Box Turtle Bulletin

Box Turtle BulletinNews, analysis and fact-checking of anti-gay rhetoric
“Now you must raise your children up in a world where that union of man and box turtle is on the same legal footing as man and wife…”
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Posts for July, 2011

I support polygamists’ lawsuit

Timothy Kincaid

July 12th, 2011

Get ready to hear the anti-gays shriek, “I told you so!” A reality celebrity polygamist family from Utah is suing that state to have its polygamy law found unconstitutional. And I support them. (ABC)

The polygamist family portrayed on the TLC reality show “Sister Wives” said all along its main goal in going on national television was to gain public acceptance of its lifestyle.

Now family patriarch Kody Brown, his four wives and 16 children and stepchildren are moving from the court of public opinion to the court of law, arguing that criminalizing their lifestyle is unconstitutional.

This lawsuit may seem to support the contentions of Maggie Gallagher and the others who spend their energy obsessing over my life and campaigning to keep me inferior. And it may seek peculiar that I would support such and endeavor.

But here’s the thing. They are not suing to have their family structure given legal recognition; that I would oppose.

The legal bonds of matrimony uniquely empower one person to be the sole caretaker and decision-maker over another in times of trouble, the primary heir with unique right at death, and encompasses a whole host of entanglements that become complicated beyond possibility when more than two are included. While the State can step in to a family squabble and say we recognize the spouse, chaos would result from multiple spouse with equal claim or, worse yet, some hierarchy of squabbling spouses.

But their lawsuit is about something else, the effort by the state to control their sex life. Unlike other states which do not recognize multi-party marriage, Utah has banned multi-party cohabitation.

The state law reads: “A person is guilty of bigamy when, knowing he has a husband or wife or knowing the other person has a husband or wife, the person purports to marry another person or cohabits with another person.”

Kody Brown is legally married to one woman, Meri, but also calls the other three women his spouses.

And while I do not wish to open legal marriage to multiple parties, I am a big fan of leaving people live how they want, love whom they want, and in general be as stupid as they want to be (and, believe me, I think any non-bisexual woman that enters into a relationship in which she is one of four women with one man is stupid). So if you want to live with the knowledge that you have no right to recourse should your man and his other three women tire of you, knock yourself out.

And this is not just a theoretical complaint against the state. The police in Lehi, Utah, launched an investigation into the Brown family’s lifestyle for a possible charge of bigamy.

So yeah, I side with the crazy people on this one. If you think that your god wants you to share your man with three other women (one of whom has all the legal rights) then I’ll support your right to sleep where you want and with whom. But fair warning, polygamists, don’t be marrying 14 year-olds or abandoning your male children on a street corner or I’ll happily lead the charge to throw your nasty ass in jail.

Utah Religious Freedom Bill To Rescind LGBT Anti-Discrimination Measures — And Protect Polygamy

Jim Burroway

February 7th, 2011

Utah State Rep. LaVar Christensen (R-Draper) is upset that so many local Utah cities have passed ordinances prohibiting discrimination against LGBT residents in housing and employment. The statutes already exempt religious organizations, but Christensen thinks that doesn’t go far enough. he wants to exempt Utah’s individuals from prosecutions because of their religious beliefs.

Christensen apparently is a big believer in religious freedom. A huge believer, and he wrote his bill so broadly that it opens the door toward protection of polygamy as well, among other possibilities:

Marina Lowe, the legislative and policy counsel for The American Civil Liberties Union, said the bill is so broad it could permit many types of discrimination. “The possibilities are limitless,” Lowe said. For example, a landlord could refuse to rent to a gay couple or a doctor could refuse to treat a woman who is pregnant out of wedlock.

…Civil rights attorney Brian Barnard said the law could provide a defense for the violation of a variety of laws in the name of faith. “Polygamy is the one that comes to mind, but there are other religious practices,” Barnard said. “Peyote, for example, and the other one is churches, like the Episcopal church, that give wine to minors during the sacrament.”

Polygamy a Slippery Slope to Killing Gays

Jim Burroway

February 18th, 2010

Opponents of same-sex marriage often claim that allowing marriage equality would be the first skid down the slippery slope to polygamy. Of course, there’s no evidence to support that assertion. In fact, quite the contrary. A Christian country that is considering the legal murder of gay people is going to the mat to protect marriage between one man and any number of wives:

The state (Uganda) on Thursday moved to protect the principal that a man can have more than one wife. The Attorney General’s office has responded to a petition seeking to nullify the practice of polygamy by arguing that polgymay is protected by the Constitution under Article 37.

…But Attonery General Khiddu Makubuya stated in his response to the petition, that the law does not stop two consenting adults to choose the marriage of their choice. He said polygamy was protected under Article 37 of the Constitution which gives everyone the right “to belong, practice, enjoy, profess and promote any culture, tradition and religion of his or her own choice.”

Well, not just any culture, tradition and religion…

Click here to see BTB’s complete coverage of recent anti-gay developments in Uganda.