The peculiar push to recognize polygamy as just another variety of marriage is a predictable and logical corollary of the political movement to recognize same-sex marriage. If our government cannot define marriage as the union of one man and one woman, it follows that there can be no law against the union of a man and several women.
For years, polygamy, even though it is totally demeaning to women, has been embraced by the powerful American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Polygamy is one of the many controversial issues that were not raised during ACLU lawyer Ruth Bader Ginsburg's so-friendly Supreme Court confirmation hearings.
The ACLU's feminist president, Nadine Strossen, stated in a speech at Yale University in June 2005 that the ACLU defends "the right of individuals to engage in polygamy." On Oct. 15, 2006, in a high-profile debate against Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, Strossen stated that the ACLU supports the right to polygamy.
Speaking to the Federalist Society on Nov. 18, 2006, the ACLU's executive director, Anthony Romero, confirmed his organization's support of polygamy.
The massive immigration that the United States has accepted in recent years includes large numbers of immigrants from Third World countries that approve of polygamy as well as marriage to children and to close relatives. We wonder if polygamists have been admitted to the United States and if they are continuing these customs in U.S. neighborhoods.
Attacks on the traditional legal definition of marriage come from the gay lobby seeking social recognition of their lifestyle, from the anti-marriage feminists and from some libertarians who believe marriage should be merely a private affair, none of the government's business. These libertarians want to deny government the right to define marriage, set its standards or issue marriage licenses.
Government now has and should have a very important role in defining who may get a license to marry. In America, it is and should be a criminal offense to marry more than one person at a time, or marry a child or a close relative, even though such practices are common in some foreign countries.
In socialist Canada, which has already approved same-sex marriage, polygamy has suddenly become a live issue. British Columbia's Supreme Court is now being asked to decide if polygamy should remain illegal.
We may have to depend on the Republican Party to maintain government's proper role in defining and protecting traditional marriage. The very first platform adopted by the Republican Party, in 1856, condemned polygamy and slavery as the "twin relics of barbarism," and the 2008 Republican platform calls for "a constitutional amendment that fully protects marriage as a union of a man and a woman, so that judges cannot make other arrangements equivalent to it."
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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