Gay Marriage and Polygamy

The New York Times, in a piece written by Jo Becker, is reporting that powerful conservative attorney Theodore B Olson is attempting to challenge the constitutionality of California's Proposition 8. Proposition 8 added the ban of same-sex marriage to the California State Constitution.

The article reports that Ted is going to attempt to work off the 2003 Lawrence vs Texas federal Supreme Court decision which established that: “Texas had no rational basis to intrude into private sexual behavior protected by the Constitution’s due process clause…”. Now, such a decision about private sexual behavior probably could be stretched to include behavior that involves more then two consenting adults.

Since Mr Olson is going to argue that since the Lawrence decision established that private gay sex is a protected right, then California must demonstrate that it has a rational basis for discriminating against a class of citizens simply for engaging in that behavior.

Couldn’t the same argument then be made for polygamy? If it is OK to engage in sex with different partners (as long as all participants are consenting adults) in private, shouldn’t they too then be allowed to get married?

I know that the gay community hates it when attempts are made to connect polygamy to gay marriage, but the connection remains. If the line can not be drawn against gay marriage, then just where can the line be drawn? In fact, those who “unofficially” engage in polygamy (they have only one official wife and a few girlfriends - nothing illegal there) are already starting to make these types of arguments.


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