Remember when same-sex marriage declared it was ridiculous to compare same-sex marriage with polygamy, and how same-sex marriage would never, ever lead us down the road towards polygamy?
Utah’s anti-Polygamy law has in large part been struck down because it criminalizes “the private consensual relations of adults.” This logic was based on the Supreme Court’s ruling in Lawrence vs. Texas (which overturned Texas’ anti-Sodomy law). The ruling doesn’t overturn the state’s restriction of marriage licenses between more than two people, however it does mean that it is legal to live as a married group.
When people pointed Lawrence vs. Texas would lead to normalization of polyamorous relationships, people dismissed it as ridiculous. Now that polygamy is traveling down the same road that homosexuality did, is it really so “ridiculous” to suggest that others “rights” will be extended to the polyamorous like it was to same-sex couples?
While there is no formal license given, polyamorous couples that are not completely same-sex can naturally have children between them, which gives a far stronger natural argument for a polygamous family as a natural one worthy of protection just as much as a family with only two daddies or two mommies. Adoption by a third parent, with the child having more than two legal parents, is already law in California.
With such precedents, the argument for legal recognition of polygamous marriages becomes similar to that of same-sex marriages: Many, if not in the future all, of the legal privileges that legally recognized people have. One of the arguments, in particular, was that by denying such legal recognition, the state denigrated “alternate lifestyle” families which hurt children. How many men have multiple children with multiple “baby-mommas”? Would it not be better to give legal recognition and full rights to polygamous families in order to provide a stable loving hope for the children? Indeed, most, if not all of the arguments that are used against polygamous marriages have been used against same-sex marriages and so dismissed.
This is not just a strawman argument or playing the devil’s advocate. Bigamy has effectively been declared legal in North Dakota. The North Dakota Attorney General, in response to a request for a legal opinion, declared:
“[T]hat a person’s previously valid same-sex marriage in another state isn’t recognized in North Dakota, so he or she may still obtain a valid marriage license here [in North Dakota]. The person also isn’t committing a crime by indicating on the marriage license application that he or she was single or never married the opinion states. “
Part of the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down most of DOMA was based on the state’s having the right to define marriage, which the Federal Government must accept marriages that are lawfully entered into according to the individual states. This would put the Federal government in the position of having to recognize a bigamous marriage. On a Federal level, polygamy would be legal.
Polygamy is here, now. Sadly, we likely have far farther down the slippery slope to slip…
The Utah polygamy law ruling:
The North Dakota’s Attorney General’s opinion: