Kody Brown and his four wives have been reality stars for years, appearing in the hit TLC series “Sister Wives.” The Browns, who are Mormons, have given Americans their clearest glimpse into the unusual practice of polygamy, and they’ve drawn legal heat for their refusal to bow before Utah state law.
Now, following predictably on the heels of the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down any and all bans on same-sex marriage, the Browns are fighting to have the same legal protection. In court documents filed with the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals last week, the Browns argue that the ruling proves that it is unconstitutional to make laws that restrict consensual adult relationships.
“The Browns were investigated and no crimes or harm was found in their plural family,” said the family’s attorney, Jonathan Turley. The family is defending their victory from two years ago that made them immune to arrest for their polygamous relationships. Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes is appealing that decision, insisting that laws banning these marriages serve to protect women and children from abuse.
The Browns aren’t technically fighting to make polygamy legal in the same way gay marriage is now legal; they merely want to be left alone. Their hope is that they can live their lives without the threat of prison hanging over their heads, and that’s a hope that many can sympathize with.
Still, it’s inevitable that polygamy will be next. There’s no rational argument for the legalization of gay marriage that can’t also be used to legalize polygamy. Not that the Supreme Court used rationality to make their landmark ruling; this was political theater at its most egregious. Even so, they are (theoretically) bound by their own logic. If a man can marry a man, why would he not be able to marry two men? When the definition of marriage is fluid and subject to whim, it comes down to a matter of fairness. Allowing gay marriage and banning polygamy would be too obvious. It would expose these Justices as tools of the liberal LGBT agenda.
Ironically, “Sister Wives” is one of the more wholesome shows on cable these days. The Browns are devout in their beliefs, and Kody himself is a rare example of a father who takes his role seriously. They’re good people, in other words, and no one should want to see them imprisoned.
But at some point, we’re going to have to take a good look at our society and decide where the limits are. Are there any? Did the last six thousand years of human history mean anything? Or are we so magically enlightened in 2015 that we can just toss centuries of civilization and wisdom in the nearest garbage can?
Pride comes before the fall, as they say. And this fall is going to hurt.