Slate Magazine published a piece today calling for the legalization of polygamy pronto.
Wow. That was the fastest slippery slope ever. The thing is that the link between gay marriage and polygamy was never a maybe someday thing. Once marriage is destroyed, it becomes whatever consenting adults wish it to be.
It’s funny how things come back. When the Republican Party was formed and had its first convention in Philadelphia in 1856, it announced “It is the duty of Congress to prohibit in the territories those twin relics of barbarism, polygamy and slavery.”
Slavery is the dehumanization of a class of people much like abortion is today and polygamy is well…polygamy. Now, it seems Republicans are in the same fight to recognize the humanity of all and to preserve marriage. Sadly, that fight might look like more of an uphill battle now than it did in 1856.
Recently, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council reintroduced a tired refrain: Legalized gay marriage could lead to other legal forms of marriage disaster, such as polygamy. Rick Santorum, Bill O’Reilly, and other social conservatives have made similar claims. It’s hardly a new prediction—we’ve been hearing it for years. Gay marriage is a slippery slope! A gateway drug! If we legalize it, then what’s next? Legalized polygamy?
We can only hope.
Yes, really. While the Supreme Court and the rest of us are all focused on the human right of marriage equality, let’s not forget that the fight doesn’t end with same-sex marriage. We need to legalize polygamy, too. Legalized polygamy in the United States is the constitutional, feminist, and sex-positive choice. More importantly, it would actually help protect, empower, and strengthen women, children, and families.
For decades, the prevailing logic has been that polygamy hurts women and children. That makes sense, since in contemporary American practice that is often the case. In many Fundamentalist Latter-day Saints polygamous communities, for example, women and underage girls are forced into polygamous unions against their will. Some boys, who represent the surplus of males, are brutally thrown out of their homes and driven into homelessness and poverty at very young ages. All of these stories are tragic, and the criminals involved should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. (That goes without saying, I hope.)
But legalizing consensual adult polygamy wouldn’t legalize rape or child abuse. In fact, it would make those crimes easier to combat.
Right now, all polygamous families, including the healthy, responsible ones, are driven into hiding…
Hmmm. That sounds familiar. We have to legalize something to avoid back-alley polygamy. Yeah sure, if we legalize polygamy it’ll make it so much better. Kinda’ like what happened with abortion. And we know how safe that is, right?