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Yes, this is my experience as well. I have [distant] family still involved. The girls who make it to 18 or so can generally escape.

God help the ones who don't.

This excerpt addresses the issue of polygamy internally, but ignores the external perception thereof.

Nobody is saying that allowing SSM will cause girls under the age of 18 to want to marry an already married man. The concern, rather, is that any revision of our definition of marriage in the traditional sense will require provisions to accomodate other non-traditional marriages.

The fact is, there are people (men and women of legal age and sound mind) who want to practice polygamy, and evangelicals and other conservatives have a very big problem with that.

What I'm really saying is that the excerpt above assumes that only an unwise underage girl could be forced into polygamy, and there is no other way it could happen, when I'm very sure that is not at all the case.

Um, that isn't an argument against the slippery slope justification. It is a discussion of why polygamy is unappealing and how in practice it involves other criminal behavior. This has nothing to do with the core arguement that consenting adults should be allowed to practice whatever marriage arrangements they like.

Is there anybody that doesn't think that explicit decriminalization of polygamy is inevitable? State sanctioned polygamy is still a question, but just as the arguements put forth in the Texas sodomy case seem to lead directly to decriminalization, recognition of gay marriage would give polygamists an argument for recognition of polygamy.

Following links back to the lengthier discussions at other sites, a couple of points that are made against a too-quick application of the slippery-slope argument are: (1) Decriminalization doesn't happen in a vacuum, but requires significant social support in addition to a good legal argument. Gay rights has broad social support; "polygamy rights" doesn't, not at all. (2) Polygamous communities thrive only on the fringes. Once they get put under the spotlight, disclosure of the extent to which they violate other legal and social norms further undermines any public support. The Krakauer book and what has happened with the FLDS group in its aftermath are a good illustration of the second point.

I take serious issue with the slippery slope (non)argument. Here is my response to it:

If plural marriage, incest, etc. are bad, lets hear the reasons for it. If these reasons apply to SSM's then use that as your argument. If these reasons do not apply to SSM's then the slope isn't slippery after all.

While I completely understand why some, especially libertarians, argue that SSM doesn't entail polygamy legalization, I don't ultimately find their arguments persuasive for the reason. The issue really isn't about the logical justifications for SSM but the social acceptability of non-traditional relationships. Once that emotional acceptability is had for one, it tends to slowly flow to others.

The fact is that few people arrive at their conclusions via philosophical analysis, the way the SSM debate tends to rage in intellectual circles.

So all these libertarians might well be right, but it misses the overall trend.

Further I tend to find the assumption that polygamy entails these sort of FLDS communities. However not all polygamists are in those sorts of relationships. There is a so-called polyamour movement in the United States that isn't engaged in these things for religious purposes and have even more complex relationships. Some of that came out of the free love movement of the 60's. Others for different reasons.

But mark my words, as Hollywood, in its never ending search for new ways of framing old plots, comes to embrace these relationships, they'll be normalized. We can see this with the HBO Big Love show. The protagonists are closer to typical Americans than the FLDS like community they arose out of. Keep it on TV for a few years and it won't seem shocking.

It's that slippery slope that will inevitably lead to the legitimization of polygamous relationships.

I actually agree with your comments Clark. My point was that IF reasons can be found for why polygamy is bad, THEN we can see if they apply to SSM's. If social attitude is the only thing keeping us from recognizing these various forms of marriage then by all means let's legalize them all. Bring on that slippery slope, for not all slopes are bad. Unfortunately for that, however, I do think that reasons can legitimately be given for opposing many of these currently socially unaccpetable forms of marriage.

I think we can give reasons. For instance over at Positive Liberty in response to that recent op ed there was the issue of fairness. In a polygamist relationship the other members can gang up in voting. 2 against 1, for instance. In monagamy it's always 1:1. Yet for any reason like this, it's hard to see what grounds it. For instance why do we demand a fairness in marriage of a sort we don't demand in any other institution? No one would say Democracy is unfair because my vote counts 1/300,000,000 as much as the next guy.

Ultimately such issues are grounded on us.

The best "reason" is pragmatic. For instance the argument that sense polygamists often abuse, we ought ban polygamist marriages. But one can argue that by that logic we ought ban lots of speech we allow.

It's very hard to make sense of any reasons that are "absolute" in the sense people demand. At best one can appeal to studies on raising children and the state's interest there. But it's hard to imagine how, without legalized polygamy, one could have any such study that is meaningful. i.e. that is any reason would need be empirical but the very repressed nature of the practice removes the possibility of such empirical studies.

"Decriminalization doesn't happen in a vacuum, but requires significant social support in addition to a good legal argument. Gay rights has broad social support; "polygamy rights" doesn't, not at all."

I disagree with this. Trends in passage of anti-gay marriage bills seem to question how much social support really exists. California, for instance, even passed a law that defined marriage as one man and one woman. That is why its supporters have been so active on the legal front. If pro-gay laws are put on the books by judges, I see no reason why the same arguments can't be made for polygamy. And judges are sticklers for deciding cases by "precedence" rather than case-by-case evaluations.

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