Polygamy and the Presidency – Rick Santorum

OK, so maybe Mitt Romney is the more obvious subject for an article on polygamy and the US presidency, with his polygamous ancestry, espousal of a once-polygamous religion, and neat line in jokes that avoid these facts (“marriage should be between a man and a woman… and a woman and a woman…” – but Rick Santorum is the guy who keeps bringing it up, no doubt as a reminder of Romney’s inconvenient religious preference. However, Santorum does this invariably to compare polygamy with gay marriage, to say that the first is the inevitable consequence of the second.
Go here to see some analysis of this, or rather a suggestion that maybe audiences shouldn’t just recoil in horror at the suggestion.

You could also go to the judgement in the Constitutional Reference Case to find an argument that seeks to establish that gay marriage is OK, and that polygamy is reprehensible, although it might be difficult to differentiate between this and the Humpty Dumpty logic that Santorum is trying to unpick in his audiences.

Meanwhile, I close by drawing notice to the point that, just because polygamy is justified on all the arguments for gay marriage that Santorum exposes, doesn’t mean that it will get the same treatment. If anything, the Canadian polygamy judgement is evidence for saying that legal systems implementing human rights laws do not deliver human rights, but instead they deliver whatever the judge wants, backed by whatever rationalisation he finds convenient at the moment. Otherwise, why did just about every lawyer in Canada, including a series of special prosecutors, take the view for decades that polygamy would be protected, before the Chief Justice of BC came up with the idea that it was a bad thing, except for kids?

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