Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:
Canadian Mormon convicted of polygamy, faces 5 years in prison. Isn’t having 25 wives punishment enough?
It’s Canada, so American law doesn’t apply; but I wonder how this case would come out using the principles of law explained by Justice Kennedy in the gay marriage decision, Obergefell v. Hodges. I’ve excerpted his analysis, changing ‘gay’ to ‘plural.’
“The first principle is that the right to personal choice regarding marriage is inherent in the concept of individual autonomy. The second is that the right to marry is fundamental because it supports a union unlike any other in its importance to committed individuals. The third principle is marriage protects children and families and thus draws meaning from related rights of childrearing, procreation, and education. Finally, the nation’s traditions make clear that marriage is a keystone of the nation’s social order.
The interlocking nature of these constitutional safeguards means a law against plural marriage abridges the central precepts of equality. The marriage laws at issue are in essence unequal: plural marriage partners are denied benefits afforded to dual marriage partners and are barred from exercising a fundamental right. Especially against a long history of disapproval of their relationships, this denial works a grave and continuing harm, serving to disrespect and subordinate [religions that celebrate polygamy such as Mormons and Muslims].”
Seems to me that the ‘legal reasoning’ adopted by the Supreme Court in striking down all laws preventing gay marriage, apply with equal vigor to striking down all laws preventing plural marriage.
Aside from the court precedent, I object to this case as a violation of sound societal organizational principles.
The prohibition on polygamy stands in mocking contrast to the reality that the same guy can have sex with all those women and conceive all those kids out of wedlock and, under the modern welfare system, the state will pick up the tab for every kid and the baby mommas too. The anti-polygamy law doesn’t stop fornication, adultery or bastardy; it spreads the cost of those societal ills across all of society.
So on the one hand, we can have the father donating seed to 25 baby mommas while taking zero responsibility for the kids or the breeders, and the state will provide for all of them and that’s perfectly acceptable to Liberals. It’s his right.
Or we can have the man who, under the tenets of his sincerely held religious belief, is allowed to marry as many women and have as many kids as he can support; but he has a moral and binding obligation, enforced by his peers and answerable to God, to actually support all of them.
As a taxpayer, I find Option B more appealing.
Wait – moral obligations are binding?