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Author Topic: Gay Relationships, Next: Polygamy?
Ben
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Saw this today, and recalling someone on another thread commenting on how homosexual marriage or relationships would lead to polygamy, etc... Well, read for yourself. Hope the link works, but if not, here's the text too.

quote:

The Boston Globe

JEFF JACOBY
Is lawful polygamy next?
By Jeff Jacoby, 1/15/2004

THREE ADULTS who want to live together as a husband and two wives asked a federal court this week to strike down Utah's ban on polygamy as a violation of their constitutional rights.


The plaintiffs are G. Lee Cook and D. Cook, a married husband and wife, and J. Bronson, the woman who wants to join them in a "plural marriage." According to the lawsuit, the Cooks and Bronson share "sincere and deeply held religious beliefs" in polygamy as it was practiced in the early decades of the Mormon Church. Acting on those beliefs, the three of them went on Dec. 22 to the Salt Lake County Clerk's Office, where Mr. Cook and Ms. Bronson applied for a marriage license. But since Cook acknowledged that he was already married, the license was refused.

"The law makes it very clear that they can't be married to more than one person," the county clerk told the Salt Lake Tribune. "We're here issuing licenses according to the law." That law is written right into Utah's Constitution, which declares: "Polygamous or plural marriages are forever prohibited." And that, the plaintiffs argue, deprives them of their religious freedom and privacy rights under the Constitution.

It's an open-and-shut case, of course. They haven't got a prayer. Or have they?

Last June, in Lawrence v. Texas, the US Supreme Court overturned a Texas antisodomy law on the grounds that the Constitution protects "an autonomy of self that includes freedom of . . . certain intimate conduct." Five months later, guided in part by Lawrence, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts ruled that the age-old ban on same-sex marriage was "incompatible with the constitutional principles of respect for individual autonomy." The essence of civil marriage, said the SJC in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health, is simply "the exclusive and permanent commitment of the married partners to one another."

Well, if that, constitutionally speaking, is what makes a marriage -- the intimate union of permanently committed partners -- why shouldn't the trio in Utah be allowed to marry? On what principled ground can they be denied the protections and benefits of matrimony?

To be sure, Utah isn't Massachusetts, and federal court isn't the SJC. But logic is logic. If judges in one jurisdiction can decide that the right to marry includes the right to change the definition of marriage, judges in another jurisdiction can do the same.

Some advocates argue that it is insulting to compare a gay person's wish for a same-sex spouse with a polygamist's wish for multiple spouses. "Gay people are not asking for the right to marry anyone," writes Andrew Sullivan, a leading gay writer. "We're asking for the right to marry someone. Would-be polygamists already have a legal option: to marry a single other person."

But of course gay people have always had exactly the same option. They are free to marry someone of the opposite sex, and throughout history, countless homosexuals have done exactly that. Nevertheless, Sullivan claims, for gays and lesbians, opposite-sex marriage "is no meaningful option at all."

Isn't that exactly what the Utah plaintiffs would say about binary marriage? According to a "doctrinal overview" they filed with the court, so-called fundamentalist Mormons regard plural marriage as "a doctrine revealed by God, obedience to which is necessary for their desired eternal exaltation." Outlandish? Until very recently, that is what the vast majority of Americans thought about same-sex marriage, too.

The implication of Lawrence and Goodridge is that the only people entitled to decide whether an intimate relationship is meaningful enough to deserve legal protection are the parties to that relationship themselves. If other courts follow suit, the damage inflicted on the social order as we know it will be considerable.

This is why the power to define marriage has always been vested in the political branches of government, not the courts. The Massachusetts Constitution is explicit on the point: "All causes of marriage, divorce, and alimony . . . shall be heard and determined by the Governor and Council, until the Legislature shall, by law, make other provisions." As recently as 1999, the Supreme Judicial Court acknowledged that marriage was the Legislature's domain. "We recognize a family may no longer be constituted simply of a wage-earning father, his dependent wife, and the couple's children," the SJC said in Connors v. City of Boston, but "adjustments in the legislation to reflect these new social and economic realities must come from the Legislature."

The question for the Massachusetts Legislature is whether it will reclaim its authority to say what marriage means or meekly submit to the high court's power play. Lawmakers, too, take an oath to uphold the Constitution, and they have a duty to resist when judges overstep their bounds. If they fail to do so, the fallout may spread far and wide. The lawsuit in Salt Lake City is just a taste of things to come.

Jeff Jacoby's e-mail address is jacoby@globe.com.

© Copyright 2004 Globe Newspaper Company.


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Locus
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I sincerely hope so.

Apparently its socially acceptable to leave a string of failed marriages ..

Why isn't it acceptable to have several successful ones?

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towellman
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I also think that if gay marraige is upheld that it's kind of hard to ban polygamy with a straight face.

Just a side-note. Just as gay couples don't find police beathing down the bedroom door to arrest them polygamous families seem to usually be left alone as long as they don't break other laws like Tom Green did with welfare fraud and taking a 14 year old to wife.

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MannyJ
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I used to know some long-term, committed trios. At least some didn't last, but neither do most marriages.

But I don't know of any that had children, which I would think would be a destabilizing force in the absence of a strong religious basis for the relationship. So IF social recognition and privileging of marriage is about providing stability for children, I don't know how much point there'd be to extending the privilege. But I'm sheerly speculating here.

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Locus
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MannyJ,

Why would children destabilize a triad more than a typical marriage?

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FIJC
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I think that the only person who would benefit from polygamy is the husband. I imagine it would be like having a harem in one's house. I can't imagine that it would be an enjoyable living situation for any woman in her right mind. The only thing she would get from polygamy is a lot of children, more responsibility, and other women to compete with for her husband's affections.

Yuck, what a sucky situation. I would rather stay single and abstinent for the rest of my life, rather than to be stuck in a living situation like that.

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Locus
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FIJC,

You do a pretty fair job at painting love as a grim trap to be avoided.

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Ray Bingham
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Mormons got rid of polygamy for more than just the pressures of the law. We're so far distanced from it now that we forget the hardships and stresses of such a relationship. However there is a good example of the challenge that multiple spouses left, not only on wives but on husbands as well, in the case of Abraham and Sarah's handmaid (or Jacob and his infighting children).

Children add an additional factor of difficulty. Even in the best relationships, mormon women frequently fought for the attention of the father, and the father who "believed" he gave proper attentions to his wives, would likewise run up against a jealous wife, weighing the time spent here, or the article of clothing given to this child, and not her son or daughter...

Truth is, with the direction our society is going, with less and less time spent in the home, polygamy would only serve to distance fathers from their children by adding another layer of complication.

Just a thought, but...

We need to focus on building stronger families, and bringing fathers and mothers back into the home of their children, rather than relying upon child processing facilities.

--Ray

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FIJC
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Actually, I do not think I do. I am only 21 right now, and probably will not get married until a little later on in my life. My parents have a very successful and happy marriage; I have learned a lot about love and marriage from their example. I happen to believe that the basic unit of society should be the nuclear family, as in 1 mother, 1 father, and children, God-willing. I believe that monogamy and marital fidelity is a committment that comes with a marriage ordained in the Christian Church, which is a sacrament between the couple and God.

If people want to have blasphemous relationships, that is their choice. In an ideal world, that wouldn't happen, but people will ulimately behave in the way they see fit. If you are so keen on the success of polygamy, if the situation where reversed, and you were the one expected to be in a relationship with one woman, and dozens of other "husbands" would you find this socially acceptable?

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Locus
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FIJC,

I think I would be equally keen on dozens of other husbands as dozens of wives.

I wish you the best of luck finding the relationship you desire.

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FIJC
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What is it exactly that you like about a multi-partner relationship? Having a garden variety?
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Ray Bingham
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I think it's a fear of intimacy, myself... [Wink]

--Ray

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FIJC
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I personally think that having sex with only one person, in a committed relationship, would be the best sex. I think that there is a certain amount of trust and sacrifice in a monogamous relationship that would make intimacy a more satisfying experience.
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Locus
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FIJC,

*grin* perhaps I should clarify.

"dozens" is a committee.

I doubt you can find "dozens" of people who can all be friends with one another .. much less share a bed.

What if the wives/husbands enjoy chasing each other around the bed as much (or more) than their gender opposites?

What if the wives followed their careers while hubby stays home with all those kids?

Nobody is wringing your arm to join such a relationship. Know what is right for you. That's the biggest obstacle people have in life.

Equally, someone who fits the multiple partner lifestyle shouldn't be denied the opportunity to be a full person in that lifestyle.

Sacrifice makes a monogamous relationship special? How so? What are you giving up?

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FIJC
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Have you ever heard of giving up freedom in order to achieve a greater freedom?
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Locus
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"Have you ever heard of giving up freedom in order to achieve a greater freedom? "

Yeah ..it is Bush administration doublespeak for "bend over" at the airport.

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FIJC
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Well, you know what I meant, and it wasn't in reference to anything political in the traditional sense.

In many ways, I view fidelity and monogamy much as I view Christianity and the act of earnestly trying to live a Christ-like life. People often do not view Christianity as being the epitome of freedom, but I believe it is a greater freedom than what people typically think of ordinary concepts of freedom to be. I believe that freedom in Christ is freedom from sin and the gateway to eternal life.

In many ways, I think that a pledge to monogamy and fidelity are much like this; learning to reconcile one's physical desires and spiritual beliefs in order to lead a more satisfying and meaningful existence.

By the way, how old are you?

(Edited to add question)

[ January 15, 2004, 08:59 PM: Message edited by: FIJC ]

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Locus
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To be perfectly honest I don't know what you meant.

If monogamy is what you desire you give up nothing by indulging in it.

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Locus
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Rather than answering your question about my age ..ask me the question leading to the data you wish to derive from the question.

For all my age matters to anything I could simply generate a random number and present it.

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FIJC
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I am just curious.
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Zyne
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First gay relationships, then polygamy, then hampsters, then the moon!

But, on marriages of more than two ... These families are out there. They are raising children and having lives and growing old. I don't see what we accomplish by shoving these folks out of the mainstream....

Pardon the interruption. I now return you to the continuing flirt-fest [Razz]

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FIJC
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It is not a flirt-fest, I am honestly curious to know how old he is. It is hard for me to believe that someone who is, say 40, holds the views he does. In short, I haven't met many 40 year old men who are pro-polygamy.
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Doug64
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quote:
I think that the only person who would benefit from polygamy is the husband.
One advantage for women is that those in polygamous relationships don't produce as many children. The result is that the women wouldn't be as worn out from childbirth and there was a lower adult:child ratio, so caring for children was easier.

quote:
Mormons got rid of polygamy for more than just the pressures of the law.
No, we didn't. We fought against the attacks against our marriage practices to the point that the Church risked destruction. Mind you, I don't think you can use 18th century Mormon society as an example of typical polygamous practices.
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Locus
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Aww shucks Zyne ..I suspect you're more my type [Big Grin]

FIJC,

It's a useless number with me. I can't really give you an explanation of why without the whole board jumping on me for my "arrogance". Hey maybe even this much will invoke that.

I'm different enough from society that I might as well give you my shoe size.

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FIJC
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quote:
"No, we didn't. We fought against the attacks against our marriage practices to the point that the Church risked destruction. Mind you, I don't think you can use 18th century Mormon society as an example of typical polygamous practices."
I have two Mormon friends, and I do not think that either of them would approve of the idea of polygamy now. Do Mormons have a lot of religious splits within the church? In otherwords, are there theologically "liberal" and "conservative" divisions in Mormonism? Or is it pretty united?
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Zyne
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I have no idea how old Locus is; it's probably just relative. Can't speak for others' points of view, tho...

One of my best friends is a polyamorous fellow who is 40. And another of my best friends is a polygrrl who is of comparable age, and also his primary. And some of my favorite folk are their secondaries (this can be really interesting--Fellow is especially fond of dragging me out with him and New Woman to make sure I talk to her about Polygrrl).

But the plural of antedote is not data. These people are out there, but if you're squicking on the thought, they it probably ain't for you.

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Locus
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"One advantage for women is that those in polygamous relationships don't produce as many children. The result is that the women wouldn't be as worn out from childbirth and there was a lower adult:child ratio, so caring for children was easier."

I'm not certain this was true. From the numbers I've seen the early mormons bred like rabbits.

Also much of the plural marriage as practiced inside the mormon faith appears to me as the bad side of religion/power rearing its ugly head.

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FIJC
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quote:
"I have no idea how old Locus is; it's probably just relative."
Yeah, it seems that he has been traveling around with Ender for a few too many years.

[ January 15, 2004, 09:49 PM: Message edited by: FIJC ]

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Zyne
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Kids, what does plural marriage the way the LDS practiced it way back when have to do with anything?

I also don't see why polygamy has to be one man, several women?

Locus, you are so arrogant. For the shoe size comment. You are So Different. We mere mortals cannot relate to you. Ya'ar.

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Locus
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Zyne,

Did I imply that polygamy was always one man and a bunch of women?

*grin* ..thought the "husbands chasing each other around the bed" would have cleared that up.

"Locus, you are so arrogant. For the shoe size comment. You are So Different. We mere mortals cannot relate to you. Ya'ar. "

LOL... For the record I didn't mean to imply that it was impossible for you to comprehend.. simply that it would take much more time than a web board relationship merits.

Like .. explain what you are like when you wake up in the morning. Anything you might say is somewhat less than the whole truth.

FIJC asked what my age was but what she really wanted to know is .. does he have enough experience to have any faint clue what he is suggesting? Or that's the feeling I was getting ..I hate the mind reading game it's so tedious and even when you're right you're wrong.

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Zyne
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Mmmmm, yes, more than it merits. Arrogant.

Whilst FIJC speaks clearl, I think she was looking perhaps for an antedote, for an indication that the Things you suggest might be sustainable into Permanent Life. That the ideas suggested are from real life, and not some dang book.

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FIJC
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Actually, I expected that you had the ability to read tea leaves too.
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kelcimer
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FIJC

Do you have any objections outside of religious grounds to polygamy?

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FIJC
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I find it hard to sort out in my mind, the added benefit or disadvantages to children living in a polygamous family situation. It is hard for me to look at life, absent the presence of religion, but regardless of religion, it is of a significant concern to me what lifestyle is the most condusive to family life. Having had very happy childhood memories in a traditional family, it is hard for me to picture childhood happiness in any other type of living situation.

[ January 15, 2004, 10:44 PM: Message edited by: FIJC ]

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Leto
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Heh... I love it. More of the "gay acceptance leads to polygamy acceptance" line of bull. How many times is this going to be redone around here?
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FIJC
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quote:
""gay acceptance leads to polygamy acceptance""
In my mind, one can differentiate between social acceptence and legal precedent. I think that this article is discussing legal precedent and the ramifications of this.
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Zyne
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It's going to be done around here, and elsewhere, until people come to understand that they don't get to define another's family.

I can't read tea leaves (I like tea, tho).

I think all conservatives ought to stand up and wonder why the state is involved in marriage in the first place. How is it the business of the state who are you sleeping with, having children with, entering into religious bonds with, etc.?

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FIJC
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As for the subject of government and marriage, I have recently been somewhat mulling that over too. On one hand, I generally abhor the idea of government getting into the business of marriage, especially since I view marriage to be a religious sacrament. On the other, I believe that society should be orderly, and that lines ought to be drawn somewhere. Social norms act as a stablizing force upon society, and seeing society chuck social norms out the window leaves me with an uneasy feeling.

By nature, I am not an unusually nosy person and tend to be very apathetic when it comes to the private lives of people. At the same time, I can't help but get bothered when I see traditional family values flown out the window, as if they do not matter.

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Locus
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Zyne,

How's this for personal experience? The federal government has a document in hand that I don't practice it.

They equate it right up there next to terrorism.

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kelcimer
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Leto

As many as we want.

FIJC

I think the core thing is, are these people comfortable with it? What is the difference between having a mother father and an uncle living in the same house raising a child together and a polygamous triad? Outside the bedroom that is?

Yes, a child would grow up thinking that's normal. I grew up with my parents living an hour away from each other. The weekend exchange where they met halfway at the bridge was normal for me. I know single parents, I know of instances were both parents remarried, I know of an instance where the parental types were the mother and her partner. I have actually observed few instances of the "nuclear family." In all of these families they all treat their situation as "normal."

quote:
Social norms act as a stablizing force upon society, and seeing society chuck social norms out the window leaves me with an uneasy feeling.
Chucking societies norms is only a bad thing if what replaces it is worse then what was chucked.

quote:
, I can't help but get bothered when I see traditional family values flown out the window, as if they do not matter.
But what are traditional family values? It used to be traditional family values that a father could sell his daughters into slavery or have them all killed if he liked. Yes, that was Rome, but that was a traditional family value at the time.
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