Last week a dozen teenagers from polygamous families rallied in Utah to talk about how great polygamy is. "I love all my moms" read one of the signs they carried. They called their lives blessed, and asked for freedom to practice their religion.
This week the FBI caught Warren Jeffs, head of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Jeffs had been on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list for the felony sex crime of arranging marriages of young teenage girls to middle-aged men. (In a wonderful touch, Jeffs was caught in a routine traffic stop driving a red Cadillac Escalade in Las Vegas with three wigs and $54,000 in cash, which I guess was an attempt to be inconspicuous.)
The first group of teenagers did not identify which polygamous group they were part of, or even whether they were religious, though they appeared to be. And the Fundamentalist LDS, which broke from the main Mormon Church years ago, seems to be a pretty scary cult, even by polygamist standards. Still, I think it likely that some of the 13-year-old girls married to Jeffs and the other patriarchs would probably go to a rally in Salt Lake City and talk about how wonderful their lives were, too.
In every oppressive social structure, some individuals will tell you they are happy.
I still think polygamy is an oppressive social structure. I expect that within the decade we will all be expected to take a position on polygamy, just as we are all expected to take a position on the same-sex marriage now.