Apparently, there are some people out there who do because they show up to make their feelings known whenever and wherever there is a discussion of the same-sex marriage* issue. The pro-polygamy/polyandry folks maintain that, since marriage is a civil right that is applicable to gay and lesbian couples, it should also be applicable to polygamists and polyandrists.
Polygamy.com is just one of many organizations working toward the promotion and eventual legal recognition of plural marriage. I think their cause is a valid one and I support their efforts to expand and modernize marriage and family because I believe that those institutions must be updated to include broader options so that they do not become obsolete in this contemporary society in which women and children are no longer considered property. However, simple arithmetic makes the goals of the plural marriage movement separate from those of the marriage equality movement.
The recognition of same-sex marriages only requires that the current marriage laws be made gender neutral. Many of the marriage laws have already become gender neutral as a result of progress toward womens’ empowerment, so making civil marriage a gender neutral affair between two people it is not that great a legal leap.
It is quite understandable that polygamists and polyandrists see the recognition of same-sex marriage as being a justification for their cause, but the marriage laws were designed to stipulate obligations and responsibilities and to confer benefits and protections for only two people. Many provisions and revisions would have to be made before our marriage laws will be able to adequately and fairly accommodate marriages between more than two people, regardless of the genders/orientations of the group.
The current property and inheritance laws associated with marriage simply will not work for more than two parties. For example, if one member of a group dies, how will his or her property and debts be distributed among the remaining members and how will the survivors handle the estate taxes? What will the group do about life, health, auto and homeowner insurance? Which member(s) of the group is(are) responsible for making end-of-life decisions when another member becomes permanently incapacitated and what if there is a disagreement (some want to terminate life support and the others do not)? What, if any, alimony will be owed to (or by) a member who leaves the group? How about child custody and support?
Of course there are reasonable answers to all of those questions, but those solutions have yet to be written into the property and inheritance laws associated with marriage. And before that can be done, the right to polygamy and polyandry must first be recognized via legislation, popular vote or judicial ruling.
I subscribe to the school of thought that teaches that there are no such things as “new” civil and human rights because civil and human rights are not invented, but rather discovered after always having existed and, that once they are discovered, they must be recognized.
* Yes, I know that some of them are just using the polygamy angle as a straw man because the position opposing same-sex marriage is untenable and logical fallacies, intellectual dishonesty and emotional appeals are pretty much all they’ve got for their “arguments.”
This article was also published at Blogcritics