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Polygamy Beats Gay Marriage? Maggie Gallagher Should Talk to Ruby Jessop

PROSECUTING POLYGAMY

Maggie Gallagher, the force behind the National Organization for Marriage and the parody-friendly “Gathering Storm” ads, wasted space in the National Review this week, to argue, “Polygamy is not worse than gay marriage, it is better. At least polygamy, for all its ugly defects, is an attempt to secure stable mother-father families for children.” It’s not a buried quote. It’s her lede. Comparisons between gay marriage and polygamy are often made, but Gallagher, who is the national face of the anti-gay-rights opposition is the first to ever argue that polygamy is better than gay marriage. What exactly does she mean by that?

While Queerty has asked in the past what is so wrong with polygamy, we’re a diverse group here and having seen the realities of plural marriage up close, Gallagher’s comment is incomprehensible.

One of my favorite pastimes is a sport known as canyoneering. Essentially, it involves rappelling into slot canyons, which can be hundreds of feet deep, but at times only a few feet wide and exploring them by hiking and swimming. The best place in the world to do this is southern Utah’s Colorado Plateau, an awe-inspiring alien place that’s home to some of the world’s most impressive natural features — and is the heart of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the world’s leading polygamist sect.

Located on the border of Utah and Arizona is the twin town of Hildale and Colorado City. By virtue of geography and design, the town is isolated from law enforcement and the modern world. It’s also directly on the way to some of my favorite canyons. Driving through the town is like riding into the Twilight Zone, hundreds of well-kept suburban tract homes spread out neatly with no commercial district or stop-lights in sight. The shear size of these homes give away their secret that they are where multiple wives reside with their children. You see them in their driveway, in pioneer dress, sweeping away the vermilion dust that covers everything in this part of the state. Linger too long and they’ll quickly run inside, but you can’t deny the fact that many of them are clearly still girls. And most of them are married.

My semi-annual experience of traveling through polygamist territory made me curious about the practice. My profession requires me to be open-minded, and it’s always been easy for me to see the other side of any issue. I became a devotee of Salt Lake Tribune journalist Brooke Adams’ blog The Plural Life, which covers everything from the trials of FLDS leader Warren Jeffs to the lives of the “lost boys” who are kicked out of the compound to maintain a gender imbalance. I’m a huge fan of HBO’s Big Love (of which Dustin Lance Black helps write), which deftly handles the question of whether polygamy can work in a modern context. While completing a a documentary on religious roadside attractions across the U.S., I interviewed Later Day Saints representatives about the polygamist life.

To begin with, in theory, there really is nothing wrong with plural marriage, from my perspective. This is a contentious issue all to itself, but my first thoughts were that consenting adults who wish to form committed relationships with a group of people as opposed to one person had no inherently immoral tint, especially if there was a religious impetus to do so.

In practice, however, it is hard to see polygamy as anything less than a patriarchal system used to abuse women and perpetrate unconscionable acts of child abuse. Sure, there’s the family living in Salt Lake that quietly lives “the principle” while otherwise acting as law-abiding citizens, but they are the exception. The harsh reality of polygamy is that, in practice, it is an institution of child-bride slavery.

ruby

We’re a liberal and tolerant nation, and that’s one of our strengths. But in our desire to let families run according to their own beliefs, we do the children living in polygamist communities a grave disservice. Consider 14-year-old Ruby Jessop, who was forced into a marriage with her step-brother in 2001. She tried to escape and the authorities were deceived into returning her to the compound in Hildale, where at 16, she had her first child. If you want to know more about Ruby, I recommend John Krakauer’s excellent book, Under the Banner of Heaven.

I don’t mean to say that the people in plural marriages are evil people. They are not, and many of them are living their lives out of deep and passionate religious beliefs. But when these beliefs are used to isolate them from the realities of modern life, it’s no longer a decision that can be said to be one that’s freely made.

Now, asshats like Gallagher would call this hypocrisy. How can I judge a polygamist family and say that people like her ought to respect gay marriage? Well, the answer is simple: When a child is clearly in danger and being abused, I’m against it, politics be damned. If a gay couple was abusing their child, I would be against it as well, obviously.

But for Gallagher to have the audacity to say that polygamy is better than gay marriage, she’s nominated herself for categories including “Most Ignorant Person to Ever Live” and “Most Vile.” Her tacit support of child abuse, molestation, and sexual slavery is beyond any sort of understanding, but to say that a child in a same-sex couple family is better off than one in a polygamist one is deeply disturbing. I’m sure, if she were allowed to speak, Ruby Jessop would agree.

—Japhy Grant

By:           Japhy Grant
On:           Apr 20, 2009
Tagged: , , , , ,
  • 60 Comments
    • Alec
      Alec

      Um, Japhy, she stated that in 2003, not this week.

      In any event:

      In practice, however, it is hard to see polygamy as anything less than a patriarchal system used to abuse women and perpetrate unconscionable acts of child abuse. Sure, there’s the family living in Salt Lake that quietly lives “the principle” while otherwise acting as law-abiding citizens, but they are the exception. The harsh reality of polygamy is that, in practice, it is an institution of child-bride slavery.

      Well, the answer to that, of course, is enforcement of child sexual abuse laws, including federal provisions for interstate trafficking.

      The only problem I have with recognizing polygamy is in the nitty gritty legal details; everything about marriage is premised on the concept of two, not the gender of the partners, their religious beliefs, their age or income level. With polygamy, the state confronts real problems at death and dissolution, as asset division is premised on the existence of a two partners. We’d need to rewrite the marriage laws to allow for it.

      Apr 20, 2009 at 8:29 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Thomas Forguosn
      Thomas Forguosn

      You should stop listening to the lies told by Flora Jessop and talk to Ruby Jessop. You cant tell anything by driving through town twice a year. You are like Texas CPS jduging thier ages just by looking at them. Of course, they run into theor houses when they see hostile strangers staring at them and their children. You say women are slaves in this system. After the 1953 raid, the women did not leave. After the 2008 raid, the women did not leave. A few years ago, the state of Arizona opened office in Colrado City, they predicted that large numbers of women would flee polygamy. It didnt happen. Finally, you forget that the Texas appellate courts ruled the Texas CPS had failed to prove any of the children were in eminent danger of abuse.

      Apr 20, 2009 at 8:31 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mark
      Mark

      Thinking out loud: women in our free, open society who marry abusive men, then leave, very often go back to them.

      Apr 20, 2009 at 9:22 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • gayvirgo
      gayvirgo

      @Thomas F.- every study of women in abusive relationships has proven that they often stay or return to those relationships, though they, and we, know they are harmful ones. It is a psychological dependence on the abuser, one that the abuser creates to control his/her victim.

      Clearly you can’t suggest that just because these women did not escape these arrangements does not make them acceptable or positive situations. They stay out of fear: fear of their abuser, fear of the outside world, which has been instilled in them by their abuser, fear of losing their children-again, instilled by their abuser.

      And Texas CPS has not finished with their case. They are still attempting to gather information, which has been tightly controlled by the community, about the ages and relationships between the members of the community. The children were returned by court order, but the matter is still very much one of open investigation.

      Apr 20, 2009 at 9:37 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Alec
      Alec

      @gayvirgo:

      Clearly you can’t suggest that just because these women did not escape these arrangements does not make them acceptable or positive situations. They stay out of fear: fear of their abuser, fear of the outside world, which has been instilled in them by their abuser, fear of losing their children-again, instilled by their abuser.

      So go after the Southern Baptists, the Pentecostals, the Orthodox Jews and the conservative Muslim community?

      This focus on polygamy as somehow particularly egregious smacks of bigotry and prejudice to me. There’s no principled difference between the LDS view of marriage and that of the FLDS, if you ask me. And yet the fanatic anti-polygamist movement, which resembles the moral panic movement of the eighties and early nineties, has a perverse fascination with and fixation on Mormon polygamists.

      Enforce the domestic violence and child abuse statutes, but there’s no reason to single out polygamists.

      Apr 20, 2009 at 9:58 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Synnerman
      Synnerman

      “Polygamy” bad, sexist

      Polyamory: multiple spouses for consenting adults…sure.

      But Gallagher would rather die than actually say that.

      Apr 20, 2009 at 9:59 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • unclemike
      unclemike

      “…to say that a child in a same-sex couple family is better off than one in a polygamist one is deeply disturbing.”

      Did you mean to write it like this? Because it seems to be opposing the rest of your article.

      Apr 20, 2009 at 10:01 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mitch
      Mitch

      Polygamy is horrible different from gay marriage, but saying it is better is like comparing apples to oranges.

      Heterosexual marriage is between one person and another person of different sexes.

      Gay marriage is between one person and another person of the same sex.

      Polygamy is between one person, another person, another person, and any number of more people consenting to be together.

      Which two have the most in common? Gay marriage is not better or worse than polygamy; it is only the next step in the legalization process. Yes, polygamists should be allowed the right to marry, but I don’t realistically see that happening before gay marriage is legalized. However, I will support it when it hits the ballot.

      Apr 20, 2009 at 10:25 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jake
      Jake

      Mitch,
      I could only potentially agree with your support of legalizing a man marrying multiple wives if no one involved is under the age of 18, which is quite often NOT the case, at least currently.

      Apr 20, 2009 at 11:52 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Philip Chandler
      Philip Chandler

      Maggie Gallagher is clearly desperate — and is behaving rather like a deer caught in the headlights, frozen and incapable of making a decision. For her to argue that polygamy is “better” than gay marriage reveals just how detached Gallagher has become from reality. Perhaps it is the reaction of the public to the video produced by the “National Organization for Marriage” (of which she is President) — “The Gathering Storm” — that has pushed her over the edge. This video has drawn snickers and guffaws of laughter from the very people to whom this video was directed. A simple review of comments on YouTube shows that more than 80% of responses to this video reflect amusement, raucous laughter, and mocking disbelief. The fact that the “National Organization for Marriage” spent $1.5 million on this video is telling – never has so much money been wasted on a political statement that is actually a parody of the concerns of the very people it is supposed to represent!

      Gallagher – get a grip. Polygamous relationships almost always take the form of patriarchal systems in which the women are treated as mere broodmares. Polygamous relationships almost always occur within the context of right-wing religious enclaves, in which women are robbed of genuine choice and are all but forced into the polygamous “family” structure. To argue that a system that denies women such basic rights as self-determination is “better” than gay marriage reflects, at best, a profound disconnect between the thought processes of those who make this argument, and reality.

      What I sense from Gallagher is nothing less than desperation. It must be clear to her that her organization’s video (“The Gathering Storm”) has bombed completely, and has had precisely the opposite effect from that intended. Meanwhile, the state legislatures of New Hampshire and Maine continue to debate the issue of gay marriage, which will probably become legal in those states within a year (or two at most).

      More power to those gay persons who seek to marry.

      PHILIP CHANDLER

      Apr 20, 2009 at 1:17 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • sam
      sam

      @Jake (#9): Well, yeah. That’s like saying, “I’d support the legalization of drugs only if they weren’t sold by criminals, but most people who sell drugs now are criminals.”

      When a practice is banned, all of it’s illegal. Until polygamy is legalized, there won’t be any reason for anyone to make sure their second wife is a consenting adult, because they’d go to jail if discovered regardless.

      Apr 20, 2009 at 2:49 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jake
      Jake [Different person #1 using similar name]

      @sam: Take a deep breath and calm down Sam. You’re missing my point entirely. First off, I said potentially, which translates into I currently don’t agree with multiple wives. Secondly, my point was there are currently many instances of prearranged marriages with under aged GIRLS to MUCH older men that result in the rape of an under aged, non consenting GIRL(S). Thirdly, my possible, potential support of LEGALIZATION, if passed would therefor make it LEGAL. Obviously until that point all forms would be illegal, duh!

      Apr 20, 2009 at 3:24 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • UGH
      UGH

      Three snaps for you Jake.

      Apr 20, 2009 at 4:54 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Kenster999
      Kenster999

      @Mitch: Your comment made me realize something:

      Doesn’t polygamy also include gay marriage in a sense? Aren’t all the wives are also married to each other? (Or am I missing something?)

      Apr 20, 2009 at 6:40 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • beebee
      beebee

      Hi there – if people are interested in reading what truly happens in a FLDS plural marriage – please read “Escape” by Carolyn Jessop.

      There is only one way to describe plural marriage – sexual slavery, and total abuse.

      The authorities should be doing more to save these women and children – hiding behind the ‘right’ to practise their beliefs is just helping these FLDS men perpetuate disgusting treatment that is against the law any where in the free world.

      The women don’t leave – as they have no where to go, and have been indoctrinated by their abusers. There is no ‘perfect’ polygamous family to hold up as poster reps for this – it is manipulative and destructive – and to say it is marriage is an abuse of the term itself.

      Apr 20, 2009 at 10:24 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chris
      Chris

      This Gallagher article is six years old — which makes it even more desperate………

      Apr 20, 2009 at 10:56 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • rogue dandelion
      rogue dandelion

      i don’t think we should twist ourselves in logical gymnastics trying to differentiate gay marriage from polyamorous marriage. Even if they are fundamentally similar from a logical standpoint, they are very different legal/political challenges. We should concentrate on the issue at hand, and leave hypothetical associations and potential harms to the nom people.

      Apr 21, 2009 at 2:47 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Attmay
      Attmay

      This is BS. We are fighting for the right to marry ONE person of the same sex. Heterosexuals can already marry ONE person of the opposite sex.

      Apr 21, 2009 at 8:43 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Alec
      Alec

      @beebee:

      There is only one way to describe plural marriage – sexual slavery, and total abuse.

      Um, says who? Carolyn Jessop? This is what she had to say about polygamy:

      “I think it’s a form of pedophilia hiding behind a religion as a protection,” Carolyn Jessop told TODAY’s Matt Lauer from Salt Lake City on Tuesday. “There’s just a desire to control and manipulate and torture people, and religion is just used as the cover.”

      http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24009286/

      Which is fascinating. What form of pedophilia, by the way, is “hiding behind a religion as protection” when, in Jessop’s case, the woman marries at the age of 18? There are inconsistencies in her narrative that lead me to believe she has been less than honest in her zeal to see the FLDS shut down. Many anti-cult movements, including the well financed and resourced anti-polygamy movement, develop into moral panics. We saw it with “Satanic Ritual Abuse” in the 1980s, and this seems like more of the same to me. Where the husbands or wives abuse their children or other adults, enforce the statutes against domestic violence and child abuse, sexual or otherwise. But if these people believe in the principle of plural marriage, there is no need to single them out for prosecution when the same can be said of many religious conservative groups. Southern Baptists believe wives must submit to their husbands; I’d imagine that this principle results in more than a little abuse in their homes. How is that better than, or different from, polygamy?

      Apr 21, 2009 at 1:34 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • strumpetwindsock
      strumpetwindsock

      @Alec:
      Agreed.
      I am no fan of polygamy, but if there is a crime (pedophilia, imprisonment) prosecute that.

      As for adults, I don’t think there are valid grounds for polygamy to be illegal any more than marriage equality for us.
      I may not agree with their lifestyle (and I would counsel anyone to leave), but I don’t think we have the right to bust it up using the force of law.
      Those are exactly the same arbitrary measures that have been used against us, and we can’t have it both ways.

      Apr 21, 2009 at 1:41 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TANK
      TANK

      If it’s not only conceptually (imagination) possible that domestic violence, child abuse, hebephilia and pedophilia, and sexual abuse in general does not accompany polygamy…and becomes likely, then and only then will you have a point, alec. Just insisting that its illegal status pressures people to behave this way…is perhaps one of the most out of touch understandings of what domestic violence, sexism and sexual assault are that I’ve encountered on queerty; and I’ve encountered a many a clueless queer here. As it stands, these are not just fringe occurrences in the cults that practice polygamy, by a part of everyday life. You are, once again, trying to make a weak point by exploiting the imprecision of language. Another desperate ploy to defend the indefensible. A weak ploy (your strong suit), indeed, in defending polygamy based upon…what? Principle, not fact. Principle…not fact…fact is what matters here.

      Apr 21, 2009 at 1:53 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Alec
      Alec

      @strumpetwindsock: It depends on what you mean by “illegal.” I think that there are valid reasons not to recognize polygamous relationships as marriages, insofar as marriage is premised on the concept of “two.” Polygamy (or polyamory) presents too many changes for marriages, whatever the gender of the parties to the arrangement. I think most states simply prohibit bigamy, which is acquiring a marriage license with another person while you are married to someone else; Utah’s is unique in that it prohibits cohabitation with another person while married (which may be what is going on in that Canadian case being litigated right now). Those laws, in my opinion, are just as bad as sodomy laws, and need to go.

      Apr 21, 2009 at 1:55 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TANK
      TANK

      Of course you agree, strumpet. You’re of a similar mindset@strumpetwindsock:

      There’s a shock And repeating the rightwing mantra as well. Listen, toad, gay marriage and polygamy ARE not the same. They not only mean two different things (like bestiality, too, you wingnut plant), but they refer to different things as well. Polygamy can be and must be defended separately on its own merits…not riding the coattails of same sex marriage (a different arrangement entirely…and with its own set of justifications independent of polygamy)…go that, newt jr.?

      Apr 21, 2009 at 1:57 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Alec
      Alec

      @TANK: You’re pretty hopeless:

      Just insisting that its illegal status pressures people to behave this way…is perhaps one of the most out of touch understandings of what domestic violence, sexism and sexual assault are that I’ve encountered on queerty

      I never suggested that it was its “illegal status” that “pressured” people to engage in domestic violence, sexism or sexual assault. In fact, I think it is the religious principle of plural marriage and patriarchy that result in those practices. Which is why Orthodox Jews, conservative Muslims and evangelical Christians are equally suspect. The sky god religion of the ancient Hebrews and its modern day derivatives are misogynistic in the extreme; even de facto polygamy in Thailand rarely takes on this character.

      So whatever point you’re arguing with is not the one being made, at least not by me. You’re just engaging to disagree, with no principle in mind.

      Apr 21, 2009 at 2:01 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TANK
      TANK

      I never suggested that it was its “illegal status” that “pressured” people to engage in domestic violence, sexism or sexual assault.

      —–

      And I didn’t say that you did.

      Apr 21, 2009 at 2:03 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TANK
      TANK

      No, actually, orthodox jews aren’t equally suspect as the dv data doesn’t vindicate that accusation, alec.

      Apr 21, 2009 at 2:04 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Alec
      Alec

      @TANK: Well I agree with this:

      Polygamy can be and must be defended separately on its own merits…not riding the coattails of same sex marriage

      Mostly because the number of partners makes the legal debate entirely different. Which is what the debate over same-sex marriage is about, at heart: government recognition of same-sex unions.

      However, the statutes that criminalize polygamy can be compared to the statutes criminalizing sodomy. We’re dealing with consenting adults in both instances.

      Apr 21, 2009 at 2:04 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TANK
      TANK

      So why don’t you try basing some of your opinions on data, alec…instead of…well, nothing.

      Apr 21, 2009 at 2:04 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TANK
      TANK

      However, the statutes that criminalize polygamy can be compared to the statutes criminalizing sodomy. We’re dealing with consenting adults in both instances.

      They can be, yes…very poorly. In fact, nonsequiturs abound.

      Apr 21, 2009 at 2:06 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Alec
      Alec

      @TANK: Excuse me, Tank? What was this, then?

      Just insisting that its illegal status pressures people to behave this way…is perhaps one of the most out of touch understandings of what domestic violence, sexism and sexual assault are that I’ve encountered on queerty

      @TANK: Re: Orthodox Jews. There are some indications that child sexual abuse is a problem among the Orthodox: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090401/ap_on_re_us/orthodox_jews_sex_crimes

      Studies have found Orthodox Jews account for as much as 10 percent of Jews nationwide, and a far greater share in parts of the New York metro area. Some 37 percent of the more than 516,000 Jews in Brooklyn are Orthodox, according to the UJA-Federation of New York, a Jewish social-service group.

      Critics have said sex abuse claims are sometimes handled quietly in Orthodox rabbinical courts, rather than being reported to authorities.

      However, some sexual abuse cases involving Orthodox Jewish schools have spilled into the secular legal system in Brooklyn.

      In one case, a rabbi was charged with sexually abusing boys at an Orthodox school. He admitted no sexual wrongdoing but pleaded guilty in April 2008 to a misdemeanor child endangerment charge, was sentenced to three years of probation and was dismissed from the school.

      Last month, a federal jury in Brooklyn convicted an ultra-Orthodox rabbi of molesting his now-adult daughter through much of her childhood. He claimed he was being falsely accused by a daughter who rebelled against a strict upbringing.

      Insular, extreme religious communities invite this kind of abuse.

      Apr 21, 2009 at 2:09 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Alec
      Alec

      @TANK: Oh? What’s the distinction? The number of sexual partners, yes? Anything else? Because that is all that the statutes are concerned with.

      You’re being silly, tank. You have nothing to support your baseless attack in this thread and you’re grasping for something, anything to anchor your “argument.”

      Apr 21, 2009 at 2:10 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • strumpetwindsock
      strumpetwindsock

      @Alec:
      Actually the polygamy law in Canada covers any presumed marriage bond, not just a legal one, so they can’t hide behind the fact they are not legally married.

      The fact that polygamy charges have been laid up here means that law will go to our supreme court and be tested. Many people think there’s a good chance it will fall, based on the precedent of same-sex marriage (plus the fact that our equal protection clause is open-ended, not just limited to race, gender, and whatever is actually written there).

      @TANK: Like I said, I don’t agree with it. I just don’t think it’s legal. It has nothing to do with my opinion.
      Now I hope you don’t get pissed off and decide to use your STRUMPETWINDSOCK(all caps) username again like you did in the Hillary/Iraq thread yesterday.

      It’s a real breach of trust and I don’t appreciate it. Nor to I think anyone else here would appreciate knowing you might attack them like that.

      Apr 21, 2009 at 2:11 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • strumpetwindsock
      strumpetwindsock

      @Alec:
      Careful… he might use it against you if he gets backed into a corner.

      Apr 21, 2009 at 2:12 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Alec
      Alec

      @strumpetwindsock: Am I to understand that he used your username with all caps to post responses to you? Did you contact Japhy and the site admins?

      Apr 21, 2009 at 2:14 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TANK
      TANK

      If you were to compare that problem (which I agree is a problem; in fact, there are rare cases of orthodox jews who are domestic violence perpetrators, too) to the average for religions, and then apply a per capita analysis to that…you’d find that orthodox jews and, specifically, orthodox rabbis are lessl likely to sexual assault minors than, say, even baptists or practically any denomination of christian. The same for domestic violence rates, too.

      To compare the abuses that occur within the FLDS to women and children to that of orthodox judaism is a deliberate obsfucation and the product of a very warped understanding of right and wrong…shameful, really, given that reality couldn’t be further from your scattershot, skewed “interpretations” of it.

      Apr 21, 2009 at 2:14 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TANK
      TANK

      @Alec:

      On what distinctions? THe meanings of the laws and the things those laws are intended to prohibit… You wish to make a substantive case, however, which may not involve the letter of the law…you want to make a moral case. Go ahead. What’s your extra legal argument?

      Apr 21, 2009 at 2:17 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TANK
      TANK

      @strumpetwindsock:

      Listen, disgusting elderly man, I did not take your sn and insult myself under your name, and then, if that were true, insult myself again..and again. I hope you do complain…so that the site administrators can see what a total crank you are…elderly crank.

      Apr 21, 2009 at 2:18 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Alec
      Alec

      @TANK: Well if you would like to supply statistics supporting your assertion, feel free to do so. It seems that extreme, socially isolated religious communities, including the ultraorthodox, enable this behavior.

      To compare the abuses that occur within the FLDS to women and children to that of orthodox judaism is a deliberate obsfucation and the product of a very warped understanding of right and wrong

      I’m not really comparing them to the FLDS, I’m saying that patriarchy promotes these abuses, and Orthodox Judaism certainly encourages patriarchy.

      Why are you taking the FLDS and assuming, without anything to base your argument on, that all FLDS engage in these abuses, btw?

      Apr 21, 2009 at 2:22 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • strumpetwindsock
      strumpetwindsock

      @Alec:
      Yup.
      Check out this thread (and notice the version of my name which is in all-caps – that is not me):
      http://www.queerty.com/hillary-clinton-is-mute-on-iraqs-gays-lets-give-her-something-to-talk-about-20090419/#comment-149886

      You can draw your own conclusions about what is going on.

      And yes, I did email admin about it. I have no idea what has been done about it, but I think it’s a serious breach of trust and I intend to let as many people as possible know about it.

      Apr 21, 2009 at 2:25 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • strumpetwindsock
      strumpetwindsock

      @TANK:
      And I’m 47, man.
      Given your antics I wouldn’t be surprised if I’m younger than you are, not that it matters.

      Apr 21, 2009 at 2:29 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TANK
      TANK

      I’m not really comparing them to the FLDS, I’m saying that patriarchy promotes these abuses, and Orthodox Judaism certainly encourages patriarchy.

      Yes, patriarchical beliefs do promote the abuse of women and children…and gay people…no one’s disagreeing with that. But anyone who gives your comments on this posting a quick survey will realize that you’re trying to normalize what occurs within the FLDS by making the case that it occurs (perhaps just as commonly, too…at least that’s the implication left open by your refusal to qualify your remarks) within other religions. Are you trying to normalize polygamy and the abuses that occur within that arrangement by suggesting that sexual abuse and exploitation occurs within other religions? I’d say not at the same rate, nor degree of viciousness. There’s a wealth of data to support my claim…yours…rests on a vacuous kind of rhetorical tactic of playing up comparatively uncommon incidents in other religions that have nothing to do with the FLDS, and can be assessed separately.


      Why are you taking the FLDS and assuming, without anything to base your argument on, that all FLDS engage in these abuses, btw?

      The existence of, perhaps, an insignificant minority doesn’t excuse the majority, you see (though you probably don’t). These people don’t represent a minority within the FLDS who regularly engage in child abuse, domestic violence, and sexual abuse and exploitation…this is common. I am not assuming that every last one of them does it, however. BUt enough do to justify the law making their behavior illegal.

      Apr 21, 2009 at 2:30 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TANK
      TANK

      @strumpetwindsock:

      You’re not. YOu’re much older than I am.

      Apr 21, 2009 at 2:30 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Alec
      Alec

      @TANK: First off:

      1. Not all polygamists are FLDS, and not even all FLDS are polygamists. Your argument, however, is that polygamy (and presumably, polyamory) invariably leads to domestic violence and child sexual abuse; that argument holds no more water than the argument that male homosexuality invariably leads to pederasty. Even if domestic violence and child sexual abuse were practices common among the FLDS, not all polygamists are FLDS.

      you’re trying to normalize what occurs within the FLDS by making the case that it occurs (perhaps just as commonly, too…at least that’s the implication left open by your refusal to qualify your remarks) within other religions

      No, I’m not trying to normalize the practices of the FLDS at all; I don’t really care about the FLDS or their beliefs. I’m not a polygamist, I don’t support domestic violence or child sexual abuse. But yes, I am denying that there is anything intrinsic to the practice of polygamy that requires we prohibit the practice of polygamy between consenting adults as opposed to prosecuting child sexual abuse and domestic violence. Again, your argument is the same argument that was used to justify sodomy laws and higher ages of consent for gay men; the problem there, as here, is that the criminal laws encompass practices between consenting adults. That’s all I really object to.

      There’s a wealth of data to support my claim…yours…rests on a vacuous kind of rhetorical tactic of playing up comparatively uncommon incidents in other religions that have nothing to do with the FLDS, and can be assessed separately.

      Where is the wealth of data? By the way, I won’t accept the arguments coming from the moral panic movement opposed to polygamy, that bizarre union of feminists, child advocates and LDS. As I pointed out earlier they resemble the “ritual abuse” movement of the 1980s and early 90s, and, moreover, your empirical data should consist largely of convictions for domestic violence and child sexual abuse among polygamists, not members of the FLDS.

      Apr 21, 2009 at 2:46 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TANK
      TANK

      First off:

      1. Not all polygamists are FLDS,

      Are you correcting anything I wrote? Where did I write that all polygamists are members of the FLDS? However, that’s the topic under discussion: polygamy in the FLDS. If you need to be reminded again, I’ll bold it for you.

      that’s the topic under discussion: polygamy in the FLDS

      and not even all FLDS are polygamists.

      Once again, where was this stated? Are you saying anything…anything at all that contradicts anything I or anyone else has posted? ANything relevant?

      Your argument, however, is that polygamy (and presumably, polyamory)

      I think polyamory and polygamy are distinct. Why? Because they mean different things… THis can be proven, to. Not all polyamorists are polygamists or would choose to be, and vice versa.

      invariably leads to domestic violence and child sexual abuse; that argument holds no more water than the argument that male homosexuality invariably leads to pederasty.

      But you’re mischaracterizing what I’ve said. Nowhere did I say that polygamy (distinct, once again, from polyamory) invariably leads to domestic violence and child sexual abuse (and adult sexual abuse)….let’s give you a refresher on my words.

      These people don’t represent a minority within the FLDS who regularly engage in child abuse, domestic violence, and sexual abuse and exploitation…this is common. I am not assuming that every last one of them does it, however. BUt enough do to justify the law making their behavior illegal.

      Do you get it yet? Try arguing like an adult…okay? SO that’s a false parallel.

      Even if domestic violence and child sexual abuse were practices common among the FLDS, not all polygamists are FLDS.

      And that simply doesn’t matter to what I already said. And it certainly doesn’t make polygamy something that should be made legal…given the high level of incidents of DV and sexual abuse of children and adults…and sexual exploitation…LOL! But you’ll probably need to be refreshed about what i actually wrote instead of what you believe I wrote yet again.

      No, I’m not trying to normalize the practices of the FLDS at all; I don’t really care about the FLDS or their beliefs.

      Sure seems it…I mean, you’ve been defending polygamy, and by implication, the FLDS practice of polygamy (a central tenet of their faith) throughout the entire comments section. Further, whether or not you care, many people do care about what is happening to these people. Your concern is irrelevant; concern is merited, nonetheless. You haven’t an ethic that requires such concern…that’s your failing…and once again, it’s quite obvious that it’s a failing throughout your comments here which are equivalent to defending the FLDS’s practice of polygamy.

      I’m not a polygamist, I don’t support domestic violence or child sexual abuse.

      I didn’t say you were a polygamist. However, I can honestly that your defense of polygamy contributes to domestic violence and child abuse because the polygamy you’re defending is based upon such patriarchical beliefs that you implicated in being the cause of such criminal acts.

      But yes, I am denying that there is anything intrinsic to the practice of polygamy that requires we prohibit the practice of polygamy between consenting adults as opposed to prosecuting child sexual abuse and domestic violence.

      And you’d probably deny that there’s anything inrinsic about sexism that contributes to unjust and unequal treatment of women in this society. I think that’s founded largely on your ignorance of the facts. Polygamy in general that’s not attached to any creed or religion…or anything…well, that’s a polygamy that doesn’t exist in the world.

      Again, your argument is the same argument that was used to justify sodomy laws and higher ages of consent for gay men; the problem there, as here, is that the criminal laws encompass practices between consenting adults. That’s all I really object to.

      No, not really…there’s no harm that’s being caused by sodomy…it’s actually a good thing…polygamy generally comes with a tremendous social and personal cost. It’s detrimental given the facts of polygamy in the united states and in the FLDS…

      Apr 21, 2009 at 3:02 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Tim in SF
      Tim in SF

      There is nothing inherently wrong with polygamy. The problems cited here stem from these people being in a religious cult.

      I don’t care what people in religious cults do. I don’t care if they all fuck each other and call it marriage or sacred unions or a ham sandwich. FLDS is a cult. Cults are bad for every participant except the leader and the members who are lucky enough to be kicked out. The examples are endless. But again, I don’t care – events like Jonestown and Heaven’s Gate do the human gene pool a service. If only all cults would end that way.

      I do care that the state makes determinations about which marriages are acceptable and which are not. The state has no business making such determinations which are, ultimately, based on some fucked up interpretation of religious doctrine.

      Let the state confer civil unions on any couple (or group, for that matter) for the purposes of property, taxes, inheritance, citizenship and ALL other legal matters. Strip ALL the legal ramifications from “marriage” and leave the rest to churches and marriage commissioners.

      Apr 21, 2009 at 3:29 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Tim in SF
      Tim in SF

      @Kenster999: Doesn’t polygamy also include gay marriage in a sense? Aren’t all the wives are also married to each other? (Or am I missing something?)

      We are not fighting for gay marriage, we are fighting for same sex marriage. The former is exclusive, leaves out the bisexuals, the trannies, etc., where the latter is entirely descriptive without assuming orientation of any type.

      Repeat after me:

      Same Sex Marriage. Not Gay Marriage.

      Apr 21, 2009 at 3:34 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Alec
      Alec

      @TANK: 1. You keep referring to the FLDS and polygamy interchangably. The topic under discussion isn’t just the FLDS. The topic is Maggie Gallagher and polygamy, with the FLDS as an example and the “Big Love” scenario dismissed as a suburban fantasy.

      When you say “it is enough to justify” making “their behavior” ilegal, in the context of the FLDS, do you mean FLDS polygamy or polygamy generally? Because you appear to be denying that polygamy results in the ills you identify with the FLDS, but again, we can’t just target the FLDS, we have to prohibit polygamy for all, or polygamy for none.

      Polygamy is just one man with more than one wife. People in polyamorous relationships can be polygamists, even if they don’t support the religious principles behind, say, the FLDS. So what’s your point? I never said that sexism didn’t contribute to women’s oppression, I said there was nothing intrinsic to polygamy that did so, either. We’re talking about polygamy as a sexual and familial lifestyle, not as a religious principle.

      polygamy generally comes with a tremendous social and personal cost. It’s detrimental given the facts of polygamy in the united states and in the FLDS…

      You keep conflating the FLDS with polygamists, and polygamy with child abuse and domestic violence. I could just as easily say, well, you know, most AIDS cases involve gay men in the US…that’s the reality in the US, so why not prohibit anal sex between men?

      I mean, really, it is a baseless, stupid argument. But tellingly, it is your own. You want to prohibit polygamy and cast a wide net that will catch all polygamists, not only the FLDS (who you apparently despise, despite the fact that others [certainly Catholic priests]) have religious beliefs and practices that lead to similar, appallingly high percentages of child sexual abuse.

      Bleh.

      Apr 21, 2009 at 3:42 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TANK
      TANK

      1. You keep referring to the FLDS and polygamy interchangably.

      Like when I stated

      Where did I write that all polygamists are members of the FLDS??

      No, I don’t…however, to repeat yet again so you comprehend…

      that’s the topic under discussion: polygamy in the FLDS

      Once more so you don’t make this mistake again

      TANK=not calling polygamy FLDS polygamy (get it?)

      However…

      that’s the topic under discussion: polygamy in the FLDS

      Again?

      that’s the topic under discussion: polygamy in the FLDS

      Capiche? Get it? Sinking in? Maybe again?

      The topic under discussion isn’t just the FLDS.

      Actually, that’s the type of polygamy we’re discussing as per the post on it.

      The topic is Maggie Gallagher and polygamy, with the FLDS as an example and the “Big Love” scenario dismissed as a suburban fantasy.

      that’s the type of polygamy being discussed, get it? There’s ample evidence for this throughout the comments section and, even, in the original post. Understand? Gallagher was doubtless referring to mormon polygamy that occurred within the FLDS when she came up with her hopelessly invalid argument. You’re grasping at straws.

      When you say “it is enough to justify” making “their behavior” ilegal, in the context of the FLDS, do you mean FLDS polygamy or polygamy generally?

      FLDS polygamy…and other polygamies, too. For clearly polygamy in general is like the common man…he’s not walking down the street, ya know? You follow my meaning or shall I go deeper and use nobody? Nobody’s coming…would you say to that, “when? When is nobody coming? I don’t see him.”? Polygamy divorced from a religion or belief system justifying it doesn’t exist, and throughout human history, polygamy has involved pernicious sexist beliefs that have resulted in harm.

      Because you appear to be denying that polygamy results in the ills you identify with the FLDS, but again, we can’t just target the FLDS, we have to prohibit polygamy for all, or polygamy for none.

      If it’s all or nothing, as you state, then it’s nothing because the potential for harm in allowing it all to occur under the banner of religious freedom is just too great given…that it is. LOL!

      Polygamy is just one man with more than one wife.

      Look, you can’t defend it by divorcing it from religious and social context, understand? I’m not disputing its meaning, nor am I saying that its meaning divorced from religious and social contexts which arm it with harmful potentials and actualities, causes harm…I”m saying it doesn’t exist right now, in reality…divorced from those memes.

      Apr 21, 2009 at 3:52 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TANK
      TANK

      People in polyamorous relationships can be polygamists, even if they don’t support the religious principles behind, say, the FLDS.

      And? How does that minority justify the tremendous harm that FLDS polygamy and other patriarchical polygamies (most of them, actually) cause? How does it justify making it legal? Moreso, and to repeat for you…polyamorous relationships aren’t synonymous with polygamous relationships. DO you comprehend that simple truth? They mean different things…refer to different arrangements.

      So what’s your point? I never said that sexism didn’t contribute to women’s oppression, I said there was nothing intrinsic to polygamy that did so, either.

      I think sexism is intrinsic to FLDS polygamy and most forms of polygamy that have existed throughout human history… Once again, you whitewashing it by divorcing the meaning from what it means and has meant throughout history…and right now…reducing it to what they all have in common…ignoring the other more significant (From an ethical perspective) beliefs that have entered into it…is to discuss and refer to something that simply doesn’t exist.

      We’re talking about polygamy as a sexual and familial lifestyle, not as a religious principle.

      No, you’re talking about something that doesn’t exist. We (I and other posters) are talking about it as it pertains to actual polygamous relationships within, say, the FLDS…you seem to be unaware of that despite repeating to you…what you seem incapable of comprehending.

      Apr 21, 2009 at 3:58 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TANK
      TANK

      Polygamy is just one man with more than one wife.

      Since you seem to be discussing something that only exists in the recesses of your limited imagination, polygamy actually just refers to more than one spouse. So it could be a woman with more than one wife…or a man with more than one husband…or a man with more than one husband and wife…or a woman with more than one husband. Your suggested definition is only but one…but it corresponds with the sexism that pervades the extant forms of polygamy found throughout the globe. Interesting, though…perhaps you’ve more sexist than you think you are.

      Apr 21, 2009 at 4:02 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TANK
      TANK

      You keep conflating the FLDS with polygamists, and polygamy with child abuse and domestic violence.

      but I’m not conflating it…hence me saying “and in the flds”…lol! Most polygamist arrangements are based upon sexism which causes domestic violence…it is inherent to those existing types of polygamy.

      I could just as easily say, well, you know, most AIDS cases involve gay men in the US…that’s the reality in the US, so why not prohibit anal sex between men?

      No, you really couldn’t, because though that’s true, aids and domestic violence aren’t the same thing, are they? More people are actually impacted by domestic violence (and it costs a whole lot more taxpayer money every year) than those afflicted with aids. And moreso, there’s nothing inherent about anal sex and aids… Whereas sexism is an inherent part of most polygamist practices.

      Apr 21, 2009 at 4:06 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Alec
      Alec

      @TANK: Actually, let me backtrack: polygamy is historically either 1) polygyny, one man with many wives and far less often one woman with more than one husband or polyandry. And of course there’s group marriage where they’re all married to each other. Regardless of how you define it, there are people who don’t fit the LDS stereotype; you want to criminalize their arrangements because of certain practices associated with the FLDS, rather than just enforcing child sexual abuse laws or domestic violence laws. How are you any different from people who conflate homosexuality with some nefarious practice?

      Apr 21, 2009 at 4:08 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Kenster999
      Kenster999

      @Tim in SF: Your point is well taken. I was just using an all-too-common abbreviation. In fact, I’ve heard another distinction that I like, which is not that we’re fighting for “same-sex marriage” as if it’s something different than “[mixed-sex] marriage.” Rather, we’re just fighting for marriage to be available to all. :) It’s not same-sex marriage… it’s just “marriage.”

      And just in case anyone misunderstood my original question (“Doesn’t polygamy also include gay marriage in a sense? Aren’t all the wives are also married to each other? (Or am I missing something?)”), it was meant more rhetorically. I wasn’t suggesting that there is or should be a direct connection between “gay marriage” (sic) and “polygamy”. I was simply stating that it had occurred to me for the first time that in a polygamous marriage that it seems the wives must be married to each other also (rather than some other potential understanding where each woman is married to the same man, but have no relationship to each other).

      Hmm, two clarifications were needed. I’ll endeavor to be more clear in future posts. :)

      Apr 21, 2009 at 4:10 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TANK
      TANK

      @Alec:

      I don’t think we need to allow those extreme minorities within minorities the right to multiple marriages given the inherent sexism of most forms of polygamy. I think it will make easier for those polygamists (most of them) to perp by making it legal for the minority.

      Apr 21, 2009 at 4:12 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • strumpetwindsock
      strumpetwindsock

      @TANK:

      Actually that’s up to the lawyers, not to anyone who might be offended at being associated with polygamy.

      The issue is how broad the definition of marriage is, and who has equal rights to it (at least that’s how it is likely to come down here in Canada).
      If the defense lawyers in the upcoming criminal cases can make a case that polygamists’ rights to equal access are being denied (and they very likely will use the same-sex precedent) then it likely WILL ride in on the coattails of our fight.

      I don’t mind, but there’s nothing I can do about it either way. It’s a matter for the courts.

      @TANK: And it is usually the minority of the minority that need the MOST consideration under the law, not to be swept under the rug. There are plenty of people who would like to do the same with us.

      @Kenster999: And you might also want to use “marriage equality”. It is more all-encompassing.

      Apr 21, 2009 at 4:30 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Tim in SF
      Tim in SF

      @Kenster999: @Tim in SF: Your point is well taken. I was just using an all-too-common abbreviation. In fact, I’ve heard another distinction that I like, which is not that we’re fighting for “same-sex marriage” as if it’s something different than “[mixed-sex] marriage.” Rather, we’re just fighting for marriage to be available to all. :) It’s not same-sex marriage… it’s just “marriage.”

      Even though I think “fighting for marriage to be available to all” is less accurate than “same sex marriage,” I am not bothered by it. That’s fine by me.

      I’m just saying that the phrase “gay marriage” is awful. It bugs me every time I see it. If we use “gay marriage” then the bigots use “homosexual marriage” and the H word is all kinds of wrong.

      Regardless, this comment thread has become the most boring logomachy over semantics. Annoying as fuck. They are like the buzzing of flies to Viggo.

      Apr 21, 2009 at 4:32 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TANK
      TANK

      Actually that’s up to the lawyers, not to anyone who might be offended at being associated with polygamy.

      I almost done with my argument…

      NO it’s not up to the lawyers. THe lawyers can’t change the meanings of words without talking past the issue. THis has nothing to do with what the lawyers think is up to them. This is simply a fact of meaning and strategy. LOL! It’s no more up to the “lawyers” than 1 and 1 summing to 2 would be… You’re not too bright, are ya…

      The issue is how broad the definition of marriage is, and who has equal rights to it (at least that’s how it is likely to come down here in Canada).

      Nope, the issue isn’t that. THe issue is that polygamy and same sex marriage aren’t the same thing, and as such, require different justifications and also, different criticisms. Just because an invalid slippery slope argument (slippery slopes are invalid…genius) makes mention of both in the same breath (if same sex marriage, why not polygamy= if same sex marriage…why not…little debbie?! Nonsequitur and a slippery slope) doesn’t mean that they have anything in common…

      If the defense lawyers in the upcoming criminal cases can make a case that polygamists’ rights to equal access are being denied (and they very likely will use the same-sex precedent) then it likely WILL ride in on the coattails of our fight.

      If they can…I argue that they can’t make one, and correlation isn’t causation…LOL! You’re not the sharpest knife in the drawer.

      And it is usually the minority of the minority that need the MOST consideration under the law, not to be swept under the rug. There are plenty of people who would like to do the same with us.

      Only if increased unnecessary human suffering weren’t the cost of making it easier to perp through making it legal, it would be. So no…you’re wrong again, because it would. And making an unethical argument, as usual…it’s a trend for you. NO character.

      Apr 21, 2009 at 4:39 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • strumpetwindsock
      strumpetwindsock

      @TANK:
      *sigh*
      You know, I understand that you don’t like polygamy; I don’t like it either.

      But none of your last post made any logical sense. It’s gibberish. Ask somebody else if they can make heads or tails of it if you don’t believe me.
      Again, use that rhetoric textbook of yours for something other than finding big words to toss around.

      Or ask your little puppet friend; he seems to make you look like a reasonable fellow.

      Apr 21, 2009 at 6:48 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TANK
      TANK

      @strumpetwindsock:

      Just step away. I’ve already demolished any semblance of a point you had a prayer of making. Right now it’s like clubbing a baby seal.

      Apr 21, 2009 at 6:54 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Phoenix (Brooding Over Our Lack Of Civil Rights)
      Phoenix (Brooding Over Our Lack Of Civil Rights)

      This is the reality of polygamy. In theory it is marriage between consenting adults, but the reality is child and spousal abuse.

      Apr 22, 2009 at 12:35 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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