Skip to comments.Polygamy And American Constitutional Law (Now the Left wants to cry "Halt!"?)
Posted on 02/03/2014 4:21:46 PM PST by 2ndDivisionVet
A conversation on The Roundtable convinced me to address polygamy. A judge in Utah decided that state could ban formal legal polygamy but could not ban people living in comparable arrangements without formal legal sanctions. Some people argue that legalization of polygamy follows from constitutional protection of gay and lesbian relationships. If one consensual relationship is OK, therefore so are all the others. That is a mistake. The law does not work that way.
Missing from that argument is any mention of whether anyone is hurt and how. There are many ways that law takes account of injury, both constitutional law and other areas. For relationships that could be consensual, we are concerned about opportunities for coercing, defrauding, or injuring others, and for people below the age of consent. There are a number of legal methods to deal with those problems, from procedures to verify what is happening, to regulation and prohibition. Which is appropriate depends on what the situation requires.
In the context of polygamy, I have heard professional women describe living in polygamous relationships and preferring it that way. I can understand that the gals outnumber the guys. But there has been considerable discussion of social and family pressures pushing women into polygamous relationships, including young women below the age of consent. Gay and lesbian relationships dont have that problem if anything, social pressure is toward straight relationships. But in isolated polygamous communities, elders have pushed young women into such relationships and closed off alternatives. The womens movement is largely about making sure that women can control their own lives. I cant offer any estimate of the percentage but it certainly seems to be a problem. Nothing short of prohibiting the relationship may prevent the coercion. And existing wives need protection too. Consent, and vetoes can be very difficult to handle. Even the Koran and Shariah limit men to four wives.
But consent is not the only issue. One issue is economic. If this is a traditional male-chauvinist relationship, can one man assume responsibility for multiple wives and many children? And do the young people have to be kept in cloistered communities away from the opportunities of the wider world to make sure that they too will consent?
And polygamy has an impact on the wider society, on the gender balance and gendered behaviors we are prepared to deal with. To the extent that polygamy puts off the age at which most men marry and conceive, are we prepared for the social consequences? Since there is concern about the health of children conceived by older men, there is another generation to be concerned about.
I dont claim to know all the answers to the questions Ive raised. My point is that there are serious issues to consider, that law is more complex than some are assuming, and that it is entirely appropriate for law to address this issue with an eye not just on the people in front of the court, but with an eye on the implications of any legal rule on all those who will be affected by it. Unlike gay rights where consenting relationships dont harm others, polygamy poses serious issues. None of us is entitled to remake the world in ways that hurt others just so that we can have whatever we want, whether the issue is corporate irresponsibility, treatment of children or polygamy.
Steve Gottlieb is Jay and Ruth Caplan Distinguished Professor of Law at Albany Law School and author of Morality Imposed: The Rehnquist Court and Liberty in America. He has served on the Board of the New York Civil Liberties Union, and in the US Peace Corps in Iran.
Women and girls = property.
NOW does not even make a peep.
He should have started this debate thirty years ago. Conservatives saw this one coming and the lefties ignored the potential problems so they could get everything the gays wanted. You’re right, they’re way too late.
Polygamy works in a farming environment where more hands mean more production.
Gender based abortion has the same disproportionate effect on gender balance. So far I hear crickets from feminists.
Or, in any environment, where more bodies mean more welfare.
I have been friends with three or four homosexual men over the years. Everyone of them was sexually abused (recruited) as a child.
How does that not count as someone getting hurt?
Homosexual marriage has an impact on the larger society, but the liberals won’t allow that subject to be discussed when it comes to homosexual marriage. But in the area of ploygamy, now a liberal states that since polygamy impacts the larger society, we need to put on the brakes on going in that direction.
Liberals aren’t known for holding consistent standards or positions, but, you can’t have it both ways. Logically, you can’t say we’re allowing this particular change in the definition of marriage among consenting adults, but we won’t allow this other change.
Or you can’t hold these positions and still be intellectually honest.
Basic false assumption right there. Gays' consenting adult relationships do harm others, because when they acquire children (whether by adoption or artificial reproduction technologies) their children are intentionally, and generally permanently deprived of either a father or a mother.
They are literally, deliberately generating broken families.
Because that NEVER happened and you’re a racist homophobe! /s
This is an example of someone on a slippery slope who has decided to yell.. “Wwwwwheeee!!!!!” as they continue to slide.
5 working women and one working guy get married. That is six incomes combined. If each woman had a child that is six incomes with 11 exemptions. Big gov stands to lose while the combined income of the family will afford it a good standard of living vs the tax rate of similar traditional couple with two kids. If each wife takes turn watching the kids (no daycare costs). There is lots of advantages to polygamy in terms of taxes and income. If sodomy (less acceptable and practiced in human history) is legal then the barriers to polygamy (more widely practiced by people in the past) should be lower.
Anyone forces someone to marry is abusive no matter if the marriage is traditional, gay or polygamy. If all the adults consent, the US gov and state gov has no grounds to make it illegal, especially after gay relations (two consenting adults) is made a human right. The state cannot assume polygamy arrangement is automatically abusive and continue to keep it illegal. It is like assuming all men have a penis and should be made illegal to prevent women being raped.
“The law is what I say it is.” Lewis Carroll, Through The Looking Glass.
Seriously tho, how consenting adults choose to order their lives is nine of the Governments business. Once conservatives ceded that power to Government they lost the war.
Abraham, King David, King Solomon, Simeon, Jacob, Esau, Gideon, Moses, etc., etc...
My similar thought was, "This is a man who suddenly finds himself halfway down a slippery slope that those with more wisdom saw coming long ago".
His statements make no sense. What logic can be applied to decide that a "married" lesbian couple cannot have a husband? Or two husbands? Or a husband and several more "wives"?
To believe his lame arguments is to suggest that heterosexual marriage should never have been permitted by the government because of the widespread use of coercion among married couples over the last ten thousand years.
On so many fronts the liberals are getting what they always wanted with all the dire consequences.
“Missing from that argument is any mention of whether anyone is hurt and how.”
The contribution of homosexuality to pedophilia didn’t seem to matter in the discussion of homosexuality being normalized by allowing homosexual perverts to marry each other.
The argument promoting gay marriage centered around the contrived notion that homosexuals are born that way. Allowing that, which the courts unwisely did, how can polygamy be denied? A pretty strong case can be made that men and women are polygamous by nature, and a faithful marriage to one partner is an extra natural union. That’s why people have so many sexual partners before marriage, after marriage, and why there are so many people engaged in the practice of serial marriages. By any other name, polygamy is polygamy, and there is no such thing as human relationships that don’t present the risk of someone being hurt.
Besides, homosexual marriage is not based on reason, but emotion and cultural corruption. As our culture is further corrupted by pop culture and leftist anti culture, sin becomes acceptable and excused. It becomes arbitrary as opposed to absolute, and what happened with gay marriage will happen when our society reaches a state of corruption that excuses polygamy, pedophilia, and bestiality.
Polygamy assures a surplus of males who will never find a wife. Look up the “Lost Boys” issue caused by polygamy in Utah.
Moses had it right:
1. Man & woman contract a marriage for life - with G*d as a witness.
2. Divorce was available, under certain conditions, costly ones.
Joseph Smith was something of a satyr and abused his position to justify his sexual predations. America dealt with this once, and may again have to so do. Oddly enough, my Mormon friends are not eager to see polygamy resurfacing.
I don't think it would work out the way you are suggesting.
Six households with $30k each would probably pay NO taxes.
Each exemption reduces taxable income by $3.7k, I think.
One household earning $180k, even with 11 exemptions worth about $40k, would leave $140k in taxable income.
The progressive nature of our income tax would, I think, punish households with lots of wage earners.
oh, don’t stop now! I was planning on having 300+ deductions on me tax return when polygamy and bestiality were legalized. me and my gold fish, Goldie, are very close. the fact that I’d pay no taxes ever has nothing to do with it
Polygamy works in a welfare environment where “unmarried” mothers are paid by the state.