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Polygamy Obsession

Press

By Julia Rosen

It’s always interesting to read a mainstream media report of an event you watched unfold, or in this case read. Invariably, the media chooses to focus on a sidelight or misses the most important moments. In this case it is the former. For some reason both the LA Times and SF Chronicle both spend an inordinate amount of time today talking about David Blankenhorn’s testimony about polygamy.

We all know the argument. If you let gay people marry, than what’s to stop polygamy, incest etc. etc.

In the LAT’s case they spent about a third of the article wrapping up this phase of the trial on polygamy. Here is a snippet.

Blankenhorn, however, insisted that polygamy satisfied the principles of marriage because it involves a man who marries one woman at a time.

Boies asked whether Blankenhorn was testifying that a man with five wives is consistent with his rule that marriage involves two people.

Blankenhorn said yes, adding that the marriages did not occur at the same time, and “each marriage is distinct.”

Ok, I get that this is loony toons and probably will sell newspapers, but what about Blankenhorn admitting that legalizing marriage equality “would be a victory for, and another key expansion of, the American idea”?

How about when Blankenhorn stated that same sex marriage “would probably increase wealth accumulation and lead to higher living standards for these couples as well as help reduce welfare costs (by promoting family economic self-sufficiency) and decrease economic inequality”?

Big Love is a great show and all, it’s on my DVR scheduler. But Blankenhorn talking about polygamy truly was a sidelight to the hours upon hours of David Boies dismantling him as any sort of an expert or scholar and Blankenhorn unwittingly making the plaintiffs’ case for them.

Media coverage of this trial has been extremely light. That is due in part to some enormous stories like Haiti and more recently the President’s State of the Union address and quite frankly the fact that there is no video of the proceedings. However, that increases the importance of the quality of the articles that are produced. The Trial Tracker has received a ton of traffic, but it pales in comparison to the mainstream media’s reach.

Any of the Trial Trackers seen articles lately that don’t match what really went on in the trial? Please throw the links in the comments.

83 Comments

  • 1. rick  |  January 28, 2010 at 3:44 am

    agreed..i am a little dissapointed in the LA Times, for reasons you bring up…

  • 2. Jasun mark  |  January 28, 2010 at 3:52 am

    I learned in my many days of making porn for a living that the mainstream media will only use the word "gay" if they can rip someone down with it.

    Two straight college wrestlers doing solo nude shoots for Fratmen, it was GAY PORN!!

    A gay diver winning the gold at the olympics? "His sexual orientation is a private matter."

    Anyone with a 5th grad reading level can see the slam dunks made by the plaintiffs in this case..but that doesn't sell news papers… "gay people gaining equality with us will lead to your daughter marrying a 50 year-old man and having gang bangs with his other wives…." THAT is the angle straight people want.

    It's sad.. but it's true.

  • 3. Patrick Regan  |  January 28, 2010 at 3:53 am

    I agree with you. The media is too afraid of confrontation on this front. In contrast, while it was short, NPR didn't have too bad of coverage this morning (IIRC).
    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?stor

    Short and not very big on details, but did show the important point of DB being contracting in the Cross.

    I would listen to make sure what I said above is correct, but I"m at work and can't :(

    Love,
    Pat

  • 4. Judy  |  January 28, 2010 at 4:03 am

    I read quoting that particular line from the defense as a subtle dig at the defense, actually.

    Any MSM isn't exactly going to say, "the plantiffs PWND!"

    Instead, they found one of the more obvious fallacies by the defense, and one that directly contradicts the standard "gay marriage leads to polygamy." Blankenhorn is stating here that polygamy is the same as traditional marriage. His logic is screwy, but I'm sure all the red staters really have their panties in a twist now.

  • 5. chet  |  January 28, 2010 at 4:06 am

    I was in the courtroom for all of Blankenhorn's testimony. The articles I've read barely mention what a bizarre display of buffoonery this "expert" provided. Rick's commentary in the liveblogs were not exaggerations at all.

  • 6. jstueart  |  January 28, 2010 at 4:20 am

    This from CBS News–focuses on David Boies as attacker, Blankenhorn as victim.
    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/01/27/nationa

    Look at the words, "heated", "biting" and the way the two sides are set up in the beginning. In fact, check out the opening paragraph. By waiting to put the attribution after the statement, it makes the statement look like fact. Think if he had started this way instead:

    "During a federal trial challenging California's gay marriage ban, the head of a private think tank testified that allowing same-sex couples to get married would improve the well-being of children raised by gay parents but should not be pursued as social policy because it would further weaken marriage as an institution."

    I didn't change a word of it, and yet, putting the attribution first limits the effect of the statement–it makes it one person's opinion. Waiting on it allows a reader to assume this is fact.

    The set up to the two sides puts Blankenhorn under "exhaustive" cross examination, and makes it sound like Boies is merely discrediting Blankenhorn's testimony because he got the wrong degree, and "hasn't conducted any independent research on same-sex marriage."

    While, they do have a couple of important, pivotal quotes from Blankenhorn for our side, that opening statement drives a point home that Blankenhorn was trying to make–and therefore supersedes any later admissions. Most people read the beginning and the ending of the article.

    So, take note of the ending as Boies, the villain, accosts Blankenhorn, making him have to answer his questions.

    The article actually makes Blankenhorn's "case" more sensible–almost writing it so the public gets his case better than Blankenhorn stated it.

    I've read other articles on Yahoo—by the AP or Reuters–that tend to legitimize the lawyers for Prop 8, after all the adjective that tells it all seems throwaway when you look at it Prop 8 is a "voter-approved initiative" but by constantly stamping Prop 8 with that adjective it undermines the case that it is illegal. The adjective, if you'll pardon my English prof parsing, hooks into the noun so nicely that you can't separate them, or question the idea. You certainly can't separate Prop 8 from the voters, then, that approved it….

    All I have to do is look at the spin on Obama's speech last night to know that the media slants towards conservatives. Obama "struggles" through speech, with little or no applause till late, and not on these key places, showing that he has a "tough room" whereas "confident Republicans" respond that the "nation doesn't need Dem policies." — this on three or more articles coming out today.

    Why do I think the media will ever cover this trial well?? They can't even set aside their party loyalties when it comes to the President….

  • 7. Linda  |  January 28, 2010 at 4:21 am

    Well, that article certainly missed a lot of points; but one thing it did show was the idiocy of prop8's supposed 'expert'. I imagine that his skewed interpretation of monogomy vs polygamy will cause even the staunchest H8er to do a double-take…"Say WHAT???"

  • 8. Ronnie  |  January 28, 2010 at 4:22 am

    Not to mention that Dr. Blank is clearly stating that Bigamy, which is not to be confused with Polygamy, is ok because each marriage is separate from the other and consists of 1 man, 1 woman.

    Bigamy is illegal, so how is it ok?

  • 9. Alan E.  |  January 28, 2010 at 4:29 am

    http://www.adfmedia.org/News/PRDetail/3618

    This is the latest AFD release about the trial. If you have been reading stuff from them or at PM.com, then it's predictable.

  • 10. Alan E.  |  January 28, 2010 at 4:31 am

    ooo I didn't catch this line until just now

    Mr. Blankenhorn, a self-described liberal democrat (sic)

    It's ok. See he's a democrat (not worth capitalizing), and he's crossed over, even though he runs a conservative think-tank.

  • 11. Ronnie  |  January 28, 2010 at 4:33 am

    Were they watching the same thing I was?

    He constantly had to talk over the applause.

    Wow at the risk of sounding redundant:

    Bigots only hear what they want to hear and see what they want to see.

  • 12. Alan E.  |  January 28, 2010 at 4:33 am

    I should learn to hold ALL of my comments until I read something twice. It just gets better, I encourage you to read it.

    We know that, across this country, there are many single moms who are not single by choice because their husbands paid the ultimate price fighting for us in Iraq, Afghanistan, or elsewhere. Their children will undoubtedly miss forever the love and guidance of their fathers;

  • 13. Alan McCornick  |  January 28, 2010 at 4:35 am

    Well said. It's an old story that needs constant retelling. If people don't get involved, the turkeys steal the show. Getting involved means writing the LA Times and other "weird sells best" media sources and letting them know you didn't like their spin on the news. Hope lots of letters will follow. This is a remarkable story. Did the defense not know who Blankenhorn really was? Part nice guy with a big heart, part looney. A guy whose views are too complex to serve the homophobes' interests. Blankenhorn said elsewhere (http://fora.tv/2007/03/14/Gay_Marriage_Debate) that children are "not the only reason that marriage exists." (Minute 7:39) Could a witness for the plaintiffs have said it better?

  • 14. Richard W. Fitch  |  January 28, 2010 at 4:38 am

    The whole polygamy issue is more smoke from the defendants. I'm glad to see someone state that bigamy is already illegal. Maybe they're trying to say more is better? In most cases polygamists live in collectives, but the bigamist usually hides the two spouses from one another. So openness is better than deceit?

  • 15. jstueart  |  January 28, 2010 at 4:48 am

    This one does a better job, but still ends oddly. While the headline is ambiguous, I think she does a great job of switching right up front to telling you that the Prop 8 supporters just handed gay people a gem:
    http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE60Q0AO20100

    Her ending, though, ends on Blankenhorn. And that gives him the last word….

    But the first two-thirds of the article really emphasizes the switch, and while calling Boies' cross examination "contentious"–it does call him a "veteran lawyer", which makes it understandable while he might be rough.

    It's a solid article with a bad ending.

  • 16. Ronnie  |  January 28, 2010 at 4:55 am

    And what about single fathers who are not single by choice because their wives paid the ultimate price fighting for us in Iraq, Afghanistan, or elsewhere. Their children will undoubtedly miss forever the love and guidance of their fathers.

    What are they chop liva?

    hehehe….cherry cherry….boom boom!

  • 17. Kim  |  January 28, 2010 at 4:58 am

    Really, both sides can now spin as much as they want it, the only thing that really matters is the ruling in about 2 months time…… That is where we will know how the judge saw it, which is the only thing that counts……

  • 18. Ronnie  |  January 28, 2010 at 4:58 am

    oops i meant mothers…dammit that loses all effectiveness when that happens I guess I'm not as good at spinning lies like Mr. PUG-NO.

    lets try this again:
    And what about single fathers who are not single by choice because their wives paid the ultimate price fighting for us in Iraq, Afghanistan, or elsewhere. Their children will undoubtedly miss forever the love and guidance of their mothers.

    What are they chop liva?

    hehehe….cherry cherry….boom boom!

  • 19. Dieter M.  |  January 28, 2010 at 5:02 am

    Interesting nes story I just found:

    Updated January 28, 2010
    Afghan Men Struggle With Sexual Identity, Study Finds
    FOXNews.com
    An unclassified study from a military research unit in southern Afghanistan details how homosexual behavior is unusually common among men in the large ethnic group known as Pashtuns — though they seem to be in complete denial about it.

    As if U.S. troops and diplomats didn’t have enough to worry about in trying to understand Afghan culture, a new report suggests an entire region in the country is coping with a sexual identity crisis.

    An unclassified study from a military research unit in southern Afghanistan details how homosexual behavior is unusually common among men in the large ethnic group known as Pashtuns — though they seem to be in complete denial about it.

    The study, obtained by Fox News, explains that Pashtun men commonly have sex with other men, admire other men physically, have sexual relationships with boys and shun women both socially and sexually, yet completely reject the label of “homosexual.” The research was conducted as part of a longstanding effort to better understand Afghan culture and improve Western interaction with the local people.

    But the research unit, which was attached to a Marine battalion in southern Afghanistan, acknowledged that the behavior of some Afghan men has left Western forces “frequently confused.”

    Case in point, the report details the bizarre interactions a U.S. Army medic and her colleagues had with Afghan men in the southern province of Kandahar.

    Apparently, Pashtun men interpret the Islamic prohibition on homosexuality to mean they cannot “love” another man, according to the report. But that doesn’t mean they can’t use men for “sexual gratification.”

    The U.S. army medic also told members of the research unit that she and her colleagues had to explain to a local man how to get his wife pregnant.

    The report said:“When it was explained to him what was necessary, he reacted with disgust and asked,‘How could one feel desire to be with a woman, who God has made unclean, when one could be with a man, who is clean? Surely this must be wrong.’”

    The Pashtun populations are concentrated in the southern and eastern parts of the country. The Human Terrain Team that conducted the research is part of a military effort to learn more about local populations.

  • 20. Ronnie  |  January 28, 2010 at 5:07 am

    Great minds think alike I posted this on another thread…lol

  • 21. Kim  |  January 28, 2010 at 5:12 am

    Strictly speaking, Blankenhorn is right about polygamy being a sequential number of marriages between one man and one woman. The woman do not marry each other, wither at the same time, or in a later stage. The issue that we have with it is that the man is married with multiple women. Group marriage is something different, because everybody marries with everybody.

    Personally, I do not have an issue with polygamy or group marriages. For me, the crucial aspect is consent. If three people consent free and willingly to do something, who is to judge them for that and to prohibit that?

    I do have a problem with many of the other things our opponents suggest, but those are situation in which one person (or animal) cannot consent to the marriage, hence, it should be invalid. I have more problems with an arranged marriage motivated by business or political reasons (which a traditional marriage was) and I do not hear our opponents argue that we should go back to that.

  • 22. Slade  |  January 28, 2010 at 5:14 am

    I wasn't too sure about how I felt on this article. From the Sacbee in Sacramento:
    http://www.sacbee.com/topstories/story/2492104.ht

  • 23. icapricorn  |  January 28, 2010 at 5:15 am

    I agree with Judy. As a member of the media, I saw exactly what the writer wanted to do: To characterized the nature of the arguments that Blankenhorn was putting forth.

    Without taking sides, which is unprofessional, the writer presented this blatantly self-serving exchange for the reader to make sense of. Namely, marriage to many is merely marriage to one, except in serial form. It's pretty clear this violates logic.

    The MSM, truth be told, tends to be persuaded by the case for marriage equality and, like the rest of us, finds the arguments against it disingenuous at best. Actually, the arguments are full of malice and animus, but since those are value judgments, the journalist can only report the substance of the charges. When they're really thorough, they also present the evidence against such canards, but they can do so only in a dispassionate manner.

    Columnists and feature writers have the freedom to express opinions, strongly worded ones. But that is not the perogative of the reporter.

  • 24. Rachel  |  January 28, 2010 at 5:15 am

    WOW!

    THAT (‘How could one feel desire to be with a woman, who God has made unclean, when one could be with a man, who is clean? Surely this must be wrong.’”) is amazing to hear! Did anyone back in the day (2,000 years ago…? ) think that having sex with someone of the same gender was gay? NO! There WAS no gay or straight! And to see a religious reasoning behind it is enlightening! There are sooo many ways to interpret things that I can't help but laugh at the simplicity of that statement and how it makes everything look in this different light! Saying they are in "denial" about their "homosexuality" is hysterical! IT DOESNT EXIST to them!! It's Natural and put forth by God! wow.. I just want to HUG you!

  • 25. Mr.HCI  |  January 28, 2010 at 5:19 am

    I'm not sure I've read an article that incredibly biased in a long, long time. Despicable!

  • 26. Kim  |  January 28, 2010 at 5:22 am

    Male-male sex is actually much more common in much of the Muslim world, but very much denied and definitely not seen as homosexual. It is done often because men want to remain virgins till marriage so they have sex with other men in order to achieve that. The guys that are at the receiving end are considered nothing, and there is a strong macho component involved, along the line of: "See, I can even seduce other man, I must be such a …..".

  • 27. Ronnie  |  January 28, 2010 at 5:25 am

    Ok so here is a huge argument that should be put forth to the gov.

    We do in fact have freedom of religion….That is a basic right and nobody is forcing them to stop following their religion…just that they should not force other people to follow their religious values….

    But in all actuality….. Polygamy is apart of some religions so then I come to the conclusion that freedom of religion is actually….

    You are free to practice your religion in America as long as you practice it the way I want you too.

    Freedom?…..I think not!

  • 28. Kim  |  January 28, 2010 at 5:29 am

    See http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0814774687/ref=c

  • 29. Frijondi  |  January 28, 2010 at 5:32 am

    He's also a self-described "marriage nut." That self-description, at least, seems somewhat accurate, though not in the sense he intended.

  • 30. Laura  |  January 28, 2010 at 5:38 am

    Well, yeah. The ban on polygamy was based entirely on religious persecution. Which makes it all the more ironic (and disgusting) that the Mormons were so involved in Prop-Hate. Was it spite? The government was allowed to screw up our marriages, so we'll screw up other marriages?

    Personally, I have nothing against polygamy as long as it's between consenting adults, preferably educated adults, but that whole "adult" thing is absolutely key. Along with consent. Not parental consent, but the consent of the adults involved.

  • 31. Sarahe  |  January 28, 2010 at 5:38 am

    I looked at a few of the comments and I thought my head was going to explode.

    It would be nice to gather some list of websites, papers, etc to counter ridiculous assertions.

    We could have action groups – so we can be alerted about where we should be posting comments to debunk the ridiculous that are said.

  • 32. Darth  |  January 28, 2010 at 5:40 am

    Because the modern media tries so hard to report substance instead of opinion.

    I agree with pretty much everything you said, if we prefix "journalist" and "reporter" with "ideal", but sadly there aren't a lot of those on TV or in the major newspapers these days.

  • 33. Doug  |  January 28, 2010 at 5:43 am

    Here's one that can never seem to get it right! from Pugno's blog:

    "The plaintiffs put on a spectacular show-trial of irrelevant evidence, calling to the stand many “expert” witnesses to testify…"

    Uh, think he got it backwards.

  • 34. Sarahe  |  January 28, 2010 at 5:45 am

    I agree that both sides can and will spin it anyway they want. But we don't have to spin it at all do we?!

    And yes it does matter how they spin it and what they say. I think that we are likely to see an upswing in the number and possibly severity of anti-gay hate-crimes.

    Love,
    Sarah

  • 35. kate  |  January 28, 2010 at 5:47 am

    What media are you watching… it is in the news even in middle america

  • 36. Ronnie  |  January 28, 2010 at 5:51 am

    My sentiments exactly…. It has to be spite…They can't follow their religion they way its supposed to be so others that go against the bible can't marry either….Hey morms I am playing the worlds smallest violin for ya…..

    In addition to that in NJ there was and over abundance of orthodox jews and jews fighting the bill to legalize gay marriage….Hey Jews we were slaughtered just like you were in germany….How about a little sense of kindred spirit yeah?

  • 37. Anne  |  January 28, 2010 at 6:14 am

    My problem with polygamy is that, traditionally, it has been used for one man to marry many women; women aren't allowed to marry multiple men. It also seems to rise in cultures where women are very discriminated against and they continue to be second-class citizens in the marriage. Also, as it's been used in the US with the fundamentalist movements, it's basically an excuse for old men to have sex with young girls.

    Group relationships – polyamory – where everyone involved is an adult; where they have equal rights; where each gender can have multiple partners… those I don't have a problem with. However, to encode them into law would mean so revamping our current laws, and they are so rare (because most people don't have the maturity, viewpoint, openness required) that I don't think it's worth setting up a state recognition of their relationship. They should handle it through contracts and other means.

    Same sex marriages are easy to include in our laws because they're two people, just the same gender in this case. And given the huge discrimination against unmarried couples in this country, same sex marriange needs to be legal.

    Anne

  • 38. JAB  |  January 28, 2010 at 6:17 am

    I think the point that Boies is setting up here is that according to Blankenhorn our current system is already open to polygamy because polygamy is just repeated marriage between two people. Extending marriage to gays and lesbians does not change anything that would bring us closer to legal polygamy. That undercuts the argument about deinstitutionalization of marriage quite significantly.

  • 39. Rightthingtodo TX  |  January 28, 2010 at 6:21 am

    Sorry if this is a re-do…didn't know where to put it.
    http://townhall.com/columnists/MaggieGallagher/20

  • 40. Lance W  |  January 28, 2010 at 6:22 am

    I would laugh and be happy if Vaughn would rule polygamy as constitutional (which it should be), would be epic (I don't like polygamy but it's still discrimination not to allow people to marry whoever they want, even if it's more than one person)

  • 41. slignot  |  January 28, 2010 at 6:27 am

    The problem inherent here is that in an ideal sense, there is not a problem with three consenting adults to have a shared commitment. However, the difference between this ideal of fully consenting individuals and the reality of the way in which polygyny is actually done is vast.

    Living in Salt Lake, I have a greater exposure to the way that a lot of the "fundamentalist" splinter groups from the LDS church conduct plural marriage and it's appalling. There is nothing of true consent or dignity involved in this unions and the very fact of their illegality makes the coersiveness involved that much harder to expose.

    I do not have problem with polygamous marriages remaining illegal because the tendency toward devaluation and coersion outbalances the concerns of freedom and privacy.

  • 42. Casey  |  January 28, 2010 at 6:28 am

    This article also says Blankenhorn "remained composed and deliberate in his answers".

    ……………………………….really?

    They reported Blankenhorn as having said under oath, "Marriage does a number of things, but the most important thing it does is regulate affiliation. It establishes who are the child's legal and social parents."

    We could point out that marriage does not necessarily establish a child's legal or social parent. Legal guardianship or biological relationships establish that. There are thousands of single parents who are unmarried, and are still legal and social parents to their kids, biological or not. There are also many partners of legal parents who, although unmarried to the legal parent, are a social mother or father to the kid(s). So let's be honest here.

    Interesting article, jstueart. Hmm….

  • 43. textor44  |  January 28, 2010 at 6:28 am

    I think it's a good article. They noted quite a bit about how Blankenhorn was questionable in his status of an expert (including the fact that the Judge barely allowed him to testify) , though it'd be nice to have had the writer point out more of Boise's points. In the end, however, the article clearly allowed the reader to judge how unqualified the witness was, and most reasonable people will consider him unqualified.

  • 44. waxr  |  January 28, 2010 at 6:31 am

    So far, I have not seen any comments in the press about Millers position on the use of initiatives. Boies read Miller certain paragraphs from Miller's book "Dangerous Democracy":

    B:– you write:
    "One also can expect the initiative process
    to produce different outcomes than the
    legislative process will, in the areas of
    protecting minority rights and promoting
    minority interests."

    * * * *
    "The problem, however" — you write– "is
    that initiatives that directly and
    differentially affect minorities can easily
    tap into a strain of anti-minority sentiment
    in the electorate. The initiatives from the
    three states in this category" —

    Prop 8 was upheld by the state's Supreme Court on the grounds that the people had an inalienable right to amend the constitution. That reasoning shocked me. The Court had already decided that same sex couples had the right to marry. Now they say that right has been taken away from them, and it was done without due process.

    If the CA Supreme Court is correct, then the present initiative process is unconstitutional under the 14 Amendments Equal Protection and Due Process clauses, and should be overthrown.

    My question is, can Judge Walker or a higher court restore same sex marriage in California by declaring the states current initiative process as unconstitutional? In this way, the Court would not be taking a stand on same sex marriage or GLBT rights.

  • 45. Bill  |  January 28, 2010 at 6:33 am

    This is a side note but thought you might enjoy. Over at Pams House Blend Blogg, she is talking about an issue the ethics commision is having with NOM and how Nom is trying to tie this case in somehow.

  • 46. Casey  |  January 28, 2010 at 6:40 am

    That is perhaps the most intriguing thing I have read in weeks, besides Boies' cross examination of two morons. There are two sides (maybe more) to thinking in regard to this article: the first being the complete nonexistence of "gayness" in the sense that it exists in some western cultures, and two, the outstandingly archaic view of women. These two things are really at odds in my head. It makes me want to learn more about Pashtun culture and perhaps understand a bit more about it. I can see why it appears that they are confused, but it seems that we are confusing to one another because we aren't just comparing what it means to be gay or straight in two cultures, but what it means to be male – what it means to be sexual – what it means to be godly.

    Fascinatnig stuff!

  • 47. Jenny O  |  January 28, 2010 at 6:41 am

    You know, I think the sentence you provided is actually easier to read as well. The way it's written in the article confuses the sentence. They did have to try hard to get it sounding the way they wanted.

  • 48. JaNG  |  January 28, 2010 at 6:42 am

    Off on a tangent…

    I've thought before, in passing, that I would set it up so if a marriage was to be expanded from two to three (or four, or whatever), each party to the marriage would need to have a marriage contract with every other party. Husband takes a wife and then wants another? Then both wives must also have a marriage contract, with each other, and so on.

    My guess is that would check the balance of power, account for inheritance issues, etc.

    But it still wouldn't be my thing. I don't have the maturity, viewpoint, or openness required. :)

  • 49. fiona64  |  January 28, 2010 at 6:43 am

    Hi, Anne. There are polyandrous cultures, but they are few and far between. There is a large polyandrous culture in Tibet, just to name one (the Niyinba, in Nepal). The Sinalese practive fraternal polyandry, in which a woman is married to several brothers.

    Most of the time, polygamous cultures are polygynous because they are patriarchal.

  • 50. fiona64  |  January 28, 2010 at 6:44 am

    There is always an element in oppressed groups that begins to identify with the oppressor. In other words: "I was treated like crap, so it's okay for me to treat *you* like crap."

    Sad, but true.

  • 51. Kim  |  January 28, 2010 at 6:56 am

    Polygyny is limited to a few horticulture societies that are also matrilinear.

    I agree with you, most implementations of polygamy are repressive, because the strong patriarchal aspect of it, and most of them are seem within religious fundamentalist societies. But if it would be legal only when all involved agree, I do not see a problem, and my guess is that is will be very rare because most people are just not into it.

  • 52. fiona64  |  January 28, 2010 at 7:00 am

    Casey, part of what the religious element behind Prop 8 forgets when they talk about "what the Bible says" is that they are forgetting that sexual orientation was not understood then as it is now. In that time and culture, sex was about two things: the do-er and the do-ee, if you will. Men were the do-ers, period. One did not have sex with equals; women were not equal to men. Thus, the admonition against having sex with men — it implied that one of the men was less equal than the other, because he was the do-ee.

    Even then, the word "abomination" as we know it was not used. "Toevah" means "ritually impure," which also meant that the two men could be ritually purified and thus absolved of the toevah.

    I suspect (but have not done adequate research to prove) that a similar cultural dynamic is at play with the Pashtun.

  • 53. Kim  |  January 28, 2010 at 7:05 am

    The California supreme court ruled effectively that DP and Marriage are equivalent, and as long as that Dp covered the exact same as marriage, the use of the word could be limited to heterosexuals. During those procedures, the issue of how much the word itself means was not really discussed so it was kind of a logical ruling if you leave the value of the word itself out of the equation.

  • 54. Straight Ally #3008  |  January 28, 2010 at 7:25 am

    It's a separate issue on two counts:

    1) Currently, the state recognizes marriages for couples – whether or not they are consecrated by a place of worship – except same-sex couples.

    2) Polygamy is not a matter of inherent characteristics, while sexual orientation is.

  • 55. dtwirling  |  January 28, 2010 at 7:30 am

    Witness: Gays threaten marriage
    … was what the headline in the printed newspaper read, with a call-out below the headline of "Institution would be in more peril, group's leader testifies." 1/27/2010, page A12.

    The rest of the article, attributed to Lisa Leff of the AP, has gems like: "… Boies spent several hours trying to draw admissions from Miller to bolster the argument that Prop 8 was a product of prejudice rooted in religion rather than sound public policy."

    The link I gave above is not a direct copy of the article that was actually printed. And they seem to be changing the displayed title of the article as I type. So, maybe they've had some complaints already.

    Defense lawyers rest case at gay marriage trial
    "Defense lawyers methodically cross-examined the parade of academic experts who testified for the plaintiffs then kept their part of the case brief."

    It was "methodical," methodically incompetent!

    … all courtesy of The Fresno Bee, the newspaper of Fresno County… aka, one of the counties which voted overwhelmingly in support of Prop H8.

  • 56. jstueart  |  January 28, 2010 at 7:43 am

    Wow. I missed that!! Blankenhorn as composed and deliberate? Thanks, Casey.

  • 57. Dracil  |  January 28, 2010 at 8:03 am

    I've noticed Lisa Leff seems to be biased.

  • 58. Dracil  |  January 28, 2010 at 8:07 am

    Well, I guess maybe it isn't her, but the fact that I've been reading her stuff in conservative papers.

  • 59. ThatsMyCat  |  January 28, 2010 at 9:07 am

    I never thought of it that way. I looked at it as Boies making it clear that the court was the last line of protection from the mob.

    How do you see it unfolding? Does the court gain from not taking a stand on GLBT rights? Or, would the court want to use this chance get rid of such loopholes regardless of the parties involved? It seems like a huge issue to me, especially since the media is focusing on terms such as "majority vote" and the like. In other words, whether we like it or not, a big part of this case, according to the public, is whether or not the wishes of the majority are put into practice.

    What if they simply ruled that the initiative process was unconstitutional? What could be some of the outcomes?

  • 60. Rod  |  January 28, 2010 at 9:13 am

    I just read this article at Time.com. Most of its focus is on the defense's arguments rather than on what actually transpired in court. Check it out:
    http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,19

  • 61. nightshayde  |  January 28, 2010 at 9:34 am

    I know this is complete heresay, but … before my Mom met my Dad, she dated a man who was one of 23 children. His father was a Mormon living in Utah & had six wives. Allegedly, each of the six wives had her own house where she raised whichever kids were hers — and each wife had a job/career. According to the man Mom was dating, the arrangement worked out well for all. None of the women had to worry about Hubby being constantly in her hair as he slept in a different house every night. The women all got along & helped each other with babysitting & other domestic tasks — and the kids always had a built-in playgroup of same-age siblings.

    It seems to me that as long as all the adults are consenting (especially if educated) & nobody is in a subservient position to anyone else, it should be ok.

    On the other hand, the relationships in which women are raised to believe their only purpose is to be wives and mothers and that they are sinful and horrible if they make any other decision — those I find abhorrent.

  • 62. fiona64  |  January 28, 2010 at 9:53 am

    Seriously, go to http://www.sacbee.com/prop8/ on any given day. Yes, the paper has a whole Prop 8 section.

    Anyway, the hate speech and generalized BS will make your head spin … but it is most definitely vital to debunk the crap that some of these folks spew out there.

  • 63. Richard  |  January 28, 2010 at 9:54 am

    Why am I NOT surprised that the "mainstream" media focused on something entirely different from the REAL issue at stake here? How many of them are also on the payroll of the LDS and other "mainstream" religions?

  • 64. Alkanshel  |  January 28, 2010 at 9:59 am

    Yeah…the Time article seems to be trying to present both sides of the issue and remain impartial, but it does so by inflating the arguments made by the defense and downplaying those presented by the plaintiffs, all the while painting a rosy, pat-yourself-on-the-back picture.

    I'm a little disappointed in the media.

  • 65. Alkanshel  |  January 28, 2010 at 10:02 am

    I don't honestly think they're on the payroll, but I do think that they're heavily influenced by the simple fact that controversy sells.

    Here's the thing: Gay marriage is controversial, but in a way that offends people. Polygamy, on the other hand, is far enough out there that focusing on it piques interest (polygamy? What? *grabs newspaper*) without actually raising any REAL controversy.

    It's pathetic, but that's just how the mainstream media works.

  • 66. Knight of L-sama  |  January 28, 2010 at 10:17 am

    Slignot, your arguement sounds to me like one for legalisation of polygamous relationships. By legalising them it would help expose such shameful actions to the light of day and help give the women being abused access to the support networks designed to deal with such things since they no longer have to hide the fact they were in a multiple marriage.

  • 67. robiedo  |  January 28, 2010 at 10:26 am

    jstueart, you make so many excellent points above, thank you. I do, however, disagree with your conclusion that it is "party loyalties" that account for the right-leaning/favoring/pandering tendencies of most journalists in the MSM.

    I think many MSM journalists are Democrats, but that they over compensate when they are trying to achieve objectivity. The reason they over compensate, I think, is that their judgment is distorted by the Right's constant claims (read, whining and badgering) about the media being biased in favor of a liberal perspective. Just another maddening outcome produced by the Rightwing noise machine.

  • 68. David  |  January 28, 2010 at 10:30 am

    Thank for the link – I found most of their site devoted to a "puffy view" of how they view the world, which is, as you say, Alan, "predictable". I also noticed they do not rely on science in any of their viewpoints, but rather hand-picked snippets to make their point.
    Love,
    David

  • 69. Brad  |  January 28, 2010 at 10:40 am

    I regard Leff as a solid Associated Press journalist who works hard to get the story.

    I see her coverage picked up in conservative newspapers and in various local gay publications that are members of the AP. I'm glad she's on the beat and am glad of the important coverage that the AP provides on various gay issues at a time when local papers don't have the resources to cover everything themselves.

    As for headlines on AP stories in print newspapers and online sites: Of course those are written by a paper's or website's copy editors; Leff and the AP don't write headlines.

  • 70. Dieter M.  |  January 28, 2010 at 10:43 am

    I just sent a post to Maggie Gallagher regarding the fact that her letter states that her witnesses were too intimidated to fly to Sacramento to testify. Dear Maggie. The case was in SANFRANCISCO.. Not Sacramento. more proof of your inability to present facts, or the truth.

  • 71. Brad  |  January 28, 2010 at 10:45 am

    Someone else here probably can supply more precise information, but my recollection is that the majority of major California newspapers' editorial boards ran editorials OPPOSING Prop 8 back in 2008.

    The editorial boards recognized, as we hope and expect Judge Walker recognizes, the inherent unfairness, bias and prejudice of Proposition 8.

  • 72. Casey  |  January 28, 2010 at 11:54 am

    fiona64, I was thinking along those lines too. Isn't it interesting to consider the implications of religious doctrine, once they bring it into the conversation? All the way up until the start of the 20th century, marriage was *not* what they define it to be. The nuclear family ideal is largely a product of American prosperity, especially after the second world war. I just can't believe these people don't consider what marriage truly is, in the most traditional Christian sense – one person owning another, as defined by body parts and status. These people seems just as pissed off about the feminist movement as marriage equality.

    It's very interesting to me, too, that many of the conservative Christian folks I know are appalled by Afghan culture and frequently make rather racist comments when discussing the war. How very interesting that part of the Afghan culture is similar in various ways to the culture that bred the Bible.

    Thanks for bringing up the point about the word 'abomination', too – I have heard many people discuss this point, and I think it's a great one that can be applied to many parts of the Bible. Simply put, the Bible was not written in English. It was translated, many times, and even now exists in so many formats and interpretations that it's difficult for anyone to know what the writers even *might* have meant, let alone what they definitely meant. There are also cultural meanings of directly translated words, many of which have changed. And on top of THAT, there's the tiny matter that not everyone is a Christian anyway, and that the Bible has no place in civil law.

    That's not to say that the Bible or any other religious text isn't a great read. Quite the opposite – very interesting stuff and fun to discuss. I just get scrappy when people apply those things in civil matters – where they, most firmly, do not belong.

    I wish we had a Big Gay Coffee Shop where we could all sit around drinking lattes and talking in person. You people are cool.

  • 73. Another Ray  |  January 28, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    Thanx Al… this was an eye opener as to WHY they played the "Blackenhorn Card" ! (pssssst… it won't work!) … from the link:

    Why, then, was Mr. Blankenhorn testifying in support of the marriage amendment? Because notwithstanding all of the issues on which we might disagree with Mr. Blankenhorn, he has remained firm on the question of marriage. To Mr. Blankenhorn, marriage should always remain one man and one woman, and he presents an exceptionally convincing case on why the cons of redefining marriage vastly outweigh any potential pros. Thus, Mr. Blankenhorn throws a huge wrench into the plaintiffs’ case since, as described by some, he’s “one of them” and yet doesn’t believe that same-sex “marriage” is good for society. We agree wholeheartedly.

  • 74. Emily  |  January 28, 2010 at 1:09 pm

    Didn't read most of the comments, but… I find this whole polygamy in relation to gay marriage ridiculous. In all reality, what is wrong with polyamory? Those who speak against it are ignorant of the concept itself. If people are consenting adults, whose business is it? Let love be love.

    Those on the religious right using the excuse of gay marriage legalizing polygamy and incest fail to realize that both of these were present and supported in their Bible.

  • 75. Alkanshel  |  January 28, 2010 at 2:01 pm

    Hmm. I do think I recall quite a few editorials against it.

    Still, the news articles themselves won't touch it in a favorable manner.

  • 76. Dieter M.  |  January 28, 2010 at 4:07 pm

    wooohoooo another EPIC blow
    to the anti-gay bigots:

    NOM Investigation Going Forward

    The National Organization for Marriage wants a delay in an investigation by the state of Maine into the group's finances, but that state's ethics commission denied its request.

    NOM contributed almost $2 million to repeal Maine's gay marriage law. Now an investigation is being launched into NOM's finances, but the organization wants to wait until the federal Proposition 8 trial —which is ruling on whether California's ban on same-sex marriage violates the U.S. Constitution — is decided before the Maine investigation takes place.

    "I understand concerns about duplicate efforts, but that's part of the hand we are dealt," said ethics commision member Margaret Matheson. "We're charged with ensuring that voters have that information and that's the crux of this investigation."

    enjoy prison Maggie gallagher. say goodbye to tax exempt church status….LOL

  • 77. Dieter M.  |  January 28, 2010 at 5:53 pm

    I just sent Maggie Gallagher a nice little letter telling her that we are going to vote to make FAT people marrying illegal. As a FAT woman she is promoting and condoning an unhealthy lifestyle to our children.If we allow FAT people to get married then people will want to marry a goat.Our innocent children will be FORCED to hear about fat people in school, and they might think it is acceptable, and may want to even try being FAT themselves.This will destroy this country. her CHOSEN lifestyle directly affects me , because it is MY gay tax dollars that go to help pay for her healthcare associated with diabetes, and obesity. And since the whole purpose of marriage according to her lawyers is for procreation, and SHE had her own bastard baby our of wedlock…then clearly her getting married would violate MY rights, and her own definition of marriage.
    Fat people should not be allowed to FLAUNT thier lifestyles in public…all that taco bell running down their faces onto their dirty sweat shirts. Unacceptable. Say NO to FAT marriage. Think of the children!!

  • 78. Amicus  |  January 28, 2010 at 6:37 pm

    Julia, your objection is dead wrong on this, I think.

    It is big news that one of the leading marriage advocates rules/definition/structure of marriage does not rule out polygamy (which is really polygyny, the way most people understand it).

    Blankenhorn testified in open court that polygamy didn't violate his structures/rules.

    After that, it will be hard to make polygamy part of the fear campaign against gays and lesbians, right?

  • 79. John B.  |  January 28, 2010 at 11:45 pm

    When the issue of polygamy arises it's helpful to point out that polygamy is profoundly different from same-sex marriage because there are serious legal issues of next-of-kin, inheritance, right to make financial or medical decisions, etc. that would be impossible to sort out with more than one legal spouse. It's unfortunate this point wasn't made when Blankenhorn asserted that polygamous marriages are actually a set of opposite-sex two-person marriages (that all happen to involve the same man…). Simply put, if the man with two or more wives dies or is disabled or hospitalized, which of his wives has the legal right to make which decisions? These issues simply do not arise with same-sex marriage, which in a purely legal sense is indistinguishable from opposite-sex marriage. Both are more similar to each other than either is to polygamous marriage.

  • 80. John B.  |  January 28, 2010 at 11:51 pm

    In other words, virtually every state and federal law already on the books that pertains to "traditional" opposite-sex marriage (many of which actually have to do with the dissolution of the marriage by death or divorce) and virtually every court case precedent can be seamlessly applied to same-sex marriages. This is not the case with polygamous marriages, which would require an extensive re-writing of marriage law and many, many court cases to establish new precedent.

  • 81. Richard  |  January 29, 2010 at 12:08 am

    Sarah, we DO have action groups. Go to Courage Campaign's main website and sign up either to join or to form a Neighborhood Equality team. I am in North Carolina, and I have been allowed by these fine people to start the first Equality Team on the East Coast. We need more Equality teams, not only in North Carolina, but all over the United States. With these Equality Teams, we can gat together with our friends, family, and neighbors and pull all of this up on our computers and show them what really went on. This way, we can counter the lies that have beenn told, and spread common sense around everywhere.

  • 82. jstueart  |  January 29, 2010 at 4:02 am

    Yeah, I was about to post the same article, citing that they were doing a better job than most. But I couldn't believe how much of the defense's arguments–in FULL–they printed, and how little of Boies and Olson even appeared.

    While the tone is impartial, the quotes tell a different story.

    I think the beginning and the end of the article are great. Last two words of the article "he's wrong" referring to a conservative Prop 8 supporter is nice.

    But yeah, less quotes from the defense might have made the article more impartial….

  • 83. Mikey  |  January 29, 2010 at 5:19 am

    Our local rag is actually on the same page:
    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld

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