Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Does Dutch Gay Marriage Lead to Polygamy? Sort of.

One of William Eskridge and Darren Spedale's main points in Gay Marriage: For Better or Worse? is that when the northern European countries legalized same-sex marriage it did not open the door to legalizing every other kind of union. They specifically note that gay marriage has not led to legal polygamy. "Pandora's box was opened," they cheerfully assert, "and it was empty."

Last September, as Eskridge and Spedale were finishing their book, a married couple, Victor and Bianca de Bruijn, took advantage of the Netherlands' registered partnership law to add a second wife, Mirjam Geven. Geven met the de Bruijns through a chatroom, and soon left her husband to live with them. Registered partnerships were invented to allow homosexual couples to legalize their unions. As I noted yesterday, though, most of the people who have taken advantage of the law are heterosexual couples. The de Bruijn-de Bruijn-Geven union hit the trifecta – he is straight, and both women are bisexual.

Strictly speaking, the Netherlands has not legalized polygamy, because registered partnerships are not precisely marriages, but "marriage-lite." Still, as Eskridge and Spedale make clear, all the northern European countries have effectively legalized same-sex marriage. Most of them did not call it that for political reasons, but the intent was transparent.

Would legalizing same-sex marriage here lead to polygamy? Yes, I think, and even faster than in the Netherlands. Unlike the Dutch, we already have a sizable and militant underground polygamous movement. The ACLU is already on board to defend polygamy. The street demonstrations by polygamists have already begun.

Despite Eskridge and Spedale's happy talk, the Pandora's box that some fear gay marriage might open really does have some other scary items in it.


wha said...

As early as 1931, Joseph W. Madden recognized there to be a problem in the legal status of marriage:

"It has frequently been said by courts, and even by Legislatures, that marriage is a 'civil contract.' But to conclude from these statements that marriage ... has all, or even many, of the incidents of an ordinary private contract, would be a grave error. In fact, these statements to the effect that marriage is a 'civil contract' will be found, upon examination, to have been used only for the purpose of expressing the idea that marriage, in the American states, is a civil, and not a religious institution..."
Handbook of the Law of Persons and Domestic Relations § 1-3, at 2-3

What is obvious to me in all the debates concerning marriage is that there is a serious lack of agreement concerning the status of marriage.

At a leadership conference a few years ago I was told that trying to fix the symptoms of a problem is not adequate when the real problem is a lack of ideological understanding. Along the same lines, I feel that we cannot attempt to deal with the gay marriage and polygamy "issues" until we come to a legal and societal conclusion concerning the status of marriage. Unless we can decidedly say from where the authority of marriage flows--be it church, state, society, or god--we will never be able to work out whether or not there can be alternative forms of marriage.

Gruntled said...

Agreed. So what is your suggested solution?

Alan said...

Because obviously we must structure our laws exactly as the Dutch have structured theirs? Um....no. In fact, your previous post already made a good argument about why their laws are probably not a good idea.

There's no link, logical, legal, or otherwise 1) between polygamy and gay marriage, and 2) between Dutch marriage laws and American marriage laws.

Polygamy has been going on in the world -- and in this country, just ask the Mormons -- for a lot longer than the fight for gay marriage. In order for your slippery slope argument to work, we'd need to ignore the usual order of "cause" and "effect."

wha said...

Although I'm sure a couple of semesters of contract law and one of family law will help re-form my opinion somewhat, I'm inclined to favor the view of marriage as a relationship (legal contract) entered into under the supervision of society (the public ceremony). The problems I see currently are that the contract is too easily breeched and dismissed and that society does not see itself as having a role--much less a duty--in supporting marriages. Perhaps a greater emphasis on covenant marriages, an increase in damages for a breech in the marital contract, and somehow increase the responsibility felt by society (still working on how to accomplish that one).

Brett said...

At the risk of sounding really fringe, what's so "scary" about this threesome in the Netherlands?

The problem with polygamy in this country has been the abuse of children, not the idea of polygamy itself. Stronger legal protections for all parties involved are desirable.

Gruntled said...

Polygamy as a social order is scary to me because it increases the power of the rich at the direct expense of the poor. The later wives also seem to get younger and younger, down to a system of fathers selling young girls to other patriarchs. I think polygamy is undemocratic in tendency.

The slippery slope I am worried about is not that gay marriage leads to polygamy, but that both lead to the privatization of marriage altogether. This is the problem that WHA is wrestling with too, I think.

Alan said...

It isn't clear to me how gay marriage leads to anything at all, since it isn't legal. How can a non-existent institution be responsible for privatization of marriage? Again, this slippery slope is missing a cause that actually exists.

In fact, the *lack* of legally recognized gay marriage actually encourages various private legal contracts between same-sex partners, which attempt to approximate the rights and responsibilities of marriage. Wills, trusts, power of attorney documents, etc. are the only way to solidify some of the rights we'd get automatically if we were allowed to legally marry.

Clearly the push for gay marriage legalization has been about winning equal rights, not about changing the definition of, or types of marriage. In fact, it has been those who are opposed to full marriage that are proposing "civil unions" or some other "not-marriage" option.

Brett said...

Alan is totally right about the push for gay marriage being about legal rights.

Marriage itself is not democratic. Sure, choosing your spouse (as opposed to having one chosen for you) is sort of democratic, I guess. But inside the institution, there are absolutely no requirements that the relationship be democratic. In fact, I would say that healthier marriages work on some sort on consensus decision making rather than on some other criteria.

Divorce in the U.S. is generally democratic, principally because it is unquestionably a legal action. Until marriage is seen that way, for gays, polygamists, etc., there is no hope for democratic institutions to grow in marriage. In the views of this Calvinist, democracy cannot exist without stringent legal controls.

Gruntled said...

I am using the term "gay marriage" to refer to the legalization of same-sex unions. The debate is over the meaning and legal definition of marriage. Every expansion of any legal category threatens to make the whole category unmanageable or meaningless as a legal status. There are already legal arguments being made that the state should get out of the marriage business altogether, regardless of how individuals or other institutions want to regularize their relations.

Whether marriage is internally democratic is a red herring in this discussion. In polygamous societies, the rich and high status men get most of the wives, and the poor and low status men get none. That is what strikes me as undemocratic.

Alan said...

"Every expansion of any legal category threatens to make the whole category unmanageable or meaningless as a legal status."

Did women's sufferage expand the legal catagory of "registered voter" to the point where it was unmanageable or meaningless?

When laws banning employment discrimination were amended to include Vietnam veteren status, did that make the entire catagory unmanageable or meaningless?

To say that granting to same-sex couples the exact same rights and responsibilities that mixed-sex couples get through marriage makes the catagory of "married" meaningless or unmanageable makes no sense to me. I absolutely agree that the registered partnerships you're discussing are a bad idea, but I can't see any reason, legal or otherwise, why such bad ideas need to be lumped together with gay marriage.

Stuart Gordon said...

I want to echo the concern over marriage being privatized, in whatever form. When I see the numbers of books sold on relationships, and read the comments of disgruntled women on Oprah's blog, I see a society that is in the process of reinventing the wheel. Given the privatization of sexual relationships, there are so many things that simply don't play by "the rules" anymore. In the absence of such rules, what does a person do? For instance, is it "cheating" when a man who is dating one woman sleeps with another woman? Or, should a woman be surprised when the man she slept with before marriage sleeps with another woman outside their marriage? I don't know.

Marriage has provided some clear, widely-accepted norms in western society. Obviously, they weren't uniformly kept, but they remained norms against which every relationship was measured. Now we don't have such clarity and broad consensus, and we're making it up as we go, and selling books and appearing on Oprah.

I think that the struggle to find a consensus on such norms must go on. A privatized notion of human sexual relationships will leave us confused, conflicted, and with many a broken heart - not to mention many a broken home.

Gruntled said...

I agree with Stuart, and we both have written about privatizing marriage before.

The analogy with extending voting rights does not seem to me to be apt. Voting is an infrequent act, whereas marriage is a state. The closer analogy would be in extending citizenship rights to illegal aliens, and there we are in the middle of just such a muddle right now. Suspect categories in discrimination laws, likewise, have been extended so much that they are already unmanageable, and do threaten to become meaningless.

Still, threatening to become unmanageable is not the same as actually becoming unmanageable; this point is still worth arguing with respect to gay marriage. Which is what we are doing.

Brett said...

"Every expansion of any legal category threatens to make the whole category unmanageable or meaningless as a legal status."

The category you are specifically addressing is marriage. Since you imply expanding our definition of marriage could make marriage itself meanginless, I would like to know what the meaning of marriage is.

And, if I may, Stuart's tired argument about marriage being the best thing we've been able to cobble together over the centuries in "western society" and therefore worthy of maintaining, is untenable. Define your terms: what is "western society"? What classes, ethnicities, eras, regions are you including? Why are you excluding the others? You will quickly find that there has not been a standard "meaning" of marriage in civil or ecclesial circles.

What needs to be maintained? What is threatened? The answer to these two questions is the nonexistent "meaning" of marriage you and Stuart are defending.

I can accept that the changing of current legal definitions of marriage to include same-sex marriages and partnerships would change *many* meanings of marriage for *many* people, in both positive and negative ways. However, to defend mixed-sex legal marriage as some great western heritage is not possible.

Rocker said...

For those who think there is no logical connection between those who advocate for gay marriage and polygamy check out the web page "beyond marriage."

Also, how can someone who fights for gay marriage not fight for the recognition of multiple partner relationships? How can they say no to someone who is bi or attracted to having multiple partners? Especially if there is a genetic component? Who says marrige is only for the monogamous? who are we to judge? where's the justice?

Alan said...

"Also, how can someone who fights for gay marriage not fight for the recognition of multiple partner relationships? How can they say no to someone who is bi or attracted to having multiple partners? Especially if there is a genetic component? Who says marrige is only for the monogamous? who are we to judge? where's the justice?"

First of all, I think you misunderstand the definition of bisexual. It does not mean one is attracted to muliple partners. Second of all, given the way you ask your questions, I doubt you actually believe there is a genetic component to sexual orientation, so why bother arguing disingenuously that there might be one to polygamous behavior? Third, how can someone argue for gay marriage and against polygamy? They can do so exactly the way I am doing.

Simply asking the question in a straw man sort of way incredulous way, doesn't make it any more believable. There is no logical connection between gay marriage and polygamy.

Let me try to be as elementary as possible: Current marriage law defines marriage as between two people: a man and a woman. Changing that so that marriage is still between two people: a man and a man, for example, in no way opens the door to polygamy.

Let's say that we define marriage as 1) between two people, 2) between men and women, and 3) limited to only the landowning upper class. We would all probably argue that the 3rd rule is arbitrary and could be ignored. That doesn't mean that the other two MUST be ignored. Thus, there's no reason we can't (for good Scriptural reasons, I might add) say that the 2nd rule is also arbitrary and still not argue (again, for good Scriptural reasons) that the first rule is not arbitrary.

But again, gay marriage has nothing to do with polygamy because (duh!!) heterosexuals can be polygamists too. There is obviously then, no relationship between sexual orientation and polygamy.

If you don't like the example of women's sufferage to counter the idea that expanding definitions does not necessarily render those defintions useless then let's take another example: marriage. Prior to the 1960s many states still had laws on the books banning interracial marriage. Those laws were eventually struck down. By these arguments, expanding the definition of marriage to include interracial couples was another step closer to making the definition of marriage unmanageable. You don't really believe that's true, do you?

There are plenty of good arguments against polygamy, and Gruntled has already presented many of them. It is interesting however, that none of those same arguments make good arguments against gay marriage. Yet, more proof that the two are completely unrelated.

Again, when it comes to arguments against the privatization of marriage, I'm completely in agreement. But those arguments have nothing to do with gay marriage. The fact that the two are being used simultaneously in The Netherlands does not mean they are logically or legally connected.

John said...

"Current marriage law defines marriage as between two people: a man and a woman. Changing that so that marriage is still between two people: a man and a man, for example, in no way opens the door to polygamy."

Changing marriage law as stated here changes the fundamental definition of "marriage" from something fundamental (i.e. not defined by man) to whatever folks decide to make it. Of course it opens the door to polygamy.

Alan said...

"Changing marriage law as stated here changes the fundamental definition of "marriage" from something fundamental (i.e. not defined by man) to whatever folks decide to make it. Of course it opens the door to polygamy."

If we repeat the same statement over and over, without offering any evidence, argument, warrant, or support, will it eventually become true? I can certainly understand that my arguments may not be persuasive. However, I would think that refutation of my argument might include something other than simple recitation of "gay marriage leads to polygamy."

Marriage, in its execution is indeed usually defined by man. At one time it was simply a contract for ownership over a woman. At one time it excluded certain ethnic and racial minorities. At one time it excluded slaves. You're not actually suggesting all of those things are "fundamental", right? Because our current forms of marriage here in the US: a reasonably equitable arrangement between two people, who enter into the relationship freely, and generally (though not exclusively) based on love, are all pretty modern inventions, and were certainly decided upon by humans.

Brett said...

I admit I'm a biased observer/participant. But from my point of view, Alan has won this discussion, hands down, no contest.

John's latest challenge, suggesting that marriage is a fundamental not defined by "man", is obviously impossible to argue against since John is the only one who has any proof of the voices in his head telling him about the fundamentals.

But for the rest of us, Alan's seamless argument logically and legally separating gay marriage and polygamy must certainly convince. Thanks, Alan. And thanks to Gruntled as well for opening this forum.

Stuart Gordon said...

Brett asked for some clarification. With apologies for the length, here goes:

“Marriage has provided some clear, widely-accepted norms in western society.”

In this discussion, by “western society” I mean Europe and the Americas, those continents that, for better or worse, have been impacted by the Christian church since the reign of Constantine. Western society goes back much further than Constantine: whether you want to talk about the Romans or the Greeks, obviously the Christian church did not create western society.

I did not say “marriage is the best thing we’ve been able to cobble together.” Rather, my point is that currently in western society we’re trying to cobble together a replacement for what was a consensus view on marriage. Mind you, the church did not give to the world the policy of monogamy in marriage. That was, as I understand it (correct me, Gruntled, if I’m wrong), a policy that the Roman Empire upheld for the legal rights of men and women. Look hard in the Bible for the clear move from polygamy to monogamy. You can’t find it. It evolved in ways that maybe some historian has been able to trace.

In western society, I am including all races and ethnicities. In the U.S., I am including people immigrating from or descending from European (and Australian), Asian, African, Caribbean, Central and South American regions and ethnicities. I am noting that heterosexual monogamy has been the norm since at least the fourth century in the “west.” It has not been the norm in all cultures, of course. Polygamy has been the norm in some cultures, and remains such today. When people have immigrated to the west,they have been surrounded by this norm of heterosexual monogamy. (By the way, if this isn’t the case, why are we having such a knock-down, drag-out cultural debate about this?)

I am excluding other regions because I don’t live there. I live here. The world is a big place with a lot of different cultures, and I don’t imagine for a moment that I, as one human person, can live outside my own milieu. I simply have to live where I live and understand the culture in which I live. I don’t aim to make my understanding of the world stick to every culture. I am a westerner talking to other westerners. (Obviously, immigration and globalism are factors in our struggle with these issues.)

I disagree with Brett’s claim, “You will quickly find that there has not been a standard ‘meaning’ of marriage in civil or ecclesial circles.” Of course there has been. Marriage has been the union of a man and a woman. Polygamy in the west has been a minority view for centuries. Sexual fidelity has been the standard. There have been laws against adultery. Husbands or wives whose spouses were unfaithful received the support of the courts in divorce proceedings. In some states, they even had rights to sue the paramours of unfaithful spouses for undermining their marriages (N.C. for sure). Divorce was not even acknowledged by the church for centuries. Sex outside marriage happened, but society frowned upon it when it became public. Pregnancy outside marriage was considered shameful.

The burden of the argument here lies with Brett. I hardly see what the current discussion is about, if it is not about liberating people from cultural norms that are seen as unjust, biased, and oppressive. (By the way, I’m not a crusader for all that is right and true and red, white, and blue about America and Christianity and Christendom. I'll accept Gruntled's "centrist" label gladly.)

“What needs to be maintained? What is threatened? The answer to these two questions is the nonexistent ‘meaning’ of marriage you and Stuart are defending.”

Again, Brett’s claim that marriage’s meaning is “nonexistent” must be specified. I’ve said that this whole debate is fueled by a reaction to a very old, very powerful public norm for marriage. And, to be honest, I don’t feel “threatened” one iota. I am able to live quite comfortably with my gay neighbors across the street, to invite them over for card games and worship with them. I am able to do so because I trust that God is in charge and I’m not. I am simply a servant of Jesus Christ who is called to testify to the truth as it has been revealed to the church.

For me, it is unavoidable to make theological claims. I don’t care to take part in this discussion without doing so, and I’ll let the chips fall where they may. I am not suggesting that the Christian faith has privilege in this argument. It simply has a voice.

Brett said...

Thanks, Stuart, for your reply to my previous comments.

Because of this discussion, especially Alan's insightful words, I am satisfied to leave behind any more talk about expanding our laws to include polygamy. I also appreciated Gruntled's valid point that, as normally practiced, polygamy is oppressively patriarchal.

I don't completely agree with Stuart's characterization of the west. It is minimizing and necessarily superficial to include all the groups he mentions into one entity with basic consensual norms.

But, as Stuart notes, what's really at stake here are theological issues. In spite of Alan's brilliant legal remarks, this is essentially a debate about how, in the west (according to Stuart) we have negotiated a public ethos that is heavily influenced by Christian theology. I agree with Stuart that Christian voices are among others that deserves to be heard. (Another debate could focus on whether the Christain norms that have reigned so long in the west deserve to remain ascendant.)

Theologically, the issue at the heart of this debate is how truth is revealed to us. Stuart says, "I am simply a servant of Jesus Christ who is called to testify to the truth as it has been revealed to the church." Sounds simple. Stuart and I both seem to be pastors in the Reformed tradition. But despite our shared theological heritage, I would be shocked, shocked, shocked if it turned out that Stuart and I understand the truth in the same way across the board. This is where our discussion will break down every single time as long as we use revealed theological truths as our last line of argument. Stuart's truth on marriage as revealed to the church as he understands it is paramount for him. Good. Stick by your convictions. But the discussion is over right there.

I guess I'm not in the best biblical company when I ask, "What is truth?" But to admit that I don't always know what the truth is, and that I have to ask continuously this question is not the same as making a category meaningless or unmanageable. It's also not the same as throwing western tradition out the window. Of course, Stuart is right when he says that the burden is on me (and others like me) in this argument. We're not relying on "the truth revealed to the church" as a final, thunderous last word.

Stuart Gordon said...

Thanks Brett.

I'm taking part in this blog, and I take part in the church's discussion because I'm obligated to listen when there is significant disagreement,and to speak. I don't rule out the possibility that the church has been wrong about this. So, I don't consider the discussion over. You are right, though, in pointing out the place of revealed truth in my thinking.

We all have to stand somewhere. I have confidence, in every aspect of life, that God truly reveals the Word of truth to us. Sexuality is just one aspect of that. Clearly, we're carrying on a Protestant debate that's nothing new. For my part, I do not believe that the position I occupy is the cause of discussions ending, then and there. It's just hard to talk when you come from different epistemological convictions.

The discussions have held up through the years because despite differing theological convictions, the church has managed to reach consensus often, and a majority opinion usually. We're still working this one out. If the church's opinion changes, then I'll still have the same role I have now, only as the minority.

"What is truth" seems a question that individual Christians ask within the body of believers, within even the communion of saints. I believe that we exercise our freedom of conscience and we respect the boundaries of that freedom, realizing that none of us has a monopoly on truth, not even the whole church.

For the church to overturn centuries of counsel on any subject, it needs a case to be made that is convincing to the majority. I would say that it needs to be a supermajority. This is the best way we have so far - imperfect though it is - of answering God's call in any age.

Brett said...

Stuart and I don't share an epistemological base. I would never say that I am confident in my whole life that God reveals the word of truth to us. Maybe that makes me a poor minister--I certainly imagine that my lack of certainty makes the job more difficult.

Stuart's excursus on how the church makes decisions and discerns God's will was right on. The wisdom of the community and of the tradition is greater than any indidividual's understanding of truth. Given my profound ambivalence concerning my ability to convey revealed truth, I naturally am not that comfortable with a prophetic role. However, that is certainly the role of the minority in the community.

So, here's a stab at something prophetic: God's revealed love is far more important to our faith than God's revealed truth.

Gruntled said...

Thank you all for an excellent stage in the conversation. I weigh in on gay marriage and polygamy in the next post.

Paul Jolly said...

Couple of things:

1) Excellent, excellent exchange of opinions! It warms my soul to see people with strong views able to debate those views without it turning into a yelling contest. I wish that everyone (myself included sometimes) could keep their emotions under control and maintain a civilized discussion, it’s really the only way issue can be resolved peacefully.

2) Speaking from a standpoint of pure logic, without passing judgment on homosexuality, polygamy, or the concept of “marriage” as it is traditionally understood; is there an argument that can be made for SSM that cannot also be used by polygamists as well? I ask that because I am not as familiar about the whole debate as others here seem to be. As I understood it, the main argument for SSM was that in a free country, consenting adults who love each other and are not hurting anyone else should be given the right to marry whomever they want. I freely admit that I could be wrong and that may not be the current prevailing argument, but if it is, it certainly could also be used to argue for polygamy, where consenting adults who love each other and are not hurting anyone else marry whomever they want.

3) While I do understand Gruntled’s argument about the wealthy men hoarding the women, and I can see the harm that polygamy would do to the “institution of marriage,” I think that, in theory, polygamy presents a very interesting free market approach to marriage. If monogamy is mankind’s natural state (as most traditionalists believe it is) wouldn’t it “win out” regardless of what the laws state about polygamy? I believe the stereotypical man would relish polygamy with great zeal, but the stereotypical woman would not allow it in a relationship and thus it would exist only in small enclaves (as it does now). Yes, in other cultures we see Sultans with 50 wives, but those women have been brought up to believe that their role was to be one of many, American women haven’t, and I don’t see them throwing up their hands and just giving in to this way of thinking simply because it becomes legal to do so.

Free market marriage: Name value alone could sell a million conservatives on the idea. J

Michael W. Kruse said...

I am late to the conversation but I thought I would also add that there is a natural law component to this marriage discussion as well. From natural law, the case is made that the family preceded the rise of the state and therefore the state exists to serve the family. The family (father, mother, children) is an enviable institution that the state may intervene in only in extreme cases and then to restore health. The state merely establishes procedures by which to grant legal status to those engaged in the institution.

The danger, according to natural law, is that the family becomes merely a tool of the state that exists at the states pleasure and to do the states bidding. When that boundary is crossed the socialization and nurture of children becomes the purview of the state which is merely “farmed out” to families. This is the slippery slope to totalitarianism. Defining marriage purely as a contract granted leads in this direction. It abolishes the family as the most elemental institution of civilization.

Stuart Gordon said...


I don't know if Gruntled wants us to keep adding to the comments on this post, but I'll press on. :)

I'm no expert on natural law and since I'm a fan of Barth, I'm not a fan of natural theology. So let me ask about where your comments lead.

Are you implying that natural law would define marriage as a man and a woman, and do so because only a man and a woman can procreate? Or is there not room within that natural law for other arrangements, including extended families/clans, multi-generational living arrangements, same-sex pairings, polygamous arrangements, etc?

If such other arrangements exist "in nature," then I would think that the argument would be that the state has no business prohibiting them.

Gruntled said...

It would be hard to institutionalize polygamy here. Still, I think there are enough women who would go for the money to make the current imbalances much worse.

Paul jolly said...

See, I'm under the impression that it takes a special kind of screwball of a woman to be a polygamist. It goes against the female's evolutionary make-up so much that I think it would take something radical like serious sexual or emotional trauma to cause a woman to go for that.

There are women now who are strippers and who pose for men's magazines (Hugh Hefner has...I think 6 girlfriends last time I checked) and I think it is those same kinds of women who would buy into polygamy. I think that any woman who would be damaged enough to accept a polygamous
husband, were it to become legal, is probably already so damaged that they are not in a healthy monogamous marriage in the first place. What
I'm saying is, we might see a lot of women moving toward polygamy, but we won't see a great shift in the culture as the women who accept polygamy would be the same ones who - in my opinion - are already on the fringes of society because of their sexual exploits - prostitutes, strippers, porn actresses and the like.

Stuart Gordon said...

I agree with Gruntled. It wouldn't be a huge number, likely, but take away the legal restrictions and the social opprobrium, and that number will come out of the woodwork. Remember the reality of human brokenness and human sin. . .

Gruntled said...

Robert George makes a natural law argument about (sexual) acts which are procreative "in intent" to distinguish sterile heterosexual unions from homosexual ones, but I think it is a bit of a stretch.

Anonymous said...

I'm a bit confused...is it being suggested that ONE media incident of polygamy in the Netherlands is proof that there is some sort of a movement towards polygamy where same-sex marriage is legal? I think you'll find many, many more polygamous unions in Utah than you would in the Netherlands, and Utah is about the last place I would expect to legalize same-sex marriage. As far as I can tell (also from what I've read of the Spedale - Eskridge book), it would be difficult, if not impossible, to suggest any "real" evidence exists that same-sex marriage has led to a movement towards polygamy and other forms of union.

Gruntled said...

I don't think the same-sex and polygamous social movements are the same, but I do think that the legal movement is the same. I think this because the ACLU has already written the brief that says so. They may not win, but I do think the cases for polygamy will be brought on the heals of every kind of same-sex marriage decision and law.