June 28, 2015

The problem with what I said 9 years ago about how easy it is to distinguish polygamy.

The post I put up yesterday afternoon and left at the top of the blog until now links to something my son John wrote quoting something I wrote long ago. John was quoting the much-linked Politico article that went up on the day the Supreme Court announced its new same-sex marriage decision, "It’s Time to Legalize Polygamy/Why group marriage is the next horizon of social liberalism." From that article:
Now that we’ve defined that love and devotion and family isn’t driven by gender alone, why should it be limited to just two individuals? The most natural advance next for marriage lies in legalized polygamy . . . 
9 years ago, I was responding to something Charles Krauthammer had written, which referred to something he'd written 10 years before that saying "it is utterly logical for polygamy rights to follow gay rights." The distinction I made — in "Distinguishing gay marriage and polygamy" — had to do with economics:
Legal marriage isn't just about love, it's an economic arrangement. Having the state authorize your union is not the same thing as having your friends and neighbors approve of you and your religious leaders bless you. It affects taxes and employee benefits -- huge amounts of money. A gay person with a pension and a health insurance plan is incapable of extending those benefits to his (or her) partner. He (or she) can't file a joint tax return. That's not fair. A polygamous marriage, however, puts a group of persons in a position to claim more economic benefits than the traditional heterosexual couple. That doesn't appeal to our sense of fairness.

The law doesn't assess how much two people love each other. Two persons of opposite sexes can marry for all sorts of reasons. If there were a device that could look into their souls and measure their love, we wouldn't accept the outrageous invasion of privacy it would take for the government to use it. Excluding gay couples from marrying does generate the complaint that society does not sufficiently respect homosexual love, and by harping on this point, proponents of gay marriage activate their opponents who think that's a good thing.

But it's not all about love and who respects what. It's also about economics. And in that dimension, it's easy to distinguish polygamy.
The problem I see today is that the Supreme Court stressed love, not economics. And the political spin coming off the case is #LoveWins. I would have decided the case based on equal protection and left love out of it. Constitutional law limits what government can do to people. Government has no positive obligation to boost egos or bestow dignity. But government chose to use the status of marriage as a basis for many of its actions in the realm of things that properly belong to government (like taxing and spending). At that point, equality is required.

But the Court didn't take that route. It said something about Equal Protection that no one — as far as I've seen — can even understand. I'm going to reread the majority opinion, and I'll get back to you, but it's plain to everyone who reads the opinion in any depth that it rested on ideas about substantive due process. These ideas were not clearly expressed. There was a lot of windy verbiage that I want to parse. But the public's consciousness is off and running without any careful parsing from me or anybody else. It's flying under the flag #LoveWins. It's love, love, love, love, love.



We're not on the economics slope. We're on the love slope. That's more slippery. Who knows where that might go? And who knows why the majority chose (what we're perceiving as) the love concept? Maybe economics didn't seem to have the heft to justify unsettling old beliefs. Maybe the Court wanted emotions to soar, wanted to spark contagious empathy, and government taxing and spending seems too grubby to pull us away from the traditional meaning of marriage. Profundity could only be traded for profundity. That's not how I would have done it. I would have stressed that we are only talking about the limits on government, what government can do to individuals.

But that's not what the Court did.

72 comments:

sydney said...

Maybe economics didn't seem to have the heft to justify unsettling old beliefs.

Maybe the majority didn't have the intellectual heft to make the argument on economics. Whatever the reason, it's too late now. Future decisions will be made based on what the court wrote about this case. That is, future law will be based on emotions, not logic. Not good. Not good at all.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

I'd rather if the country's course weren't guided by Facebook memes, but too late now.

BarrySanders20 said...

All you need is love
All you need is love
All you need is love,love
Love is all you need

The Love Boat. It's exciting and new. Climb aboard, we're expecting you!

Roger Sweeny said...

Maybe that was the only way Kennedy would vote for the result.

Hammond X. Gritzkofe said...

Economics can be quantified. Love cannot.

The State, with tax laws etc., officially tied marriage with economics. The State
has officially untied marriage from the time-immemorial concept of biological family production.

Polygamy next, soon to be followed by zoogamy.

Bob R said...

I know it's your job to assert that these decisions are based on legal reasoning, but that sure is a hard job after this week. Roberts and Kennedy certainly wrote what seem to be post hoc rationalizations for politically based decisions. If you take that point of view, then the slippery slope polygamy argument doesn't make much sense. The political elite will find an argument to rationalize their belief about polygamy. It doesn't seem to matter to them how transparent the rationalization is.

Maybe some day there will be a consensus for genuinely limited government. If that day ever comes, there will be lots of text in the constitution to justify it.

Mark said...

We're not on the economics slope. We're on the love slope.

No, we are on a power slope. That's all.

And polygamy is, well, not next. Next is to impose SSM on every person and mind in the world. No peaceful co-existence with those who persist in the reality that has been the civilized world for the last ten thousand years. Nope, everyone must get on bended knee and comply. That is next.

But soon thereafter, or probably in the midst of that, is polygamy. And incest marriage. Not simply because they necessarily follow in a legal world where everyone chooses their own idea of meaning and the world must follow, but because who is going to bother to defend against polygamy and incest marriage?? They might be against social taboos, but they at least they have benefit of being genuine, actual marriage. They don't need the heavy hand of government to exist. So there really will not be many people who will put all that much effort into stopping them.

MikeR said...

I really don't hear the economics distinction. If you don't want to extend tax benefits and stuff to three or more people married, so don't. There's nothing intrinsic to marriage that requires allowing filing a joint return, or Social Security or whatever. Write laws that give economic benefits where you want them to go.

Having said that, I have to add that I don't quite see much other point to legislating marriage. Let the rabbis handle it.

Unknown said...

how can anyone in good faith suggest that being married deserves extra government benefits, tax breaks, etc., over being single or cohabitators? there is no fairness, justice or due process in forcing individuals to marry to receive a benefit. indeed, this seems quite discriminatory against asexuals.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

There was a character in the movie Life is Beautiful (1997). A Nazi physician, IIRC. And the Jewish protagonist was a waiter and the two of them became friends, of a sort, over the physician's love of solving playful riddles. More than food, the waiter served up intellectual entertainment.

When the shit hits the fan, the waiter is desperate and he goes to the physician for aid in escaping with his son. But it becomes painfully apparent that the physician is soft in the head. Obsessed with riddles, caught in a mental vortex, the physician is oblivious to the dire circumstances that prevail. No aid will come from him.

Why this all came to mind is something of a riddle.

Mark said...

It should be also noted that when it comes to children in SSM, essentially it is already polygamy. Same-sex couples cannot have children. They can acquire children, but they cannot produce one themselves. It is impossible, no matter how hard Kennedy may try to decree it.

The only way that a same-sex couple can obtain a child is to bring some third-party into the relationship. Namely, a person of the opposite sex.

And that also brings up the issue of marriage equality for bisexuals. If people who favor the same sex can get married, why not those who go both ways? They're entitled to love too. To deny them the ability to marry one of each is to deny them dignity! And if two bisexuals marry, then we need to add a fourth to the marital unit. To say no to that is nothing more than arbitrary bigotry.

tim in vermont said...

I really don't hear the economics distinction. If you don't want to extend tax benefits and stuff to three or more people married, so don't.

Right. Equal protection is just a fig leaf convenient to hand to dress up the decision. Nobody *really* means it.

You seem to be under the delusion that this stuff is still decided by legislatures who can legitimately rely on their own prejudices, or the prejudices of their voters to decide these things. Well, that is no longer true.

I guess it is true though that our philosopher kings on the SCOTUS can just decide that and dress up their decision with a meaningless filigree of "constitutional scholarship" that is in reality nothing more than persiflage.

Ann Althouse said...

"I know it's your job to assert that these decisions are based on legal reasoning, but that sure is a hard job after this week."

No, it isn't. I just need to observe and then I know what legal reasoning is.

Skyler said...

Oh, so NOW you look at what could possibly go wrong.

Just like your vote for Obama.

I'm glad you like to close those barn doors.

tim in vermont said...

I just need to observe and then I know what legal reasoning is.

LOL. That is true. By definition. That could be an interesting post in and of itself.

pm317 said...

I am naive about law and its mechanics. I left a comment on the other post that the government definition of marriage be based on economics like Althouse argued about. Take religious sacrosanct definition/argument out of it but keep the economic arrangement. Looking at this post and the basis for the majority opinion as being based on love does not necessarily preclude the economic arrangement. In fact, my naive notion of it all was that love and commitment was essential and evident for the government to accord that economic arrangement for SSM. It may not be based on religion but it is based on individual love and commitment that they deserve to have the economic arrangement and protection from the government. So more love, more deserving of economic arrangement.

About polygamy, watch for a Muslim to file a suit for it next and the liberals clamoring to support it. Constitution be damned.

Tom from Virginia said...

I expect to die in bed.
My successor will die in prison.
His successor will die a martyr in the public square.
His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the church has done so often in human history.

From Cardinal George, who died of cancer in his bed in 2015.

William said...

Our feelings about incest, cannibalism, and homosexuality are not as hard wired as we think. Uncle-niece marriages were common among aristocrats in the 17th century. Cannibalism was what kept the good citizens of Leningrad alive during WWII. Ancient Athens was apparently quite accepting of homosexuality and pederastry. The elasticity of human behavior can easily be stretched to include gay marriage.......Gay marriage is, in fact, a far less decadent way of expressing sexuality than bathhouse sex. I wonder if gay militants will not now lobby to include bathhouse sex as within the parameters of a happy marriage. This will work out in ways no one expects.

Meade said...

"Just like your vote for Obama. I'm glad you like to close those barn doors."

Imagine where we'd be if the McCain horse had bolted.

CStanley said...

My supposition is that they stressed love and due process because they didn't want to leave open the possible solution of civil unions. All of the economic and equal protection problems could be resolved in a "separate but equal" way (yes, this time it makes sense.)

But they stressed dignity and status in order to put the stop to any debate over this. That does have the effect you are now noting, or removing any barrier to the slippery slope.

I also agree with commenters yesterday saying that there isn't the desire among elites to push for polygamy, for the time being. That may change though, if polyamory becomes the next thing that the cool kids are doing. Or if we start to face challenges from Muslims (they, along with Mormons, can claim the same kind of synergy that Kennedy used but combining adding in a religious free exercise argument.)

Diogenes of Sinope said...

Not the law, not the Constitution, not precedent will matter when polygamy is decided by SCOTUS. The court will find a hidden meaning in the Constitution for whatever their opinion and declare polygamy a right if it suits them.

In the future, SCOTUS will find a right which the Left does not support. At that point we will then be concerned about original intent, the rule of law and self governance.

tim in vermont said...

All the Mormons need is to get a show like Glee that features sympathetic polyamorists and their families and is wildly popular and they can create their own "fundamental rights" under our constitution.

Michael P said...

So how would Althouse answer the earlier poll about this ruling? The "I support gay marriage, but the ruling is bad constitutional law" option?

The Equal Protection argument is clearly in favor of allowing SSM. Maybe some state would decide to make marriage licenses conditional upon the prospective spouses affirming that they intend to raise children (either currently alive or future) in the marriage; but this would bar so many marriages, both same- and opposite-sex, that I think it would fail in the state legislature.

The Due Process argument seems to be purely an emotional one. While emotional appeals can be effective in some arguments, they should not carry the day in a court.

who-knew said...

Why all the discussion of legal reasoning and economics? This week it's been proven that we are ruled by Humpty Dumpty ("When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.") and neither of those subjects can mean a thing under Justice Dumpty's reign.

Jane the Actuary said...

"There are already children in poly relationships. Why not give them the legal protection of allowing the second mom (or dad) medical decision-making ability and other legal parenthood rights?"

That's how it goes.

But let's face it. "Love" may have been the content of the opinion, but it never would have been authored if public opinion wasn't moving in that direction.

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/janetheactuary/2015/06/the-obligatory-post-on-polygamy.html

Browndog said...

Diogenes of Sinope said...

Not the law, not the Constitution, not precedent will matter when polygamy is decided by SCOTUS. The court will find a hidden meaning in the Constitution for whatever their opinion and declare polygamy a right if it suits them.


Let me fix that for you-

The court will find a hidden meaning in case law/Dicta for whatever their opinion and declare polygamy a right if it suits them.

Diogenes of Sinope said...

How do we protect freedom of religion and speech are the troubling issues from this ruling.

jacksonjay said...

So 48 hours later, emotion starts slipping away and reason rears its' ugly head. News flash: Ruling based on well established Constitutional concepts, love and dignity.

Polygamy is obviously a foregone conclusion.

As I said yesterday, NAMBLA is the big winner. They've been relying on the notion of love for decades. "You can't help who you fall in love with!" Now their position appears to have "legal" reasoning supporting it.

n.n said...

They went with love in order to normalize trans marriage or create good perceptions (e.g. rights vs rites). They went with licensing to regulate (e.g. selective denial) and tax (e.g. Obamacare) it. Historically, they have enjoyed "aborting that unwanted, inconvenient child" and received awards as "human rights leaders", too.

khesanh0802 said...

Ann;

Though the court may not have given this as the reason: "But government chose to use the status of marriage as a basis for many of its actions in the realm of things that properly belong to government (like taxing and spending). At that point, equality is required." Yours is the first comment that makes the decision make sense to me. Equal protection would have been a much better basis, it seems.

CStanley said...

So I guess the problem is that there isn't enough room on the love train, and we forgot to account for the cost once the polygamists start requesting to board.

SMGalbraith said...

We're on the love slope. That's more slippery. Who knows where that might go? And who knows why the majority chose (what we're perceiving as) the love concept?

The equal protection love slope. A brand new slope nowhere in the Constitution. This was Kennedy writing for the ages and not legal reasoning.

Why is the two person love more deserving of rights than the three person love? Or why is the three person love less equal to the two person love? Economics? The government has a compelling state interest not to recognize polygamous marriages because of the cost?

There is no limiting principle - no brake - on the love slope.

After celebrating this victory, Althouse now has to scramble around and come up with one.

She can't.

It's going to be interesting watching federal judges trying to enforce this ruling when it comes to religious institutions. They will find no guidance whatsoever.

Mark O said...

Whew. She knows it when she sees it: "I just need to observe and then I know what legal reasoning is."

I doubt that most of Kennedy's opinion meets the rather high standard of legal reasoning as Bill Van Alstyne taught me. If, however, it is "legal reasoning" by definition because it is in a SC case, polygamy is far from the worst outcome of that opinion.

Bobber Fleck said...

Diogenes of Sinope said...

Not the law, not the Constitution, not precedent will matter when polygamy is decided by SCOTUS. The court will find a hidden meaning in the Constitution for whatever their opinion and declare polygamy a right if it suits them.


Hidden meanings always have unintended consequences. In this case the still to be fully defined concept of love will haunt this nation. The slippery slope is now greased with love and good intentions.

Please remember how effective government is at executing "tough love".

n.n said...

Mark O:

Pro-choice or selective/arbitrary rights (e.g. right to life) is the worst outcome. Selective exclusion established by the "equal" judgment is just the latest example of pro-choice jurisprudence.

CWJ said...

The stress on love over economics may indeed have been adopted to avoid civil unions as a viable solution. But I foresee a more sinister outcome. Emphasizing governmental economics would have placed SSM marriage squarely within the courthouse where this decision belongs. Emphasizing love opens the door for the gaystopo to sue and force any reluctant churches to perform and bless SSM.

Michael K said...

"Maybe that was the only way Kennedy would vote for the result."

I'm waiting for Kennedy to marry his gay lover now that the ruling is written. After all, that is what the judge who threw out California Prop 8 did.

n.n said...

Bobber Fleck:

Is the "slippery slope" principled tolerance or selective exclusion? It will be interesting to observe how progressive liberals intend to regulate "marriage", not based on principle (e.g. natural order), but with pro-choice doctrine.

That said, this is not the same as their selective-child policy. The libertarians joined their cause to place individual dignity before intrinsic value, but they will find it more difficult to support selective exclusion through regulation/licensing of rights.

SMGalbraith said...

Perhaps the reason Althouse - and the rest of us - can't find anything, that is a limiting principle, that won't require states to recognize polygamous marriages is because Kennedy doesn't believe there should be limits?

You're thinking he missed something when he didn't?

"There's nothing you can do that can't be done
Nothing you can sing that can't be sung
Nothing you can say but you can learn how to play the game
It's easy

There's nothing you can make that can't be made
No one you can save that can't be saved
Nothing you can do but you can learn to be you in time
It's easy

All you need is love"

Tom said...

It doesn't matter whether the legal reasoning set forth in the majority opinion logically extends to polygamous relationships. The Court will require legal polygamy if and when it wants to. This Court is not restrained by law, only by will, at least when it comes to "social issues."

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

Ancient Athens was apparently quite accepting of homosexuality and pederastry.

Professor Vandiver said that the acceptance was very limited to the situation where an aristocratic man took on a pubescent male of a lower class as something of protégé who put out. Resources were provided generously in the present and promised well-enough for the future. When the boy obtained sexual maturity, the sex stopped.

The homosexual relationship between equals -- romantic love, if you will -- as we've come to think of it, was not condoned but was instead harshly condemned. The Ancient Greeks were more hung up on notions of hairy, chest-beating masculinity than are we. It's not hard to see why.

Ancient Greece is just one example of countless honor-based cultures where no father's first choice is for his son to grow up to take it in the ass, or to swallow a load of come.

Roughcoat said...

Imagine where we'd be if the McCain horse had bolted.

Really? You're going with that one?

Bob Ellison said...

Mark said, "No, we are on a power slope. That's all."

Correct. Rightists keep trying to understand the reasoning of leftists. That's a big reason why rightists tend to conclude that leftists are simply stupid. The reasoning makes no sense, so he/she must be an idiot.

If you assume that power is always the incentive that drives leftists, everything makes sense.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

Professor Vandiver also said that the Amazons were not hot chicks like Lucy Lawless or Uma Thurman who kicked ass. Rather they were monsters -- abhorrent to the natural order of things -- that were feared by all and to be destroyed by the fighting men of the Hellenic world.

She also seems to think the Joseph Campbell was a piker.

I have no idea what she thinks about Star Wars.

Meade said...

"Really? You're going with that one?"

Why not? It's the other barn door — the one Obama voters closed. For worse and for better.

Anglelyne said...

AA: We're on the love slope.

Post your favorite postcards from the ride down the love slope:

Clyde Gilbert @ClydeGilbert - 4h
Welcome to the First World, America. Fuck you Scalia-now go die in a fire.
#LoveWins

Luke Lea said...

Love, economics? I'm surprised nobody is mentioning the fact that marriage has traditionally served to establish the biological family as a social institution, the primary function of which is to raise and acculturate children. In the case of the US acculturation includes the transmission of those sentiments and ideals that lie at the heart of our democratic society and its liberal institutions, whose preservation for the enjoyment of future generations many Americans regard as a sacred obligation.

Gay marriage on the other hand -- and the celebration of gay culture in general -- is all about now, with no thought of tomorrow.

As for whether the way the case was decided reflects the rule of law, one of the bedrocks of liberal society, you decide:

"Changed understandings of marriage are characteristic of a Nation where new dimensions of freedom become apparent to new generations, often through perspectives that begin in pleas or protests and then are considered in the political sphere and the judicial process." from the majority opinion

From my reading of the Declaration of Independence, where it speaks of the right of revolution, I would say the American people and the states have every right and reason to defy the Court on this particular decision. Let the President call out the National Guard to enforce it and let's see what happens.

SMGalbraith said...

I find it interesting that one of the concurring Justices didn't try to sort of rescue Kennedy here, rein in his excesses. I would think a person like Breyer, maybe Kagan, would have tried to provide more substance to his ruling, more legal reasoning. Kennedy's opinion is all pedal no brake.

He needed a brake.

Unknown said...

on what planet do you think sound/reasonable economic arguments against polygamy will even be considered in the future cases that will be litigated in the near future? As was always the case, it'll be on the "right," wholly invented, to marry anyone you want.

Anonymous said...

Why would the economic considerations you named 9 years ago offer a foothold on the slippery slope to polygamy, when the estate tax the government expected to collect from Thea Spyer's estate (US v Windsor), for example, failed to offer a foothold on the slippery slope to SSM?

iowan2 said...

Ann, your explanation is fine for elected representatives. The legislature and the President, elected by popular vote. The people can do what ever they want. The people can pass a constitutional amendment to imprison SCOTUS Justices that wear red stockings. Thats an activity not enumerated as a right.
What you advocate is 180 degrees opposite of the purpose of the judiciary. Applying the laws as written by the people.

Roughcoat said...

Why not? It's the other barn door — the one Obama voters closed. For worse and for better.

Calls for speculation. By contrast, we know what has happened with Obama.

But why don't you tell us what might have happened if McCain had been elected.

Freeman Hunt said...

"And who knows why the majority chose (what we're perceiving as) the love concept?"

Who knows? We might have some ideas. Mostly unflattering to the majority.

mccullough said...

The equal protection argument is too difficult to make. The court would have to admit that this argument only began to apply sometime in the last 50 as marriage rates declined, divorce rates increased and illegitimacy rates soared. The court in the 1970s gave a brief per curio saying this EP argument for gay marriage was trivial.

So because marriage is now a weak societal institution there is no reason to exclude gays, even though most states did.

By pretending that marriage is important and sacred the court tried to bolster gays (and lay the groundwork for declining to extend this desiccated legal arrangement to polygamists) something they couldnot have done under equal protection.

Marriage has devolved in society since the1950s. It's devolved so far that it makes no sense to exclude gays and polygamists under a living breathing view of equal protection. In 1868, no one would think EP prohibited state laws restricting marriage between one adult and one adult woman not closely related to each other. In 2015, the only people who don't think polygamy should be legal are traditionalists and a majority of the Supreme Court.

Monkeyboy said...

In Iraq I worled with a lot of the locals in Ramadi (now under ISIS control). Many of these men who risked their lives to work with us had multiple wives. If Iraq collapses I would like t have these men come to America like so many did from South Vietnam. Unfortunately our hostess would demand that they leave some of their familiy behind. If a man has two daughters from two wives, Althouse would have him choose one to remain to be raped and mudrdered.

Not sure if he hates them due to their race or their religion, but I do know hate is the only real reason to deny marraige equality.

Amadeus 48 said...

I said on another thread:
"I thought the Equal Protection argument had a lot of moxie; the Due Process argument was out there in Rove (sic) v. Wade-land.
"I hate it when the Supremes go all Diana Ross on us and start the word processor while they are in touch with their feelings. Kennedy really launched this one from his id. Kagan, Sotomayor, Ginsberg and Breyer just sit there and watch him go. Sigh."

Althouse, you have this one right. Equal protection arguments get at what was unjust about the restrictive marriage laws that existed in many states. You would have thought that a large majority could have coalesced around an Equal Protection position. Instead, Kennedy took off on an ego trip, the four liberals watched him go, and the four in the minority failed to grapple with the Equal Protection issues.
This is not the proper way for the Court to address issues like this, just as the process used by the Dem majorities to pass the ACA was not the proper way to address the problems of the US healthcare system. If one wants to look at the decline of US political institutions, this court decision together with the ACA adoption are two symptoms of decadence. Gradualism, which might bring broad acceptance, is abandoned in favor of the romance of the bold stroke (however poorly considered, ill conceived, or open-ended in its consequences). The morals and the mores of romantic fiction are embraced at the expense of careful, prudent, and thought-out forward movement.
I am a Burkean.

Owen said...

Amadeus 48: what you said.

Owen said...

Amadeus 48: what you said.

jr565 said...

"No, it isn't. I just need to observe and then I know what legal reasoning is. "
WE're observing you. and you're not doing a good job convincing us that you know or that it was good legal reasoning.

Sebastian said...

"I would have decided the case based on equal protection and left love out of it."

I thought you said the grounds for legalizing SSM were out there is broad daylight -- except even the majority didn't "find"their grounds where you said they were obviously to be seen.

@Mark: "No, we are on a power slope. That's all."

Indeed. Progs rule. AA and consorts are just the useful idiots cheering on the sideline, inventing rationalizations as needed.

Bart DePalma said...

Ann:

The court reduced marriage to nothing more than a contract for government recognition and benefits. Love has nothing to do with it.

So long as all the parties have the capacity to give legal consent to the new contract, there is no principled reason why polygamous, polyamorous and incestuous marriages should not be held to be fundamental rights under the Court's new "enhanced understanding" doctrine, which has apparently replaced the old equal protection test. Indeed, if you replace same sex with polygamous, polyamorous or incestuous, the Kennedy opinion works the same.

jr565 said...

"All the Mormons need is to get a show like Glee that features sympathetic polyamorists and their families and is wildly popular and they can create their own "fundamental rights" under our constitution." They don't even need that. They just need a Gavin Newsome who's into polygamy to start giving out licenses. Then demagogue anyone and everyone as haters who are trying to take rights away. That will start the ball rolling. A show about a nice polygamist family would be nice. Preferably a comedy. Downplay any reference to child brides. that was the OLD polygamy. Hush hush.

ITs in your grasp. Get your feet in the door. Get a few licenses under your belt then DARE the state to take them away. Meanwhile, have your proponents, literally tick off the gay marriage arguments. Jot them down on a note somewhere and pass it out. Or put on a website. Then include Kennedy's arguments.

Utah, polygamists please read this post. I'm giving you the way forward. Just use the love arguments and call people bigots if they arent' for love. IT WORKS EVERY TIME.

jr565 said...

"marriage has devolved in society since the1950s. It's devolved so far that it makes no sense to exclude gays and polygamists under a living breathing view of equal protection."

Maybe it makes no sense to include heteros. Maybe we've moved past it. It's copmletley stacked against men, and they can get the sex outside of marriage. traditional marriage is just another family type. Find the one that gives you the best sex, the most money and doesn't force your spouse to take half. It's all good.

jr565 said...

Personally, since any family type is as good as any other, Im seriously thinking polygamy works better. Think about it. If your wife is nagging you, you can go to your other wife. You have 3 people who can work. Three people who can clean the house. Three people who can raise the kids. ANd three ways. How often do you get those unless you are dating a porn star?

If you ever watch the movie Multiplicity with Michael Keaton its a lot like that. There he clones himself a bunch of times and then has his clones do the work while he relaxes. I wouldn't do that. I'd work, but I'd have 2-3 hot women also working and bringing home the bake. We'd make out like bandits.

So, thumbs up for polygamy for me. Screw you pairs. BORING. I'm going to live out "It takes a village".
NOw I just have to convince some women to get over their monogamy.

Anonymous said...

Where is it going?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VqL64TRib40&feature=youtu.be

Sure, the court might be able to deny a man and his wives to marry.

But you put three lesbians before the court? How could you deny such love?

Rick said...

It's interesting watching Althouse inch toward the truth. There were always two rationales for gay marriage, benefits versus normalizing gay relationships. What she now realizes is the distinction from polygamy can only be made under the benefits case, so she wants to return to that in order to avoid admitting this will lead to legalized polygamy. But under the benefits case the appropriate government response is to not use marriage to award benefits, or set up a criteria separate from marriage to manage the benefits [maybe it could be called civil unions]. The civil union option can only be rejected under the "normalizing gay relationships" rationale, which she now agrees is inappropriate.

I think of this like a math step when dividing by unknowns. There are certain answers that have to be eliminated because it would be dividing by zero (If you don't take this step you can mathematically "prove" 2 = 3, so it's critical). Similarly the last step in this legal evaluation should be reviewing the whole process to see if every step makes sense given the final resolution. It doesn't.

sydney said...

Based on all the subsequent posts since this one, can we assume that the majority opinion was impossible to parse?

Big Mike said...

All you need is love, love, love is all you need

Big Mike said...

@BarrySanders, I found the link you needed.

Steven said...

Thank you, Ann. This is a point I've been trying to make to people for several days now, but the usual celebratory/condemnatory emotional reactions seem to stop anyone from noticing.

The Supreme Court could have done something narrow if it had wished -- it's clearly asymmetrical on the basis of gender to allow Alice to marry Bob but not allow Charles to marry Bob, at which point you invoke intermediate scrutiny and declare none of the arguments meet that standard. Ba-dum-tish, perfectly standard established con law specifically legalizes gay marriage, but has absolutely minimal implications.

Instead, the Supreme Court went all "liberty that includes certain specific rights that allow
persons, within a lawful realm, to define and express their identity", "marriage is essential to our most profound hopes and aspirations", "these liberties extend to certain personal choices central to individual dignity and autonomy, including intimate choices that define personal identity and beliefs", "the right to personal choice regarding marriage is inherent in the concept of individual autonomy", "Without the recognition, stability, and predictability marriage offers, their children suffer the stigma of knowing their families are somehow lesser", and a number of other passages that . . .

Well, that very obviously would apply to polygamous, polyamorous, and other forms of marriage beyond couples.

Lee said...

I just have one quick question about the "never married" group.

My father divorced my mother 34 years ago to marry a younger women. He worked for the government back then so now he is one of the "lucky groups" to peacefully retire with no worries on where his next dollar will come from because of his pension. My mother unfortunately had a horrible disabling stroke 30 years ago of which I have given up the last 10 years to care for her, physically, emotionally and financially. I am single, never married and no children. I wanted to get married and have children but the right one and the right timing never happened plus I always knew my mother would need many years of full time care. (she was only 52 years old when she had a stroke and was water skiing the day before) I have exhausted all savings and look forward to living out the rest of my life in poverty because I have been caring for my mother instead of my father caring for her who should have stayed with her at least in this country so his child would not have to bear this responsibility.

Anyway.. my dad is a good guy and has suffered from a lot of guilt watching me stuck in this god awful unfair position this country puts women in. And NOOO!!! putting a fairly healthy but extremely disabled person in a medicaid covered nursing home is not an option no matter what the majority of men in this country say. No way would I have put her in a nursing home 30 years ago. I worked hard to somehow maintain a somewhat normal life and utilize my masters degree building a career and dating. There just comes a point when you can't do both and succeed at either.

Anyway.. the quick question is .. Can my father divorce his wife (she also worked for the government so she has health and a pension) and marry me? How long would we have to be married when he passes in order for me to retire on his benefits? It only seems fair since I gave up my hopes dreams to care for his ex-wife.

I now know I am a lessor person in America. To be great you need to part of 2 otherwise you are doomed. I now know I am doomed to a horrible lonely ending.

But just maybe if I marry my father I will at least be able to get 6 times more per month in financial support than if I have to retire on my poverty wages I have made the last 10 years while caring for my disabled divorced mother and his ex-wife (who only qualifies for 1/2 his social security).

This case made me feel so much worse about my life and confirmed in my mind I am doomed to live the rest of my life as a scared lonely lower person in America.

I wish I had been born in a Scandinavian country or at least Canada.

It seems at this point in time the better decision would have been to separate marriage completely from financial incentives.

We now have a new group of "never married" people to discriminate against.

Robert Cook said...

@Lee:

Does your father have the option in his pension of naming beneficiaries who will inherit a payout of his unpaid pension benefits when he dies? My mother named my two brothers and I as her beneficiaries, and we inherited the modest sum still remaining of her pension benefits when she died. I have a pension at my current job and I have named a beneficiary who will receive whatever balance of it remains unpaid at the time of my death. Of course, neither my mother's pension nor mine are government pensions, so there may be different policies and restrictions that apply. However, you should ask your father about this. If he is sufficiently concerned about your long term financial well-being, and if his present wife will have her own pension to retire on, perhaps he will agree to name you as either the sole beneficiary or as a co-beneficiary with his wife.