Monday, November 27, 2006
Is Brad Pitt Promoting Polygamy?
I live in southern Utah, only a few miles from Hildale, Utah and Colorado City, Arizona. Recently I thought I heard shouts of joy coming from the direction of these two polygamist communities. It sounded something like “Hosanna! Praise the Lord! And thank God for Brad Pitt.”
I wasn’t surprised to hear praise for the Lord. Polygamists in general are very religious folks. However, I didn’t understand why Brad Pitt was suddenly worthy of polygamist praise. In fact, I was surprised they knew anything about Mr. Pitt. I thought his movies were probably on the list of sinful things that good polygamists avoid. But when I found the latest news concerning Pitt and Angelina Joile’s relationship, I fully understood why polygamists would embrace Brad Pitt.
I found that Pitt had this to say in a recent Esquire magazine interview:
"Angie and I will consider tying the knot when everyone else in the country who wants to be married is legally able."
Unfortunately for my neighbors, I don’t think Brad really meant “everyone.” I think he meant to say that he supports the extension of marriage rights to only one minority—the gay minority.
I could be wrong. If I am, I hope Pitt will publicly correct my error. Perhaps he could visit Colorado City to demonstrate his support for another marriage-deprived minority—the polygamist minority.
I doubt Brad will accept the challenge. I have yet to meet anyone who supports legal recognition of both gay marriage and polygamy, despite the fact that it should be clear to everyone that an argument for gay marriage is also an argument for polygamy.
Perhaps the best evidence of this linkage is found in the wording of the decision issued by the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts in 2003 when it determined that gay marriage could not be prohibited in Massachusetts:
“The Massachusetts Constitution affirms the dignity and equality of all individuals. It forbids the creation of second-class citizens.”
I think there is no getting around the fact that when a court of law uses the legal terminology “equality of all individuals” and “forbids the creation of second-class citizens,” the court is establishing law that applies to all Americans, not just heterosexual and gay couples.
You might think that laws could be written to restrict marriage only to heterosexual or gay couples. But remember, courts are not writing marriage law. They are only determining if marriage law is consistent with a state constitution, or ultimately with the Constitution of the United States. I’m not going to belabor the point. But it seems incomprehensible to me that polygamy, or any other form of marriage between consenting adults, could be banned if marriage must pass an “equality of all individuals” test.
So, is Brad Pitt promoting polygamy? I don’t think so. In fact, most advocates for gay marriage go out of their way to condemn polygamy. I agree with them. Polygamy should not be legal in America.
If you agree that polygamy or other forms of multi-partner marriage between consenting adults should not be legal, I hope you recognize that it would be illogical and hypocritical to conversely support legal recognition of gay marriage. Though it’s difficult to predict the unintended consequences of most decisions, in the case of gay marriage, the unintended consequences that would follow legalization are obvious.
I hope Brad and Angie have a change of heart about “tying the knot.” Traditional marriage has been the bedrock of civil society for thousands of years. And it’s best we keep it that way. Let’s not tweak it and mess it up beyond repair.