My three wives say you should keep your morals to yourself!
Judge Walter Steed is in hot water. Even though he has pledged to uphold the law, he is an unabashed polygamist, and it may cost him his job. Polygamy is illegal in all fifty states, including Steed’s home state of Utah, where it is a felony.
Nonetheless, Utah is home to a number of religious offshoot groups that endorse the practice of polygamy. Most of these religious groups have splintered off from the Church of Jesus Christ and Latter Day Saints (LDS), better known as the Mormons. The Mormons did allow polygamy within their religion until 1890, but have staunchly opposed it since then. Though many of these splinter groups may claim to be “the real Mormons”, they are not connected to the LDS church.
Steed’s defense is interesting: by his account, he’s being denied his “equal protection” under the law. Sound silly? Sure it does, but not one iota more silly than the 2003 Massachusetts SJC decision that declared that two men or two women can be joined in matrimony.
So far, my state has not been able to gather enough votes to democratically reverse what was so undemocratically shoved upon us. From the pro-gay “marriage” side, we hear over and over that it is a simple matter of equality. If straights can get married, then why not gays?
Well, I have a number of problems with that statement, but let’s take the argument at face value, and assume for a second that it makes sense. By the same standards by which homosexuals are being discriminated against, Walter Steed is too.
To hear the pro-gay side of the issue, you might think that there are no differences between men and women, which makes the opposite-sex requirement of the marriage contract seem rather arbitrary. Well, it isn’t arbitrary; marriage is, by definition, a union of a man and a woman. The reason a man can’t marry another man, is because two men cannot possibly constitute a married couple, despite what a ridiculous Boston court has to say about it. It’s like trying to say that a peanut butter and jelly sandwich now consists, by judicial decree of a Massachusetts court, of two parts peanut butter and no parts jelly.
But if the gender requirements of state-sanctioned marriage are arbitrary, I suppose the number requirement is too. Why should a marriage consist of only two?
As mentioned earlier, the LDS Church in Utah once sanctioned polygamy, and early leaders of the church Joseph Smith and Brigham Young both had multiple wives. This did not sit well with the rest of the nation, and became an issue when Utah applied for statehood.
America found polygamy despicable, and Congress made polygamy illegal in all US territories in 1862, a move clearly aimed at Mormons in Utah. The Mormons ignored Congress and continued the practice. Because the American public was so strongly opposed to polygamy, statehood for Utah was stalled until 1896, six years after church officials declared their opposition to polygamy. Indeed, the 1890 rejection of polygamy was a political move; they wanted statehood, and they knew that Utah would never be admitted to the union if they continued the practice.
Weren’t they protected by the First or Fourteenth Amendments? At the time, some Mormons argued just that, but were eventually defeated.
But I can’t reconcile that with the new Massachusetts gay “marriage” law. If you look at it with the same bizarre logic, it looks as if the Mormons are victims of a cut-and-dry religious discrimination. So what if the majority of American were opposed to the taking of many wives? They don’t have the right to shove their values on others, and limiting marriage for moral reasons is a violation of the “separation of church and state”. Isn’t that how the old argument goes?
Well, let’s apply that to Judge Steed today. He claims to be a Mormon, although he is not. He is a practitioner of his own religion, which is currently in rebellion against the LDS Church. Nonetheless, he has a right to practice his religion. If you don’t like the practice of marrying three wives, that’s fine. Then only marry one.
Walter Steed sees himself as the vanguard in a new civil rights movement, and he isn't alone. One pro-polygamy website proclaims: “Freely-consenting, adult, non-abusive, marriage-committed, POLYGAMY is the next civil rights battle. Lawrence v. Texas
just guaranteed it!”Lawrence v. Texas
was the 2003 case in which the Supreme Court found another right in the Constitution that was apparently written in invisible ink. They decreed that adults have the right, under the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, to private relationships with other adults, without government intrusion. With the stroke of a pen, every anti-Sodomy law in the nation was struck down.
Polygamists have taken the court at its word. They want the government to butt out of their adult polyamorous relationships. By this logic, a polygamist could have multiple wives, all of his wives could have multiple husbands, and all of those husbands could have multiple wives. Throw a few bisexuals in there who have partners of both sexes, and we have a very tangled sexual web. Those participating in it would probably call it a family. I call it an orgy.
No, polygamy is probably not “the next civil rights battle”, and I don’t believe that limiting each person to one marriage partner is a violation of the Constitution. But if I hypothetically adopt the thought-process of the gay “marriage” crowd, I can’t seem to evade Steed’s logic. He has a point: we have been discriminating against polygamists for years. So let’s get our heads straight and tell Boston that a wedding will never consist of two brides or two grooms, no matter what a court has to say about.