Discussing the Supreme Court’s decision on gay marriage recently, Sen. Rand Paul joked about bestiality. This was unwise. If Paul wanted to make the slippery slope argument, the case for polygamy is much more compelling — and realistic.
This is not some straw man argument. As BuzzFeed’s McKay Coppins pointed out, polygamists are, in fact, celebrating the court’s decision. And they have every reason to do so. After all, why shouldn’t marriage equality apply to them, too?
The arguments are essentially the same. For example, Sen. Al Franken recently issued a statement saying, “Our country is starting to understand that it’s not about what a family looks like: it’s about their love and commitment to one another.” Polygamists couldn’t agree more.
I mean, who are we to say that two or three or even four consenting adults — who want to make a lifelong commitment to love one another — shouldn’t be allowed to do so?
What’s magical about the number two?
In fact, you could argue that there is an even better argument for polygamy than for same sex marriage. For one thing, there’s a long tradition (just look at the heroes of the Old Testament.) It’s also intimately tied to religious practice, which means that by prohibiting polygamy, we might also be undermining the “free exercise thereof.”
Why should we impose our values on others?
Now, you might say that there is historical evidence to support the fact that polygamy is bad for women and children. This is sophistry. The truth is that right now about half of all marriages end in divorce, and lots of kids are already struggling, so it’s not like traditional marriage is a panacea. Besides, nobody is forcing you to be a polygamist. This is a choice.
There are practical reasons, too. It’s harder and harder these days to make ends meet. As a man, I can only imagine how much more efficient it would be to have one wife in the workforce and another wife at home with the kids. This would be much better for the children than shipping them off to some nursery school. And having three parents is a lot better than having just one … or none.
So I think we should embrace this new world. This seems like a win/win/win if you ask me.