June 05, 2006

Just an Odd Thought

Melissa and I have been enjoying the HBO series "Big Love," a show that portrays a fictional polygamous fundamentalist Mormon family. It stars Bill "Chet" Paxton, Chloe "I Gave An Actual On Film Blow Job And It amazingly Didn't Destroy My Career" Sevigny, and several other notables.

So anyway, last night was the season finale, and the episode basically ended up with the family being exposed as polygamists, and here I found myself sitting there feeling kind of bad for the family.

And now, ladies and gentlemen, comes a truly disjointed mental segue.

As I've stated here before, I'm in favor of gay marriage. Gay and lesbian couples have more than proven, in my mind, that they're just as capable as hetero couples to maintain healthy relationships and raise children. They're also just as capable as heteros to have dysfunctional relationships and craptacular families. Human beings is human beings, after all.

But something twanged in me after the "Big Love" episode last night, and I asked myself that woeful "slippery slope" question that insists on being asked on occasion. That question being: if my criteria for allowing gay marriage is that they're capable of having healthy relationships and raising children, how can I stop there and not include polygamists? I mean, there most certainly must be polygamists out there like those portrayed in "Big Love" who are successful, healthy and happy families. Right?

I know, I know, comparing polygamists and homosexuals is supposedly ludicrous. So, I'm ludicrous. There are definite parallels, that's alls I'm sayin'.

Posted by Ryan at June 5, 2006 09:56 AM | TrackBack

Wow. I've been watching it too, and didn't get it taped last night, dammit, my vcr had operator failure, so I'm gonna have to catch it tommorrow. I got sucked in and I still don't know how.
It's a weird lifestyle, no doubt. And you want to be disgusted by them, but dammit, they are so normal, and you can't hate em, but at the same time, you gotta know this is not a good thing, but watching them, you just can't put your finger on why when it's so obviously working for them, and entertaining to watch.
It's only a matter of time until it's banned by all the religious groups, see below for I got your code right here discussion.
How did you get sucked in? I don't know what to tell you about gay marriages, it's like some comedian said, I think they should be as miserable as the rest of us.

Posted by: donna at June 5, 2006 10:15 AM

Donna, I started watching it one night when my girlfriend insisted that it was good. It was only the second episode, so I got hooked early on. I didn't mean to spoil that last episode for you before you watched it. Just forget what I wrote about the family being exposed.

Posted by: Ryan at June 6, 2006 10:46 AM

Many gay folk are all about the "Big Love", if you get my meaning.

Oh my.

Posted by: Keith at June 6, 2006 02:09 PM

There's no reason that whatever contract represents the legal portion of marriage couldn't specify that it could only take place between two partners. That would elminate polygamy from consideration for the legal benefits enjoyed by married couples. It would also prevent groups of people, say corporations, from claiming they were "marriages" in order to gain some special legal privileges (cause you know if there was a tax break in it they would.)

I do think the broader question should be asked, though. There are many cultures that practice polygamy. As long as the arrangement isn't coercive and doesn't violate any other laws of the land I'm not sure I understand why the state should dictate what sorts of relationships people are allowed to have.

I don't really understand why the state is involved in an openly religious institution like "marriage" anyway. I think in the eyes of the law they should ALL be "civil unions." I also think there is exactly zero chance of any politician who wants to get elected advancing this proposition.

Posted by: flamingbanjo at June 6, 2006 04:54 PM

I figured it was something like that, either that, or Bill Paxton was out shopping for a fourth or getting rid of blondie although she rides him like a young pony. That cracks me up, he's taking viagra, she's telling me give me a girl, give me a girl, and taking the pill at the same time. Or was it boy?
And where did they get the red headed kid anyway? Is she adopted or something?

Posted by: Donna at June 7, 2006 05:47 AM

i don't think you're jump was far off at all. i don't have anything against the fundamental ideas of polygamy, and as others have pointed out, other cultures practice it quite well, with definite benefits: more people around to raise the kids, bigger safety net, built-in-community. but, like you said, humans are humans and in practice, it's usually flawed, esp. in a culture like the U.S. where there are few role models, whereas in other cultures it's standard and people learn how it works best. as for legality: i think the current idea of marriage is crap, so i don't care who does it - it's just a piece of paper.

Posted by: amy.leblanc at June 8, 2006 03:16 PM
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