- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A federal judge’s ruling in a Utah polygamy case has released a flood of “I told you so” reactions from traditional-marriage supporters, who have fought — often in vain — to formally define marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

“Some times I hate it when what I predict comes true,” tweeted former Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum, who has predicted polygamy as one of many logical outcomes of the legal strategies and arguments used to support same-sex marriage.

“Well, that slope didn’t take long to turn slippery,” Rod Dreher wrote in an American Conservative article titled “Utah & Polygamy: We Told You So.”

Our warnings about legalized polygamy were not fearmongering, said Autumn Leva, director of governmental affairs for Minnesota for Marriage, which fought in vain for voter approval of a constitutional marriage amendment last year.

“We said that if you redefine marriage to be just an emotional bond between consenting adults, then any consenting adults can make that argument [for a right to marry] — even for multiple marriages,” Ms. Leva said.

“We knew those arguments would be used” to overturn anti-polygamy laws, she said. “It was only a matter of time.”

Others said the slippery-slopers are wrong and U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups‘ Dec. 13 ruling in the case of “Sister Wives” reality-show stars Kody Brown and his four “wives” has nothing to do with same-sex marriage.

Yes, the Supreme Court’s ruling in Lawrence v. Texas, which overturned an anti-sodomy law, “led” to Judge Waddoups‘ decision, “but not because it was a victory for gay rights,” Zack Ford wrote on ThinkProgress in an article titled “No, the Court Victory for Polygamy Has Nothing to do With Marriage Equality.”

The Lawrence ruling said government “cannot intrude on what happens in adults’ bedrooms as long as it’s consensual,” Mr. Ford wrote. That means the private, consensual relations of people — including those in “multiple marriages” — cannot be criminalized.

But this has “very little to do with the gay community,” Mr. Ford wrote. In fact, he said, gays are seeking something different from polygamous families. Same-sex families want equality under the law regardless of whether a religious ceremony is involved.

“Conversely, polygamists are not currently fighting for legal recognition, but for the right to freely practice their religious beliefs without facing criminal prosecution,” Mr. Ford wrote. Thus, it’s religious liberty — not “the slippery slope of same-sex marriage” — that is operating here.

Rob Boston, communications director for Americans United for Separation of Church and State, also dismissed the idea that Judge Waddoups‘ ruling is an “assault on marriage” or “inevitable consequence” of the Supreme Court’s June rulings that paved the way for same-sex marriage to be recognized under federal law and in California.

Judge Waddoups “robustly” applied the First Amendment’s freedom of religion clause in his ruling, and it’s “not a terribly controversial idea” to say that “government has no business meddling in the types of personal relationships people choose to form,” Mr. Boston wrote.

Maybe, he added pointedly, the reason conservatives “seem less than thrilled this time” is because “the religion in question isn’t their own.”

The next steps for the ruling in Brown v. Buhman are not immediately clear, although an appeal is expected.

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