Cennamology Chief Editor
As more and more people are becoming supportive of same-sex marriage across America, and court after court keeps striking down gay marriage bans in state after state, the arguments of those opposed to marriage equality are becoming more and more desperate.
One of the last talking points that anti-gay marriage advocates are clinging to is the slippery slope argument - that the legalization of gay marriage will inevitably lead to polygamy. Or, as former Sen. Rick Santorum says, gay marriage could lead to man-on-dog marriage.
There is one glaring problem with this argument: there is not a single example in the world of a jurisdiction having legalized polygamy after having legalized gay marriage. Not a single country, province, state or city in the entire world. In fact, the countries where polygamy is legal are in the regions that are the most hostile towards LGBT rights – Africa and the Middle East.
Europe, the region that is arguably the most friendly towards LGBT rights (with the exception of the former Soviet states), has the most countries that recognize gay marriage, yet not a single one recognizes polygamy.
Let's look at the countries where polygamy is legal - almost all of them are in Africa and the Middle East. In many of these countries, being gay is punishable by death. Uganda, one of the countries that has become very famously anti-gay over the past couple years, has legal polygamy. So, if anything, polygamy leads to less tolerance of LGBT rights. Why would anyone think that the legalization of same-sex marriage would lead to a policy that has historically not coexisted with fair treatment of gays and lesbians?
The alarmists' predictions of rampant polygamy being brought about by the legalization of same-sex marriage have turned out to be a whole lot of nothing. There are no countries where polygamy and same-sex marriage are both legal. There are no “polygamist pride parades,” in the streets of Brussels, Boston or Baltimore. Nor is any other socially significant movement pushing for the right to marry more than one person, other than the one pursued by the stars of the TLC show “Sister Wives,” which hardly anybody watches anyway.
So, in other words, the anti-gay politicians who say that legalizing gay marriage will ultimately lead to the cheapening of marriage to the point where a man can have 55 wives, with 13 of them being another species, are talking out of their asses.
“Slippery slope arguments are lazy arguments,” said Salisbury University political science professor and pre-law adviser Roberta Adams. “Don’t use those types of arguments in a courtroom.”
This argument in particular is lazy because of the sheer lack of evidence that warrants any fear of same-sex marriage leading to polygamy. The slippery slope argument is unimaginative speculation, and speculation is all it is in this situation because there is not a single example of the prediction materializing, despite having over a decade to do so in many parts of the world. You can give it several more decades, and it is still extremely unlikely that the prediction will hold true.
In the jurisdictions that have legalized gay marriage, let’s explain what has happened since: a man can marry the woman he loves, a man can marry the man he loves, a woman can marry the woman she loves, filing taxes on one return instead of multiple is a right no longer exclusive to straight couples, people can attend all types of weddings and have a wonderful time, businesses can make tons of extra money providing their services to gay and straight weddings, citizens live in peace, religion still exists and polygamy has not been legalized.
But the real reason that many anti-gay marriage folks are sticking to the slippery slope argument is not because they truly believe it, but that they are scared of what gay marriage will actually lead to – acceptance and tolerance of gays and lesbians. That scares traditionalists way more than polygamy does.