Polygamy: Blame the gays.
Conservatives are a rather confused and stupid lot especially the more authoritarian kinds. They are the soul-mates of other authoritarians like Communists and Nazis. This wasn’t always the case with conservatives but now that they have joined the Jesus crusade they are open and flagrant statists.
And they are dishonest ones as well. Take a report from right-winger Stanley Kurtz that appeared in the neo-conservative rag “The Weekly Standard”. Now for those who don’t know neo-conservative means they don’t even pretend to support free enterprise or small government anymore. They want to police the world, use state power to force people to be “moral”, etc and love the welfare state. They are compassionate conservatives like King George.
These people hate homosexuals. No matter what they may call it themselves it comes down to hate. They are frothing-at-the-mouth, rabid haters of gay people. The more sane ones among them try to disguise it but most are very open about their hatred. Stanley Kurtz is one of these neo-conservatives who is making money off the Boobus Americanus with his anti-gay tirades. The argument is that if you allow gay couples to have equal protection under the law you will destroy marriage.
Apparently heterosexuals are not responsible for the state of straight marraige—gays are. It wasn’t the German government responsible for the state of Germany in the 1930s. It was Jews. Just ask Adolph. One argument conservatives have used is that if you let gays marry then people will marry pigeons and have polygamous relationships.
Of course polygamy is far older than gay marriage. It’s far older than Christianity and, in fact, the Bible, in numerous places endorsed polygamy. This Judeo-Christian culture they fawn over endorsed polygamy thousands of years ago.
Now Kurtz is harping on about a man and his wife who entered into a “cohabitation contract” with another woman. The couple exchanged rings with her. But they didn’t marry. Nor did they enter into a partnership agreement the way couples might. They live in the Netherlands, a nation the moral conservatives love to hate.
Kurtz notes that news of this “marriage” “spread through the conservative side of the internet like wildfire”. So what? Conservatives are dumb and prone to believe lots of stupid things. They think Jesus walked on water and was born of a virgin. They think George Bush told the truth about mass weapons of destruction. They think Republicans advocate “small government”. As a group they are prone to believe fantastical things.
Kurtz says that this “triple wedding is an unmistakable step down the road to legalized group marriage”. Well this cohabitation contract between these three people is not related to gay marriage at all. They didn’t marry. Nor did they enter into the equivalent of a civil union either. They did something entirely different. Small detail to the rabid Right who foam and froth more than they think. But then they can do the former and not the latter.
Now we all know there are many different kind of relationships and have been for centuries. It’s not something that materialized as a result of recognizing the legal rights of homosexuals. And we also know that in the West the main practitioners of polygamy are Right-wing conservatives of a deeply religious bent. The main group practising polygamy are fundamentalist Mormons who have communities all over the American West. These are rock-ribbed Republicans, gay hating, conservatives. They are people who consider themselves hard cord Christians. They are part of a religious movement that is overwhelmingly anti-gay and want government forcing people to follow their ideas of private morality. These are people who vote for George Bush!
Kurtz mentions another case of alleged polygamy, that of Serge Regnier of Belgium. He calls Belgium a “cultural cousin” of the Netherlands but that’s not quite true. His only reason for doing so is that Belgium was the second country to recognize gay marriage. But Regnier is not married. He lives with three women in a polygamous relationship that has no legal sanction. He also notes that Regnier is unemployed “and the entire family is supported by government subsidies.”
Hmmm, maybe the subsidies and not “gay marriage” is what allows such polygamous relationships to survive. Certainly if you read “Under the Banner of Heaven”, about the fundamentalist Mormon cults that are polygamists, welfare payments are a major factor. One man has trouble supporting one wife and kids let alone dozens of wives. So he doesn’t! The extra wives are not legally married to him and thus they are single mothers in need of state assistance. Millions of dollars are channelled into polygamous communities through such welfare payments every month.
The US government sends billions of redistributed wealth to such polygamous communities all the time. And since these groups are big enough to form their own towns, like Colorado City, Arizona, they form school districts. Well that makes them eligible for millions more in education subsidies which get channelled into other activities by the cult instead of the schools. Polygamists are masters at miling the welfare state for all it’s worth.
Polygamy would have a damn hard time surviving without the welfare state. But neo-conservatives like the welfare state. They like government active in every sphere of life. So blame polygamy on gays. Ignore that the welfare state funds it, that religious Right groups justify it and that it existed long before it was legal to be gay let alone before gays could marry anywhere in the world.
Kurtz crows that since gay marriage was legalized in Holland there have been “increases in out-of-wedlock births and parental cohabitation”. This he says “emerged in the wake of the movement for same-sex marriage.” The technical term for that is bull shit.
Now I’ve been around long enough to remember life before gay marriage. OOPS, one doesn’t have to be too old for that. I clearly remember conservatives whining about these trends decades BEFORE there was the first gay marriage or civil union. They saw these same trends before the Supreme Court struck down sodomy laws, before any nation allowed gay marraige or civil unions, and while most US states still prosecuted people for being gay and it was illegal for two men to dance together. They saw these trends then because they existed then. I is the height of dishonesty to blame these pre-existing trends on events that took place afterwards.
Kurtz is very dishonest. He argues that “the germ of an organized effort to legalize polyamory in the United States can be found in the Unitarian Church....” Well Unitarians are on the Left and that means worthy of slander to conservatives like Kurtz. And as Kurtz notes, “Unitarian churches in Massachusetts played a key role in the struggle over gay marriage....” So he acts like marriage with multiple partners started with the Unitarians while overlooking over a century of polygamy amongst the Mormons. Why?
Well, as he noted Unitarians supported gay marriage. Mormons oppose gay marriage. Unitarians tend to vote Democrat while Mormons tend to vote Republican. Kurtz wants to make the Left look bad because he is on the Right. So he distorts the facts. And he wants to link polygamy with pro-gay views. He can’t do that if he acknowledges that most polygamists are vehemently anti-gay.
Polygamy today is not practiced because it makes economic sense because it doesn’t. It’s a losing proposition which is why almost all these relationships survive off the welfare state. Polygamy in the West is practiced because it is “God’s will”. And it’s hard to blame gays for that.