The state of Utah has struck down portions of its marriage law and began opening the door for polygamy. This is no surprise, for Christians have been saying polygamy would be an inevitable outcome of the current worldview. What is surprising is that our courts seem to have completely ignored the series of supreme court decisions that outlawed polygamy in the first place.
United States Supreme Court (1885), in the case of Murphy v. Ramsey & Others, 144 U.S. 15, 45 (1885), gave its opinion:
Every person who has a husband or wife living … and marries another … is guilty of polygamy, and shall be punished.… Certainly no legislation can be supposed more wholesome and necessary in the founding of a free, self-governing commonwealth … than that which seeks to establish it on the basis of the idea of the family, as consisting in and springing from the union for life of one man and one woman in the holy estate of matrimony; [Marriage is] the sure foundation of all that is stable and noble in our civilization; the best guarantee of that reverent morality which is the source of all beneficent progress in social and political improvement.
United States Supreme Court (1890), in the case of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints v. United States, 136 U.S. 1 (1890), forbade the practice of polygamy in the United States, stating:
It is contrary to the spirit of Christianity and the civilization which Christianity has produced in the Western world.
So we have a series of supreme court decisions that specifically state that marriage is between one man and one woman, and plural marriages, polygamy, and bigamy are not legal in the US. We have the supreme court telling us that traditional marriage is needed to keep a reverent morality in society so that we can keep a stable and noble civilization.
But like these supreme court decisions, the goals and values behind them are long forgotten in our culture. Today’s morality is built upon a strident belief in no morality. The highest value today is not the civilization as a whole but the individual and his feelings, and we go to great lengths to hold that if an individual has feelings, they must be correct and protected. Thus homosexual marriage is legal because some people feel it should be, polygamy is being legalized because some people feel it should be. Francis Beckwith pointed out that once we allow homosexual marriage, there really is no grounds for stopping anyone from any form of arrangement they want to call a marriage. Someone will want to marry two men and six women, adults will want to marry children, someone will want to marry their pet, and someone from California will want to marry their self. We now have a situation where we cannot call any of these things absurd, for our marriage laws are now built upon an individual’s sense of what they feel is fair, which is based on their feelings. As long as they feel they should marry a sheep, we have no objective grounds for discriminating against such a person. For the present, we have dismissed the pedophiles who lobby to be allowed to marry children, but having given up any objective reason to do so, this too becomes indefensible. As long as someone feels they should be allowed to do something, a society that prevents them is painted as unfair.
So the slope has started to slip, as we predicted when homosexual marriage was allowed. Once we allow marriage to be redefined from what it has historically been, then we lose all ability to keep marriage as anything meaningful. When marriage becomes everything, it is meaningless.
Our forefathers on the supreme court in the 1800’s still had the quaint idea that Christianity had produced a noble civilization which needed to be maintained. Once we give up the primary goal of maintaining our culture and civilization and make individual sense of fairness to be our highest value, then we lose such things as marriage having any meaning. What will inevitably follow is that our children will be raised in a society where self is king and a noble civilization is unattainable.