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Polygamy and the Marriage Free-fall

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  • Polygamy and the Marriage Free-fall

    Polygamy and the Marriage Free-fall
    By Andrew T. Walker
    December 16, 2013 12:45 PM
    Comments167


    Marriage in America is in a state of free-fall, and it’s the confluence of American attitudes and legal rulings that are responsible for helping push it off the cliff.

    On Friday night, a George W. Bush judicial appointee, Judge Clark Waddoups, struck down a part of Utah’s law against polygamy in a 91-page ruling. The case drew nationwide attention because the plaintiff, Kody Brown, is the star of TLC’s Sister Wives, a reality show depicting the life of a polygamist family.

    Waddoups’ ruling is fairly limited, insisting that the state’s ban on “religious cohabitation” is unconstitutional, and therefore should no longer be criminalized. The judge left intact the portion of the law that prohibits an individual from obtaining a marriage license while already legally married.

    So, according to the ruling’s logic, it is illegal to have more than one legal spouse, but informal, private, or lifestyle polygamy is no longer illegal.

    Waddoups’s ruling can’t be viewed in isolation from the events that preceded it, especially the debate over same-sex marriage and the larger effort to undo the norms of family life. Social change, for good or ill, rarely happens at a single moment in time, but over time as the sum total of a thousand smaller events. This Friday night in Utah was one such event.

    In his ruling, Judge Waddoups cites the 2003 Supreme Court decision Lawrence v. Texas that rendered Texas’s anti-sodomy law unconstitutional. He even quotes Justice Kennedy’s line that “Liberty protects the person from unwarranted government intrusions into a dwelling or other private places.”

    In a now-famous dissent in Lawrence, Justice Scalia predicted that the Court’s action in Lawrence in entering moral debates would have the effect of mainstreaming any and all sexual activity under the rubrics of liberty and privacy. As Scalia noted in his 2003 dissent, “State laws against bigamy, same-sex marriage, adult incest, prostitution, masturbation, adultery, fornication, bestiality, and obscenity. . . . Every single one of these laws is called into question by today’s decision.”

    Even the justices who did not agree with Texas’s anti-sodomy law still considered the Court’s foray into “morals legislation” a matter outside the Court’s jurisdiction. While no one in this debate is calling for a return to anti-sodomy laws, Scalia’s 2003 prescience now seems prophetic of a larger truth about family life in America: It lacks a normative position, an epidemic that Waddoups’ decision only exacerbates.

    Critics of the sexual liberation movement, and in particular, same-sex marriage, have long conjectured that redefining marriage to include same-sex persons would open the door to further revision. Once the norms of marriage are based on undefined and vague conceptions of “liberty” and “equality” without addressing the substantive issues of defining what marriage is, marriage can no longer be said to be fixed, but elastic and subject to the demands of democratic fiat.
    More. Polygamists themselves certainly see this ruling as paving the way toward plural legal marriage.

    NRO
    "Alexa, slaughter the fatted calf."

  • #2
    It will be fun to see what happens when two or three or five widows of the same dead husband all try to claim Social Security survivors' benefits.

    It's also going to make for some interesting 1040 forms.
    It's been ten years since that lonely day I left you
    In the morning rain, smoking gun in hand
    Ten lonely years but how my heart, it still remembers
    Pray for me, momma, I'm a gypsy now

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Gingersnap View Post
      More. Polygamists themselves certainly see this ruling as paving the way toward plural legal marriage.

      NRO
      Plural legal marriage will take some Jesus Christ On A Crutch legal arguments.
      The law schools are licking their lips.
      Robert Francis O'Rourke, Democrat, White guy, spent ~78 million to defeat, Ted Cruz, Republican immigrant Dark guy …
      and lost …
      But the Republicans are racist.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Gramps View Post
        Plural legal marriage will take some Jesus Christ On A Crutch legal arguments.
        The law schools are licking their lips.
        Doubtful. If gay marriage is okay, there's no bar against plural marriage. Employer benefits can simply be divided among the adult spouses. Welfare benefits can be readjusted to take into account the number of working spouses, children, etc. There's a formula for this and the Saudi's will probably share it with us.

        I can't think of a legal reason to prohibit plural marriage when gay marriage is being okay'd. What would the argument look like? That one dad and two moms are abusive or inadequate but two moms are healthy and fine? That people in plural marriages don't "love" each other? That plural marriage wrecks gay marriage?

        Your only argument would be bureaucratic: we haven't figured out the welfare payments yet. That won't fly.
        "Alexa, slaughter the fatted calf."

        Comment


        • #5
          chickenlittle.jpg
          "Since the historic ruling, the Lovings have become icons for equality. Mildred released a statement on the 40th anniversary of the ruling in 2007: 'I am proud that Richard’s and my name is on a court case that can help reinforce the love, the commitment, the fairness, and the family that so many people, Black or white, young or old, gay or straight, seek in life. I support the freedom to marry for all. That’s what Loving, and loving, are all about.'." - Mildred Loving (Loving v. Virginia)

          Comment


          • #6
            There are a couple of things that probably ought to be mentioned here. For one thing, this case does nothing to advance legal recognition of plural marriage. The fact that the couple was not seeking legal recognition of their marriage was actually a key point in their favor. This case just says that people will not be arrested in Utah for shacking up in combinations greater than two. That's all.

            Secondly, this case makes no legal reference to any gay marriage statute or ruling. If no legislature or court had ever taken a single step toward recognizing gay marriage, this case would be exactly the same. There is no causal link to gay marriage.

            That said, you could say it shares a common ancestor with gay marriage cases. The case refers to Lawrence v. Texas, which is not a gay marriage case -- it's a gay sex case. Lawrence v. Texas established that what you do in your own bedroom is your own damn business, even if you're gay. And this case extends that principle to "even if got more than one partner." So you could say, "First we stop arrestin' 'em for doin' the butt sex, and the next thing the gays are gettin' married." And you could say, "First we stop arrestin' 'em for doin' the butt sex, and the next thing we stop arrestin' Mormons for havin' a threesome." But it's wrong to say, "First we let the gays marry and the next thing we stop arrestin' the Mormons for having a threesome." I mean, that might be the chronology, but the one didn't lead to the other.
            Enjoy.

            Comment


            • #7
              As a hypothetical, it now looks as if there's a legal case for granting two legal marriages: one same-sex, one opposite-sex.

              Breitbart
              "Alexa, slaughter the fatted calf."

              Comment


              • #8
                I tried polyamory. Fuck everything about that shit. If you're not conniving your way to the top or at the top, it's fucking hell.

                ~Dallas

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Dallas View Post
                  I tried polyamory. Fuck everything about that shit. If you're not conniving your way to the top or at the top, it's fucking hell.

                  ~Dallas
                  What's interesting about all these things (gay marriage, polyamory, polygamy, etc., is that they are all male-centric. Oddly, lesbians don't benefit much from gay marriage because they do get married - and divorced. Financially and in terms of child custody, they screw each other over.

                  Male gay marriage doesn't look much like regular marriage in terms of sexual exclusion, interdependent finances, or familial relationships, either.
                  "Alexa, slaughter the fatted calf."

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Gingersnap View Post
                    What's interesting about all these things (gay marriage, polyamory, polygamy, etc., is that they are all male-centric. Oddly, lesbians don't benefit much from gay marriage because they do get married - and divorced.Financially and in terms of child custody, they screw each other over.
                    How is that any different than saying that heterosexual women don't benefit much from marriage because they get married, divorced, and screwed over?


                    Male gay marriage doesn't look much like regular marriage in terms of sexual exclusion, interdependent finances, or familial relationships, either.
                    Statistics on that? I'm not certain there has been enough time in the gay marriage community to make that determination.
                    Not where I breathe, but where I love, I live...
                    Robert Southwell, S.J.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by phillygirl View Post
                      How is that any different than saying that heterosexual women don't benefit much from marriage because they get married, divorced, and screwed over?
                      Lesbian relationships that have been studied in the past decade show a broad pattern (among the under 60 crowd) of fast bonding, quick moving-in, and a preference for marriage or civil union within a year or so. Divorce or break-up follows a similar pattern within 18 months for many.

                      Heterosexual hook-ups are usually slower for all age groups and very much slower for living together or for marriage. Divorce for heterosexuals peaks at the 7 or 8 year point. Child custody issues are less complex for heterosexuals since only 2 people are normally involved. Lesbians often have involved men to deal with as well as their former female partners who are not biologically related to the child but may have an emotional parenting claim. Lesbian relationships have a higher rate of both mental and physical violence which also complicates things.

                      No "marry in haste, repent at leisure" scenarios are good for anybody and no relationships that burn out fast are good for anybody. With two women, the stakes are often higher since the child issue is more complex and since the financial issues are non-traditional.
                      "Alexa, slaughter the fatted calf."

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Gingersnap View Post
                        Lesbian relationships that have been studied in the past decade show a broad pattern (among the under 60 crowd) of fast bonding, quick moving-in, and a preference for marriage or civil union within a year or so. Divorce or break-up follows a similar pattern within 18 months for many.

                        Heterosexual hook-ups are usually slower for all age groups and very much slower for living together or for marriage. Divorce for heterosexuals peaks at the 7 or 8 year point. Child custody issues are less complex for heterosexuals since only 2 people are normally involved. Lesbians often have involved men to deal with as well as their former female partners who are not biologically related to the child but may have an emotional parenting claim. Lesbian relationships have a higher rate of both mental and physical violence which also complicates things.

                        No "marry in haste, repent at leisure" scenarios are good for anybody and no relationships that burn out fast are good for anybody. With two women, the stakes are often higher since the child issue is more complex and since the financial issues are non-traditional.
                        It hasn't been my experience that lesbian relationships, in general, involve a third party, non donor status male that complicates the custody issue.

                        As for the comparison to heterosexual "hookups", I think you've got to look at the non married, non living together baby producing relationships when looking at the alleged detriment factor comparing heterosexual relationships to lesbian relationships. I don't think the data is as clear cut as you present.

                        I have a very busy practice. I've represented lesbians in traditional lesbian relationships, gay men in traditional homosexual relationships, lesbians in marital relationships (to men) and gay men in marital relationships (with women), and the spouses that found out their significant other liked the other team. People in breakups with those stakes are mean and they suck. I'm not certain that the orientation changes that fact, or the end game, particularly for the lower wage earning "spouse".
                        Not where I breathe, but where I love, I live...
                        Robert Southwell, S.J.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Gingersnap View Post
                          What's interesting about all these things (gay marriage, polyamory, polygamy, etc., is that they are all male-centric. Oddly, lesbians don't benefit much from gay marriage because they do get married - and divorced. Financially and in terms of child custody, they screw each other over.

                          Male gay marriage doesn't look much like regular marriage in terms of sexual exclusion, interdependent finances, or familial relationships, either.
                          I completely disagree. Of the marriages or partnerships I've seen that last more than a couple of years, gay couples of either sex have the same intermingling on their entire lives generally considered commonplace in straight marriages.
                          "Faith is nothing but a firm assent of the mind : which, if it be regulated, as is our duty, cannot be afforded to anything but upon good reason, and so cannot be opposite to it."

                          -John Locke

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by phillygirl View Post
                            It hasn't been my experience that lesbian relationships, in general, involve a third party, non donor status male that complicates the custody issue.

                            As for the comparison to heterosexual "hookups", I think you've got to look at the non married, non living together baby producing relationships when looking at the alleged detriment factor comparing heterosexual relationships to lesbian relationships. I don't think the data is as clear cut as you present.

                            I have a very busy practice. I've represented lesbians in traditional lesbian relationships, gay men in traditional homosexual relationships, lesbians in marital relationships (to men) and gay men in marital relationships (with women), and the spouses that found out their significant other liked the other team. People in breakups with those stakes are mean and they suck. I'm not certain that the orientation changes that fact, or the end game, particularly for the lower wage earning "spouse".
                            I think it does. The middle-aged groups aren't the ones to watch - those people frequently have heterosexual investments of one kind or another and they have a different cultural mind-set.

                            The ones to watch are the under 35 crowd and down. That's the future.
                            "Alexa, slaughter the fatted calf."

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Gingersnap View Post
                              I think it does. The middle-aged groups aren't the ones to watch - those people frequently have heterosexual investments of one kind or another and they have a different cultural mind-set.

                              The ones to watch are the under 35 crowd and down. That's the future.
                              Yes. Check out that crowd in the heterosexual arena. It ain't pretty.
                              Not where I breathe, but where I love, I live...
                              Robert Southwell, S.J.

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