More

The calm answer to the question, 'If gay people can get married, what about polygamy?'

Looking for a reasonable response to people who freak out about gay people getting married? Here's one.

The calm answer to the question, 'If gay people can get married, what about polygamy?'

I don't know if you heard, but gay people can now get legally married across the entire United States.

As of this moment, weeks after the ruling, with gay people getting married all over the country, I have noticed no change in my straight marriage. My wife has not divorced me because other people are now allowed to copy our totally original idea of legally becoming one entity for tax purposes and celebrating our perfect* love with the world.

(*She would argue that maybe it's not perfect.)

Most people were pretty happy when they learned about it. Some people weren't. Some responded with, "Polygamy is gonna become law now," which seems to me to be a bit of an exaggeration. Who made that argument?


Apparently, Supreme Court Justice John Roberts thought that could happen.

He had this to say in his strongly worded dissent of the ruling.

I was going to show you some really panicky freaked-out mildly insulting tweets here, but then Justice Roberts, in his dissent on the marriage ruling, made the calm, reasonable version of those in his argument.

So how do you respond when someone says, "If gay marriage, why not polygamy?"

John Corvino, chair of the department of philosophy at Wayne State University, is here to address the arguments of those who aren't happy.

They are totally different things to argue about.

People who like to ride down slippery-slope arguments tend to say stuff like: "What about incest? What about bestiality? What about polygamy?"

Let's get the insane ones out of the way first. Incest and bestiality.

GIFs via John Corvino.

Incest and bestiality are forms of abuse. They are perpetrated by people who are straight and gay. Sexual orientation has no relevance to abuse.

And I'm pretty sure you can't get consent from a kitchen appliance.

Which leaves just polygamy.

I didn't know that much about polygamy. So I looked it up. There are actually multiple sub-forms of polygamy.

Polygamy has its own set of issues to deal with and lends itself to abusive practices. It's rarely truly consensual. Polygamy isn't an equal-opportunity thing in the cultures where it's practiced, for the most part. It tends to be something where multiple women are subjugated and married to one man.

As Jon states, polygyny is one man, multiple wives. The vast majority of cultures that allow polygamy act in this way. Women tend to be subjugated, and poor men tend to become unmarriageable. Meanwhile, rich men tend to collect wives as trophies, and this tends to make things worse for society.

When you have one wife and multiple husbands, it's called polyandry. This is exceedingly rare and generally happens in cultures where brothers both marry the same woman because there's a high risk of male death and they want their lineage to continue.

Lastly, there is also group marriage between multiple men and multiple women. This one is the least problematic regarding the persecution of women, but also the least common. They'll have to speak for themselves.

Ergo, polygamy has nothing to do with two consenting adults committing to each other for life.

The next time someone asks you about the slippery slope, you'll know what to respond with.


You're welcome.

True

$200 billion of COVID-19 recovery funding is being used to bail out fossil fuel companies. These mayors are combatting this and instead investing in green jobs and a just recovery.

Learn more on how cities are taking action: c40.org/divest-invest


Canva

I got married and started working in my early 20s, and for more than two decades I always had employer-provided health insurance. When the Affordable Care Act (ACA, aka "Obamacare")was passed, I didn't give it a whole lot of thought. I was glad it helped others, but I just assumed my husband or I would always be employed and wouldn't need it.

Then, last summer, we found ourselves in an unexpected scenario. I was working as a freelance writer with regular contract work and my husband left his job to manage our short-term rentals and do part-time contracting work. We both had incomes, but for the first time, no employer-provided insurance. His previous employer offered COBRA coverage, of course, but it was crazy expensive. It made far more sense to go straight to the ACA Marketplace, since that's what we'd have done once COBRA ran out anyway.

The process of getting our ACA healthcare plan set up was a nightmare, but I'm so very thankful for it.

Let me start by saying I live in a state that is friendly to the ACA and that adopted and implemented the Medicaid expansion. I am also a college-educated and a native English speaker with plenty of adult paperwork experience. But the process of getting set up on my state's marketplace was the most confusing, frustrating experience I've ever had signing up for anything, ever.

Keep Reading Show less
True

$200 billion of COVID-19 recovery funding is being used to bail out fossil fuel companies. These mayors are combatting this and instead investing in green jobs and a just recovery.

Learn more on how cities are taking action: c40.org/divest-invest


The legality of abortion is one of the most polarized debates in America—but it doesn’t have to be.

People have big feelings about abortion, which is understandable. On one hand, you have people who feel that abortion is a fundamental women’s rights issue, that our bodily autonomy is not something you can legislate, and that those who oppose abortion rights are trying to control women through oppressive legislation. On the other, you have folks who believe that a fetus is a human individual first and foremost, that no one has the right to terminate a human life, and that those who support abortion rights are heartless murderers.

Then there are those of us in the messy middle. Those who believe that life begins at conception, that abortion isn’t something we’d choose—and we’d hope others wouldn’t choose—under most circumstances, yet who choose to vote to keep abortion legal.

Keep Reading Show less
via Lorie Shaull / Flickr

The epidemic of violence against Indigenous women in America is one of the country's most disturbing trends. A major reason it persists is because it's rarely discussed outside of the native community.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, murder is the third-leading cause of death among American Indian and Alaska Native women under age 19.

Women who live on some reservations face rates of violence that are as much as ten times higher than the national average.

Keep Reading Show less