Friday, October 01, 2010

Let them marry

"Man, wives attract police attention" - this headline caught my attention. The story is about the Brown family in Lehi, Utah, which is featured on the reality show Sister Wives on TLC. The family includes four women, a man who all women consider their spouse, and their sixteen children.

The reason the show drew the police's attention to these gentlefolks is because polygamy is illegal in Utah, like everywhere else in the nation. The family belongs to the Mormon Church; the church officially disavowed polygamy in 1904, but fundamentalists still practice it.

After their fierce support of Prop 8, I didn't think I would find myself defending Mormon beliefs (mainstream or otherwise), but here I am:

Just like gay marriage and prostitution, polygamy is an arrangement between consenting adults - I see no reason why the government should get into private lives of citizens.

Of course, I still hold on to my old argument that as much as the government doesn't have a right to bar polygamy or gay unions, it has no right to endorse any kind of marriage. The first thing that society needs to do to right the historical wrongs against homosexuals and polygamists is to eliminate official recognition of all marriages, and re-define familial unions simply as domestic partnerships - of two or more individuals (see previous arguments against state recognition of marriage here, here, and here).

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