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Religion, Politics and World Events They make great dinner conversation, don't you think? plus Political Film

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Old 06-19-07, 12:42 AM   #1
kvrdave
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Old case on polygamy that I find interesting....

Big Love is back for a new season, as is my love of polygamy. Man, I find this fascinating. So I started to read up on recent developments in Utah and polygamy. First, I came up against the 2002 Supreme Court ruling on the sodomy law in Texas being found to be unconstitutional. In it, Scalia basically said that the ruling opened the door for challenges on incest, poligamy, beasteality, etc. etc.

It did. Polygamy was challanged using that ruling as reasoning. It was struck down by the Utah supreme court. A man sued the state for not issuing a marriage certificate for a second wife. But what was the reasoning for the Utah court to uphold the ban on polygamy? They said that the Texas case only held on the private sexual acts of individuals, and not to the subject of the state's issuing of marriage certificates, which the state has the right to regulate. Actually, it is quite sound reasoning since the Texas case didn't have anything to do with marriage, but just with sex.

But the Texas case was seen as a huge win for same sex marriage advocates. But does the Utah case effectively negate that reasoning?

Anyway, it has been awhile since we had this discussion, so I am interested to see if anyone has new ideas, or opinions that have changed.
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Old 06-19-07, 12:57 AM   #2
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Two girls for a one night stand: good. Two wives: bad.
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Old 06-19-07, 05:43 AM   #3
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Why have more than one wife? It just shrinks the pool of women you can still have good sex with
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Old 06-19-07, 06:44 AM   #4
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Well polygamy is still practiced in Utah (and other places). I just read an article about how there is some genetic disease where there have been 13 cases worldwide since it was discovered and 20 in Utah because of the polygamy/incest practiced there. As long as they don't need to be legally married and just celestially married, it is all good, right?

But does a legal ban on polygamy drive it underground and keep it inside these secluded communities? Does that promote genetic diseases? Wouldn't that be a compelling state reason to legalize it?

I don't see a compelling state reason to keep it illegal except for the headaches of figuring out who inherits what but I think that can be worked out.
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Old 06-19-07, 06:51 AM   #5
Venusian
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About the disease: http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20070614/...ons_genes_dc_3

General article about Mormons fighting for their rights:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20070612/..._polygamy_dc_1
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Old 06-19-07, 07:41 AM   #6
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See this thread where I brought up the rather weak legacy to date of Lawrence
http://forum.dvdtalk.com/religion-politics-world-events/494565-legacy-lawrence-v-texas-what-legacy.html


The Lawrence case was pretty narrow. The Court purposefully crafted a opinion that would protect sexual privacy rights but would not be applicable to marriage. If O'Connor's opinion (based on equal protection grounds) carried, it might have had more of an effect on marriage rights.
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Old 06-19-07, 07:45 AM   #7
Venusian
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Not looking at Lawrence specifically, couldn't polygamy laws still be shown to violate the Constitution?
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Old 06-19-07, 07:47 AM   #8
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Legalize it.

If that happened, Rudy would be happy.
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Old 06-19-07, 07:48 AM   #9
Red Dog
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Venusian
Not looking at Lawrence specifically, couldn't polygamy laws still be shown to violate the Constitution?

Well sure. That all depends on how you view the Constitution.

I don't need Lawrence to tell me that if a Mormon wants to practice polygamy and the state prevents that, you have a violation of the free exercise clause.
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Old 06-19-07, 07:50 AM   #10
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I'm not sure how it can be argued that it is violating the free exercise clause. As long as the state doesn't prevent them from marrying multiple wives celestially, why does it have to sanction it legally?

I'd think it'd be more an equal protection thing
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Old 06-19-07, 07:55 AM   #11
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If the state is going to involve itself in marriage, then that opens the door IMO. And AFAIK, it is illegal to have multiple marriages even if only one is technically recognized by the state.

The equal protection argument is very tough. Who is being discriminated against? It's not exactly an easily definable class.
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Old 06-19-07, 08:12 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Red Dog
If the state is going to involve itself in marriage, then that opens the door IMO. And AFAIK, it is illegal to have multiple marriages even if only one is technically recognized by the state.

The equal protection argument is very tough. Who is being discriminated against? It's not exactly an easily definable class.
Even moreso, any challenge would be based on a "right to privacy" argument, which is nowhere in the constitution and has been granted only on an extremely limited basis.
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Old 06-19-07, 08:14 AM   #13
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I think the right to privacy argument for polygamy is even tougher than the EP argument. Marriage is anything but private anymore, particularly with the state being an integral player.
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Old 06-19-07, 10:21 AM   #14
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Because of the welfare fraud associated with a lot of polygamy, it seems like it would be in the state's interest to legalize it and promote it. If all those people were legally married, I think fewer would qualify.

Basically, like the old marriage penalty, the state has given an incentive to do things the way they have been done, so it shouldn't be a surprise that it has flourished.
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Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victim may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baronís cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated, but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. - C.S. Lewis
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