One of the least useful arguments against gay marriage was “so it’s about love? So if you love your goat, or a child, you could marry them?”
Neither goats nor children (age of consent laws notwithstanding) have standing to sign contracts, of course. It’s kind of a strawman.
But the other, inevitable part of the argument is “so what about polygamy?”
Remember – it’s all about love, and civil rights. And groups of people most definitely do sign contracts. So who are we to hold our antiquated “monogamous” standards over polygamists’ heads?
No, it’s not a strawman:
What’s magical about the number two?
In fact, you could argue that there is an even better argument for polygamy than for same sex marriage. For one thing, there’s a long tradition (just look at the heroes of the Old Testament.) It’s also intimately tied to religious practice, which means that by prohibiting polygamy, we might also be undermining the “free exercise thereof.”
Why should we impose our values on others?
Now, you might say that there is historical evidence to support the fact that polygamy is bad for women and children. This is sophistry. The truth is that right now about half of all marriages end in divorce, and lots of kids are already struggling, so it’s not like traditional marriage is a panacea. Besides, nobody is forcing you to be a polygamist. This is a choice.
And unlike gay marriage, which is entirely a modern Western social construct, Polygamy has occurrred througout human history, including our own.
There are practical reasons, too. It’s harder and harder these days to make ends meet. As a man, I can only imagine how much more efficient it would be to have one wife in the workforce and another wife at home with the kids. This would be much better for the children than shipping them off to some nursery school. And having three parents is a lot better than having just one … or none.
Yesterday’s SCOTUS decision, and last fall’s election in Minnesota, had clear-ish verdicts; “marriage” is “about love” and “civil rights”.
So what – legally – is the difference between a monogamous and polyamorous family unit, since those are the standards?