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Australian philosopher, literary critic, legal scholar, and professional writer. Based in Newcastle, NSW. Author of FREEDOM OF RELIGION AND THE SECULAR STATE (2012), HUMANITY ENHANCED (2014), and THE MYSTERY OF MORAL AUTHORITY (2016).

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Kazez on Santorum on Polygamy

Good post by Jean Kazez. I'm somewhat more cynical about the role of the state in the marriage business (as I discuss in a comment there). Still, some irrational arguments are used against same-sex marriage, and the post brings this out well.

I'm happy if we send the discussion over there, but by all means comment here if you prefer.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Like most of the things the Right obsesses about, it is absolutely crazy and self-contradictory that so much time and oxygen is wasted on this non-issue.

People should be able to voluntarily enter into whatever relationships they want with any other person they want any time they want for as long as they want. This includes marriages and the additional privileges those marrigaes confer. The state shouldn't have anything at all to do with deciding who gets to marry who, just like they don't get to decide who gets to go into business with who. This seems like something conservative pro-business individualist anti-government types would be all in favor of!?

Note that I say person, since conservative nuts like Santorum are fond of trying to equate gay marriage with marrying a sheep or an inanimate object.

Minakat said...

Sorry, but there's a lot in that article I simply can't agree with. First, the model of a plural marriage discusses at length might well be dysfunctional in some of the ways claimed, but there is no promise that a two person marriage will be any less dysfunctional. Coercion, bad parenting, poor partner choices are ALL perfectly possible in two person marriages. There are plenty of models of plural marriage that provide MORE support for both the partners and children. To not even consider them while dismissing plural marriage as bad for society is unreasonable.

And even if they were "bad marriages," we don't, and shouldn't, test before marriages for anything except that the people entering into that contract are unbound by another contract that conflicts and that they consent. In a plural marriage, we'd need to check with more people that the contract doesn't conflict, but that's it. It's still just a contract between consenting adults. More than two. It's not for us to say that to even try it is a bad plan. Not unless we're going to step up and do something about people marrying for 10 days or choosing to marry the person who has been cheating on them for year. It's just NOT for society to say that because it MIGHT be a crappy marriage, you shouldn't be allowed to enter into that contract.

Lee said...

@Minakat:

I wholeheartedly agree. There seem to be two different issues being debated, (1) the role of the state in marriage and (2) what types of marriages are "OK" on some other level. I think Santorum is wrong on gay marriage for the same general reason that Kazez is wrong on polygamy: the role of the state is not to dictate what marriages are OK, only to facilitate the engagement and enforcement of contracts between consensual adults. Anything further is meddlesome.

Lee.