The New York Times last Sunday published an opinions piece by Stanford Law Professor Ralph Richard Banks that essentially argues that American society has not achieved “marriage equality” by allowing same sex couples to marry. He argues that polygamy and incestuous marriage between adults should be legalized in order to evolve to full marriage equality:
Historically, both polygamy and incest have been more widely practiced, and accepted, than the U.S. Supreme Court, and most Americans, seem to believe. Over time, our moral assessments of these practices will shift, just as they have with interracial marriage and same sex marriage. We will begin to take seriously questions that now seem beyond the pale: Should a state be permitted to imprison two cousins because they have sex or attempt to marry? Should a man and two wives be permitted to live together as a family when they assert that their religious convictions lead them to do so?
So, as I and others have argued, the real issue is “marriage deconstruction” not “marriage equality” in the debate over whether same sex couples should be allowed to marry. In other words, the fight is between those who believe that societies should encourage people to have sex and make babies only within a pubic institution called marriage, defined uniformly for all as one man and one woman. The opposite view is not “allow same sex couples to marry,” but to abandon any common, culture-wide definition of marriage and allow each person to do what he or she thinks is right in regards to marriage, sex and family. However, the harmful results societies suffer from this “self autonomy” view of marriage have caused world cultures to reject it. The common experience of human societies since the dawn of history is that the “self autonomy” model of sex, marriage and family causes men to act irresponsibly (because it is all about one’s self-fulfillment),by exploiting women and neglecting the children the men produce.
A society cannot sustain itself over time when it allows each person to define marriage and responsible sexual activity any way he wants.
This post originally appeared here.