Love That Dare Not

Why We Should Support the Right to Marry Plurally


The most disturbing thing about Utah's bigamy statute is that it applies to people who aren't actually wed. If a married man merely cohabits with several women, he's a bigamist in the eyes of the state. This concept could be applied to all sorts of common-law ménages. If saying you are married makes it so, could gays who have commitment ceremonies be charged with a crime? Convicting Green—and driving his coreligionists underground just in time for the 2002 Olympics—might deflect attention from a whole range of sexual dissidents. But it's hard to take solace in the suffering of a sacrificial ram.

Maybe I haven't convinced you that polygamy is kosher. (I haven't even convinced myself.) But that's not the point. In a just society, every adult may pursue happiness as he or she sees fit. Grossing people out is not enough to abridge that right, and neither is threatening the sexual order. You have to cause damage before the state can stop you. Yet harm was not an issue in Tom Green's trial. That's why everyone who cares about freedom must consider this verdict a warning. There but for the grace of Moroni (the angel that gave us the Book of Mormon) go you and I.


Research: Ben Silverbush

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