Katherine Kersten is making a good career out of being completely wrong.
Her latest missive, Once same-sex marriage is OK, polygamy’s next, is yet another example. There are many problems with her logic here. First of all, anti-gay people like her know that no law can be passed that will strengthen (or weaken) their marriage. They claim that anything but “one man one woman” hurts marriage but they can never say exactly how. Take, for example, her closing paragraph:
What’s the likely endpoint? Marriage may be redefined out of existence, and replaced by a flexible, contract-based system of government-registered relationships. So get ready. Today gay marriage supporters’ mantra is, “How does my same-sex marriage harm your marriage?” Down the road it may be, “How does my marriage of two men and a woman harm your marriage?” If we don’t answer the first question with resolve — making clear that “one man-one woman” is at the heart of marriage in Minnesota — we may not have a chance to answer the second.
What is clear is that Kersten has no idea how same-sex marriage harms marriages. She just knows she doesn’t like it. This is true of most anti-gay folks. They just don’t like it and their solution is government prejudice. Do the fucking math, folks, you are wrong on this one.
Now on to polygamy. First of all, polygamy as it is practiced is not a victimless crime. Particularly in the case of Mormons, women are brainwashed into utter subservience and polygamy is a tactic in the systematic abuse of women by people who think the Bible says that women are second class citizens. Our government has a responsibility to protect women against this abuse. By contrast, the government has no duty to protect one person from being in a committed and long-term relationship with another person of the same sex. Polygamy is not a victimless crime, same-sex marriage has no victims.
Now throwing away the evil Bible-thumping bastards who want to enslave women, is there a reason why the state can’t sanction polygamy? I think there are quite a few reasons why it would never make sense. First of all, contracts between 3 parties are much more complicated than between 2. What responsibilities does husband #1 have to husband #2? What about paternity? Are their parental rights for the “partner” which is not directly a parent? How is property and child custody handled in divorce? The complications go on and on. Unlike Kersten, I don’t have some Biblical rational for attacking polygamy. Unlike Right Wingers, I don’t think the government should invade my home and my privacy because the neighbor down the street disagrees with my lifestyle. I think government should have little oversight over my personal relationships.
Polygamy, though, is an unpopular practice embraced almost solely by religious fanatics and using it to attack the civil rights of homosexuals is a red herring and a symptom of the weak constitutional argument against gay marriage.