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25 November 2011

Praise: Canadian Court Disproves Slippery Slope

One of the most common arguments against marriage equality is that if same gender marriage is legal than it will lead a slippery slope to polygamy, incest, bestiality, etcetera.  The arguments against these are quite simple.  Marriage equality is not about any of those things but allowing any two consenting adults to wed.  Incest laws are in place to prevent coercion, which is not proper consent anyway, and medical issues for potential offspring.  No creatures other than humans can consent.  Polygamy often involves coercion and is not about just two consenting adults. All of the hate groups seem to talk about the slippery slope.  Here are some examples.

From the National Organization for Marriage, in a paper directed at Jews.
“Is polygamy next?” Jonathan Yarbrough, part of the first couple to get a same-sex marriage in
Provincetown, Mass, said, “I think it’s possible to love more than one person and have more than one partner. . . . In our case, it is. We have an open marriage.” Once you rip a ship off its mooring who knows where it will drift next?
From the Family Research Council, in testimony in Rhode Island.
If the natural sexual complementarity of a man and a woman and the theoretical procreative capacity of an opposite-sex union are to be discarded as principles central to the definition of marriage, then what is left? If love and companionship are the only necessary elements of marriage, why should other relationships that provide love, companionship, and a lifelong commitment not also be recognized as "marriages"-including relationships between adults and children, or between close blood relatives, or between three or more adults?
There is far more precedent cross-culturally for polygamy as an accepted marital structure than there is for homosexual "marriage." There is also a genuine movement for polygamy or "polyamory" in some circles.
This argument is already being pressed in the courts. If homosexual "marriage" is not stopped now, we will be having the exact same debate about "plural" marriages only one generation from now.
From the American Family Association, a column fearing the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell.
“But what about homosexuals?” you ask. The question would better be stated “what about people with homosexual desires?” Put that way, you can see the flaw. If sexual desires alone are the criteria by which we change our marriage (or military) laws to give people “equal rights,” then why not change them to include polygamy? After all, most men seem born with a desire for many women. How about those who desire their relatives? By the gay rights logic, such people don’t have “equal rights” because our marriage laws have no provision for incest. And bisexuals don’t have “equal rights” because existing marriage laws don’t allow them to marry a man and a woman.
From the Manhattan Declaration, a manifesto for a "traditional" Christian society.
We understand that many of our fellow citizens, including some Christians, believe that the historic definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman is a denial of equality or civil rights. They wonder what to say in reply to the argument that asserts that no harm would be done to them or to anyone if the law of the community were to confer upon two men or two women who are living together in a sexual partnership the status of being "married." It would not, after all, affect their own marriages, would it? On inspection, however, the argument that laws governing one kind of marriage will not affect another cannot stand. Were it to prove anything, it would prove far too much: the assumption that the legal status of one set of marriage relationships affects no other would not only argue for same sex partnerships; it could be asserted with equal validity for polyamorous partnerships, polygamous households, even adult brothers, sisters, or brothers and sisters living in incestuous relationships.
One could easily find more examples from more anti-equality groups.  I trust those are sufficient.

And now it has been put to the test.  In 2003, British Columbia became the second Canadian region to enact marriage equality.  After eight years on this potentially slippery slope, the Supreme Court of British Columbia has ruled against polygamy.
In a 335-page decision released on Wednesday, Chief Justice Robert Bauman ruled in favour of the section of the Criminal Code outlawing polygamous unions.
In his ruling, Bauman said while the law does infringe on religious freedom, it is justified given the harm polygamy causes to children, women and society.
The Chief Justice did not rule swiftly.  There was a huge amount of testimony and careful consideration.
Bauman spent several months hearing testimony and legal arguments about whether the 121-year-old ban on multiple marriages is constitutional.
The landmark hearings, which wrapped up in April, focused on the polygamous community of Bountiful, but the ruling is expected to have implications for polygamists in the Muslim community.
The constitutional test case was prompted by the failed prosecution of two men from Bountiful who were charged in 2009 with practising polygamy.
The B.C. government then asked the court to rule whether Canada's polygamy laws violated the Constitution and Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
This won't stop hate groups in the United States from continuing to use fear and slippery slope arguments as they continue to fight against equality.  They continue to fear loss when equality promotes without demoting anything other than hate.  They continue to claim that they are for the family when they fight against the love and commitment of families.  Canada is offering evidence of the truth.  Equality and love will eventually win.

Thanks to Joe My God for the heads up.

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