News/Comment; Posted on: 2006-10-24 18:27:44
If everything is marriage, then nothing is
Canada, you don’t know the half of it. In mid-January, Canada was rocked by news that a Justice Department study had called for the decriminalization and regulation of polygamy. Actually, two government studies recommended decriminalizing polygamy (only one has been reported on.) And even that is only part of the story. Canadians, let me be brutally frank. You are being played for a bunch of fools by your legal-political elite. Your elites mumble a confusing jargon to your face to keep you from understanding what they really have in mind.
Let’s try a little test. Translate the following phrases into English:
1) Canada needs to move “beyond conjugality.”
2) Canada needs to “reconsider the continuing legal privileging of marriage and other conjugal relationships.”
3) Once gay marriage is legalized, Canada will be able to “consider whether the legal privileges and burdens now assigned to marriage and other conjugal relationships can be justified.”
4) Canada needs to question “whether conjugality is an appropriate marker for determining legal rights and obligations.”
(Answers: The English translation of #1,# 2, and #4 is: “Canada should abolish marriage.” The translation of #3 is: “Once we legalize gay marriage, we can move on to the task of abolishing marriage itself.”)
This argument was very publicly made to Canadians in 2001, when the Law Commission of Canada published its report, “Beyond Conjugality.” But nobody got it. Everyone noticed that a government commission had backed same-sex marriage. But few recognized, grasped, or could bring themselves to take seriously, the central thrust of Beyond Conjugality: that after the legalization of same-sex marriage, Canadian marriage itself ought to be abolished.
Martha Bailey, Queens University law professor and chief author of the now infamous report advocating the decriminalization of polygamy, played an important organizing role in the Beyond Conjugality project (translation: the “Abolish Marriage” project). In 2004, Bailey published an article, “Regulation of Cohabitation and Marriage in Canada,” arguing that, after the legalization of same-sex marriage, Canadians would be able to turn their attention to the more urgent business of abolishing marriage itself. (That article is the source of items #2, #3, and #4 above.) So it is hardly surprising that Bailey has now called for the decriminalization of polygamy. What’s that you say? How does legalizing polygamous marriage advance the cause of abolishing marriage? Canadians, I’m going to have to spell it out for you in a way that Martha Bailey and her friends on the Law Commission of Canada will not.
It’s like this. The way to abolish marriage, without seeming to abolish it, is to redefine the institution out of existence. If everything can be marriage, pretty soon nothing will be marriage. Legalize gay marriage, followed by multi-partner marriage, and pretty soon the whole idea of marriage will be meaningless. At that point, Canada can move to what Bailey and her friends really want: an infinitely flexible relationship system that validates any conceivable family arrangement, regardless of the number or gender of partners.
The Canadian public cannot bring itself to believe that the abolition of marriage is the real agenda of the country’s liberal legal-political elite. That is why everyone was surprised by Bailey’s polygamy report, even though the judicial elite’s intentions had been completely public for five years. (Granted, these intentions were telegraphed in a semi-incomprehensible intellectual gibberish, with the really scary stuff hidden in footnotes.)
If it were merely a matter of a few thousand so-called “Mormon fundamentalists,” legalized polygamy wouldn’t stand a chance in Canada. Even the addition of Canada’s rapidly growing Muslim immigrant population wouldn’t create a winning pro-polygamy coalition (although pressure from Canada’s Muslims does matter). It’s the many and powerful legal elites (including judges) — the ones who see marriage itself as an outdated and oppressive patriarchal institution — who make decriminalizing polygamy something to worry about.
What’s that you say? You still don’t understand how a bunch of liberal-feminist elites could even think about supporting an “oppressively patriarchal” institution like polygamy? I guess you still just don’t get it. Read Bailey’s report and you will see that she does not endorse traditional “patriarchal” polygamy. Bailey’s whole point is that Canada can decriminalize polygamy without endorsing what “fundamentalist Mormons” or Islamic immigrants actually do.
But why would Bailey favor that? Simple. Canada’s anti-polygamy laws stand in the way of Bailey’s true goal: the creation of a modern, secular, “non-patriarchal” relationship system that would allow for marriage-like unions in any combination of number or gender. That would mean the effective abolition of marriage. But to get to the postmodern version of multi-partner unions, Canada’s old-fashioned anti-polygamy laws have got to go.
Don’t you get it? Canada’s socially liberal legal elites are just using the gay marriage movement, fundamentalist Mormons, and Muslim immigrants to get what they’re truly after: the slow-motion abolition of marriage. (According to Bailey, even many same-sex marriage advocates actually want to “reform” marriage out of existence.) And radical as that goal may seem, Canada is a whole lot closer to abolishing marriage than you realize. Canada’s liberal courts have already knocked down most of the legal distinctions between marriage and unmarried cohabitation. Bailey’s notorious report highlights that fact. “The legal significance of marital status has declined substantially in Canada,” says Bailey, so why make a fuss about polygamy?
Story continued at link below
( http://www.nationalvanguard.org/story.php?id=10500 )
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