Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Polygamy's Young Face

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.


Anonymous said...

I read Jon Krakauer's Under the Banner of Heaven about the Fundamentalist LDS Church a few years ago, and I have to agree with your view of it as a scary cult if Krakauer's depiction is at all accurate.

I disagree with your postion that the current gay marriage debate is dissociated with a polygamy debate. It seems to me every time you hear a proponate of a legal deffinition of marriage they use the language "one man and one woman." I read it as an attempt to vilify homosexuals by grouping them in the same "sexual deviant" category in the public mindset, but maybe I'm reading more into than what's there.

Gruntled said...

I think most people in the same-sex marriage debate do not connect it with polygamy. Some do, though, both to promote and prevent SSM. I think the creators of "Big Love" were explicitly trying to normalize their gay relationship by comparison with the polygamous family they portray.

Mark Smith said...

I think a lot of opponents of gay marriage use the polygamy argument as a red herring to build opposition. (so, wha is right)

I've heard things like "What next? A man and a man and a woman? A man and a woman and a child? A man and his goat?"

It's just noise. VERY FEW people in the gay marriage camp are pushing for recognized relationships with a qty greater than 2.

Gruntled said...

Fair enough. Still, I think Michael McConnell has a point that legally it would be hard to explain why nullifying "marriage = man and woman" would not also nullify "marriage = one and one."

Anonymous said...

I think that the majority (probably the vast majority) of homosexuals are not pushing for polygamy; but if the argument that they make is “we love each other, we are consenting adults, therefore we should be allowed to be married,” it’s hard to see how the same justification could be used for the legalization of polygamy.

Rocker said...

Mark said:

"It's just noise. VERY FEW people in the gay marriage camp are pushing for recognized relationships with a qty greater than 2."

So what? there was a time when arguing for gay marriage was "just noise." It no linger is.

There will come a time when we will be asked to make a decision on this, and it will be hard for many people to say "no" to those who are in favor of recognizing multiple partner relationships. why? cuz "if it feels good and right,and no one is getting hurt whats the big deal?"

Also, it will be more than just Mormon fundamentalist fighting for this right, it will also be secular hedonists who've been infulenced by the sexual revolution. We will be living with the devastating consequence of this revolution for a long, long time.