Interesting read. Powerline links to a good bit of the legal basis for todays prohibitions on Polygamy.
[quote]Once same-sex marriage is OK, polygamy's next
Katherine Kersten, Star Tribune
The Minnesota Legislature is considering proposing a constitutional amendment that would define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Many opponents claim that definition is antiquated and discriminatory. A committed relationship should be the only criterion for marriage, they say.
But wait. What if a person loves two people, or three or more? If "one man-one woman" is a discriminatory limitation on the choice of a life partner, on what grounds can the state logically restrict marriage to two people? The fact is, once you adopt same-sex marriage -- legally changing the standard for marriage from one-man, one-woman to a "committed relationship" -- there is no principled way to prevent its extension to polygamy or other forms of "plural marriage" or partnership. [/quote]
This is Powerlines take on the issue:
[quote]I'm going to keep my notes this morning briefer than usual in order to leave John's "Justice Ginsburg throws down the gauntlet" close to the top. John refers to the Supreme Court's 2003 decision in Lawrence v. Texas, in which the Supreme Court found laws against homosexual sodomy unconstitutional. Why? Justice Kennedy thought it had something to do with "liberty of the person both in its spatial and more transcendent dimensions." Does the jurisprudence of Justice Kennedy or Justice Ginsburg provide a basis on which to reject a constitutional right to polygamy?
The Republican Party was founded in oppositon to the "twin relics of barbarism -- Polygamy, and Slavery." Like homosexual sodomy, polygamy is of course another subject on which Justice Ginsburg could find much illumination in foreign law. When the issue first came before the Supreme court in Reynolds v. United States in 1878, it presented itself as a question of religious liberty -- undoubtedly, in Justice Kennedy's terms, "liberty of the person both in its spatial and more transcendent dimensions." Yet the Court found that the religious liberty protected by the First Amendment did not protect polygamy grounded in religious doctrine. Under the First Amendment, "Congress was deprived of all legislative power over mere opinion, but was left free to reach actions which were in violation of social duties or subversive of good order."
The issue may well confront the Court again. Indeed, Lawrence virtually invites it. The Court itself, however, has done much to erode the social consensus fostering laws prohibiting practices commonly recognized as inconsistent with republican government. In her Star Tribune column today, Katherine Kersten looks at the question of polygamy in the context of the debate over same-sex marriage: "Once same-sex marriage is OK, polygamy's next."[/quote]
Interesting slippery slope