After Gay Marriage, Polygamy?

March 20, 2006

This article in Newsweek on polygamists made me cringe. Even though most polygamy activists are religious conservatives who oppose homosexuality, they are using gay marriage as a springboard for their own agenda.

His argument: if Heather can have two mommies, she should also be able to have two mommies and a daddy. Henkel and Hammon have been joined by other activist groups like Principle Voices, a Utah-based group run by wives from polygamous marriages. Activists point to Canada, where, in January, a report commissioned by the Justice Department recommended decriminalizing polygamy.

At least one gay activist expressed dismay at Newsweek’s story because “this is the connection that our opponents make, and we feel it’s a specious one,” says Carisa Cunningham, director of public affairs for Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders.

Of course, as someone who has worked in the media, this would make the story even more appealing even though polygamists are a fraction of a minority people. There are between 30,000 and 50,000 polygamists in a country of 280 million, according to Newsweek’s experts.

Nonetheless, the story made me rethink my views on polygamy. Emotionally, I think the practice is repugnant because it’s always an older man with multiple, young, impressionable girls. You never see the arrangement the other way around. Plus, except for the wealthy, who can afford to support a family of 15?

But when you strip marriage of its religious significance, it really is a legal piece of paper telling the government who is sharing what property with whom. Why shouldn’t people be allowed to divvy up their property multiple ways? As long as all parties involved are of legal age and consenting, I say, why not? These families are not going to go away as they already exist with current restrictions.

Of course, if my husband even joked about taking another wife, I’d fillet him.