Polygamy laws expose our own hypocrisy, proclaims an editorial headline from Monday's USA Today. The editorial is written by Jonathan Turley, a law prof at George Washington, who makes general comments about the Tom Green cert. petition now headed for the Supreme Court. While Turley states that he "personally detest[s] polygamy," he senses deep inconsistency in the present state of the law of marriage in light of Lawrence v. Texas and the Free Exercise Clause:
If the court agrees to take the case, it would be forced to confront a 126-year-old decision [Reynolds v. United States] allowing states to criminalize polygamy that few would find credible today, even as they reject the practice. And it could be forced to address glaring contradictions created in recent decisions of constitutional law.
For more discussion of the USA Today piece, see Albert Mohler's weblog editorial The Floodgates Open: USA Today Promotes Polygamy, which isn't quite an accurate description of Turley's view but does manage to catch the eye. Mohler sees the unfolding slippery-slope result to be a great argument against (surprise!) gay marriage and anything like unto it. It is certainly amusing to see a Southern Baptist spokesman quoting with favor a statement that Reynolds was "an undeniable violation of the Constitution's free exercise clause." I wonder if these commentators realize that the last thing on heaven or earth that the Utah Church wants is for polygamy to be legalized in the US?