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Multiple choice

How will Massachusetts jurists react to another "defined class"?

Issue: "John Kerry's dream," March 13, 2004

NEXT TIME I GET MARRIED IT'S GOING TO BE TO two people. I haven't checked out the Pennsylvania Constitution on that, but there's nothing in the Massachusetts Constitution to prevent it. I know that because there's nothing in the Massachusetts Constitution to prevent the marriage of two men or two women, and mine is just the next natural step. My plans assume that all state constitutions are pretty much the same, but if I have to I'll relocate to the land of William Bradford-may he not turn in his grave.

Four justices on a seven-member bench in Boston blew off a thousand generations of tradition like so much talcum powder. (Stupid ancestors, what did they know? "No doubt you are the people, and wisdom will die with you" -Job 12:2.) Rejecting the wimpy Vermont compromise that countenanced second-class "civil unions," with unimpeachable logic they one-upped their neighbor to the north: "The history of our nation has demonstrated that separate is seldom, if ever, equal," and "For no rational reason the marriage laws of the commonwealth discriminate against a defined class."

I'm starting a new "defined class." All right, I'm not starting it. Colorado City, Colo., and Hildale, Utah, across the border already have a thriving polygamist movement. I wonder, are they retros or avant-garde? Doesn't matter. If they're smart they'll look to Massachusetts for their legal legs from now on. And I expect Mormons soon to resurrect ahead-of-their-times practices they were forced to squelch a century ago while Utah sought statehood.

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Polygamy (you'll get used to the word; labels make the trip from ridiculous to respectable in no time flat these days) has advantages that will soon become as apparent to others as they are to me. Pity the poor bisexual, for instance. How are her civil rights met in either a "union" or "marriage" with only one gender, when she feels comme ci on a Tuesday and comme ca on a Wednesday? Speaking for myself, I'm looking for a more polymorphous experience in wedlock-a theologian type who knows basic household plumbing. It's hard to get the two in one mate.

Marrying two people simultaneously (as opposed to serially, which is now the more accepted American practice) would save a bundle on weddings. (By the way, who pays? The bride's or the groom's parents? And who's the "bride"?) My parents once refused to attend my cousin's third nuptial celebration, assuming she had amassed enough toasters by that time.

Bringing tax codes and medical laws out of the Dark Ages will be a challenge, but if we're committed, and our cause is noble, we will persevere. Moreover, we're already tackling that juggernaut thanks to those pioneers in social enlightenment, the GLBT (gay-lesbian-bisexual-transgender) folks. I'm just here to finish the revolution. Nor am I endorsing anything more than Abraham, Jacob, and David did in their time-and where was polygamy ever explicitly rescinded in the Bible? Sure, a church elder must be "the husband of one wife" (1 Timothy 3:2), but I'm not running for elder.

I will bide my time. Comprehension filters slowly. There will be ranting and raving for a while. The last paroxysms of resistance, from some of the more intransigent Christian types. But in the end it's banality, not bombast, that wins the day for evil. Dr. Kevorkian becomes avuncular. The word polygamy, like its precursor, homosexuality, becomes comfortable by a thousand repetitions. And the Massachusetts Seven will have no choice but to see it my way because they've already given away the store. "Peace in our time," they declared with their hopeful capitulation, a domestic version of the Munich pact.

Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) will have his day of vindication. (He had said that if you have the constitutional right to homosexual acts, "then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery.") Jurisprudence will become a parlor game of syllogisms, immanence having swallowed up transcendence. Constitutions will be silly putty in the hands of overeducated men in robes, men close to their presuppositions and miles from reality.

Me, my only problem is deciding: Do I want to marry two men, two women, or one of each?

Andrée Seu
Andrée Seu

Andrée is the author of three books: Won't Let You Go Unless You Bless Me, Normal Kingdom Business, and We Shall Have Spring Again.


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