The California Supreme Court has held that the state of California
may not constitutionally deny the name "marriage" to same-sex
unions as long as the state applies the term to marriages of opposite-sex
Meanwhile, certain Fundamentalist Mormons (with the help of elements
in the Mormon and non-Mormon mainstream press) are waging a public
relations war. Their goal is to depict the polygamist wives in Texas
who had their children taken away by the authorities as no different
from conservative Christians who homeschool their children.
These two seemingly unrelated events are actually intertwined. Every
victory for same-sex "marriage" helps the polygamist
cause, and every polygamist victory helps the same-sex "marriage" cause.
Marriage is between two people because it is between a man and a woman.
Marriage is between a man and a woman because there are two complementary
sexes. Denial of either of these facts lays the groundwork for denial
of both of them.
Advocates of same-sex "marriage" advance two main arguments.
First, marriage is a fundamental right that should not be denied to
homosexuals. Second, to deny marriage to homosexuals constitutes discrimination.
The California Supreme Court agreed with both of these arguments.
The historical argument for polygamy has been based on freedom of
religion. This argument has failed so often and for so long that it
will probably never be used again. Instead, new arguments will probably
assert a fundamental right to marry the people of one's choice. Additionally,
to allow a divorced person to marry, but not an estranged but undivorced
one, is discriminatory; to deny marriage to people who cannot be satisfied
with one spouse is similarly discriminatory. Each of these arguments
finds support in the California decision.
The meaning of polygamy is also changing. Polygamy traditionally
has been understood to mean marriages of one man to more than one woman.
Polygamy between the Civil War and the sexual revolution of the 1960s
was associated with religious fanaticism, but it does not have to have
this association. Three-way sex is now out in the open. If homosexuals
are now to be treated by the law as a normal but persecuted, why not
think of polygamy, not as a phenomenon of religious fanatics but as
a phenomenon of the sexually "liberated"? Why not think of
marriage as a group marriage in which the husband and all his wives
are all married to each other? Viewed this way, polygamy becomes a
sort of same-sex marriage, both a precedent for other kinds of same-sex
marriage and a corollary to the legalization of same-sex marriage.
One must also wonder if the logic of the California court has not risked
making bisexual people victims of discrimination, since they cannot
marry the husband and wife of their choice.
In pre-Christian Hawaii, both men and women could have multiple spouses.
This situation led to complex relations based not only on one's spouses
but also on the other spouses of one's spouses. That kind of situation
is the logical consequence of the California onion.
The California court said that it is not necessary to use the word "marriage" as
long as the state uses exactly the same word to describe a real marriage
and a same-sex "marriage." This is the key
to the problem. The California court does not believe that the word "marriage" has
a real meaning. If one ceases to believe in marriage, one ceases to
have a logical basis for defining it. The result will be a social disaster
because marriage creates families and families are the building blocks
Our struggle against polygamy and same-sex "marriage" is
one united struggle. If we do not insist that marriage is always between
one man and one woman, or if we compromise even slightly, we invite
consequences we can only guess at and a social disaster.
Back to The Confederate
The Confederate Lawyer is copyright © 2008
by the Fitzgerald Griffin Foundation, www.fgfBooks.com.
All rights reserved.
Charles G. Mills is the Judge Advocate or general counsel for the
New York State American Legion. He has forty years of experience in
many trial and appellate courts and has published several articles
about the law.
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