Martin raises an interesting question:
Dale, just wondering -- and again, I may have missed it -- where do you stand on polygamy? I think the logic behind gay rights entails support for polygamy. Why just "couples"? That's numerical bigotry. I think any group of consenting adults should be allowed to marry. But I also think that this whole debate would be moot if government got out of the business of sanctioning marriage.
Well, as I've mentioned before, I actually personally disapprove of marriage as a largely patriarchal vestige, and what I specifically disapprove is the denial of the already existing right of citizens to marry to samesex couples in particular entirely as the expression of and in the service of the maintanence of homophobia.
I have no "pre-emptive" or "logical" aversion to state sanctioned threesomes, line marriages, temporary marriages, or any number of imaginable alternatives -- so long as one is extremely vigilant about the ways in which these might become forms of exploitation, indenture, and so on.
But I can't say that I am very interested in these or any other forms of affiliation I might come up with off the top of my head if I give the idea extended thought. This is because I think one should confine one's attention in these matters to actual citizens who are being stigmatized and marginalized here and now as they navigate existing institutions, actual citizens who are making explicit demands in the name of justice for our consideration.
As for organized polygamists (I admit I don't know much about this issue), I would need to see exactly what they claim to be denied, exactly what they claim suffer in consequence, and exactly what they are asking for before I would offer up a blanket approval or disapproval of the form, you know?
Martin says I think the logic behind gay rights entails support for polygamy and I see what he means, but I don't really agree that this is a useful way of looking at the question when all is said and done. I say this because I don't think social struggle for greater equity and diversity and democracy is really a matter of logical entailments, so much as a matter of actually existing citizens testifying to suffering, re-imagining their relation to public discourse, and demanding rights.
I hope that doesn't seem like quibbling on my part or just a way of sidestepping Martin's point. I think it is an interesting question, and the fact that it redeems an otherwise frustrating exchange with John Howard is much appreciated.