2016-05-12

First legalized same-gender marriage, now polygamy. What’s next? The right to lawfully wed your 1956 Chevrolet BelAir?

“Sadly, when marriage is elastic enough to mean anything, in due time it comes to mean nothing,” says Russell D. Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. “This is what happens when marriage becomes about the emotional and sexual wants of adults, divorced from the needs of children for a mother and a father committed to each other for life.” 

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Husband, wife and Chevy?

“As gay marriage has gained acceptance across the country, its opponents have often claimed that the inevitable next steps would be recognition of bigamy, polygamy, bestiality and incest,” reads an editorial in the Los Angeles Times. “So when a judge struck down part of Utah’s anti-polygamy law last week, those critics were quick to say they told us so.”

“Many gay marriage advocates,” writes Harry Cheadle for Vice.com, “don’t want the public to draw comparisons between gay relationships and ‘weird’ potentially abusive multiwife setups. Back in 2006, Andrew Sullivan wrote, ‘Legalizing polygamy is a bad idea for a society in general for all the usual reasons (abuse of women, the dangers of leaving a pool of unmarried straight men in the population at large, etc.),’ an odd mirroring of all those conservatives who’ve talked about how ‘bad for society’ gay marriage would be.”

sister wives

The "Sister Wives" TV show family

However, now a federal court has struck down a key section of Utah’s anti-polygamy law, passed more than a century ago when one of the key political objections to granting the Mormon-developed territory statehood was the acceptance of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints of multi-wife marriages. The practice was instituted in the 1830s by founder Joseph Smith and endorsed in 1852 by Elder Orson Pratt of the Council of the Twelve Apostles at the request of church president Brigham Young. Then it was banned by Congress and a U.S. Supreme Court ruling upholding the law. However, seeking statehood, in 1890 church president Wilford Woodruff issued a manifesto that officially terminated the practice, in 1896 the Utah territorial legislature banned it and shortly thereafter, Utah was admitted into the Union.

Church members role-playing

Church members role-playing

“Polygamy was outlawed in this country because it was demonstrated, again and again, to hurt women and children,” says Moore. In primitive, constantly warring tribal societies, it is often practiced because of a shortage of men. It is speculated the early Mormons began the practice out of necessity since so many Mormon men had been killed in armed confrontations in Missouri and Illinois – driving the Mormons out and inspiring their retreating to largely uninhabited Utah to found their own territory.

However, in modern-day cults, particularly Mormon offshoots in Texas and Utah, it has been observed to result in the community’s

younger men being run out since they compete with older men seeking multiple and often younger wives.

Tony Perkins

Tony Perkins

“Turns out, marriage isn’t about two people who love each other — it’s about three or five or six,” commented Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council. “That was Judge Clark Waddoups’s opinion in the most explosive ruling the media isn’t talking about.

“The U.S. District Judge’s ruling should have kicked off the evening news in every major market across America. Instead, his 91-page pro-polygamy bombshell is nothing but a back-page blip. And that’s no accident,” wrote Perkins. “When Waddoups struck down Utah’s criminal ban on “plural marriages,” the networks started tiptoeing around the story like the cultural grenade it is.

“Like us, they know the left’s dirty little secret — that people who support same-sex ‘marriage’ are saying ‘I do’ to a lot more than they bargained for. While liberals insist that same-sex ‘marriage’ is the ultimate goal, their demands only lay the groundwork for other relationships to demand the same entitlements.

“Once the courts and policy makers depart from the natural definition of marriage,” writes Perkins, a legal foundation is established “for any arrangement between consenting adults. Judge Waddoups essentially admitted as much. Despite the fact that the Supreme Court outlawed polygamy years ago, Waddoups insists that he can’t possibly rest on that decision in modern society. In his words, America has ‘developed constitutional jurisprudence that now protects individuals from the criminal consequences intended by legislatures to apply to certain personal choices.’

Indeed, says Perkins, the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act this summer “only sped the process along. Polygamists popped the corked on a little champagne of their own after the June ruling,” as they waited their turn for nationwide acceptance. Utah polygamisr Joe Darger told reporters ‘We’re very happy” with the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act. “I think the court has taken a step in correcting some inequality, and that’s certainly something that’s going to trickle down and impact us.”

He was certainly right. Now it has.

“Proponents of polygamy are riding the homosexual movement’s wave of success all the way to legitimacy,” notes Perkins.

Joe Darger family

Joe Darger family

“For over 5,000 years of recorded human history, marriage laws worldwide were about providing a social structure for producing and raising children,” writes Ken Klukowski for Breitbart.com. “These laws simply acknowledged the biological reality that only sex between a man and a woman can produce a baby, and that, correspondingly, that every child born into the world has two parents, one of which is a man, the other a woman.”

“Marriage laws were designed to secure parental rights for that man and woman over the child they had created, and also imposed strict duties and obligations on each of them for raising that child. As part of that, those laws also bound the man and woman to each other, imposing obligations of sexually exclusivity, mutual care, and support.

“Those laws,” writes Klukowski, “were created for the nurturing of those children, and assign the gender role of demanding the man’s protection and support of the woman during pregnancy and once the

children were born. They were designed primarily for the protection of children, and secondarily for the support of women.

Spain's Royal Family

Spain’s Royal Family

“A man and woman would form a new family to act as a single unit in society, and care for any children resulting from their monogamous sexual relationship. Thus, marriage has been defined as the union of one man and one woman. More precisely, it is the union of (1) two consenting persons, (2) of opposite biological sex, (3) who are not close blood relatives.

“The new conception of marriage,” continues Klukowski, rooted in the proliferation of no-fault divorce laws in the 1970s and the sexual revolution, is that marriage is about personal happiness and fulfillment. People should be free to form whatever relationships they find personally satisfying and to follow whatever their personal sexual inclinations are to engage in whatever form of sexual behavior they find gratifying.

“If, therefore, you have a right to officially recognize those homosexual relationships through redefining marriage to include same-sex couples, then there is no reason to say it cannot include more than two people, so long as everyone is a consenting adult.”

The ruling didn’t just happen, says Klukowski.

Jonathan Turley

Jonathan Turley

“This lawsuit is the brainchild of Professor Jonathan Turley at George Washington University. He’s designed a two-step strategy, piggybacking on same-sex marriage: first, decriminalize polygamy, then assert a right to official recognition of polygamy.

“As Turley explained in previous court filings, he believes there is a ‘right to self-determination of private relations and family matters free of government intrusion.’ He noted that many oppose polygamy,” and goes on to assert that polygamists are entitled to protection from such bias.” Their status under domestic law is a civil rights issue deserving the same protections afforded to homosexuals and other minority groups.””

Albert Mohler

Albert Mohler

“In one sense, the decision was almost inevitable, given the trajectory of both the culture and the federal courts,” said R. Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. “On the other hand, the sheer shock of the decision serves as an alarm: marriage is being utterly redefined before our eyes, and in the span of a single generation.

“Now, with the logic of moral revolution transforming marriage in all respects, polygamy follows same-sex marriage,” Mohler added. “If marriage can be redefined in terms of gender, it can easily be redefined in terms of number.”

“The ruling,” writes Tom Strode for Baptist Press, “came in a lawsuit filed by Kody Brown and his four wives, who are featured in the television reality show “Sister Wives” on the cable channel TLC. Brown and only one of his wives have a marriage license. They are members of the Apostolic United Brethren, which believes polygamy is ‘a core religious practice,’ according to Waddoups’ opinion.

“Defenders of the biblical and historic view of marriage,” noted Strode, “said the decision undermines the institution and provides more evidence that its redefinition will be more expansive than just incorporating same-sex relationships.

Justice Antonin Scalia

Justice Antonin Scalia

Ten years ago, Justice Antonin Scalia predicted what is now happening after the case of Lawrence v. Texas, the Supreme Court decision rolling back sodomy statutes.

“With prophetic insight,” writes Perkins, “he pointed to the threat to state laws ‘based on moral choices’ against ‘bigamy, same-sex marriage, adult incest, prostitution… adultery, fornication, bestiality, and obscenity.’ Anyone being intellectually honest knew this was where liberals were pushing America. Of course, the media for years laughed off groups like Family Research Council who warned that the left’s goal isn’t same-sex ‘marriage’ but any kind of marriage.

The Dutch Royal Family

The Dutch Royal Family

Just this year, extremists like Jillian Keenan did conservatives a favor by owning up to the fact that homosexual “marriage” is just the warm-up act to an even more shocking agenda. “Let’s not forget that the fight doesn’t end with same-sex marriage,” she wrote in a column for Slate.

Where does it end? Already plots are showing up on prime-time TV making a case for the rights of pedophiles – who, the argument goes, are born with a desire to have sex with children.

“At the heart of the current debates about same-sex marriage are three crucial questions,” writes Ryan T. Anderson for the Heritage Foundation. “What is marriage, why does marriage matter for public policy, and what would be the consequences of redefining marriage to exclude sexual complementarity?

Ryan Anderson

Ryan Anderson

“Marriage exists to bring a man and a woman together as husband and wife to be father and mother to any children their union produces. It is based on the anthropological truth that men and women are different and complementary, the biological fact that reproduction depends on a man and a woman, and the social reality that children need both a mother and a father. Marriage predates government. It is the fundamental building block of all human civilization. Marriage has public purposes that transcend its private purposes. This is why 41 states, with good reason, affirm that marriage is between a man and a woman.

The Josh Duggar Family

The Josh Duggar Family

“Government recognizes marriage because it is an institution that benefits society in a way that no other relationship does,” writes Anderson. “Marriage is society’s least restrictive means of ensuring the well-being of children. State recognition of marriage protects children by encouraging men and women to commit to each other and take responsibility for their children. While respecting everyone’s liberty, government rightly recognizes, protects, and promotes marriage as the ideal institution for childbearing and childrearing.

“Promoting marriage does not ban any type of relationship: Adults are free to make choices about their relationships, and they do not need government sanction or license to do so. All Americans have the freedom to live as they choose, but no one has a right to redefine marriage for everyone else.

“In recent decades,” writes Anderson. “marriage has been weakened by a revisionist view that is more about adults’ desires than children’s needs. This reduces marriage to a system to approve emotional bonds or distribute legal privileges.

“Redefining marriage to include same-sex relationships is the culmination of this revisionism, and it would leave emotional intensity as the only thing that sets marriage apart from other bonds. Redefining marriage would further distance marriage from the needs of children and would deny, as a matter of policy, the ideal that a child needs both a mom and a dad. Decades of social science, including the latest studies using large samples and robust research methods, show that children tend to do best when raised by a mother and a father. The confusion resulting from further delinking childbearing from marriage would force the state to intervene more often in family life and expand welfare programs. Redefining marriage would legislate a new principle that marriage is whatever emotional bond the government says it is.

“Redefining marriage does not simply expand the existing understanding of marriage,” writes Anderson. “It rejects the anthropological truth that marriage is based on the complementarity of man and woman, the biological fact that reproduction depends on a man and a woman, and the social reality that children need a mother and a father. Redefining marriage to abandon the norm of male–female sexual complementarity would also make other essential characteristics – such as monogamy, exclusivity, and permanency—optional. Marriage cannot do the work that society needs it to do if these norms are further weakened.

“Redefining marriage is also a direct and demonstrable threat to religious freedom because it marginalizes those who affirm marriage as the union of a man and a woman. This is already evident in Massachusetts and Washington, D.C., among other locations.

“Concern for the common good requires protecting and strengthening the marriage culture by promoting the truth about marriage.”

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