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Paul Lillebo

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Does permitting same-sex marriage lead to permitting polygamy? And so what?

Traditional western marriage is a union between a man and a woman. This involves two restrictions: 1) as to sex (M & F) and 2) as to number (1 & 1). The first (sex) seems to have been enforced in all societies until the past decade. The second (number) has not been restricted at all in many cultures - it's mainly the West of the last few hundred years that has insisted on monogamy. Even today many societies permit polygamy. Clearly, allowing same-sex marriage is a more radical decision than allowing plural marriage.

Recently same-sex marriage has been legalized in some states. The reasoning is that marriage, with its social and financial advantages, should be allowed among persons who love one another, and that this "natural human right" should not be denied on account of the sex of the parties.

Overlooked in discussions of same-sex marriage is this: if we decide that the "sex restriction" in marriage is an abrogation of a natural right to marry whom we love, it may be difficult to maintain the "number restriction." The argument for someone wishing to marry more than one loved one is the same (but less radical) as that for same-sex marriage. I see polygamists soon in the courts and legislatures demanding their right to marry those whom they love. And the courts will not deny their "natural right."

Legislation responds to "the squeaky wheel." Gays have squeaked, but polygamists have not. The full effects of laws are rarely discussed. One effect may be that redefining marriage will result in a new kind of domestic association, where groups of various sizes and sex ratios may join together in a new form of marriage.

In that future the best course may be to base all domestic relations on civil contract law, freeing marriage from its religious connections. In this future we may marry whom and as many as we wish, with a contract that tells our rights and duties within the group, along with rules for secession, etc. Sounds like a complex contract, but a logical outcom

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Closing Statement from Paul Lillebo

Thank you all for good contributions. The answer in the end is that we must wait to see what the future brings. In the meantime, we all have the opportunity to try to influence our future. That's a fun - and often frustrating - part of the game of life.
Paul Lillebo
www.blueridgejournal.com

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    Apr 25 2013: No Paul,
    Legalizing same sex marriage does not lead to polygamy. These are two very different practices and preferences. This topic has been brought up on TED several times, so apparently there is still a lot of fear around it.

    Marriage is a union of two people who want to share the life experience together. Whatever one's sexual preference is, should not deny people the same rights as everyone else has under the law. Same sex partners have lived together since the beginning of time, so I do not understand why you say..."The first (sex) seems to have been enforced in all societies until the past decade". Nothing was "enforced", regarding same sex partnerships, it simply was not recognized as a legal union.

    What are you talking about...."will result in a new kind of domestic association, where groups of various sizes and sex ratios may join together in a new form of marriage."....??? You are projecting your own fear of something, and it's not really clear what that fear is.

    I have many friends who have different sexual preferences, and we have discussed the "full effects of laws". The "full effects of laws" were also discussed extensively by a lot of people when the state I live in (Vermont) was one of the first to legalize same sex marriage. I don't know where you get the idea that "the full effects of laws are rarely discussed". Perhaps that is your personal experience.

    I personally, do not understand why some folks are so afraid of people who have different sexual preferences, which have been practiced since the beginning of humankind. I believe ALL people should have the same rights under the law to choose and marry their life partner. Surely, you recognize that allowing SOME people to choose their life partners, while denying other people the same right is prejudice and discrimination, which are against the law.
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      Apr 25 2013: Thanks, Colleen, for the bit of psychoanalysis. I see the result is that I have "fears" of this or that type of marriage. The good thing about discussion is that I learn something new every time.

      Actually, the question being discussed is a very straightforward one: whether we think plural marriage will be the next type of marriage arrangement to be permitted, if the court determines that the old strictures on marriage violate natural human rights. I really don't see any "fear" in posing that question, as you suggest. It's a straightforward sociological question about likely futures. So I invite you to discuss that question. I also invite you to read the intro again, with an open mind, when I think you will not find the misunderstandings that you report in your comment. It actually seems pretty clear.

      You probably didn't notice that I suggested, as a "best course" in the future, contract-based marriage, restricted neither by number nor sex.

      But perhaps you're right. Perhaps you are a competent psychoanalyst and I'm "projecting [my] own fear of something," as you suggest. Wonder what it is. It's certainly not of marriages, of any kind.
      Cheers anyway,
      Paul
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        Apr 25 2013: You are welcome Paul, and there is no psychoanalysis on my part. I am simply reading your comments, and usually, when a person would like to deny SOME people the same rights that MANY people have, it is fear based...that is common knowledge.

        I read your intro and your comments on this thread several times, with an open heart and mind, to make sure I understood what you are trying to express, to the best of my ability. I do not "report" any misunderstandings in my comment, but rather shared my perspective regarding the question you present.

        I do not agree with your perspectives, and there is a difference between not agreeing, and not understanding. I also am aware that it is common practice for some people to claim lack of understanding, when someone disagrees with him/her.

        I understand clearly Paul, what the question is, and I have answered it clearly. The courts, to the best of my knowledge, have not "changed" anything about marriage. The legislative bodies which legalize same sex marriage have not "changed" anything about marriage. They now, simply recognize that ALL people have the same rights to choose a marriage partner.

        I noticed EVERYTHING you wrote, and in my perception, the "best course" is to give ALL people the right to choose their life partner, just as SOME people have that right under the law. I have no desire to control other people's choices regarding sexual preference. That, in my perception, demonstrates prejudice and discrimination, which I do not support.

        Here is my clear answer to the question you present in case you didn't notice, or didn't understand.
        "Legalizing same sex marriage does not lead to polygamy. These are two very different practices and preferences".
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          Apr 25 2013: "...when a person would like to deny SOME people the same rights that MANY people have, it is fear based..."

          That may well be so, but I don't see what it has to do with this question or with my comment. You seem to be addressing this sermon to me, but there is nothing in my debate position, nor in my comment to you, that would suggest that I wish to deny anything to anyone. I've simply asked the question of whether polygamists will succeed in using the "natural right" argument to permit their unions. You seem to get upset over that simple question.

          To put it so clearly that you really must stop preaching at me: I'm not against homosexual marriage, and I'm not against polygamous marriage, and I haven't suggested denying rights to anyone. Capiche?

          By the way, you yourself seem opposed to polygamous marriage when you state, "Marriage is a union of two people ..." Why only two? Are you trying to deny the same rights to polygamists? Should I remind you that "...when a person would like to deny SOME people the same rights that MANY people have, it is fear based..."
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        Apr 25 2013: Sorry you perceive my comments as "sermon" Paul, which is not my intent. I am clearly responding to your intro and comments. I AM indeed addressing my comments to you because we seem to be having a conversation, and I'm not at all "upset" Paul:>)

        Your question is "Does permitting same-sex marriage lead to permitting polygamy?"

        My answer......again......is: "Legalizing same sex marriage does not lead to polygamy. These are two very different practices and preferences".

        You ask..."By the way, you yourself seem opposed to polygamous marriage when you state, "Marriage is a union of two people ..." Why only two?"

        Paul, I am addressing your topic question. Your intro seems to focus on same sex marriage in my perception. I suggest if you want to discuss polygamous marriage, you start another discussion.
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          Apr 25 2013: "I am addressing your topic question. Your intro seems to focus on same sex marriage in my perception. I suggest if you want to discuss polygamous marriage, you start another discussion. "

          Ah, Colleen, there's the problem.

          My topic, my intro, the debate -- is actually not about same-sex marriage at all. I didn't ask any question about ssm. I asked, given the falling of restrictions on marriage (and here I used the example of ssm), can we expect that in the future the restriction on "number" in marriage will also fall, as a result of legal or legislative action by those who would like to see such a development? So the question, and this debate, is precisely about polygamous marriage and its future likelihood. Since that's what I set up in the intro, I fortunately don't need to start another discussion about it. Sorry if my writing is not as plain as it should be.
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        Apr 25 2013: Dear Paul,
        I don't have a problem. If you do, perhaps you could resolve that in yourself. I joined this conversation and addressed your question.

        It might help for you to evaluate carefully what you write?
        Example:
        "My topic, my intro, the debate -- is actually not about same-sex marriage at all".
        "...(and here I used the example of ssm)..."

        You say it is not about same-sex marriage at all......you're just using that example!!!

        Your question:
        "Does permitting same-sex marriage lead to permitting polygamy"

        My response:
        "Legalizing same sex marriage does not lead to polygamy. These are two very different practices and preferences".

        I do not predict the "future likelihood" of polygamous marriage or anything else.
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      Apr 25 2013: I believe that permitting the legalization of gay marriage does open the door to legalizing polygamy down the road. I personally am gay and live in Canada where gay marriage is legal and polygamy is not. But I think down the road polygamy marriages is going to be a topic to come forward. I know of a very successful poly long-term relationship and I believe that if they would like to get married in the future all three should be bound together not just two.

      I believe in freedom of choice.
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        Apr 25 2013: I also believe in freedom of choice Louise:>)
        It looks like you are relatively new to TED? WELCOME!

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