Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Throwing Polyamorous People Under the Bus

Jonathan Rauch, for some reason I don't know, has a piece at throwing polyamorous people who want to marry under the bus.

Opposing the legalization of plural marriage should not be my burden, because gay marriage and polygamy are opposites, not equivalents.
Huh? They are both part of full marriage equality.
By allowing high-status men to hoard wives at the expense of lower-status men, polygamy withdraws the opportunity to marry from people who now have it;
Oh, wow. OK, he's using "plural marriage" and "polygamy" interchangeably, and limiting both to polygyny. He's also invoking Discredited Argument #16. This is about consenting adults. If three women want to marry the same man and agree to all be married to the same man, why does Rauch want to force two of them to marry another man? Also, polygyny is just one form of polygamy. Polyamorous relationships are diverse.
same-sex marriage, by contrast, extends the opportunity to marry to people who now lack it.
Hooray for the same-gender freedom to marry! I've seen many polyamorous people express the  same. So why is Rauch trying to deny polyamorous people the polyamorous freedom to marry? Why write a piece like this? He's going to look rather silly when he wakes up on the wrong side of history.

One of these things, as they say on Sesame Street, is not like the other.
They're both part of full marriage equality. And many polyamorous people need the same-gender freedom to marry, by the way.

Unlike gay marriage, polygamy is not a new idea.

Same-gender marriage is a new idea?!? Not really.

This competitive, zero-sum dynamic sets off a competition among high-status men to hoard marriage opportunities, which leaves lower-status men out in the cold.
Again, Rauch seems to think that only men want multiple partners, which is a sexist misconception, and that such men only want women as partners, which is oddly heterocentric of him.
Those men, denied access to life's most stabilizing and civilizing institution, are unfairly disadvantaged and often turn to behaviors like crime and violence.
Yes, yes, ignore the fact that men are now getting married later and later in life and yet violent crime rates have plummeted.

Here’s a 2012 study, for example, that discovered “significantly higher levels of rape, kidnapping, murder, assault robbery and fraud in polygynous cultures.”

Right, we've been over this before.

There's no way the ban on polygamy could fail a rational-basis test.
Really, there's a rational basis to, say, deny a woman who is living with two men who are both loving partners to her, both fathers to her children, and they aren't breaking any laws and they all want to get married? What's the rational basis to deny their fundamental right to marry?

He moves on to "strict scrutiny."

The ban on polygamous marriage quite easily passes this test, too. The government's interest is as compelling as they come, and the policy is tailored quite appropriately to fit the goal.
And this assertion is backed up with?
Remember: it's legal for a man to live with multiple women, have sex with multiple women, and even raise children with multiple women (or men!). All the government is doing is denying plural relationships the specific government benefit of a marriage license.
That's irrational. There's no good reason to deny them that license.
This is a well-tailored way to prefer and institutionalize monogamy, without making private consensual conduct illegal.
There's no good reason the government should privilege monogamy over polyamory. Rauch may want and enjoy monogamy, and that's fine. But that doesn't mean polyamorists should be treated as second-class citizens.

It also avoids forcing the government to redefine marital relationships in all kinds of ways, because there is no existing template for polygamy.
So after saying there's a long history of polygamy, he says there's no template for it.
Think about it. Does a polygamous license marry all the wives in a polygynous combination to each other, or each separately to the man?

He wants to deny people their fundamental rights because he doesn't realize these questions have already been addressed by many people.

But their case is trivially easy to distinguish from Obergefell, which was based on a very different kind of moral, social, and legal proposition.
That's Discredited Argument #8.

Under a system of gender equality, and that part is very important, and especially with the freedom to same-gender relationships, there is no good reason to deny an adult their right to marry any and all consenting adults. We have more than enough human experience to see that some people are polyamorous, just like they are left-handed. Some people can't be monogamous even under the threat of losing everything, and there's no reason they should be denied their freedom to marry the people they love.

Either we treat adults like adults, or we don't. Stop with the invisible asterisk.
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1 comment:

  1. If you read the 2-part series "Sexodus" at Breitbart, it should be understood that fewer and fewer men are interested in and capable of getting married and creating a family. From my perspective, just from an investment in fiscal stability standpoint, the Government should PAY ME to have a few wives and create and raise the high-performance children that has been my greatest joy in life. I can assure you that as soon as polygamous right to marriage in instituted, there will be an increase in the birth rate among over-achievers in society which will delay or prevent the demographic collapse of the West.


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