The right-wingers’ worst fears have come true. In the wake of recent gay-marriage rulings, polygamy has now been legalized, with Supreme Court validation coming all too soon. Inevitably, incest will be allowed, and anything else you can imagine. Marriage is destroyed, and no longer has any meaning. It was all predicted by Dr. Keith Ablow. Albow, at first glance, seems to have good credentials—a psychiatrist with an M.D. from Johns Hopkins—so, based on that, you would think that what he wrote would, even if opinionated, at least have the facts down well.
More than a year ago, when states began to legalize gay marriage, I argued that polygamy would be the natural result. If love between humans of legal age is the only condition required to have the state issue a marriage license, then it is irrational to assert that two men or two women can have such feelings for one another, while three women and a man, or two men and a woman, cannot. …
Well, now U.S. District Court Judge Clark Waddoups has found parts of Utah’s anti-bigamy law unconstitutional. His ruling comes in a case brought by Kody Brown and his four wives, who are featured in the reality TV show, “Sister Wives.”
I believe the U.S. Supreme Court will uphold that finding, if Utah challenges it. As I predicted, this will officially make marriage the Wild West, in which groups of people can assert that they are married and should have all the benefits of that status, including family health plans and the right to file taxes as married people.
That’s rather startling—a judge ruled that the state must recognize polygamous marriages? Albow does use equivocating language (“parts of” and “assert” in particular), but makes it clear that the government will be required to officially recognize the status of polygamy.
All it takes is a rather cursory check to discover that Albow is either an idiot with an M.D. who did not read beyond the first sentence of some right-wing blog post, or else (more likely) he is intentionally misstating the facts.
In the real rundown of the case, the Utah verdict did not overturn polygamy laws, merely the laws concerning cohabitation, where several adults decide to live in the same house and all have sex together. No one is being permitted multiple-marriage licenses, no government agency is being forced to provide any kind of benefits. All that the court decided was that the government cannot regulate who lives in your house or who you have sex with.
Nor was the verdict in any way, shape, or form based upon or related to any of the recent rulings on gay marriage. And no, it does not allow for any kind of official or sanctioned marriages, nor will it lead to incest or cats and dogs living together. Well, actually, maybe that last thing.
In fact, it simply brings Utah in line with the way most states have handled cohabitation for decades.
Albow apparently just wants to use this news to frighten people into being more conservative and to make people more hostile to a government he wants them to believe are destroying our institutions. He goes on:
It will also, eventually, lead to test cases in which a few unusual sisters and brothers insist that they can marry, because they are in love and promise not to procreate, but, instead, to use donor eggs or sperm.
And, I predict, the courts will agree with them. …
Marriage is over.
It was always at least a little funny that a huge percentage of people swore to stay together until death, then divorced and remarried.
But, now, it is, officially, judicially, a joke.
If two men can marry, and three men can marry, and five women and a man can marry, and three men and two women can marry, then marriage has no meaning.
As you can see, he quickly slides down the slippery slope, albeit using incest instead of the usual bestiality scare tactic. But his primary thesis is what is interesting: that marriage is an institution that can be rendered meaningless by whom the judiciary may allow to enter it.
He casually sets aside the manner in which people actually regard and sometimes even abuse marriage—high divorce rates, and, from the article’s graphic, exceedingly short celebrity marriages—as being “at least a little funny,” and instead notes that what really destroys the institution is which people are allowed to join it. One can easily imagine that if Albow were writing this article 40 or 50 years ago, he would be decrying the overturning of miscegenation laws with almost the exact same argument.
People have been marrying for horrible reasons for as long as the institution has been around. It was initially based more on the concept of women as chattel, hardly a pristine foundation. Marriage has been used to trap people into lifetimes of abuse. People have battered the institution with widespread infidelity, have used it for technical financial purposes or for illicitly gaining citizenship. People marry for all the wrong reasons—accidental pregnancy, desperation, marrying into status or wealth, and yes, even to get the government benefits.
However, despite centuries of widespread abuse, marriage stood strong and did not lose its meaning.
But now, two men or two women can get married! It apparently does not matter one bit that these people are almost certainly going to have no more and no less abuse of the institution than heterosexual couples; nothing that they actually do in or with the institution will be a change from what it has been before.
No, it is simply that we are allowing same-gender marriages, by itself, that marriage is now “a joke.”
As if marriage is somehow not mostly about the commitment between the wedded and their own internal desire to share, commemorate, and make official that commitment before their community.
Albow seems to be saying that, now that gay people can be married, or even (completely unofficially) more than two people can cohabit, marriage is meaningless.
Which brings me back to a conclusion I made some time ago: to these people, even if marriage is mostly about love, or commitment, or any significant, deeply fulfilling relationship, it is only meaningful to them if it is an exclusive club to which only people they approve of can join. Because if those damn Negroes can join my golf club, or if women are allowed into my boy’s club, it will ruin everything.
It’s pretty clear that Albow has some huge personal bugaboos about gender and sexuality, and is severely distorting the facts to frighten people into acting the way he wants.
Of course, the fact that the article was published on Fox News should have been a big hint right from the start.