In a New York Times opinion piece, ominously titled “How Moral Norms Evolve,” Stanford University Law Professor Ralph Richard Banks does the unintended favor of showing us just how slippery the slope is in redefining marriage:
The cases against polygamy and incest are not nearly as strong as most people imagine.
. . .
Over time, our moral assessments of these practices will shift, just as they have with interracial marriage and same sex marriage. We will begin to take seriously questions that now seem beyond the pale: Should a state be permitted to imprison two cousins because they have sex or attempt to marry? Should a man and two wives be permitted to live together as a family when they assert that their religious convictions lead them to do so?
He says that we won’t see incestuous and polygamous marriages in the U.S. “anytime soon.” However, that disclaimer must be read in the context that even 10 years ago most people would not have predicted that we would see same-sex marriage “anytime soon.” And activist groups are simply waiting for the right timing. For at least two decades now, the ACLU’s official policy position has been that prohibiting polygamy is unconstitutional.
If you need further proof of the shaky legal ground that same-sex marriage creates, look to Canada, where same-sex marriage was legalized a few years ago. The polygamy legalization battle is already raging in its courts.
The very existence of the NYT opinion piece may rile gay activists, however, whose major (and patently defective) talking point thus far in criticizing Prop 8 and other marriage amendments is that they “single out” gays for discrimination. For the public relations game behind same-sex marriage to succeed, the ad nauseum accusations of “hater” and “bigot” and “homophobe” require there to be a single “victim” group – homosexuals – not whole groups of differently situated marriage-seekers. Once people understand that polygamy, and incestuous, polyamorous (group marriage) and under-age relationships, among others, are also excluded by a traditional marriage legal scheme, the gay victimhood public relations effort will unravel.
The state’s recognition and regulation of marriage is not about rewarding every adult desire for any relationship under the sun, it’s about preserving an institution that for millennia has proven to be the best foundation for a society to continue to thrive.
UPDATE (7/12): And today comes news of the family that starred in Sister Wives on TLC planning to sue the state of Utah, alleging that making polygamy a crime is unconstitutional. Please read the story. The whole reason the family submitted themselves to a television program was to desensitize the American public to the notion of polygamy, which is the first step in the campaign toward legalizing it.