US same-sex marriage ruling used to back appeal against polygamy ban

Aug 28, 2015 by

From Christian Today: The stars of the US reality television show Sister Wives used the US Supreme Court’s recent same-sex marriage ruling to support their case against Utah’s polygamy ban, court records show. The filing with the 10th US Circuit Court of Appeals by Kody Brown and the four women he considers his wives – Meri Brown, Janelle Brown, Christine Brown and Robyn Sullivan – came in response to the Utah Attorney General’s appeal of a lower court’s ruling in their favor. Wednesday’s filing referred to the Supreme Court’s June ruling legalising same-sex marriage nationwide, saying that Utah’s position against plural families relies on outdated law. “This case is about criminalisation of consensual relations and there are 21st century cases rather than 19th century cases,” attorney Jonathan Turley said in the 79-page filing. “It is clear that states can no longer use criminal codes to coerce or punish those who choose to live in consensual but unpopular unions.” Read here...

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Why shouldn’t the law recognise polygamous marriage?

Aug 7, 2015 by

by Peter Franklin, Conservative Home: Just when you thought the marriage debate had been settled – in favour of same-sex marriage (SSM) – along comes an even more contentious issue. Not so long ago the idea that SSM could or should pave the way for polygamous marriage was a fringe concern. However, the debate is now moving into the mainstream. For instance, the Economist – a longstanding supporter of SSM – recently invited Professor Stephen Macedo of Princeton University to make the case against the legal recognition of polygamous marriage. Far from advancing the cause of equality, Macedo argues that polygamy is traditionally associated with inequality: “The vast majority (85%) of the polygamous societies studied by anthropologists reveal the arrangement to be a marker of privilege and high status… Also, won’t anyone think of the children? “Complex plural families—composed of multiple wives and children related as half-siblings—are prone to jealousy and conflict. Even accounts sympathetic to polygamy identify jealousy as a big problem, and diminished genetic relatedness is a risk for sexual abuse. Polygamous families are characterised by much higher levels of violence and stress in the home, as well as worse health outcomes for women and children.” This overlooks the fact that western societies already practice – and to some extent officially sanction – polygamy. Our liberal divorce laws not only enable one person to marry a succession of partners, but also ensure that legally enforceable obligations to each ex-spouse continue after the marriage itself is dissolved. In this and other regards, the state does recognise, and intervenes to support, “complex plural families”, especially when children are involved. Read here...

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Is Polygamy Next?

Jul 21, 2015 by

By William Baude, New York Times: OW that the dust is settling from the Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, which recognized a right to same-sex marriage, there are new questions. In particular, could the decision presage a constitutional right to plural marriage? If there is no magic power in opposite sexes when it comes to marriage, is there any magic power in the number two? Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.’s dissent in Obergefell raised this very question, intending to show how radical the majority’s decision could become. But the issue was hard to discuss candidly while same-sex marriage was still pending, because both sides knew that association with plural marriage, a more unpopular cause, could have stymied progress for gay rights. (Opponents of same-sex marriage had reasons to emphasize the association, while supporters had reasons to play it down.) With same-sex marriage on the books, we can now ask whether polyamorous relationships should be next. There is a very good argument that they should. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy’s majority opinion in Obergefell did not focus primarily on the issue of sexual orientation. Instead, its main focus was on a “fundamental right to marry” — a right that he said could not be limited to rigid historical definitions or left to the legislative process. That right was about autonomy and fulfillment, about child rearing and the social order. By those lights, groups of adults who have profound polyamorous attachments and wish to build families and join the community have a strong claim to a right to marry. And while Justice Kennedy’s opinion does not explicitly discuss this possibility, it is easy to see how future generations could read his language to include polyamory or plural marriage. Earlier court decisions about marriage, Justice Kennedy wrote, had “presumed a relationship involving opposite-sex partners,” but now we understand that the presumption was wrong. Similarly, while Justice Kennedy’s opinion repeatedly presumes that marriage involves two people, it is not hard to imagine another justice in 20 or 40 years saying that the assumption is similarly unenlightened. (It is even conceivable that Justice Kennedy himself anticipated that possibility.) Nonetheless, many supporters of the same-sex marriage decision reject the possibility of plural marriage with surprising confidence. Writing in Slate after the decision in Obergefell, Judge Richard A. Posner of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit rejected a right to plural marriage because it would lead to gender imbalances if “the five wealthiest men have a total of 50 wives.” Similarly, the same-sex marriage advocate Jonathan Rauch has argued that polygamy allows “high-status men to hoard wives” and destabilizes society. Gender equality is of course a serious concern. But the arguments above rest on the assumption that plural marriage will involve only one man and multiple women. That assumption is weak. Plural relationships could well be (and in some circles today are) between multiple people of both sexes, not all of whom are strictly heterosexual. Read here Read also:  Is...

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“Why Two? The Question Gay Activists Cannot Answer,”

Jul 14, 2015 by

By Michael Brown, Townhall.com: A Huffington Post Writer Takes My Challenge and Fails Badly. In response to my article “Why Two? The Question Gay Activists Cannot Answer,” James Peron penned an article titled “Polygamy Is Not the Next ‘Gay Marriage’.” In his response, he dissed the Christian Post (one of the sites where my article was posted), dissed me (for writing a “a book on how Christians will reverse the course of the ‘gay revolution’,” referring to my forthcoming book Outlasting the Gay Revolution), and dissed the return of Jesus (as something not likely to happen, let alone any time soon). Ironically, while disparaging the Christian Post as “not exactly a site for intellectuals,” Peron published his piece on the Huffington Post website, which, to my knowledge, has never been mistaken for the Harvard Law Review. (In reality, both sites are designed for the general reader, with all manner of articles posted.) What Peron did not do, though, was provide a convincing answer to my question, namely, If marriage is not the union of a man and a woman, why should it be limited to two people (or, for that matter, require two people)? Peron writes that, “[Brown] claims, and I suggest he’s lying, ‘I have not yet received a single cogent answer.’ My guess is he is guilty of typical fundamentalist bias confirmation. Any answer he gets is dismissed in order to continue to say he’s never had an answer. He has gone into the debate with his mind closed to all opposing arguments, and since he is the sole judge of what comprises a ‘cogent answer,’ he can never be proven wrong.” It appears here that Peron is guilty of typical liberal bias confirmation, because of which he cannot fathom that there are solid intellectual responses to his position so that he has to accuse his ideological opponents of either lying or engaging in intellectual dishonesty. Read here...

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Why Two? The Question Gay Activists Cannot Answer

Jul 7, 2015 by

by Michael Brown, Charisma News: If marriage is not the union of a man and a woman, then why should it be limited to two people (or, for that matter, require two people)? Why can’t it be one or three or five? What makes the number “two” so special if it doesn’t refer to the union of a male and a female? I have asked this question for years in various settings, from a campus debate with a professor to social media and from my radio show to writing, and I have not yet received a single cogent answer, since no cogent answer exists. If “love is love” and “marriage equality” is the mantra, then why can’t any combination of loving adults form a “marriage”? How can anyone in support of same-sex “marriage” object to the goals of the Marriage Equality Blogspot which calls for “Full Marriage Equality,” specifically, “for the right of consenting adults to share and enjoy love, sex, residence and marriage without limits on the gender, number or relation of participants”? If you say, “But marriage has always been the union of two people,” that is patently false, since polygamy has existed for millennia (and still exists in scores of countries) and, more importantly, throughout history, whatever number of people were involved, the fundamental requirement was not two people but a man and a woman. If you say, “But polygamy is harmful to women and society,” that is irrelevant, since if the people want to enter into marriage love each other (remember, love is love, right?), they should be allowed to. Plus, polygamists have the ability to reproduce naturally and then join the children to their mother and father, which homosexual unions cannot do. And, speaking of harm, gay relationships are, statistically speaking, less stable than heterosexual relationships, while specific acts of homosexual sex, especially among males, have increased health risks. Do gay activists really want to press the “harm” angle when it comes to polygamy? Read...

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Rapid rise in sharia marriages in Britain, many polygamous

Jul 4, 2015 by

By Ruth Gledhill, Christian Today: Britain has witnessed a rapid rise in sharia marriages with many of them polygamous, a leading lawyer warns today. Aina Khan, a London solicitor who specialises in sharia, told Frances Gibb, legal editor of The Times, that there are now as many as 100,000 sharia marriages in the UK. The problem with them is that they leave the women in particular with little protection in law, especially if they get divorced. A previous report by the charity AURAT which helps victims of so-called “honour” based violence found that two-thirds of sharia marriages were polygamous. The report also found that some women married in sharia only believe their marriages to be legally valid because they had taken place in the UK. Khan said: “Probably a quarter of all the couples I see involve polygamy issues. There has been a high rise in recent years because people can have a secret Nikah (Islamic ‘marriage’ ceremony) and no one will know about it.” The Government is understood to be concerned about the way sharia councils are working in some parts of the country and there have been reports that women have suffered through forced marriages or discriminatory divorce proceedings. There are fears that the growth in use of sharia is creating a parallel legal system within the Muslim community in this country. Read here...

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