A 2004 revisit–Robert George+Wm. Saunders on the Battles of the 19th century and their echoes today

By the mid-1850s, polygamy, which had originally been the largely secret practice of the Mormon elite, had come out of the closet. Polygamists claimed that attacks on “plural marriage” were violations of their right to religious freedom. Later, some would bring lawsuits asking judges to invalidate laws against polygamy as unconstitutional. One of these cases would make it all the way to the Supreme Court. Apologists for polygamy denied that plural marriage was harmful to children, and challenged supporters of the ban on polygamy to prove that the existence of polygamous families in American society harmed their own monogamous marriages. They insisted that they merely wanted the right to be married in their own way and left alone.

But the Republicans stood their ground, refusing to be intimidated by the invective being hurled against them. They knew that polygamy and slavery were morally wrong and socially corrosive. And they were prepared to act on their moral convictions.

Read it all.


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2 comments on “A 2004 revisit–Robert George+Wm. Saunders on the Battles of the 19th century and their echoes today

  1. Br. Michael says:

    They weren’t as enlightened back then as they are today. Polygamy is coming back and this time it will win.

  2. Jim the Puritan says:

    A federal judge in Utah just invalidated the criminal penalties on polygamy, citing the same reasoning as the same-sex marriage cases. Incest will have to be legalized for the same reasons at some point is my prediction.


    This was all predicted by Justice Scalia in his dissent in Lawrence v. Texas, which invalidated homosexual sodomy laws.