Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Ideas taken to their conclusion (twice)

And now, it's not just dissident "Mormons," but (in one case) homosexuals themselves going about the redefinition of marriage and family to deprivilege the number "2."

After all, if the male-female requirement can go by the wayside because it's contrary to some people's passionate desires, there's no reason not to reject the numerical requirement of 2-and-only-2. After all, the requirement of "2" is equally contrary to some people's passionate desires. And there's actually FAR more historical precedent (n>0) for plural marriage as for homosexual "marriage."

Anyway, on the first count, some members of a breakaway quasi-Mormon sect have filed an appeal in a Denver federal court, seeking to overturn Utah's ban on polygamy. Partially on religious-freedom grounds, but also taking pages from the pro-gay playbook.
"It's time for it to be readdressed," [Mary Batchelor of Sandy, Utah, executive director of the group Principle Voices] said in an interview. "We live in a society of family arrangements that simply are, no matter how people want to define them. They are not labeled criminal and we don't believe our family arrangements should be labeled criminal either."
Sound familiar? "Our families simply *are* -- and definitions don't matter." A triumph of the will, where the creation of something constitutes its justification, or its immunity from moral legislation. (The spate of gay "marriages" led by the mayor of San Francisco, an attempt to create facts on the ground, proves how utterly lawless pro-homosexual activists are.) Then we get the citation in the legal briefs, as cited by the Associated Press as arguing that "under a 2003 U.S. Supreme Court ruling striking Texas laws banning sodomy, polygamy is a private interest that should not be prosecuted." The brief says:
The [Supreme Court] found no compelling state interest in criminalizing homosexual sodomy based on a long history of states and/or a majority of society finding the practice immoral. Similarly, the state of Utah can offer no compelling justification for criminalizing polygamy ... Utah's criminalization of religious polygamy, even if the crime is rarely prosecuted, brands plaintiffs as criminals and sanctions public and private discrimination based on plaintiffs' religious based choice of marital relationship.
The case for a right to plural marriage is actually far stronger than the case for a right to sodomy, because "the free exercise of religion" (unlike "privacy") actually appears in the U.S. Constitution. Religion, unlike sex, is an activity protected in principle from state regulation, and thus there's a "there" there besides "I want something" or the famous Casey "mystery" passage.

Then there's the other case -- involving three homosexuals in Canada (warning: link is to A gay man and a lesbian woman had a child together and are the child's legal (as well as biological) parents, but the lesbian's lover also wants to be granted parental rights.
"The family has evolved over the years in a way that the law should recognize the reality of this little boy," the father's lawyer, Alfred Mamo, told the [Toronto] Globe and Mail. "His reality being that he's got two mothers and a father with whom he thrives. They all want this for their son."
Again ... this sound familiar? The issues aren't exactly gay marriage (Canada having long ago joined the Brave New World), but the creation of a three-parent family. Still, the argument is exactly the same -- recognize the reality and diversity of the contemporary family. Pictures of a cooing baby. And heck, why stop at three. Doesn't the father's boyfriend/"husband" have any say in this? (Four.) What if this child had been carried by a surrogate mother? (Five.) And her husband/lover/partner/whatever (six)? Once you throw in divorces in these with-it times and all the shared custody issues, you might get into the double digits.

But "more" isn't "better" in the matter of parents. In fact, like with cancer cells, exactly the contrary. Parental love is jealous and depends on a love of what is really, truly one's own (in Plato's Republic, Socrates knows that the City in Speech has to keep mothers from knowing who their children are, lest they favor them). Once motherhood is decoupled in principle from the physical acts of conception and the nine months of carrying to term -- "the biological bits," the lover's lawyer played them down as, saving his strength for the red-letter word "discriminatory" -- it becomes a property contract like any other. Just as fatherhood, inherently a less-exhausting enterprise, has been decoupled from love and marriage -- with predictable results.

Here was my favorite part of the article:
In 2003 a lower court rejected the partner's attempt to be listed as a co-parent.
In his ruling, Mr. Justice David Aston said the woman plays the role of parent to the child in every sense imaginable, and suggested that allowing the trio to share equal rights as parents would be in the boy's best interests.
But Ontario law, he ruled, binds his hands. Provincial family law allows two parents of the opposite sex, or two parents of the same sex, but not three parents.
The law bind a judge's hands? Heaven forfend.

Pro-homosexual propagandists can protest that they oppose polygamy or how they now have no right to marry *at all* (which is not true), but the logic of the law and precedent-based decisions forces principles to play themselves out to their logical conclusion. If a private desire for something creates a right to it, and a concomitant right to overturn the definitions of marriage and family as mere historical accidents or prejudicial, then this is what must happen. This is far less the case for democratic deliberation, where the inherently messy mind of the demos operates as a de facto brake on the slippery slope. But lawyers, like Chesterton's madman, are more perfectly logical.

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