The slippery slope in action: re-redefining marraige

Some people warned that legalizing gay marriage would open the door to all sorts of things.

I’m not sure how often the formal argument was laid out, so here it is–

Throughout history, regardless of the exact form marriage has taken, it has always been some variation on the theme of “man + woman.” It has been fairly common for more than two people to be involved, but there has ALWAYS been at least one of EACH sex.

Once marriage is redefined to do away with that requirement, the question becomes–Where do you stop? What differentiates non-traditional marriage A from non-traditional marriage B? Why is A acceptable when B is not?

(emphasis added)

Many of us who are against gay marriage were quite certain that something like this would happen. But I, for one, am surprised by the speed of events. I thought it would likely be several months before the inevitable happened.

Not my thing, but I don’t have a problem with group marriages either, so long as the legislatures come up with reasonable legal schemes for issues like divorce, child custody, inheritance, etc.

Does why you are opposed to gay marriage have something to do with God and Scripture?

And many of us on the other side were sure that you guys would have no trouble finding little “Dog Bites Man!” stories to try raise a panic about. What’s next-a story about some lady somewhere wanting to marry her poodle, and how this was “inevitable”?
Get back to us when you have a real story about an organized movement with strength behind it that poses a real threat to your precious bodily fluids, o.k.?

Since the only government involvement in marriage is that it is a civil contract, then there should be no impediment to whatever form that will take. Religious rituals are a separate issue.

Well, except for all those cultures throughout historywhere it wasn’t.

And? If you’re saying we shouldn’t give Group X rights because acknowledging that Group X has rights means that Group Y is going to want them to, then you’re ducking the question of whether Group X is entitled to those rights.

One important difference between same-sex marriage and polygamy is that a prohibition on same-sex marriage prevents gay men and women from marrying at all. A prohibition on polygamy only prohibits certain kinds of marriages, but everyone can enter into a marriage with a person they love and are attracted to.

I suspect that will be the main dividing line, especially given Justice Kennedy’s reliance of the institution of marriage and entrance into it.

That said, I don’t see why we shouldn’t allow polygamous marriage. There are big concerns about gender inequities, but of course they are present in monogamous marriage too.

By far, the common notion of marriage is two people. There is a large, common understanding of how a two-person marriage works, how benefits are assigned, medical issues, how assets are split up, etc. But there is not that type of convention with polygamy.

How does all that work with polygamy? If one spouse is sick, how do the other spouses make medical decisions for the sick person? Majority rule? Person with the most number of years married to the sick person? If one person leaves the marriage, how do the assets get divided?

Benefits would also be an issue. Benefits aren’t free. The company pays for them. They know that all of their employees could be married to another person and have some kids. Their cost is based on that assumption. But if someone could start marrying 10 people, the benefit cost would go way up.

If someone wants to be married to multiple people, there’s nothing stopping them from calling their union a “marriage”. But that doesn’t mean that polygamy will be recognized by the the government since a marriage of more than 2 people isn’t commonly done. But a two person marriage is pretty much the same whether the people are same or different sexes.

The logistics would be complicated.

But I’m not sure that’s really a good argument. It might just mean employers would have to stop segregating their benefits based on marriage. And better government policy might stop using marriage as a criterion. So what? I’m not sure it’s good public policy to treat married couples different from other long-term partnerships anyway.

And, of course, if there were indeed a fundamental right to recognition of polygamous marriage, the logistics would be largely irrelevant. Lots of fundamental rights require lots of work.

Why even bring the slippery slope into this. If there are good and valid reasons why a polygamous marriage should not be recognized by the government then make those arguments and the marriage will not be recognized. If there are no good and valid reasons why the marriage should not be recognized then why are we denying them?

Hell, you don’t even have the excuse that its never been done before. Different kinds of polygamous marriage are common throughout history and through many different cultures.

Actually, a prohibition against same-sex marriage doesn’t prevent gay men and women from marrying at all; it prevents them from the chance of marrying someone whom they love and are attracted to (as your next sentence makes clear).

Supporting gay marriage means that you believe it’s more basic to what marriage fundamentally is or should be that you marry someone whom you love and are attracted to than that you marry someone who is of the opposite sex.

Not sure if that was intended as counter-argument, but I obviously agree with that.

Not intended as a counter-argument; more a clarification or expansion.

I don’t especially care if there’s polygamy. That said, I don’t really equate it to the same sex marriage movement. SSM was about being able to marry the partner of your choosing and a M/M or F/F couple isn’t really different than a M/F couple. Polygamy is about asking for a whole new right: the right to marry multiple people. Currently no one has that right whereas SSM was about opening an existing right to the partner of their choosing.

On the other hand, people who tried to argue against SSM on the basis of taxes or government benefits or whatever should be thrilled with this. Two women married to one guy who dies and you’re splitting the single set of benefits 50/50 between them. Had you forced both women to marry separate partners, you’d be paying out twice as much when their husbands die :wink:

Personnally, I’ve no problem with this man marrying those two women.

Apparently you do. Can you articulate why, exactly?

Hmmm… maybe it a slippery slope from here to Mormonism.

Not necessarily. Some benefits are defined by contribution some are not. If you have a defined contribution pension plan, then yes the two wives would presumably split what they’d get. If the benefit is that a spouse is entitled to health insurance, then you’d be paying twice as much.

It’s a good argument for making marriage between two people have different legal implications than marriage between multiples. That would, in fact, be inevitable. It is logically impossible for the two to have equivalent legal meanings, because the arrangement as between three (or more) people lacks the symmetry and equality of a relationship between two.

The contrast here is with gay marriage - it is easy to simply substitute “two adults” for “a man and a woman” in the definition of “spouse”, and have all the exact same legal rights and responsibilities apply.

Note that this doesn’t mean a polygamous or polyandrous or other form of multiple-marriage is legally impossible - only that it can’t, legally, mean the same thing as a marriage between two people, in terms of rights, responsibilities and benefits. That it turn means that it isn’t obviously “unfair” that such a right isn’t created, in the same way that it is obviously unfair that two gays cannot marry, where their relationship is exactly equivalent to that of their straight married contemporaries.

I’m not Flyer, but marriage as it currently exists in law requires exactly two people. It hasn’t required exactly one man and one woman anywhere in the U.S. since Kirchberg v. Feenstra in 1981.

I support determining what changes would be needed to allow polyamorous marriages, and I’m not currently opposed to making those changes depending on wha they turn out to be, but legal recognition of polyamorous marriages is not feasible in 2015.

But that’s not a moral obection, nor a deontological one.

Well, if anyone should be able to marry anyone, do you have a problem with incestuous marriage?

Seems to me all you posters are men–so naturally you’re thinking, “Yeah! I could have a whole fucking harem of bitches!” I’m sure that sounds great to you. But I’ll bet incestuous marriage makes you want to puke. Just not hot fantasy material, is it?

I don’t know…were they born polygamous?