If You’re For Consenting Adults’ Committed Relationships, Do You Support Polygamy?

One argument in support of gay marriage goes like this: committed loving adults should be allowed to enter into consensual marriages as long as no one else gets harmed. So does that mean that gays should also de facto support loving, consensual polygamist marriages? After all, if it’s not hurting anyone, what’s the harm, right?

According to Joe.My.God., “the cast of the The Learning Channel’s reality show Sister Wives plans to file a federal lawsuit challenging Utah’s law against polygamy. Makes sense… if it’s good enough for the founder of Mormonism, why not for his followers? Here’s a clip of their reasoning from ABC News:

The polygamist family portrayed on the TLC reality show “Sister Wives” said all along its main goal in going on national television was to gain public acceptance of its lifestyle.

Now family patriarch Kody Brown, his four wives and 16 children and stepchildren are moving from the court of public opinion to the court of law, arguing that criminalizing their lifestyle is unconstitutional.

On Wednesday, the Browns are expected to file a federal lawsuit to challenge the polygamy law in their home state of Utah, where they came under investigation for violating the state law that prohibits polygamy.

Brown and his four wives — Meri, Janelle, Christine and Robyn — moved their family to Las Vegas earlier this year, in part, they told ABC News, to escape the criminal investigation.

Joe.My.God. blogmaster calls their lawsuit, “a political gift to anti-gay groups nationwide,” but who really gives a shit? Anti-gay bigots have said that homosex leads to polgamy, bestiality, and child rape for decades. They could have pointed to Sister Wives for proof; now they’ll just point to the Sister Wives lawsuit for proof. It doesn’t really change the fact that homosexuality has no direct link to polygamy.

But back to the original question: If queers support marriage equality, shouldn’t they also support marriage equality for adult women who want to marry men with more than one wife? In short, no, not really.

Here’s why: First, not all queers want marriage equality. In fact, a lot think that it’s just a privileged, heteronormative, waste of resources diverting our attention away from health care, gender equality, and other more important social issues.

Second, even though some queers are polyamorist, polygamy is not specifically a polyamorist or gay rights issue—it’s a sex rights issue. Sex rights battle include decriminalizing all sorts of “victimless” sex acts including legalized prostitution, repealing nudity censorship laws to foster healthier attitudes about sex and body image (in contrast to the orgiastic violence we see on regular TV broadcast), the decriminalized sale of sex toys (in Texas it’s illegal to call dildos “dildos”), access to condoms in prison, and contraceptives in public. Sex rights issues cut across the lines of sexual orientation.

Lots of straight and bisexual folks who practice polyamory can band together and fight in the political arena if polygamy means that much to them; let this be their fight, not ours.

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