July 29, 2011

Kody Brown lawsuit challenging Utah's anti-polygamy law "is a nightmare for liberals and conservatives alike."

Says Monica Potts in The American Prospect (a liberal publication):
[The lawsuit is based on Lawrence v. Texas, which] was a groundbreaking decision that established gay rights and provided momentum for the campaign to legalize gay marriage. Liberals fear that by basing his case on Lawrence, Brown gives fodder to conservatives who argued that gay marriage would open the door to polygamy. Conservatives fear that striking down criminal laws against calling someone a spiritual wife would not only lead to recognition of polygamy but would also endanger anti-gay statutes that limit marriage to a man and a woman.
Remember, the lawsuit is not trying to force the state to recognize Brown's extra "marriages." He is only trying to get the state to leave him alone and not prosecute him criminally for calling those extra things he's got "marriages."

Who's having a nightmare here?
Liberals who won't defend their values and social conservatives who are strong values defenders.
Liberals who won't defend their values. Period.
Conservatives. Except the most libertarian ones.
  
pollcode.com free polls

34 comments:

mesquito said...

This is why we let legislatures define marriage.

The Crack Emcee said...

Everybody can do whatever they want and call it marriage.

You said it. You did it.

I don't know about anybody else but I ain't scared of shit.

Widely Seen said...

Please tell me [again, if necessary] why the state is involved in matters between and among consenting adults?
And why the state should give preference or penalty to those who are in or out of a state-sanctioned relationship?
Is there something fundamentally wrong with the Muslim religion?

wv: conate = children born to women in a complex relationship are conates...

LarsPorsena said...

"Please tell me [again, if necessary] why the state is involved in matters between and among consenting adults?"

Inheritance, taxes, child custody/support, ( how much time have your got?)..etc. etc. etc.

Ann Althouse said...

@Widely and Lars You are addressing matters that are not at issue in the Brown case. He is not seeking legal recognition of the extra things he calls "marriages." He is ONLY trying to stop the state from PROSECUTING him for living the way he does and characterizing his relationships the way he does.

The more general issue of why the state involves itself in marriage is a separate matter. Assume the state does what it in fact does. Now, why should it care that Brown is an adulterer with a wife who accepts his adultery and lives with the extra women and the whole group of them has a word they use for what they are doing, and they also perform religious ceremonies?

timmaguire42 said...

As described by you, it seems like a simple free speech case that doesn't present a problem for anybody. If he's not asking for recognition and all that comes with it, but just wants to throw the word around, what right has the government to say no?

No matter how much he argues Lawrence, the court is free to ignore it in its decision.

Lincolntf said...

I suppose Althouse believes she's creating creative and interesting poll choices, but she's not.

Trooper York said...

I don't think it is such a big problem for social conservatives since they know he is going to hell anyway so who cares?

As long as he doesn't sue to force other religions to recognize his mutiple marriages that he should do as he likes.

Trooper York said...

You should never trust anyone who has a reality show.

They are all assholes.

Especially on TLC.

Just sayn'

Carol_Herman said...

Mormons got ahead when they lost their "polygamy" challenge back in the 1880's.

Now, if a woman is in a polygamous marriage ... and not all of them want a divorce ... but some of them do ... Can they have different divorce lawyers?

Oh. And, does the income the other women bring into the household ... count for "community property" divisions?

WE NEED MORE LAWS! Or, someday we will see signs posted in our streets: DO NOT FEED THE LAWYERS!

While? If I needed a lawyer the only one I'm calling is Ken Thompson! Makes my heart glad to see lawyers like that.

And, classrooms where professors teach their students to be lawyers ... just like that!

Still. I'd stay away from polygamy business.

LarsPorsena said...

"@Widely and Lars You are addressing matters that are not at issue in the Brown case..."

We're on the 'slippery slope', AA. It won't be long..WEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!

Ann Althouse said...

"They are all assholes."

Yeah, well, but it's not a crime to be an asshole. If it ever is... look out.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

"Legalizing gay and lesbian marriages ended discrimination against those who wanted to enter an existing system. Legalizing polygamy would create a new system. "

There is not an existing system that has had two people of the same sex being married. Same sex marriage IS a new system.

He is ONLY trying to stop the state from PROSECUTING him for living the way he does and characterizing his relationships the way he does.

As long as he isn't receiving benefits from the State or taxpayer money that they wouldn't ordinarily receive because of his relationships, he should be able to characterize his relationships anyway he wants.

I don't care if he calls himself married to a rutabaga. I do care if we are subsidizing his relationships with his 'wives' or his vegetables.

The liberals should be worried because it is proving the conservatives correct on the slippery slope argument.

edutcher said...

It's the Lefties' nightmare because anything that potentially deprives them of special interest votes means the vote fraud machine has to work that much harder.

Carol_Herman said...

Mormons got ahead when they lost their "polygamy" challenge back in the 1880's.

Actually, they lost it in 1858 when the were occupied by the US Army.

PS The suit, in effect, wants to repeal the law.

RichardS said...

Easy solution. Make adultery actionable again.

Geoff Matthews said...

Why is the state involved?

A few reasons:

1) As a condition of statehood, Utah had to make polygamy a crime. This includes "unlawful cohabitation".
2) Kody Brown was more than open about his polygamy. There are some polygamous families in Salt Lake Valley (my wife teaches some of their kids). They aren't being prosecuted, most likely because they aren't advertising it. Its like going up to a cop and lighting a joint.

I know that this case does not address legality of polygamous relationships, but I think we can accept that the slippery slope argument deserves some merit now.

purplepenquin said...

Some folks claim that the "slippery slope" first started when inter-racial marriages were allowed.

That aside, I like Heinlein's approach to marriage...if it works for you&yours, then have at it and may ya'll live happily ever after.

Trooper York said...

Ann Althouse said...
"They are all assholes."
Yeah, well, but it's not a crime to be an asshole. If it ever is... look out."

That is funnier than you can ever know because things are never as they seem.

That is why you are an oblivious comic genius.

Well done Madame.

Hee.

Patrick said...

If we decide gay marriage is ok. Then I am ok with marijuana usage and polyamory also. They are all illeal because of the same type of puritan ethic to me.

Steven said...

Liberals fear that by basing his case on Lawrence, Brown gives fodder to conservatives who argued that gay marriage would open the door to polygamy.

Yeah, how dare reality try to prove conservatives right! It's like when in the ERA debates the Phyllis Schlafly said that constitutional provisions against discrimination on the basis of sex would be used by courts to require gay marriage!

Synova said...

It's not like anyone who *thought* didn't know this would happen. How many times did I point out that I know people who are polyamorists either of the polyandry or wiccan group-marriage variety?

But bring it up and noooo, you're a homophobe.

So what happens? UNEXPECTEDLY, polygamists want the legal right not to be prosecuted. Quite unexpectedly!

And you know that this, and not "homophobia" is the biggest reason that the Mormons have been so anti-gay-marriage. They know very well that marriage has never EVER been a legal right in this country. They faced real persecution until they abandoned polygamy and the splinter sects still face it. And there they see the SSM folks having a drama while insisting that SSM is not, oh so clearly NOT, a slippery slope to THAT sort of deviance.

Oh, like no-one saw THIS coming.

Bah.

(I'm on the libertarian "make yourself a binding domestic contract of your choice and let churches do their own thing" side of it all.)

RichardS said...

If we can each define "marriage" however we choose, what's to prevent two business people from marrying to create a tax free transaction? With plural marriage, it gets easier.

Jess said...

As far as I'm concerned, they can live in whatever relationship they want, and they can call it a marriage, or a friendship with benefits, or a quilting club, or a Patricia for that matter. More power to 'em.

Conserve Liberty said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Conserve Liberty said...

Jeffersonian democracy

The Crack Emcee said...

♬♬Across the fruited plaaaaaaaaain,...♬♬

The Crack Emcee said...

Let's face it:

Once we get ahold of the country again, our next job is going to be forcing all the demons back in Pandora's Box.

I'm not saying it's going to be easy, but it's GOT to be done,...

MayBee said...

Trooper:

That is funnier than you can ever know because things are never as they seem.

Please don't tell me Clinton Kelley is an asshole, because if he is I will just die.

Beldar said...

This isn't hard for me.

I am confident that polygamy is not a suspect classification that's been recognized as a legitimate basis for an Equal Protection challenge to the constitutionality of anti-polygamy laws. Those laws are constitutional, if states choose to have them and their own state constitutions don't prevent their legislatures from passing such laws.

But as a policy matter, they're foolish, and I'd vote against them if I were a legislator.

Brian Macker said...

"Remember, the lawsuit is not trying to force the state to recognize Brown's extra 'marriages.' He is only trying to get the state to leave him alone and not prosecute him criminally for calling those extra things he's got 'marriages.' "

How is it different than "common law" marriages? Hasn't the government in certain states been forcing men into marriage all along?

Doesn't the government then enforce rights for those women? If they can enforce rights having to do with how assets are divided then why can't they also enforce other rights. Like the right of a married woman to decide who her husband sleeps with.

Baronger said...

Eventually we will have a suit for a polygamous gay marriage. Three or more gays or lesbians wanting to get married, and form a family.

The big question is how far can it go. Three women and two men in a single marriage? Is there an upper limit to the number of people in a marriage.

I'd say that they ought to make prenuptials and marriage contracts mandatory now.

Trooper York said...

You don't have to worry Clinton Kelly is a great guy. He is warm and approachable and very smart and you would love to meet him.

Both he and Stacy stay in the store after the camera's leave with the subject to help them with their clothing choices and coach them on how they should dress.

You have to a long way to find two nicer people than Stacy London and Clinton Kelly.

Trooper York said...

Clinton comes to the store on his own with his good friend from high school when she needs some clothes. They have a "Will and Grace" thing going on and we hooked her up for their high school reunion.

Scholar said...

How many situations are there when a man is having relations and children with multiple women, and as long as he pays child support, nobody bothers him.

Here you have a man trying to be an active partner and parent, who isn't asking the state to acknowledge each wife as a legal spouse (as I understand it), and he is being treated worse for it.

Not saying this is an ideal situation, and maybe the legal elements are only happening because the case has been made public and the state feels it must act because of it--just that it is interesting how the law is lighter on the less responsible father.

I'm glad the law is involved in marriage, in general--it is in the state's interest to have parents bond, stay together, and take care of each other and their offspring, and marriage is the system created over and over to help do this.

As far as slippery slope, that just took a couple of brain cells to figure out the inevitability there.