how does gay marriage lead to polygamy?

Religious groups are often parodied for making rather significant leaps in logic, such as “hand holding leads to pregancy” etc. In a recent CNN article, Religious leaders in canada are supposedly saying that legalization of gay marriage could lead to the legalization of polygamy. Does anyone know of a logical connection between the two? I would think they are mutually exclusive, but I would be very interested to hear about the logic that links them.

My guess is that loosening the definition of ‘marriage’ would allow other groups to have their say too. After all, if gays are allowed to marry (something I’m all for), why shouldn’t hetero types who wish to have multiple mates be allowed the same rights? Sort of an opening of pandora’s box effect I suppose.

Again, my guess is…they may have a point. However…would it REALLY be such a bad thing if gay marriage lead to other groups getting similar rights? Myself, I figure if they are concenting citizens…well, they should basically be able to do whatever they like as long as its not hurting others. And what folks wish to do in their own bedroom, and with whom, is kind of their own business.


They seem to think of there being societal rules against polygamy, as with gay marriage. Since the “rules” against one is being broken, doesn’t that lead to a general decay of lawlessness?


Perhaps it is the fact that it is very easy to make accusations, but it takes a longer time for fans of gay marriage to explain why the sound bite of “Polygamy!” is idiotic.

The link being “consenting adults entering into a legal contract”. I personally have no particular aversion to legal polygamy or polyandry - after all, there’s no law against one having more than one lover. However, the more complicated nature of the contract might require that the legal authority carry out more detailed interviews with each of the three or more parties than they would in the case of monogamous marriage, to ensure that all parties genuinely understood and consented to the contract.

SentientMeat, excellent response. That makes complete sense. We do have a number of laws that are based on “Morality” vs pure “Ethics” and I certainly feel that we will see not so much the decay of those laws, but the complication of them as we continue to evolve as a society. Rather than a complete guide to life, I’d call the Bible a “Good Start” siting this example.

They’re not mutually exclusive.

The logic is that currently you can marry one individual of the opposite sex. If you accept to change the “opposite sex” part to accomodate a subset of the population, why not change the “one” part to accomodate another subset? Both are purely traditionnal, cultural, arbitrary restrictions.

It depends on how we arrive at legal same-sex marriage.

If the legislature simply passes a law permitting same-sex marriage, it has no particular tendency to lead to multiple marriage.

If the courts find that only offering marriage to opposite sex couples violates some constitutional guarantee, then it’s possible that the same reasoning could be applied to the issue of multiple marriage. It depends, of course, on what the particular rationale employed is.

Does anybody know if there was a polygamy brushfire in the Netherlands or Belgium after they legalized SSM?

The problem is, some people who are married in a church don’t understand that that part of their wedding is strictly in their heads and hearts; the legal portion of the marriage, i.e. the only part that actually counts, is a contract, and as such, should be able to include or exclude virtually anything the parties agree to, so long as it doesn’t cause harm to anyone. I think eventually we will come to acknowledge all kinds of familial contracts. Unfortunately, I don’t see it happening any time soon.

not having read the particular legislation…I would hazard a guess that the law being debated uses the phrase ‘one man and one woman’ to define marriage. If that law is struck down, then a marriage could be defined as ‘one man and another man’ or ‘one man and several women’ or ‘one man and his good dog Shep’ The ultra conservatives want to play up the several women and the good dog Shep angles so they can scare people into voting for the ‘one man and one woman only’ law. I don’t think anyone is saying that gay marriage causes polygamy directly or indirectly. Not knowing the details, this is a WAG and I wait to be corrected.

Disclaimer: I personally do not think that gays, polygamists and people practicing beastiality are all one in the same, I am presenting my interpretation of someone else’s potential though process.

There may be non-traditional/cultural/arbitrary reasons for restricting 3+ marriages. Especially in socialist states, the inheritance laws, property rights, pension rules, health care benefits, etc. begin to come into play. Imagine one state worker with ten non-working “spouses” at home. Each of those spouses would be eligible for benefits and pensions as their status as the spouse of a state employee.

When every marriage is 1 on 1 then it is easier to craft these policies for fairness. However, how do you structure a pension when most of your employees have one spouse but a significant fraction have two or more? If you scale the benefits evenly then the person with multiple spouses is getting far more out of their job than the person with one spouse. If you make those with multiple spouses divide some pre-allocated amount of benefit dollars among their spouses(sharing a pension perhaps?) then they are less likely to be able to live on it. If you raise the amount you pay everyone based on what it takes for a multi-spouse family to live then your payroll costs skyrocket and single-spouse families get a windfall. I’m not even sure how to begin laying out the questions of custody and child support should such a marriage dissolve.

Fairness, inheritance, benefits, child custody/support, etc. are not absolute roadblocks, but they are legitimate state concerns. Especially in the more socialist states. They are more tangible than tradition and reasonable versus arbitrary.


Back to the original post, I see two reasons for the conclusion that polygamy (or pedophilia or beastiality or whatever other paraphilia twists your knickers).

The first is the polarized “all-or-nothing” thinking that some engage in. To wit: if you allow one exception to the rule, then you must allow any other exception, therefore you must allow polygamy et al when requested. That point of view is so polarized that there are no shades of wrongness; everything is either all right or all wrong, and if you allow just one wrong thing, then you have to allow them all. It’s a way of avoiding any intellectual pursuit of why something is right or wrong.

The second is a disingenious argument. The specifics of why something is right or wrong are not as important as the outrage in allowing a wrong thing to occur. Can you not feel some anger at a man being allowed to marry his female dog and legally have sex with her? If not for the image, then for the absurdity of the argument and that it has anything to do with gay marriage? Gay marriage, polygamy and beastiality are very different things that have little if anything in common, yet part of the argument against gay marriage is to equate them through a sense of outrage and sidestep any meaningful discussion. There are already distinct moral and/or legal definitions that clearly separate those three examples.


Talk about your disengenuous arguments…

You’re bringing up a complete strawman here. There is indeed a vast gulf between SSM and polygamy (taken together) as opposed to bestiality. No one has mentioned the last one except you. While some religious conservatives might mix all of them together, it is only you who have done so in this thread.

So, lets leave out the bestiality (and the pedophilia) and stick to the topic: Can the same arguments for legalizing SSM be used to argue for legalizing polygamous marriages? Clearly the answer is yes. Personally I have no problem with either, although I do agree that the legal complexities of polygamy make it a lot more work to implement.

actually, I did it first, and I still think that it is deliberately being used as a scare tactic to convince people to vote for ‘one man and one woman’ 'cause there are weirdo’s out there.

Also, remember that this Board is populated by more intelligent, open minded people than the population at large and there are people out there that same-sex relationships and polygimist and beastial relationship are all equally not cool. The OP wasn’t what do you think of this opinion but where did this idea come from?

Um, no. You are correct that no one has brought those up here, but they have been part of arguments on and off this board. I presented those arguments as examples of one type of thinking about the SSM issue, not as points of discussion here.


There is one key difference between Gay marriage and Polygamy. A ban on Gay marriage affects only a certain class of people while a ban on polygamy affects everyone.

A gay marriage ban means that one class of people (straights) have access to certain rights and privileges that another class (gays) don’t. A ban on Polygamy means that no one has access to whatever rights and privileges a polygamous union would grant. There is no class of people being discriminated against.

I suppose you could say that polygamists could represent a suspect class. But the desire to be married to more than one person does not seem as embedded in our nature as sexual orientation. Furthermore legal recognition of a certain kind of marriage just means that married people have certain legal rights. If you want to have an open marriage, or partner with more than one other person, that’s fine. You just don’t get the legal rights of marriage extended to those third (fourth fifth) persons. As other posters have pointed out, extending marital rights beyond a two person partnership would be difficult at best.

The arguments I have heard don’t say that same-sex marriage leads to polygamy, but that the legal arguments that destroy the basis for banning same-sex marriage also apply to the basis for banning polygamy.

But they don’t, as I tried to argue. Banning gay marriage creates a discriminated class. Banning polygamous marriage doesn’t. A ban on Gay marriage means that certain people are granted rights that are denied to others. A ban on polygamy means no one has whatever rights a >2 person union would entail.

Larry, I don’t think that position makes much sense. Bans on polygamy discriminate against folks who want to marry two other people. I don’t see why that’s “everybody” while bans on gay marriage are not. I’ve certainly herad anti-SSM people claim that “A ban on [SSM] means no one has whatever rights a [gay] union would entail.” I believe your statement only works if you say that the desire to marry two people is somehow more controllable and less innate than the desire to marry someone of your own sex. I think that line in arbitrary, and moreover, I think drawing it hurts gays as well as polygamists.

I disagree with that; I think that the change in the moral norms that would lead to popular support of gay marriage would also tend to reduce popular objection to polygamous marriage as well. Indeed, I’ve seen this evolution in my own thinking.


Seems pretty much the same thing to me to be honest. If you are oriented to polygamy (which is a subset of people…i.e. a ‘class’), then by disallowing such unions you are being discriminated against. If you are gay and disallowed such a union then you are being discriminated against. I’m unsure why the mere fact that one is gay automatically makes you a ‘discriminated class’, as opposed to wanting a union with multiple partners. The same arguement you seem to be saying (to put my own interperetation on what I THINK you are saying, ‘well, you can always just marry one partner like everyone else’ as opposed to saying 'well, you can always just marry and have sex with someone of the opposite sex).

Anecdotally I know such a threesome (two bi-sexual men and a woman…one of the men is in fact married to the woman, the other man lives with them as a ‘friend’) who are watching the whole gay marriage thing very closely because, at least to their minds, if it happens it WILL be a wedge they can use to make their own union legal. Whether they are right or not I don’t know…but its something thats crossed the minds of more than just the religious right (which seems to be the jist of many of the posts in this thread).