2013-06-30 – One of the first things that popped into my inbox after the Supreme Court decisions on gay marriage was a warning that polygamy could be legalized next.
I’m not sure why that was the scare tactic du jure, but it was. If I were on the save-marriage-for-heteros team, I might have warned that the Supreme Court was poised to legalize marriage between people and corporations. It is the next logical step, because . . .
Corporations are people, according to the Court. I don’t have to tell you about the ick factor in that one.
Where human-corporate marriages would be supported by substantial—and recent—court precedent, polygamy would not. Gay marriage, to the limited extent it is now approved, is founded on the constitutional principle of equal protection. Some people are allowed to marry a partner of their choice and some are not. But there is no class of individual who is permitted a polygamous marriage.
The fact is that certain forms of marriage are prohibited on the assumption that they are prima facie abusive relationships or because the individuals involved are deemed unable to give valid consent to the marriage. Marriage of minors is an example. Polygamous marriage falls into this category. And since these laws apply to everyone, there is no equal protection issue. This is about the type of marriage, not about who can enter them.
That doesn’t mean you couldn’t go to court to demand a polygamous marriage. It just means that the legal theory that supports gay marriage doesn’t support you. Get your own legal theory.
Here’s an idea. If you want to legalize polygamous marriage, your best bet as a first step would be to legalize marriage between people and corporations (as scary as that is). Then, with corporations on your side (assuming they even want to marry people), you can accomplish anything.