As a lesbian who happens to be madly in love, I am following the Respect for Marriage Act hearings in Congress. I donate to the HRC as often as I can. I believe in marriage equality (not “gay marriage”). Heck, I just plain believe in equality.
As the preachers and religious pundits in this country have gone on the attack when it comes to their right to own marriage as an institution created by their god, I have heard repeatedly the argument that if gays are allowed to get married, polygamy can’t be far behind. Of course, there are myriad other reasons that Christian leaders in this country are against marriage equality, and I can generally rebut most of what they have to say. But this issue ‘” polygamy ‘” is one that I can’t refute.
Yes, if marriage equality wins in the end, then marriage equality should be exactly that: Equal.
In the same way that my marriage will have effect on them, neither will the marriage of three or more individuals forming a family unit. Polygamy exists in this country; it always has. Most polygamists practice the lifestyle as part of their religion. Living in Utah, I have seen the good and bad of polygamy, and I know from these encounters that many women are quite happy with the arrangement. Should polygamy become legal in the United States as a whole, I can see more people embracing it outside of religion. I would certainly expect that the marriage could go both ways — one husband and many wives (polygyny), and one wife with many husbands (polyandry). That would be a matter of personal choice, of course. In the case of LGBTQ marriages, there could be one main husband who marries many husbands, or one main wife, who marries many wives. In these relationships, the head of the family unit, either male or female, is married to each of his or her partners. The partners have no marital relationship with each other and are culturally referred to as “sister” wives. I suppose in the case of polyandry, the gentlemen could then be known as “brother” husbands.
This leads us to consider polyamory, or the group love complex, as a legal family unit. In a marriage of this variety, individuals could enter into group marriages of multiple husbands and wives. Again, I see absolutely nothing wrong with this if all of the parties are consenting adults. In a polyamorous relationship, all of the parties involved could be legally married to all of the partners in the group. For instance, Mark could be married to Anna and Bryan. Anna is married to Mark and Bryan. Bryan is married to Anna and Mark. In an ideal situation, all of the family members are in love with the other participants, however, in some cases, there may be one or two who are friends, but have no desire to marry. This brings up a few interested possibilities for precedents and case law, for sure.
But that’s not the point of the question. The point isn’t whether anyone else should be allowed to marry equally, but whether you would ever consider it for yourself. So what do you think? If it came right down to true equality, and I can only hope that it will, would you participate in a polygamous or polyamorous marriage?
National Organization for Marriage
More from this Contributor:
The Slippery Slope of Marriage Equality
The Slippery Slope of Marriage Equality Part II
Talking Shop ‘” When Your Best Friend Comes Out as a Lesbian