be presented by allowing couples of the same sex to marry. Of course, by ignoring sexual complementarity and violating the natural law, the common good is undermined; in other words, our moral ecology will be damaged. But our intellectual elites who dominate the courts, the universities and the editorial offices of newspapers are animated by a radical individualism on social issues and they have no concern at all for public morality and refuse to acknowledge any such harm. Then what is the case against polygamy? Allowing a man (or woman) to enter into plural marriage will not prohibit others from marrying in the monogamous tradition. It would not interfere with that arrangement in any way. Churches would still be free to marry couples in conformity with their own teachings.
What is more, it should be acknowledged that, unlike same-sex marriage, plural marriage has a long and established tradition throughout many parts of the world. Finally, with the easy availability of unlimited divorce, serial polygamy is already thoroughly commonplace in Europe and America. What is the difference between taking three or four wives at once or one after the other?
With the exclusively libertarian premises that are relied on today for such questions, the case for polygamy is stronger than that of same-sex marriage. For the libertarian, any case against polygamy is based on nothing more than ignorance and fear. After all, most people know homosexuals. How many polygamists does anyone know? Perhaps such irrational opposition should be stigmatized as polyphobia.
With numerous Mormon fundamentalists (excommunicated Mormons who practice polygamy) in this country and increasing immigration from Islamic countries where polygamy is enthusiastically practiced, plural marriage is not a concern based on hysteria or conjecture. Indeed, the intellectually casual embrace of same-sex marriage by its advocates is remarkably oblivious to this problem. Instead of mocking opposition to same-sex marriage as the irrational product of a benighted religious tradition, advocates must be forced to confront the inescapable logic of their own argument. If marriage is to be deconstructed to satisfy a right that never occurred to anyone until the day before yesterday, then certain ineluctable ramifications must be addressed.
Ah, historic irony:
First Mormon polygamous proponents wage war on monogamy, weakening that institution to make it more vulnerable to further attacks a century later.
Now same-sex marriage proponents wage war on monogamy, weaking that institution to make it more vulnerable to polygamy!
What the homosexual activists are doing to monogamy is not all that distinct from what Lds activists did to it in the 19th century under the guise of religious pluralism!
Just in time for the mass influx of muslim immigrants that obama is going to let into America...
Islam allows polygamy.
Yup. The Republican party's very foundation socially was to openly attack polygamy. Defenders and neutrals of polygamy need to get over it. The party of Lincoln openly labeled it as a relic of barbarism and treated it the same as slavery fighting it tooth & nail even to the point that 42 years after its party's opening salvo, a two-dozen-plus banner delivery to Congress featured 7 million signatures of grassroots citizens telling Congress to send home newly elected polygamist Democrat congressman B.H. Roberts. (They did -- he took a u-turn back to Utah). That was pre-mass media. 1898.
Interesting how some state constitutions already expressly “control what goes on in the bedroom” by banning polygamy. I assume much of the left is OK with those. Or maybe not!
Few, if any, arguments for same-sex marriage are inapplable to polygamy. “Who does it hurt if someone has three wives?” “If you don’t want three wives don’t marry three!”
And who doesn’t want to marry their FERRET....CHIMP.....DOG.....For SURE their CAT.....that’s where THIS is going!
Seven million signatures back then - before mass media, as you rightly point out - is simply staggering.
Is it possible that the Mormon PR machine (& by extension, its grassroots apologetic lobby) is so well-oiled that everybody now thinks that all Mormons who practice polygamy are excommunicated?
Uh, somebody wanna tap this columnist on the shoulder or e-mail him at Gregoryjsull@aol.com to let him know that probably 98-99% of fundamentalist Mormons have NOT been ex-communicated from the Salt-Lake based LDS Church? Oops. Seems like his closing comment is based on the utterly false notion that the overwhelming majority of fLDS are ex--LDS...Sorry, but that hasn't been true since the 1930s-1940s!!! 'Tis a straw man. If we applied this logic across the board that all fLDS are excommunicated LDS...
...all Lutherans would simply be excommunicated Catholics...
...same with all Moravians, too.
Indeed it has.
We even have FREEPERS galore who repeatedly & openly defended the Texas polygamists.
And Utah Mormons in law enforcement positions who traditionally look the other way re: its wide-open practice in that state.
And then you have many grassroots LDS who are often 100% ambiguous about polygamy because either...
(a) their descendents were polygamous;
and/or (b) they anticipate encountering many polygamous beings still practicing polygamy in the afterlife;
and/or (c) they anticipate the Mormon jesus re-instituting polygamy when he returns;
and/or (d) they have Mormon peers and neighbors now who are serial monogamists but who were sealed "for eternity" to all their spouses in the LDS temple -- and therefore are deemed as "eternal polygamists!"
Oh please, because I really need TWO people nagging me to take out the garbage.
(and why stop at just two garbage advocates?)
hey, while I am against same sex marriage, I actually think the world would be a better place with polygamy.
Who would want more than one wife??? Sheesh, 2x’s the honey do’s, 2x’s the PMS, 2x’s the shopping trips, 2x’s less golfing
‘hey, while I am against same sex marriage, I actually think the world would be a better place with polygamy.’
I disagree, aside from all the obvious jokes it wouldnt work. There is pretty close to a 50/50 mix between the sexes. If a significant amount of men couldn’t marry because all the women were 2,3,4th wives and there were no women it would be a different society. We could expect more wars, violence and negative impacts to our society.
First question: Does that go both ways. You'd be all in favor of one woman having 10-20 husbands? (Yes? No?)
Secondly. Let's see. I just saw a recent article that says China has 32 million more boys than girls. Why? (Primarily sex-selection abortion & open abandonment of female infants & children). Now that translates into a lot of single males in China with no (eventual) prospect of marrying.
Polygamy carries the same major negative social consequences. LOTS of males with no prospect of marrying within that culture.
Now, how did the 19th century LDS leaders tend to deal with it? For one, they sent young lads on missions -- so they could marry off the girls they were interested in. Secondly, one young lad who was romantically attached to a young lady was castrated -- and later committed suicide.
And we see the same kind of nonsense from fLDS -- hence, the "lost boys" of Colorado City/Hildale. Teen boys are told to leave; socially ostracized.
So how does your pro-polygamy stance square with these negative social consequences? ('cause it's attitudes like yours that steepens the problems of dealing with the roots of these consequences)
I HOPE YOU'RE NOT SERIOUS!
POLYGAMY IS A HIDEOUS MORMON PRACTICE
Male teens are frequently dumped on the streets of places like Salt Lake City by polygamous Mormon sects because there aren't enough females to go around. Over 400 abandoned young men are kept by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in one school in Salt Lake City alone. When they graduate from high school, they are unceremoniously discarded back onto the streets. You can read more about this HERE.
Perhaps worse is the fate awaiting the girls. They are taken from their homes as teens (some as young as 14 or 15) and given as wives to men in their 50's to essentially serve as breed stock in order to call home spirit babies. You can read more about this HERE and HERE.
Polygamy is an embarrassment to modern Mormonism, in part because of:
For behold, I reveal unto you a new and an everlasting covenant; and if ye abide not that covenant, then are ye damned; for no one can reject this covenant and be permitted to enter into my glory. (D&C 132:4,21)
Behold, David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord. (BoM Jacob 2:24)
There is an excellent video (approximately 90 minutes long) on polygamy HERE. It is well worth the watch in my opinion. (Incidentally, the sponsor provides copies of the DVD without charge to LDS members)
I also strongly recommend you visit the Utah Attorney General's web page on polygamy HERE. You may also want to review the AG's Primer on polygamy (there is a link to the pdf document at the bottom of the first paragraph) with the understanding it is emotionally disturbing.
Hey, I didn’t say it should be practiced the MORMON way. But I do dig that new wavish hairdoos the chicks have!
yes both ways. Why not? Again, I never said that polygamy mormon style should be practiced. Just that if you have a guy and two women who want to get married, then they should or vice versa. But it shouldn’t be a forced practiced.
A good chunk of my China example in post #16 applies. While you can say that the Chinese govt policy of one-child-per family policy is behind most abortions and most female child abandonments, the choice of these abandonments is still left in the hands of parents.
Therefore, even if you had "only" 10 million more Chinese boys than girls (if abortion wasn't a forced practice there), you still have this 10 million gap happening one at a time. And likewise, opening the door to polygamy -- and depriving men of a wife -- would happen one plural wife at a time -- until its accumulative total exacts a terrible social toll.
Besides, "greedy" hundreds of 19th century Mormon leaders never could stop at just one extra wife. Once the high school roll call was open for them to observe and re-observe every year, they couldn't get themselves off the young "bride" indulgence list.
From LDS apostle Kimball's 19th century comments, we already know that's the way they routinely treated new converts arriving in Utah midway through the 19th century. And we know that Brigham Young & Joseph Smith were oogling newly arrived-on-the-scene British converts like 17 yo Martha Brotherton, as evidenced by her July 1842 affidavit (see pp. 562-566 of H. Michael Marquardt's book, The Rise of Mormonism, 1816-1844). All but p. 564 can be viewed here: http://books.google.com/books?id=Z_v2IAnMssMC&pg=PA559&lpg=PA559&dq=%22joseph+smith%22+ages+wives&source=bl&ots=5p93hgC0GO&sig=dFuE7Su8tlQdx6Sznjo5JM69JpY&hl=en&ei=SLzoSamjFZ-qtgew_q2KBA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=10#PPA562,M1