Here’s the jacket copy for a forthcoming book from the University Press of New England: Legalizing Plural Marriage: The Next Frontier of Family Law, by Emory law professor Mark Goldfeder. A law school librarian sent the link in, saying it was coming to her library:
Polygamous marriages are currently recognized in nearly fifty countries worldwide. Although polygamy is technically illegal in the United States, it is practiced by members of some religious communities and a growing number of other “poly” groups. In the radically changing and increasingly multicultural world in which we live, the time has come to define polygamous marriage and address its legal feasibilities.
Although Mark Goldfeder does not argue the right or wrong of plural marriage, he maintains that polygamy is the next step—after same-sex marriage—in the development of U.S. family law. Providing a road map to show how such legalization could be handled, he explores the legislative and administrative arguments which demonstrate that plural marriage is not as farfetched—or as far off—as we might think. Goldfeder argues not only that polygamy is in keeping with the legislative values and freedoms of the United States, but also that it would not be difficult to manage or administrate within our current legal system. His legal analysis is enriched throughout with examples of plural marriage in diverse cultural and historical contexts.
Tackling the issue of polygamy in the United States from a legal perspective, this book will engage anyone interested in constitutional law, family law, or criminal law, along with sociologists and those who study gender and culture in modern times.
Remember when all the Haters™ warned a decade or more ago that legalizing gay marriage required uncoupling marriage from procreation and basing it on expressive individualism, and that this would open the door to polygamy? Remember how they were all denounced as alarmist bigots?
Let us recall the Law of Merited Impossibility: It will never happen, and when it does, you bigots will deserve it. I think that the late Antonin Scalia is the patron saint of the Law of Merited Impossibility. In his 2003 Lawrence v. Texas dissent, he pointed out that the Court had opened the legal door to constitutionalizing same-sex marriage. He was right about that, as we saw in the majority ruling in Obergefell. In his Lawrence dissent, Scalia also said this:
The Court embraces instead Justice Stevens’ declaration in his Bowers dissent, that “the fact that the governing majority in a State has traditionally viewed a particular practice as immoral is not a sufficient reason for upholding a law prohibiting the practice,” ante, at 17. This effectively decrees the end of all morals legislation. If, as the Court asserts, the promotion of majoritarian sexual morality is not even a legitimate state interest, none of the above-mentioned laws can survive rational-basis review.
Polygamy is coming. American society is deconstructing itself.