The leaders of a religious, polygamous sect in Bountiful, British Columbia will use same-sex marriage as a court defense in a trial that could see them jailed for having up to 20 wives. Winston Blackmore and James Oler will claim that since gay couples can wed legally, polygamy laws should be struck down as invalid.
Anti-gay groups are already somersaulting on the “I told you so” trampoline, blaming the gays for this whole situation. (I think they’ve also got a “dog marriage” cartwheel mat, “incestuous marriage” trapeze ropes, and other acrobatic devices for each claim in their Hall of Ridiculous Arguments™.)
A pet peeve of mine involves the idea that legalizing same-sex marriage somehow changed the definition of marriage and therefore makes gays responsible for this whole polygamous marriage discussion. Scoff.
The rights and legalities of marriage have remained identical after same-sex marriage. I’m betting the story with polygamy would be a tad different, as virtually every law involving cohabitation would likely have to change. Joint tax returns, pension transfer, guardian rights, maternity/paternity rights, GST rebates, family allowance, employment insurance… I’m no lawyer, but it would be a massive, exhaustive update. Same-sex couples have demanded nothing of the sort, and polygamous sects have been pushing for all this long before same-sex marriage was ever up for discussion.
Still, ignoring the fact that the polygamy lawsuit is just an ostensible charge for larger allegations of abuse, lack of consent, and sexual relations with minors, the main difference between this situation and the one that brought about same-sex marriage is simple. People do not choose their sexual orientation, but they can absolutely choose their crazy religious sect.
Wait—I thought of another! “Paedophilic marriage” uneven bars.