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If gay marriages are OK then what about polygamy Or incest The House of Representatives may have passed legislation last week opposing gay marriage but the people will soon be trumped by the courts In September the judges of the Hawaii Supreme Court are expected to legalize gay marriage Once done there gay marriage--like quickie Nevada divorces--will have to be recognized under the full faith and credit clause of the Constitution throughout the rest of the US Gay marriage is coming Should it For the time being marriage is defined as the union 1 of two people 2 of the opposite sex Gay-marriage advocates claim that restriction No 2 is discriminatory a product of mere habit or tradition or worse prejudice But what about restriction No 1 If it is blind tradition or rank prejudice to insist that those who marry be of the opposite sex is it not blind tradition or rank prejudice to insist that those who marry be just two In other words if marriage is redefined to include two men in love on what possible principled grounds can it be denied to three men in love This is traditionally called the polygamy challenge but polygamy--one man marrying more than one woman--is the wrong way to pose the question Polygamy with its rank inequality and female subservience is too easy a target It invites exploitation of and degrading competition among wives with often baleful social and familial consequences For those in doubt on this question see Genesis 26-35 on Joseph and his multimothered brothers The question is better posed by imagining three people of the same sex in love with one another and wanting their love to be legally recognized and socially sanctioned by marriage Why not Andrew Sullivan author of Virtually Normal An Argument About Homosexuality offers this riposte to what he calls the polygamy diversion New Republic June 7 homosexuality is a state while
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