Equal Rights For Polygamists Too

Polygamists demand they, like gay couples, be given their ‘equal treatment’ as well:

Youth from polygamous communities spoke of family, friendships, faith and their hopes for the future in a historic gathering Saturday in Salt Lake City in defense of the banned life-style.

They offered one another encouragement, provided glimpses into their lives and appealed to the public to stop fearing their families.

“We are not brainwashed, mistreated, neglected, malnourished, illiterate, defective or dysfunctional,” said Jessica, 17. “We are useful, responsible, productive members of society.”

About 300 people from four fundamentalist Mormon communities attended the rally held at the Salt Lake City-County Building.

“I was so proud of them. I had no idea what to expect. They wrote all their own stuff,” said Joe, a Salt Lake City polygamist whose children were among the 15 speakers. “It was inspiring. There is something about seeing young people being actively involved and speaking up for their rights and constitutional freedoms.”

Of course if you are against allowing polygamists to marry you are no different than someone who would deny interracial marriages, are a ‘heterophobe’, oh and of course, your probably a religious bigot who wants to impose your views on the rest of us. The full article can be found here.

22 Responses to “Equal Rights For Polygamists Too”


  • Personally, I think polygamy would be an annoying lifestyle. I don’t think, however, it should be illegal. Why do we need yet more law/government dictating social issues? If people want to live with a ton of spouses then so be it.

  • Yes, but we have that already. If “people want to live with a ton of spouses then so be it” and if two people of the same sex want to do the same, then so be it as well.

    But what polygamists and gay marriage proponents want is more than that, they want the state – when the state has no vested interest in doing so – to certify that relationship and put its stamp of approval on it.

    That’s a subtle yet very fundamental difference.

  • I think gay couples should have state recognition. Here is a good example: I married a foreign national. Thankfully, we are a heterosexual couple. If we were a homosexual couple there would be no legal way we could establish a life together in this country.

  • That could be accomplished via a civil union but gay couples want even more than that, they want full recognition.

  • No, a civil union is not enough to obtain a fiance visa. The only way a homosexual couple could stay here legally would be an H-1 visa but that would have to be renewed every six months and would not give the foreign national the right to work and permanently stay. Reasons such as this are precisely why homosexuals desire the right to marriage.

  • For sure there are certain benefits that apply only to heterosexual couples that don’t apply to homosexual couples, but that is because heterosexual couples have a unique relationship that does not apply to any other union, whether that union be homosexual, polygamous, or monogomous friendships – that relationship being that only heterosexual couples are the nucleus of a family, it is where children come from.

    So with that said why should the state grant homosexual couples visas equal to heterosexual couples? You say because they love each other and should have the right to be together, I say fine, but the same can be said of many other relationships as well – sexual or non-sexual. For example, I have many good plutonic friends in Mexico whom I love very much, why shouldn’t our relationship be state certified with the same benefits of Visas and so forth? Why shouldn’t there be a ‘best friend marriage’, that allows the same thing? Or a polygamous marriage, or a ‘group marriage’…or whatever. In other words, as long as the relationship does not involve the inherent ability to produce children they are all equal in the eyes of the state.

    If they want Visas for their circumstances, like the plutonic best friends, they have to do that through other means – from the states eyes their relationships are identical.

  • I have many friends in Mexico and other places, but I don’t share any romantic interest with them. I am also not willing to support them indefinitely (as you must swear to do with a fiance visa) nor do I care to establish an entire life with them (as is the case for marriage.) People don’t get married because they are friends, they get married because they are in love. Have you ever been in love? Have you ever wanted to share your entire life with somebody? It’s a very basic human desire and definitely something beyond platonic. Virtually everybody is capable of it, and a good percentage of our population choooses (if love can actually be chosen) to love people of the same sex.

    Anyway, is marriage not marriage if there are no kids involved? I don’t see the govt anulling our visa because there are no children in the near future.

  • I am not denying that gay couples love each other, or that they want to spend their lives together, my disagreement is in why the state should care?

    With heterosexual unions the state has a vested interest. Heterosexual unions have an inherent ability to produce children, and since children are the states next citizens – indeed the continuation of civilization – the state has a vested interest in making sure they are raised in the most ideal environment, in acknowledging that unique relationship (from the states eyes, atleast) and in encourage the health of that relationship.

    But if love is the issue, the state has no vested interest in such relationships. From the states perspective, who cares if my best friend is a plutonic male or a sexual male? Who cares if I decide to spend the rest of my life with my best friend or if I don’t? Those things should be not prevented or encouraged by the state because frankly, it’s none of the states business. Not so with heterosexual unions.

  • As I see this debate, msmondo is arguing that the defining characteristic of a state-sponsored relationship should be love, as expressed in long-term commitment. HispanicPundit, on the other hand, feels that the defining characteristic of a relationship that merits state sponsorship is its capability to have children, and thereby form a “family”.

    If this is the choice, then I think I side with msmondo and his criteria.

    If I’ve missed something, feel free to point it out.

  • Ahh, but love is ultimately subjective and a religious issue. The state shouldn’t care – either approvingly or disapprovingly – if two people love each other. You say it should, I ask why?

    On the other hand, the state should care about children, after all, they are the future civilization and their proper (ideal) upbringing should be something the state takes an interest in. In fact, this is why the marriage contract became a government issue. Marriage happens so frequently in society and its affects so common (children) that the state made a certificate (marriage certificate) that in itself takes into account all the legal and tax issues involved with creating a family, all in one step, instead of having to do each step separately. This is kinda the same thing we do with declaring a new business a corporation, you just file some papers and bam, all the legal work is done. Children, whether all married people have them or not, is the reason why the government gets involved in marriage, not the love.

  • HP-

    By your argument regarding the ability to bear children as the defining factor of whether a couple should be allowed to marry, then you should be in favor of legalizing poligamy, marriages by polygamists can and frequently do produce children (from what I understand often lots of children). By your logic post-menopausal women or women who had historecomies should not be allowed to have legal marriages, why do we make exceptions for them.

    Legally children’s welfare have very little to do with marriage laws. Convicted child abusers and child molestors are legally allowed to marry, no state intervenes and does not allow them to marry. Where all states do have the right to intervene is if they have children at that point states often will take custody of the children away from these potentially dangerous parents. Other than age minimums anyone can marry in all states as long as they do not have an existing marriage, meet certain residency requirements, have blood tests in certain states and they are from opposite sexes. Even regarding the blood tests, if they have veneral diseases or recessive defiencies, they are still allowed to marry just are notified about the dangers.

    Also, an unwed father has the same legal obligation to support his child as a married father, there is no distinction. If a married father leaves the house and the parents never get a divorce thas keeping the marriage legal he has the same requirement to provide child support as a fatehr who never marries.

    So you can see marriage legally has nothing to do with children.

  • Hey Michael,

    You raise good points and I have admitted as much before that polygamists have a stronger case to be included into marriage than do homosexual unions. They are just as historical, love each other just as much, and have the added benefit of producing children. The problem that remains is that polygamist households are not good environments, and certainly not ideal, for children to be raised in. Hence we get back to the children being raised in ideal environments arguments. Remember, it’s not that heterosexual unions can produce children, if that were the case one could say single mothers qualify, it’s that they can produce children and are the ideal environment to raise children in. In other words, the nuclear family, the most fundamental unit of a family, is a mother and father bearing a child. You can’t have less and although you can have more, it is certainly not ideal.

    But again, I fully admit that traditional marriage proponents are on shaky ground when arguing against polygamists. As far as post-menopausal women or women who had historecomies go, well remember, even though they cannot physically produce children, they certainly can by their nature, and in that comes the ability to raise children. Proponents of traditional marriage argue based on nature not on specific abilities. Meaning that men and women, regardless of their specific abilities, can by their very nature produce children. In addition, they each share different yet complimentary natures, personalities, traits, that are all essential in the proper raising of children.

    Remember, I am not saying that marriage means children, only that it is tied to children and their upbringing in one way or another. If marriages never produced children, like homosexual ‘marriages’ would, then marriage would have never been part of the government in the first place. It is only through the ability to produce and raise children (hereditary laws, property transfers, legal requirements etc) that it got involved in government in the first place, and from then came laws that confused the whole thing – no fault divorces, multiple marriages, out of wedlock births, etc…gay ‘marriage’ being just the next logical step.

    Granted, these arguments are not completely logic proof. One could say why allow infertile man and women but not homosexuals? But if children and their proper upbringing is not to be the limit (however weak that limit is), then what is? Is marriage now just a power grab, something that if you get enough political force you and your unique group of unions can now be defined under? Is there no objective definition one could turn to besides the shaky (and religious, btw) definition of ‘love’?

  • You raise excellent points as usual HP and it seems that the line is somewhat arbitrary. There are people who can’t bear children because of naturally occurring deformities in their reproductive system – why can’t they marry?

    Given this arbitrary line,the government should err on the side of freedom. On social issues, my feeling is that the government has no business denying a person the right to do something if it does not hurt anyone involved and it is a consenscual decision among adults. The government is too intrusive in our lives already.

    As far as the origins of marriage law. You are off on your point, you mention property rights, inheritence, legal rights etc. That is the main reason why the government got involved in marriage regulation. But marriage laws regarding proerty do not pertain to children, it governs the transfer of property between spouses, a child’s right to property is not affected in anyway by whether his/her parents were married.

    If a person dies without a will (intestate), most states will almost always give at least half (some states give 1/3 if you have multiple children) of your estate to your spouse (all of joint assets). However, no state distinguishes between children born of married couples vs. children born out of wedlock. For instance if someone had two children one from their wife and one from out of wedlock and they died intestate, the children would split half of the assets absent any other proof of plans.

    As was ruled by about a dozen different judged from both parties in the Terry Schiavo case, the married spouse has the responsibility to care for and make decisions for an incompetent person and the rights of a parent are subordinate to that.

  • I fully grant that the line is not as clear (though I wouldn’t say arbitrary) as it could be and this is why I believe that gay marriage is a debate reasonable people can disagree on. With that said, I disagree with your criteria – freedom. Freedom is already a part of the proponents of traditional marriage argument. Nobody is arguing that homosexuals should not be able to love and live with one another. Nobody is arguing that men should be prohibited from living with multiple women. Nobody is arguing that women should be prohibited from living with multiple men. Where the proponents of traditional marriage draw the line is in what the government should recognize and promote.

    Gay marriage advocates, and polygamist advocates, are asking for much more than the right to be with who they love, they are asking the government itself, and because we are a democracy – the citizens, to recognize and endorse their union – far more than freedom would entail. In other words, it is those who argue for gay marriage and polygamy that want to increase the role of government, that want to have the government perform functions far and above its function (to certify love).

    Granted, my definition and objective criteria for marriage is shaky. It doesn’t answer all of the questions and satisfy all of the scenarios – marriage has changed and been weakened so much already for it to. But it is a something and compared to the alternative – compared to having marriage mean nothing more than what politically correct dictums suggest – it is, IMHO, far superior. Again, I ask that if marriage has nothing to do with children, then why stop at gay marriage? Why not also include polygamy? Why not also include Polyandry? What about sibling marriages? You have to draw the line somewhere, the only difference between opponents and proponents of gay marriage are where that line is drawn – opponents stop at the nuclear family.

  • Why draw the line at gay marriage, why not include polygamy, polyandry (not sure what that is) or sibling marriage? The old slippery slope argument.

    There is overwhelming scientific evidence that homosexuality is not a choice, it is a genetic component in your physiology. The others are behaviors a desire to marry multiple women or to marry your sister has no genetic correlation it is a chosen behavior.

    Given that homosexuality is an inherited characteristic a more relevant question is why not ban interracial marriage mariage if you continue to ban gay marriage?

  • While the desire to be with someone of the same sex may be a genetic trait, the desire to marry one specific person is not. Hence homosexuals are in the same boat as polygamists (who are also just as programmed to love members of the opposite sex), polyandrists, and sibling marriages. Hence the question, why one and not the others? Remember, polygamy specifically has been around just as long and already been accepted in many more societies than homosexual unions have.

    As far as interracial marriages go, I’ve answered that already. Based on my requirements above – nuclear family and all of that – there is no difference between interracial and other marriages, they can still constitute the nuclear family. The reasons to be against interracial marriages has to do with objections against race, not objections against marriage, meaning that if you think it wrong to have members of different races have sexual intercourse or to have children of mixed race than you would tend to be against interracial marriages – knowing, again, that marriages tend to produce children . But that is in the racial arena not the marriage arena. In other words, that starts from premises that deal with race and have nothing to do with marriage itself. Opponents of gay marriage, not having racist premises, are perfectly fine with interracial marriages.

    In addition, there is a scientific difference between interracial marriages and homosexual marriages. The most obvious being that interracial marriages, so long as they involve a male and a female, are by their very nature able to produce children, to form the nuclear family. Homosexuals unions, no matter what they do to themselves are by nature, in a way that heterosexual unions can never be, prohibited from forming such families.

  • There is also no genetic link to MARRY someone from the opposite sex just to have sexual relations with them. Why not ban hetorosexual marriages also on your grounds. We’re back in a circle again.

    As far as your difference between interracial couples and gay couples being the ability to procreate, I thought my posts above make it pretty clear that marriage laws have little to do with children and everything to do with spouses.

  • Well that’s where the disagreement lies, you see marriage based solely on the (subjective and religious) concept of love, I base it on the (objective, interest of the state) concept of the nuclear family. You have to draw the line somewhere, we have just picked different lines.

  • Your putting words in my mouth. I do not see love as having anything to do with the legal definition of marriage. Nowhere in any of my posts do I mention love. Nowhere do I mention that a couple needs to take a test to prove that they are in love. Hell, I could care less if the wedding vow even mention “to love, honor and cherish until death do they part.”

    It seems pretty clear that I am making the argument that marriage has always been regulated by the state since it is a transaction involving property, a business transaction and like many contracts involving property it is helpful that the state certify the validity of the transaction like a deed for real estate. This is clearly objective however your definition of a valid family is the subjective definition. Why isn’t the extended family a valid family unit. Asian cultures for centuries have defined the extended family as the ideal family unit.

    Denying a gay couple the right to marry is like denying a black person the right to own property or another minority group the right to form a corporation.

  • Ah, but if property is your issue then that too raises serious problems. Many marriages don’t involve property, and not all property contracts need marriages.

    Furthermore, if property is your concern, all of that can be settled by a civil union and the marriage title can be kept for those who can produce children.

  • I am not opposed to civil unions. My fear is that as with everything some clever lawyer can say that a partner in a civil union does not have the equal rights that a spouse in marriage has. Again there is no precedent for children in marriage definitions and by your definition i guess a fertility test would be required and infertile people and old people would be excluded from marriage.

    all marriages do involve property. Even if the parties in a marriage do not own property at the time of marriage any property (real or personal)obtained by one or both of the parties would be impacted by marriage. By the very fact that they are married a couple would be required to draft an agreement to superceed the marriage.

    Pre-marriage the only way to avoid the effects of marriage is to a draft a prenuptual nullifying the state property requirements given in marriage by law.

  • to say that gay marriage should be alowed is ridicuiluous how can you have a man and a man get married or a women and a women get married you dont even see that in the animal nature i apose gay marriage because i dont believe is right yust emagine if they have kids there going to be teased by other kids from straight parents

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