(Public Discourse) Carson Holloway–Justice Sotomayor and the Path to Polygamy

Opponents of same-sex marriage resist it because it amounts to redefining marriage, but also because it will invite future redefinitions. If we embrace same-sex marriage, they argue, society will have surrendered any reasonable grounds on which to continue forbidding polygamy, for example.

In truth, proponents of same-sex marriage have never offered a very good response to this concern. This problem was highlighted at the Supreme Court last week in oral argument over California’s Proposition 8, the state constitutional amendment that defines marriage as a union of a man and a woman.

Surprisingly, the polygamy problem that same-sex marriage presents was raised by an Obama appointee, the liberal Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Sotomayor interrupted the presentation of anti-Prop 8 litigator Theodore Olson to pose the following question: If marriage is a fundamental right in the way proponents of same-sex marriage contend, “what state restrictions could ever exist,” for example, “with respect to the number of people . . . that could get married?”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Politics in General, Sexuality, State Government, The U.S. Government, Theology

6 comments on “(Public Discourse) Carson Holloway–Justice Sotomayor and the Path to Polygamy

  1. Terry Tee says:

    We have just had a terribly tragic case brought to its legal conclusion here in the UK, which concerned a man, his wife, girlfriend and 11 children living together. The details are seedy, the outcome truly heart-breaking: six of the children perished in a house fire set by the man and wife in a complicated plot in which the death of the children was not intentional. They were convicted of manslaughter. But it become clear that the large social security payments which this household received were a factor in the whole imbroglio. I wondered, therefore, IF it had been possible under a change of the law for the man to have two wives, and IF this would have increased his income, we may be sure he would have been a keen proponent of legal polygamy.

  2. Br. Michael says:

    I think the argument is spot on. So how might the state deal with multiple partner marriages? Marriages which could be mixed sex or multiple sexes? Could a college fraternity marry in order to get benefits?

    The solution would be for the state to not recognize any marriage to include heterosexual marriages. Same sex marriage is not grafted into marriage, rather it ends it.

  3. Katherine says:

    This is precisely why I voted in favor of the amendment in North Carolina which now defines marriages as one man and one woman in our state constitution. It’s not just fundamentalist Mormons who want polygamy. Islamic law allows Muslim men to have four wives at one time. Polygamy is very negative for women, for family bonds, and for society as a whole. This is a serious question.

  4. Jim the Puritan says:

    There is no legal difference between same-sex unions and polygamy. All the arguments now dismissed as not having a rational basis for opposing same-sex unions are the same ones advanced against polygamy. If one is given the title marriage, the other inevitably will as well. If marriage is no longer “one MAN and one WOMAN,” it is also no longer “ONE man and ONE woman.”

  5. Ian+ says:

    And now that some CA reps are trying to get pedophilia erased from the list of deviant behaviors, it’s becoming that much clearer that there is no logical justification for prohibiting other unions, like polygamy and incest (between consenting adults, of course… for now), while allowing same-sex marriage.

  6. montanan says:

    It is the argument which has been made over and over – but which, when made publicly, is viewed as ‘hate speech’ somehow. While the argument is an intellectual one, it is entirely appropriate – and there can be no reason that governmental definition of marriage as anything but one man-one woman won’t lead to this as the next step.