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Monday, September 14, 2015

Stop Denying Rights and Get on the Right Side of History

In the US, in addition to federal law, there are fifty states and Washington, D.C. (which is not part of any state) and territories, such as Puerto Rico, and each can have their own laws as long as they don't violate federal law. Even counties and cities can have their own laws as long as they don't violate federal or state law.

In considering making a chart or map to depict freedoms for adult relationships, it quickly becomes apparent how ridiculous things can be in some places when people try to keep consenting adults from having the relationship to which they mutually agree. The Supreme Court has cleared away some of the mess by making it clear that there is a right to a limited monogamous interracial freedom to marry and a limited monogamous same-gender freedom to marry.

Utah is in the process of defending a law that criminalized polyfidelity, while in (most, at least of) the rest of the states, three or more adults can live together have have children, they just can't legally marry even though there is no good reason to deny them their rights.

Then there are states where couples become legally married just by living together long enough, even if they don't want to be legally married. Well, they're considered married as long as they aren't close relatives. We have to wonder what would  happen if three lovers all moved in together simultaneously... would the law recognize two of them as married after the required number of years? Which two?

We have seen a challenge recently to denying the polyamorous or polygamous right to marry.

About half of US states will marry first cousins, while a few of the others criminally prosecute people for having sex with their first cousins. There are no laws against adult siblings having sex in Rhode Island, New Jersey, and Ohio, but getting legally married is banned. And if those siblings were living as spouses for twenty years and moved to another state, they could be criminally prosecuted for having sex.

Remaining laws denying consenting adults their rights to marry or even just be together are unconstitutional, as various Supreme Court decisions indicate. It is just taking time for that to be worked out. We're here to make it happen sooner rather than later. Ideally, the state and federal governments would go ahead with making sure laws are changed to be Constitutional as soon as possible, but the reality is that it will probably take another Court decision or two to bring about full marriage equality. People suffer while waiting. There is no good reason to continue to deny rights.
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