Michael Brown

In case you haven’t heard, some of the stars of the popular TV show “Sister Wives” are suing the state of Utah, arguing that its laws against bigamy are unconstitutional. And just last week, a reporter asked White House press secretary Jay Carney, “How does the president stand on polygamy?”

Polygamy? Are you kidding?

Not surprisingly, Carney ignored the question, but it is a question he won’t be able to ignore for long. In an extensive, feature article, Time magazine described how “once secretive plural families like the Dargers of Utah [also part of “Sister Wives”] are coming out of the shadows and beginning to advocate for their way of life.” (The article was entitled, “I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do: Polygamy Raises Its Profile in America.”)

But what else could we expect? First same-sex couples have come out of the closet and now “plural families” are “coming out of the shadows.” After all, if two men can get “married,” why not one man and several women? And if there is a fundamental “right” to marry the person you love, shouldn’t that “right” also extend to the persons (plural) you love? Surely “marriage equality” means equality for all, right?

On July 25th, AP News reported that “Kody Brown and his four wives just want to live like any other family — free from the threat of being tossed in prison.” Surely, “tolerance” and “diversity” require this too, do they not? (Yes, I’m being sarcastic, but if “tolerance” and “diversity” and “equality” can be used to support same-sex “marriage,” then they can be used to support polygamy.)

The Browns are being represented by no less a prominent attorney than Jonathan Turley, professor of law at the George Washington University Law School and a frequent TV commentator. Turley is claiming that the very court rulings that paved the way for same-sex “marriage” also pave the way for polygamy. And this, it turns out, is exactly what Justice Antonin Scalia predicted in 2003 in his withering dissent of Lawrence v. Texas, where 6 Supreme Court justices found a constitutional “right” to Sodomy. Scalia warned that with the court’s ruling, “State laws against bigamy, same-sex marriage, adult incest . . . are ... called into question by today’s decision.”

Not surprisingly, Turley is now arguing that “under previous U.S. Supreme Court rulings, such as one that struck down Texas’ sodomy law, private intimate relationships between consenting adults are constitutionally protected.” But of course! And despite the fact that Scalia was ridiculed for issuing his 2003 warning, his words are proving to be strikingly prescient. In fact, already in 2003, a conservative reporter wrote that “Polygamy is the next civil-rights battle,” stating that the “Multiple-wives crowd hopes to capitalize on [the Lawrence v. Texas] sodomy decision.”

In 2005, during a question and answer session at Yale University, ACLU president Nadine Strossen stated that polygamy was among the “fundamental rights” that her organization would continue to defend, and in 2011, Joseph Farah asked rhetorically, “if marriage is a discriminatory institution because it prohibits same-sex couplings, why would it not be discriminatory to prohibit more than two people from participation?” He also noted, quite rightly, that “there is much more demand for polygamy throughout the world than there is for same-sex marriage,” not to mention much more historical precedent for it.

But this is not just an issue that is being played out in the courts. It’s also being played out in the court of public opinion, and just as the media has helped promote the acceptance and even celebration of homosexuality (along with bisexuality and transgenderism), it is doing the same for polygamy. (For the media’s recent promotion of polyamory, see here.)

After all, it was just a few months ago that Vice President Joe Biden said, “I think ‘Will & Grace’ probably did more to educate the American public than almost anybody’s ever done so far. People fear that which is different. Now they’re beginning to understand.” The same can be said for shows like HBO’s “Big Love” and TLC’s “Sister Wives,” as Americans are “beginning to understand” polygamy as well. Why should they fear it?

Polygamists now have a friendly face, and if the women are happy sharing their husband and making a life together with their children, how can we object? At least that’s what the popular argument would say.

I wrote last year that same-sex “marriage” represented a further fall down the slippery slope than did polygamy, and so it’s only logical that the continued push for same-sex “marriage” will be followed inevitably by the push for polygamy (and more).

The lesson from all this is simple: If we don’t draw an absolute line in the sand and declare on a national level that marriage is the union of one man and one woman only, this sacred and most foundational human institution will soon become so malleable as to be totally unrecognizable. And so, we either do the right thing today or we face the radical consequences tomorrow. Which will it be?


Michael Brown

Michael Brown holds a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures from New York University. He is the author of 25 books, including

Can You Be Gay and Christian?

, and he hosts the nationally syndicated, daily talk radio show, the Line of Fire. Follow him at AskDrBrown on Facebook or @drmichaellbrown on Twitter.