Polyamory decried in the U.S. Senate
During the U.S. Senate debate on June 6, 2006, over a constitutional amendment to outlaw gay marriage, Senator Sam Brownback (R-Kansas) warned of the looming threat that legal recognition of polyamory poses to American civilization.
There is another argument I want to further develop while my colleagues are coming to the floor; that is, this one on “slippery slope.” People say this is one that isn't going to happen. It is not going to develop. Yet I think the legal pedigree is there for a slippery slope to develop. Some will be recognizing different groups that have stepped forward already to say that if two people of the same sex can be married, why can't there be additional people? What is the legal bias against having more than two people in a marital arrangement? This even has a term now, polyamorist. They have already had one court case trying to gain recognition for a marriage of a woman and two men. They say in some of their advocacy that they are waiting for same-sex marriage to pass to begin agitation to legalize more than two people getting married.
If you think that is not going to happen, you had the minority opinion in the Supreme Court case that recognized that, what is your legal basis of stopping that, too, if it can be two men or two women? Why is it only two? That is what this group is starting to agitate for. They are saying that granting same-sex marriage is supported on equal protection grounds. How is the court going to deny them? There are plenty of polyamorists out there.
The problem goes further. We have an advocacy group called the Alternatives to Marriage Project which supports polyamory and other innovations to parental cohabitation. The Alternatives to Marriage Project is quoted frequently in the mainstream media. Believe it or not, some of the most powerful factions of family law scholars in the law schools favor legal recognition of both polyamory and parental cohabitation. Even law review articles have been published advocating for both. Again, they argue that if two men can get married and two women can get married, if this is an equal protection argument, why is it limited to just two? What is the legal basis or foundational basis in society for this?
I raise that as a point because this area of law is starting to develop. Even the influential American Law Institute came out with proposals that would grant nearly equal recognition to cohabitation. So this is developing in the law.
I raise these items as issues knowing that some people will scoff at it. You can look at what happened in the world in the past year or so as well. Sweden passed the first same-sex partnership plan in the world and had serious proposals floated by parties on the left to abolish marriage and legalize multipartner unions. So this is out there and it is one of those things we should watch.
I love that part, "There are plenty of polyamorists out there." (Depends what you mean by "plenty," I guess.)
Regular readers here will notice that everything in Brownback's speech came from recent writings of the anti-gay-marriage/ anti-polygamy/ anti-polyamory polemicist Stanley Kurtz, of the Hudson Institute.
Activist Anita Wagner commented to various lists: "Polyamory discussed on the Senate floor -- now that's visibility, even if we are being exploited as a scare tactic. Kudos also to our friends at the Alternatives to Marriage Project for the work they do in getting out the message that there are legitimate alternatives to traditional marriage."