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Sunday, December 15, 2013

Some thoughts on the polygamy decision

I assume you've heard about the decision from a court ruling parts of the Utah law banning polygamy as unconstitutional.  I recently saw this article on Facebook and was reading the comments, some of which seemed pretty weird.  I want to address the decision briefly and then talk about some of the comments.

First off, rationally speaking, there is no reason for the government to recognize same-sex marriages and not polyamorous or polygamous marriages.  Most of what I would say about the decision I said in this post, so I won't repeat it here.  I think it suffices to say that I think the decision was the right one.

I know there are a lot of people out there (including many of my friends) who are going to insist that marriage is solely between a man and a woman.  I understand the assertion, however I cannot see a rational reason to limit marriage to solely heterosexual relationships.  I am sure that someone would bring up the Bible, however that argument will not fly with me.  It is not that I am rejecting the Bible, rather I am trying to say that since we do not live in a theocracy, no religious text or teaching can or should be used as the sole basis for a law.  Show me, using non-religious arguments, why marriage should be limited and if I agree, I will change my mind.  I am sure that this stance will outrage some people, but it is the only stance that makes sense to me.

In some of the comments, people were saying that they knew that the Supreme Court's same-sex marriage decisions from last year would inevitably lead to this sort of decision.  I would totally agree.  A court decision opening up civil marriage to same-sex couples would logically (and rightly) lead to this sort of decision.  Most of the other comments were religious inspired objections, which are invalid when applied to civil laws.  While I am not arguing that religion has no place in public life, since we do have a separation of church and state, religious laws *CANNOT* be the sole basis for civil laws.  Period.  Now, I am sure someone would point out that the Bible forbids murder and other crimes, however these crimes have also been crimes in areas which were not affected by the Judeo-Christian tradition and therefore the Bible is *NOT* the sole basis for these laws, hence my argument still holds.

The remainder of the comments were from someone who is a libertarian, but sure sounds like a social conservative.  Basically the comments said that once same-sex marriages became legal, the homosexual community would then persecute those who disagree with them.  Given the events with the baker in Colorado saying that he must make cakes, I can see the concern being warranted.  I am of two minds about this decision.  On the one hand, forcing someone to serve something that goes against their deeply held religious beliefs is wrong.  There are other bakeries who could have served the couple if needed.  On the other hand, the bakery owner's decision was discriminatory and could be seen as akin to refusing to serve an interracial couple or people in a similar situation and as such is illegal.  This is a question where my mind and my feelings are evenly split, so I have trouble making a decision.

The last of the libertarian's comments said that the decision was liberal, not libertarian and that libertarians, while believing that what you do in the privacy of your own home is your business, do not support same-sex marriage (or polygamous unions) because they are a push for special rights.  First, most libertarians I know support same-sex marriage.  In fact, if you go to the Libertarian Party's homepage and do a search for "marriage", the press releases support marriage equality.  Second, I am baffled at how anyone can argue that a push for *CIVIL* marriage equality is a "push for special rights".  There are no "special rights" being asked for.  All that is being sought is for same-sex couples to be on the same plane as different-sex couples.