Gay Marriage Vs. Polygamy and Bestiality

I recently read an article in which the interviewer asked the interviewee “Where is the harm in allowing Gay people to marry?”

The interviewee replied by asking where the harm would be in allowing polygamy.  It’s a common ploy,  responding with a question that diverts from the responsibility to answer the actual question asked.  And, honestly, activists for gay rights should be expecting it by now.  The question of polygamy is almost inevitably asked, along with “what would the harm be in allowing a person to marry a dog”.

I will take the time to answer both of those questions.

Polygamy

Aside from the fact that the topic of polygamy makes people uncomfortable, there are other reasons that it’s a bad idea for society.  First, let’s look at a society in which polygamy was allowed, a society that most Christians are in fact familiar with.  The Isrealites were polygamists.  Some of Christianity’s most famous names took several wives.  Jacob had both Leah and Rachel, King David had his many wives, including Abigail and Bathsheba, Solomon had his wives as well as his Harem, and a lot of Israelite men found themselves inheriting the wives of dead brothers.  Why was polygamy so widespread?  Women in those times were not seen as whole beings.  They could not own property or legally stand up for themselves.  They were wholly dependent on the “kindness of strangers” to get by should they be widowed and they had no one to take them in.  And one must also look at the circumstances of the time- the Israelite people went to war often, they were exiled and returned and exiled and returned. This left the men with a shortened lifespan.  With men dying young and widows having no recourse, polygamy made sense- give the widow and her children to another man who could use the extra hands to keep his home in order and allow his possessions to grow.  Give the woman a man to stand up for her and be sure they are cared for.   Polygamy, to say it plainly, served a purpose for such a society.

It doesn’t make sense for ours.  Women still have a longer lifespan then men, but our lot in life is radically different.  We can own property, seek employment, legally stand up for ourselves.  We are just as capable of men in all ways, including being able to vote.  There is also the question of the fairness of polygamy in our society.  Let’s say that a man can have, oh, fifteen wives.  What happens then?  Fifteen women marry a rich man, giving him four kids each.  Thats sixty kids for Rich Man, all of whom will have a better chance of recieving an education, recieving health care, and finding gainful employment.  Poor men, on the other hand, would never be able to support that many kids, or even more than one wife. If we think that the upper class is insulated now- imagine what polygamy would do.  Rather than giving billions to charity, a rich man would split his billions among his myriad of progeny.  Societal lines would darken.

It could get nasty.

Not to mention the legal rights of the multiple women (or men) involved.  Rather than divorce meaning a fair distribution of property, if one of five women were to divorce a man, she may be left with few options.  How, exactly, would one decide on a fair distribution of property in a polygamist setting?  Would the amount of rights afforded to each woman be equal to the amount of women married to one man?  And if that were the case, how many women could we allow each man to have before it would become an unfair burden to each wife involved?

And then let’s talk about the reverse affect- would one woman be able to take multiple husbands?  And if that was allowed, how would the burden of siring children be divided?  It would be wholly unfair for one husband to father all of the children, leaving the other husbands with no heirs.

I have seen arguments for how gay marriage can improve society- I have seen no such argument for polygamy.

Bestiality.

I hardly feel this is worth addressing, but address it I shall.  So…  if a man can marry a man, isn’t the logical next step that he can marry his best friend?  His dog?

NO.

Marriage is a legal institution, and it was made a legal institution for the protection of both parties concerned.  Marriage affords a married couple many rights, including combining wealth and a fair division of wealth upon the dissolusionment of the marriage, health care, visiting rights, parental rights, and the list goes on and on.

Now, let’s say that Billy marries Fluffy.  Will Fluffy then be on his company insurance card?  Will Fluffy be able to visit him in the hospital?  Should Billy decide to divorce Fluffy, will she have partial custody of Billy’s children?  Will Fluffy get half the Estate?

Should Billy suddenly, tragically die, how exactly will Fluffy manage as the executor of the estate and a legal parent to Billy’s children that he adopted with her as his wife?

It reads as ridiculous because it is ridiculous.  A dog is not a woman.  A dog cannot be given the same legal capacity as a woman.  End of story!

Gay Marriage

This post is long, so I’ll keep it brief.  Marriage affords a certain amount of rights and a certain amount of responsibilities.  We’ve already discussed some of the rights, rights that I think should be afforded regardless of the gender of the two people involved.  Now, let’s talk about the responsibilities.  Let’s talk about the fact that if a gay man adopts a child as a single parent, or “gives birth” due to the miracle of surrogates, egg banks and in vitro fertilization, and he starts to raise this child with his partner, both of them acting as a parent, until the relationship dissolves…  having allowed that couple to marry will mean that the child is left with both parents in his life.  That is good for society.

Imagine a lesbian couple where one gets breast cancer and can no longer work.  Her partner supports her for a time but wearies of it and leaves- as these things do happen.  Having allowed that couple to marry means that the sick woman is afforded some legal protection, like spousal support or her spouse having to continue to provide medical insurance until the poor sick woman can get some elsewhere.  Unmarried partnerships do not carry such responsibility.

Imagine a gay couple where one partner bought a house, furnished it, took care of it, did everything…  and one day he simply kicks his partner out.  Allowing them to be married means that the “lesser” of the partners is still given some amount of legal recourse, instead of simply being thrown out with no possessions and no roof over his head.

Marriage is not only a right but a responsibility, a responsibility that I think that homosexual couples should be welcome to share.  I realize that not all heterosexuals accept this responsibility- but at least they are legally able to should one or both couples desire the protections it affords.

It would be better for society if all willing people were able to engage in marriage, so long as marriage remains between two consenting human adults.

Question, comments, accusations-  you know where to put them.  (In the comments, silly!  :D)

23 thoughts on “Gay Marriage Vs. Polygamy and Bestiality

  1. I read a great article detailing this very subject here. It’s doubly good because it features a high-school student handing Carl Rove his ass.

    http://libertas.vox.com/library/post/school-girl-vs-professional-journalist.html

    Another point that opponents make against gay marriage is this:
    “I just don’t think an institution 4000 years old such as marriage needs changing.”

    As the girl in the link points out, it was once illegal for two people of a different race to marry. That was changed. Before that Marriage was a business contract, an alliance and little else. The idea of a marriage based on romantic love was silly. Mostly because it was considered impossible for a man to relate to a woman as an equal. Marriage has changed it’s purview within the past 200 years from a contract between two unequal parties to a joining of two parties legally considered equal, and it continues to evolve.

  2. AWESOME LINK! Go schoolgirl, go!

    As the needs of society change, the operation of society needs to change. Polygamy made sense four thousand years ago, gay marriage wouldn’t have.

    Our society isn’t theirs.

    When people say things like “why change an institution…” Well, why outlaw slavery? Why create international tribunals and international law? Why allow women to vote? Why create governmental regulations? Why create ‘hate crimes’ laws?

    We’ve changed HUNDREDS of institutional behaviors! Hell, we even made DEMOCRACY. Why change Monarchy? It had been around for thousands of years!

  3. Lindsey-

    “Question, comments, accusations- you know where to put them.”

    Question-Who are you? I mean really Lindsey. You have an amazing ability to bring clarity on this topic and others.

    Accusations-You are awesome.

    Comments-Well, those are it. Besides I think you should consider a part time job as being a speaker or writer on social issues. Seriously.

    Great post, I hear those crazy reasons why we shouldn’t be allowed to marry all the time, they never cease to amaze me. You just gave me a pretty good response that I can use in regard to polygamy. Thanks.

    You are a voice that makes people think.

  4. Exactly. :)

    Another thing is that–as we’ve learned in the case with Warren Jeffs–women don’t really have a say in who they marry. They’re used as bargaining chips and occasionally have to marry men who are much older than they are. Sometimes they’re even teenagers (and young teens, not 18 or 19). So that’s really not a fair comparison anyway. (And that’s before we look at the awesome points you brought up.)

    Although I would like Sam to be able to visit me in the hospital, should I ever need to go. (More rights for Sam!)

  5. So much of how I view abortion or gay marriage is directly related to the experiences I had as a child. I learned the hard way that just because a couple is heterosexual is no guarantee that they’ll do even a half-way decent job.

    For me, I think that the more well-educated, strong family units we have – the better – regardless of their sexual orientation.

    I have a feeling that we may look back on equal rights for homosexuals as being the seminal civil rights issue of our time. I might be answering questions from my grandkids on how we could have treated these people like second class citizens.

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  7. queerunity: What baffles me the most is that people don’t see how flat out offensive that comparison is. It’s tantamount to saying that a gay man is no different than a poodle. Yikes!

    Stephanie: Thank you, so much. I’m really just some girl out in the middle of nowhere, living down the road from Amish land. I do hope some day to be able to teach more people, though. Right now my teaching is confined to my church, but hopefully as I’m able to make more of a career for myself out of writing, I’ll reach more people, and change the world one little group of people at a time. It’s my dream, above all else. I really think that the growing suicide rates and teens being diagnosed with depression younger and younger is due at least in some small part to the ripple affect of “moral governance”. The “moral revolution” should have done the world some good- but much the opposite. (And this is why my parents sometimes shake their heads in bafflement when we talk. Oh well. :) )
    Kelly: More rights for Sam! Yes! You know how we have the women’s bill of rights and the patient’s bill of rights? We now need the dog-lover’s bill of rights. And pillow privileges for pups should be issue number one. (Oh, and thanks. You know I love you.)
    Hayden: I’ve known so many gay men who were so deeply compassionate and willing to sacrifice. I’ve always thought that gay couples would be able to provide loving foster homes and be a real boon to society.
    James: I’ve contributed to the Gay Agenda? That totally makes my day! :D

  8. Hey hey hey Lindsey, Long time no ‘see’.

    I hate the marry a dog/animal thing. It suggests that queer people are the gate way to immorality. Like pot is the gate way drug to all the other drugs. We queers are the bridge to all things that will destroy the moral fabric of humanity. ugh.

    Who ever came up with the marry the animal argument really didn’t think that one through.

    I could go on for ever but I won’t.

    C.

  9. I’m just super confused. What is the relativity between gay people and polygamists? Between gay people and bestialists? Between polygamists and bestialists? What do they have in common besides, er, what? This is like comparing chocolate and hair dye and straw hats. What’s the point of that, other than to look illogical and not worth taking seriously?

    Your thoughts on it all are very nicely stated, of course and as usual. Keep them coming.

  10. Girl, you just have a way of making so much common sense out of issues that most of us can’t speak inteligently about. I wish you were with me every time I got into one of my “discussions” with some of my friends and family members! lol

  11. mer: I know. It’s as if I asked someone a question about a particular piece of legislation due to penalties for a violent attack which caused a woman to miscarry, and they responded “but what about penalties for violence in which public property is damaged?” WHOA! I realize they START in the same way (violence) but they don’t EQUAL THE SAME THING! #$%^IT!

    shellakers: Thanks! Maybe someday, huh? :D

  12. Very well said.

    “Now, let’s say that Billy marries Fluffy…” Cracked me up. You’re right, it sounds ridiculous because it is ridiculous.

    I really enjoyed reading this. :)

  13. Lindsey: Excellent! I have to say that you are the FIRST person I have read, who wrote a piece about gay marriage, polygamy and bestiality all in one article, and could make it sound intelligent, informed, and good at pointing out the ridiculous…… equal marriage just makes good sense, and I hope for it in my state in my lifetime…… I want to marry my true love, and I mean, we have eleven years in; isn’t that reason enough???

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  15. Great piece! I don’t get it either. It’s just so foreign to me. The idea that people can’t marry and love who they want to. Just silly. One flaw though. You say that marriage should be between two human adults. When I look around I see physical adults getting married, but not adult in the upstairs department. Look how they treat each other in their marriages – no adult there. Love who you want to love. Marry who you want to marry. Just make sure you are adult in bed and in the head.

  16. Thank you Lindsey for addressing the ludicrous concept of: “if we allow gay people to marry, then what’s next? polygamy? bestiality?” I wonder if they stop and think that through… or if they are all just repeating the same thing without any forethought whatsoever!

  17. Thank you for your excellent and well-written insight. As a descendent of polygamists, I wrote a post about the polygamy aspect as well because those “slippery slope” arguments were really getting annoying: http://dotnetgoddess.blogspot.com/2008/12/sliding-down-slippery-slope-to-polygamy.html

    Legalizing same-sex marriage is good for society, and legalizing polygamy would just undermine why we want to encourage people to settle down with the person they love, be committed, and raise a family if they want to. Everyone deserves to marry the person they want to call “family.”

  18. I was unaware that gays wanted to marry animals. I happen to be gay myself and I never wanted to marry an animal. Why don’t we take a poll among gays to see how ma y want to marry animals to once and for all end this debate? BTW the guy that ran around the good ole USA getting those anti-gay marriage amendments started came out in support of gay marriage oh yeah and out of the closet too so now we know he is not only gay but a greedy sob that will do anything for money. Encase some missed it not all gays are greedy sobs and not many gay men want to marry a horse!

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