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If you're one of those rare people who think one spouse is not enough, your prayers may be answered. After the Supreme Court decision in favor of gay marriage, conservative critics spotted sister wives on the horizon. "Polygamy, here we come!" tweeted Weekly Standard editor William Kristol.
Some members of the Supreme Court agree. Dissenting Chief Justice John Roberts argued that "much of the majority's reasoning would apply with equal force to the claim of a fundamental right to plural marriage." In 1996, Justice Antonin Scalia claimed the court had put itself on the path to upholding the rights of polygamists.
Before the gay marriage ruling, there was nothing to prevent gays from living together, having sex and raising children like married straights. There is generally nothing to prevent polyamorous people from doing likewise. If several females want to live and sleep with the same guy, nobody will stop them. It's just that only one of them can legally put a ring on it.
Utah, where polygamy has some fans, chose to make it a crime when a married person "purports to marry another person or cohabits with another person." But in 2013, a federal court said that law violated the right to privacy — the same rationale the Supreme Court used to strike down sodomy laws.
The case for legalizing polygamy builds on the case for legalizing same-sex marriage. The sexual arrangements may offend some people, but they're not a crime. If they aren't done under legal arrangements, they'll be done without them.
Conservatives raise the specter of polygamy as though its evils are beyond doubt. But much of their opposition stems from religious objections, appeals to tradition or disgust with sexual tastes they do not share.
Those grounds were not enough to justify banning same-sex marriage — and in the long run, they are not enough to justify banning polygamy. If conservatives want to make sure plural marriage never comes to pass, they need better reasons.
Some plausible defenses have been heard. One is that polygamous weddings, unlike gay ones, actually harm other people — by reducing the number of potential mates, dooming some to singlehood. Another is that polygamy is associated with sexual abuse of minors. It may also be argued that polygamists, unlike gays, don't warrant constitutional protection because they haven't suffered relentless mistreatment.
Those arguments may be enough to keep the Supreme Court from concluding that the Constitution protects polygamy. But they aren't very convincing as arguments for banning it.
originally posted by: Krazysh0t
a reply to: Agartha
Exactly. It's all about that consent thing. That is what makes or breaks the argument. Once you discard that word, the argument morphs into something else. To ME that is a perfectly objective way to prevent the slippery slope from sliding into the abyss.