Polygamy as a Constitutional Right
Despite the several times that California voters have rejected gay marriage in California, a fairly conservative Supreme Court has enacted it into law...or, more properly, discovered that the framers of the California Consitution always intended that men could marry men.
A few questions:
First, why not polygamy? Why is "two" a "magic number"? Could it be because we have two arms? Could it be because we have two eyes?
Or could it be because there are two sexes, and now that the idea that the complementarity of the different genders is now considered outmoded and irrelevant, why should "two" be a limitation any more than the idea that a "man" and a "woman" constitute a married couple?
Second, haven't we always known that this was going to happen? It didn't matter how often the voters stated their sovereign preference by wide margins that they wanted to structure their society around the idea that marriage was intrinsically and essentially connected to procreation, we've always known that gay marriage would make its march through the elite governance system.
And now it has happened.
What has happened to the ideal of democracy? The idea that citizens govern rather than are subjects of their governors seems to have died a silent, unlamented death.
What is the point of making sure that "every vote counts" when a majority vote doesn't count?
Strange days are ahead, not the least of which is that we have been on a long journey against the basic democratic notions that this country was founded upon.
"The California Supreme Court has your back" Update:
At least the California Supreme Court is going through the motions of trying to constitutionalize the "number 2" - founded as it is on the great constitutional principle that while the fact that there are two sexes is irrelevant to marriage, the number "two" is the burning core of "true marriage" because.....they say so.
The Court dropped a footnote that simply has to push the needle of unintended humor.
After spending nearly 30 pages explaining how wrong traditional American culture has been for the last 40 years - before it does on to explain how California voters really didn't know what they were doing 8 years ago - the Court drops this re-assuring footnote:
52. We emphasize that our conclusion that the constitutional right to marry properly must be interpreted to apply to gay individuals and gay couples does not mean that this constitutional right similarly must be understood to extend to polygamous or incestuous relationships. Past judicial decisions explain why our nation’s culture has considered the latter types of relationships inimical to the mutually supportive and healthy family relationships promoted by the constitutional right to marry. (See, e.g., Reynolds v. United States (1878) 98 U.S. 145, 165-166; Davis v. Beason (1890) 133 U.S. 333, 341; People v. Scott (2007) 157 Cal.App.4th 189, 192-194; State v. Freeman (Ohio Ct.App. 2003) 801 N.E.2d 906, 909; Smith v. State (Tenn.Crim.App. 1999) 6 S.W.3d 512, 518-520.) Although the historic disparagement of and discrimination against gay individualsand gay couples clearly is no longer constitutionally permissible, the state continues to have a strong and adequate justification for refusing to officially sanction polygamous or incestuous relationships because of their potentially detrimental effect on a sound family environment. (Accord, e.g., Potter v. Murray City (C.D. Utah 1984) 585 F.Supp. 1126, 1137-1140, affd. (10th Cir. 1985) 760 F.2d 1065, 1068-1071, cert. den. (1985) 474 U.S. 849; People v. Scott, supra, 157 Cal.App.4th 189, 193-194.) Thus, our conclusion that it is improper to interpret the state constitutional right to marry as inapplicable to gay individuals or couples does not affect the constitutional validity of the existing legal prohibitions against polygamy and the marriage of close relatives.
< sarcasm >Right that makes perfectly logical sense.< /sarcasm >
Because we know that no court in the future - say, within the next 8 years - would ever look back on the dark ages of prejudice, i.e., 2008, to explain that the then prevailing cultural mores stifled the ability of people who were "wired" to express themselves through polygamy.
After all, the Court's 2008 decision is basing its holding that polygamy is "inimical to the mutually supportive and healthy family relationships" on a pair of decisions from the Nineteenth Century!!!
Good heavens, did these justices even read this decision? How hard would it be for someone with an ounce of intelligence to trot out a "modern" study, say, from 1901, to argue that polygamy is consistent with "mutually supportive and healthy family relationships?
After all, it's not like there aren't entire regions of the world - and millenia of time - that actually demonstrate that polygamy is perfectly consistent with "mutually supportive and healthy family relationships."
No one can really argue that polygamy doesn't "work" as an institution that protects women and children from the vicissitudes of life while providing social stability.
The problem with polygamy is that it doesn't work for a culture that wants equality of the sexes or an idea of marriage that is something more than a kind of business enterprise, i.e., for a culture that wants the ideal of Christian marriage.
On the other hand, while polygamy has been tested and has been found to be consistent with "mutually supportive and healthy family relationships," when precisely has it been shown that gay marriage isn't "inimical" to "mutually supportive and healthy family relationships." Is there a sociological study of the a two-thousand year old corner of Marin County that proves that gay marriage works that we are not aware of?
The evidence is obviously to the contrary. Time and time again it has been demonstrated that the overwhelming majority of gay couples are not faithful and supportive to each other, but, rather, act as - surprise - unmarried men.
But don't worry about the coming of polygamy; we have a tendentious, illogical, unintentionally droll footnote explaining how polygamy is so very different from gay marriage because a Supreme Court decision from 1870 - and a clutch of other cases decided before or shortly after the 2003 decision of Lawrence v. Texas didn't get the message that the most important constitutional right of all is not the right to free speech about politics, but the constitutional right to play "Nanny and the Professor."
But it's this exercise in fantasy of a footnote that is our "mighty bulwark" against polygamy.