A few weeks ago, Lindsay Graham asked Loretta Lynch an interesting question at her Senate confirmation hearings: “What is the legal difference between a ban on same sex marriage being unconstitutional, but a ban on polygamy being constitutional?”
The question, understandably, took her by surprise. “Senator, I have not been involved in the argument or analysis of the cases that have gone before the Supreme Court, and I’m not comfortable undertaking legal analysis without having had the ability to review the relevant facts and the precedent there…but I look forward to continuing the discussions with you.”
Today, polygamy is illegal worldwide, except for most Muslim countries. Women are shamefully oppressed under sharia law, so I think polygamy is somewhat tainted by association. But the question of whether polygamy should be illegal in the United States is its own issue, and ought to be considered on its merits. And it seems to me that it’s the kind of thing consenting adults out to be able to choose for themselves, just like gay marriage has been found to be — outside Alabama, at least.
My main takeaway from watching “Big Love” is that polygamy is no crazier than monogamy, and no more likely to fail or harm children. It can work, given the right combination of individuals, particularly if religious conviction is a big part of their motivation. We do demand that the government respect all religious beliefs, don’t we?Not really. Polygamy seems to be one of those rare issues that liberals and conservatives agree on — they both disapprove, but for different reasons. Liberals tend to go along with the standard feminist critique of polygamy — any woman who chooses to share a man with another woman is submitting to patriarchy and must have low self esteem.
Conservatives will dig up some obscure Biblical verse that seems to condemn polygamy, ignoring the numerous Old Testament polygamists who God selects to do his work.
Frankly, I think it’s hypocritical to have laws that permit nitwit or sociopathic heterosexuals to leave a series of broken homes in their wake while banning big, happy polygamist families. Hypocrisy aside, I just can’t see how the court could legally defend banning it.
There is at least one guy in town who sees it this way. If I understand him correctly, Charlie Gruner feels that any combination of consenting adults should be able to sign any marriage contract they can dream up. The government should be involved only to resolve lawsuits or to protect minor children from abusive guardians. That’s what separation of church and state looks like, y’all.