Everyone has heard the slippery slope response to many an argument. I have on several occasions in my books and articles addressed implications and ramifications to contemporary issues that are fraught with slopes of all kinds. Today I wish to bring your attention to the nature of marriage.
I do agree that the only justification for the old definition of marriage, that of between one man and one woman, is almost entirely based on religious principles. As such, it was and is discriminatory and therefore wrong. However, I also recognized early that by changing this definition and becoming more inclusive, we were about to slide the slippery slope. For example, it was easy to predict a more permissive allowance for polygamy and that is indeed the case today. Some prosecutors already acknowledge that provided a man only "legally" marries one wife, he can have as many wives as he wants.
the U.S. Supreme Court in 1879 ruled that polygamy is 'an offense against society,' holding that it is not protected by religious freedom, just as 'human sacrifice' is not protected. One hundred-thirty-two years later, a lawsuit brought by an openly polygamous family -- stars of TLC's reality show 'Sister Wives' -- asks whether their personal behavior should be exempt from prosecution under Utah's antibigamy law, just as individuals are not prosecuted for having multiple lovers or sex partners.
Marriage in the past has been linked to religion, time and time again. So in my mind, it's a reasonable question to ask, "Is it discriminatory to prosecute anyone who voluntarily chooses to enter into a relationship they wish to call marriage?" I mean, consider this while your weighing matters.
When two people choose to be married in a special ceremony, they typically obtain a minister to recite and obtain consent to the vows. In some cases, perhaps a JP (Justice of the Peace), but never just a friend! Why is that? I mean, why not just ask your friendly plumber to marry you?
Well -- that is the question and the answer is, "Why not?" A headline in Religion News Service this past week says it all, "Humanists win right to solemnize their own weddings in Indiana." Quoting the article, "In a unanimous ruling, the Chicago-based 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said denying humanists the right to be married by celebrants who share their lack of belief in a deity is a denial of their First Amendment rights to freedom of religion."
So the next time you think about marriage, think about what sort of arrangement might just be solemnized next?
Thanks for the read,