March 13, 2006

Whoa Nelly!

Polygamists are picketing for the right to have multiple wives! Egads!

"Polygamy rights is the next civil-rights battle," says Mark Henkel, who is the founder of a Christian evangelical polygamy organization. Henkel argues that if a child can have two mommies, then it is should be legal for her to have two mommies and a daddy.

Gay and lesbian activist groups contend against this slippery-slope ideology. Yet Henkel's argument brings up an interesting point: what is the government's role in defining marriage?

I'm not asking whether or not we should legalize gay marriage or polygamous marriage. My question is this: where does the government draw the line? Why is one marriage right but another wrong? Should the government even have a say in who should or shouldn't get married? Where indeed do we seek this sort of guidance?

From God? (But how do we do so in a secular nation?)

From philosophy? (Yes, but which philosophy do we choose?)

From the people? (Can we trust the view of the masses if they are so prone to change after a few decades?)

What do you think?


  1. Ah well, it's a bit lonely in here, so I'll get the discussion rolling!

    We should, of course, look to hedonistic philosophies to guide national affairs. Eat, drink, and be merry! What better way to make friends with other countries then to wine and dine them? :o)

  2. ha ha. I like how you answered your own question. That's awesome. As for me, I figure that the polygamists have a pretty strong argument. Why should gays and lesbians get equal treatment under the law of polygs don't? It don't seem fair, now do it? Of course, I personally like the idea of the government taking a stand and supporting good ol' monogamy (between man and woman), but, honestly, I don't think that it would last even the government DID make a law about it. Eventually it would get overturned. Curse that Brokeback Mountain!!

  3. I agree that the polygamists do have a case if gay marriage is passed.

  4. The basic difference between gay marriage and polygamous unions is that gay marriage is between two people---and this methodology is much easier to swallow than tribes of children fathered by one child.

    Polygamy is still way too far from the mainstream to ever be legalized, no matter how "fair" it is to grant people this right.

    Because homosexuality has been more readily accepted by the general public, most likely gay marriage will be legalized in our lifetimes (if not the near future). Perhaps if polygamy becomes widely accepted one day, then it too will become legal. But 96% of Americans believe that polygamy is wrong and thus it will never be legalized any time soon.

    So "fairness" does not equate with legality. Public opinion holds significant sway in what laws are passed and what aren't.

    In any case, I don't think polygamy should be legalized even if it would be fair to do so. The practice always leads to incest, rape, and the general oppression of women.

  5. wow. you're smart. I agree with your analysis on the matter. It's just a shame that that is the case. I guess I'm just an idealist at heart - and, so things like "fairness" and "equality" are big issues for me - even if they aren't really achievable. p.s. man, my last comment was fraught with errors! I'm so embarrassed!

  6. p.s. don't forget that most of the oppression that the early church members endured was over this very issue. if for no other reason than that, I would support its legalization.

  7. Hey Trav! Do you like how I'm able to reply to you so quickly because I'm avoiding doing real work? Haha.

    I agree with you that our country is founded upon ideas like fairness and equality, but I fear the legalization of polygamy will lead to many troublesome issues. What if a brother and sister want to get married and both are consenting adults? What if a 50 year-old man wants to marry a 14 year-old girl and both consented? Where then do we draw the line between what is fair and what is inherently wrong?

    To me, I don't think polygamy should be legalized in this country. In its current state, it inevitably leads to incest, abuse, and rape. Polygamy thrives on oppressing women and limiting their resources to pursue any other lifestyle. Thus making this practice legal is indeed very unfair to the women who are forced into it.

    And if we do legalize polygamy, we're telling those crazies in Colorado City that they're defiance of Church policy is A-OK. The Church has tried for over a hundred years to distinguish itself from these so-called Mormon fundamentalists. I fear if polygamy is legalized, it will only bring negative consequences to what the Church has strived for since 1890.

    The Church now holds that marriage should be ordained between a man and a woman. Polygamy doesn't fit under this umbrella.