By chance I came across a Wall Street Journal article titled "Gay Marriage and the Constitution" the other day in a museum exhibit discussing freedom. It is an op/ed piece by David Boies. Boies is one the chairman of Boies, Schiller and Flexner, LLP, an apparently major law firm that has been involved with, among other cases, United States v. Microsoft and Bush v. Gore.
The article turns out to be remarkably relevant for the discussion here over the last couple days about the gay marriage progression argument. The heart of that discussion, as I have labored to constantly restate, has been the issue of legal precedent. You could ask the question this way: why should or shouldn't we allow homosexuals to marry? My reading of the pro-gay-marriage camp is that, above all else, if consenting adults are in committed, love relationships, then why should they not be allowed to marry?
And as I have argued in the past, I understand that point of view from a state perspective. What reasons do state or federal lawmakers have, if any, to not allow people to marry? Until recently, the reason has been that we have defined marriage as being between one man and one woman only. Why do we do it that way? Well, because we always have.
So here is my challenge to those involved in this discussion: as you read the article, can you find any argument used by this high-powered lawyer in a universally respected newspaper that could not be applied by polygamists and polyamorists to their own cases?
I'll say from the beginning that there is one, and it is in this quote: "But, in fact, the sexual orientation of gays and lesbians is as much a God-given characteristic as the color of their skin or the sexual orientation of their straight brothers and sisters." This is a remarkably bold claim based on remarkably scant evidence. But even if you agree with Boies on this claim, I hope you will see that this is not really the heart of the legal argument so much as a way to fend off one objection.
The central claim, rather, is in the opening sentence of the third paragraph: "The Supreme Court has repeatedly held that the right to marry the person you love is so fundamental that states cannot abridge it." If I was a lawyer for the poly cause, I would heartily agree and add, "So why not the people you love? What's so different and wrong about that?"
As older, more traditional generations continue to pass and younger, more progressive ones rise up, does anyone really think that our culture would find much reason to disagree?