Why Obergefell is unlikely to lead to polygamy

Why Obergefell is unlikely to lead to polygamy

It took less than a week for a Montana trio to decide that the recent Supreme Court decision requiring states to recognize gay unions as marriages also requires states to recognize plural marriages. I doubt if the case is going anywhere; if it were to somehow reach the Supreme Court, it would probably be reversed in a one-sentence summary opinion, much as the first attempt at gay marriage was rejected 44 years ago.

But this doesn’t really answer the question of whether we will or should travel down this road. There’s been a fascinating online discussion of this question, featuring two of my favorite left-of-center (to wildly different degrees) writers: Jonathan Rauch (here) and Fredrik DeBoer (here and here).

Rauch and DeBoer are mostly concerned with the “ought” argument: Should we go down this path, given support for same-sex marriage?  But there is a different question that needs to be asked: Will we go down this road? Is the almost inevitable denial of a right to plural marriage going to follow the same route as the denial of a right to gay marriage in the 1970s did?

I think the answer is no. I don’t think, however, this is a matter of logic.

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