Are polygamy and marriage equalityÂ the same fight? Since my article a few days ago about a Utah federal judge decriminalizing the majority of that state’s ban on polygamy, my inbox has been flooded with passionate and varying opinions. So let’s dive deeper into this.
First some background. In Utah Judge Clark Waddoups’ ruling, it’s important to note that he did not completely legalize polygamy, the plaintiffs weren’t even asking him to. What was struck down as unconstitutional were Utah’s laws criminalizing cohabitation between married couples and other single individuals. It is still illegal for polygamous families in Utah to seek multiple marriage certificates.
The well-known attorney representing the polygamous family in the case, Jonathan Turley, based his arguments heavily on the historic 2003 ruling inÂ Lawrence v. Texas, where the Supreme Court struck down state bans on sodomy. That ruling had nothing to do with marriage or relationships, but rather drew upon the notion of Americans’ right to privacyâ€”that governments had no right to regulate what goes on between consenting adults in the privacy of their homes.
So on privacy grounds the fight to legalize polygamy and the overarching fight for LGBT equality are unquestionably linked. Just as in theÂ Lawrence v. TexasÂ decision, when intimate relations between LGBT persons were decriminalized, intimate relations between polygamous families has been decriminalized (in Utah, at least).Â Whether it be the intimacy between two men, two women, or plural families, a nation founded upon the principles of freedom cannot impede upon the private lives of its citizens.
But the similarities between the two struggles do, perhaps, diverge legally at that point. In the case of marriage equality, LGBT families are fighting for equal access to the same protections and laws that benefit straight couples. In the case of plural families, the fight is not for equal access to existing laws, but rather the creation and formation of a new kind of marriageâ€”requiring the creation of not only new marriage laws, but also estate, tax, death and all other related areas of code. (I say “new” in that plural marriage laws do not currently exist in the United States.)
One of the primary points of interest in the feedback I have received was my use of the word “choice,” in describing polygamous relationships. Believe me, I did not choose the word lightly. LGBT people around the world have struggled for decades to help our neighbors understand that we do not choose our sexual orientations or gender identities, just as no one chooses to be heterosexual or cisgender.Â But do innate characteristics such as orientation, gender identity, or race also apply to polygamous communities? I don’t see it. True, we do not choose the people we fall in love with, nor does the fact that we may already be in a relationship preclude the possibility of falling for someone else. But choosing to form a relationship with multiple people is just that, a choiceâ€”just as the decision two men or two women or a man and a woman make to form a relationship is a choice.
Some may believe, and certainly many who have contacted me believe, that plural marriage is a civil right. Honestly, I don’t have the answers there, and not knowing anyone personally in a polygamous family likely holds me back from understanding the movement better.
But regardless of personal feelings, or the debate over whether polygamous marriages are a legitimate civil rights struggle, the fight is different from marriage equality. There is certainly crossover around the issues of privacy, and the right to do what you please at home. But at the end of the day, polygamy is not pushing for equal access to existing laws. Which fight is more important is up to you (or perhaps neither are more important), but I have yet to see any arguments convincing me that they are the same.
I am not unsympathetic to the plight of plural families seeking simply to be left alone. We all deserve to be able to live the way we choose. But directly correlating the fight for marriage equalityÂ to the fight to legalize plural marriage is a legal and logical leap I cannot make in my own mind. Â Â
Image, top, by Sister Wives via FacebookÂ
Follow author Eric Ethington on TwitterÂ @EricEthington
Eric Ethington has been specializing in political messaging, communications strategy, and public relations for more than a decade. Originally hailing from Salt Lake City, he now works in Boston for a social justice think tank. Ericâ€™s writing, advocacy work, and research have been featured on MSNBC, CNN, Fox News, CNBC, the New York Times, The Telegraph, and The Public Eye magazine. He’s worked as a radio host, pundit, blogger, activist and electoral campaign strategist. He also writes atÂ NuanceStillMatters.com
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Experts Call on Trump to Release Search Warrant and Inventory List as His Supporters Talk of ‘Civil War’
Legal experts and other experts are urging – or in some cases, daring – Donald Trump to publish a copy of the FBI’s search warrant and the inventory list of the ten cartons of classified documents removed from Mar-a-Lago’s basement Monday, as his supporters openly call for civil war in response to what the former president called a “raid.”
“After the search, the federal agents hauled away roughly 10 more boxes,” The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.
That makes the total number of cartons the former president was storing at his Florida home approximately 25, based on reports that 15 cartons had to be retrieved by the National Archives earlier this year.
Almost immediately upon news breaking that the FBI had executed a search warrant, Trump supporters went wild. They formed a convoy outside Mar-a-Lago, and online countless threats of violence and “civil war” have been made.
Tuesday morning CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan posted a graph, noting the “big spike in tweets referencing ‘civil war’ right after the news of the FBI search of Mar-a-Lago broke last night.”
Dr. Caroline Orr Bueno posted an image of a large number of tweets that call for civil war and other related threats of violence, including: “I already bought my ammo,” “Civil war! Pick up arms, people!” “Civil War 2.0 just kicked off,” “Let’s do the war,” and “One step closer to a kinetic civil war.”
And Tuesday afternoon NBC News reported, “After Mar-a-Lago search, users on pro-Trump forums agitate for ‘civil war’ — including a Jan. 6 rioter.”
Legal experts have made clear they believe FBI’s execution of a lawful federal search warrant is most likely in connection with a national security and counterintelligence operation, not a casual stroll into the private estate of a former U.S. president – and certainly not a political move, like Trump supporters are falsely claiming.
Former Dept. of Justice Inspector General Michael Bromwich, who is also a former Asst. U.S. Attorney at the Southern District of New York (SDNY) notes that “Trump has the search warrant, specifying the crimes being investigated, and the inventory of the items seized.”
“He has chosen not to share those items publicly although he is free to do so,” Bromwich adds.
Former U.S. Acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal on MSNBC Tuesday morning:
“Donald Trump, you have a copy of the warrant. It explains what they were looking for, what statutes they think were violated, what judge signed off on that…If you believe this is such an abuse, release the warrant and let us decide for ourselves.”
“Donald Trump, you have a copy of the warrant. It explains what they were looking for, what statutes they think were violated, what judge signed off on that…If you believe this is such an abuse, release the warrant and let us decide for ourselves.” @neal_katyal pic.twitter.com/j3PH8m8ACI
— Morning Joe (@Morning_Joe) August 9, 2022
“By the way,” noted Richard Stengel, a former U.S. Under Secretary of State, “Trump now has the search warrant and the inventory of what was taken in his possession. If this raid was so egregious and unjustified, why not release them?”
“Trump can release the search warrant and the inventory of what the FBI took. Why hasn’t he?” asked Marc Elias, the DNC’s top attorney who successfully fought more than 60 cases of alleged election fraud brought by the Trump team and his supporters.
Former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti, responding to a Fox News tweet with video of Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) that reads, “‘WE DESERVE ANSWERS NOW'” wrote: “Some of those questions could be answered if Trump released the search warrant as well as the inventory of items seized, which his team presumably has.”
Politico’s Kyle Cheney tweeting his article titled, “Why the Trump search warrant is nothing like Hillary’s emails,” wrote: “One person who could clear most of it up? Trump. He has access to the inventory of records at Mar-a-Lago and likely received a copy of the search warrant. He would also know the nature of the classified documents at issue.”
‘He Was Going to Sacrifice You’: Pence Mocked for Rushing to Support Trump After FBI Mar-a-Lago Raid
Former Vice President Mike Pence, who was by Donald Trump‘s side constantly promoting and defending him when he was President, and who was subjected to Trump’s support of rioters and insurrectionists calling to “hang Mike Pence,” is being highly criticized and mocked for again rushing to defend Trump in the wake of the FBI’s raid at Mar-a-Lago.
Experts have made clear they believe FBI’s execution of a lawful federal search warrant is most likely in connection with a national security and counterintelligence operation, not a casual stroll into the private estate of a former U.S. president.
But not according to Pence, who is strongly believed to be organizing a 2024 presidential run.
“I share the deep concern of millions of Americans over the unprecedented search of the personal residence of President Trump. No former President of the United States has ever been subject to a raid of their personal residence in American history,” he writes.
“After years where FBI agents were found to be acting on political motivation during our administration, the appearance of continued partisanship by the Justice Department must be addressed,” he claims, which is at best a twisting of facts. No FBI agent was found to have taken official action based on personal political beliefs.
“Yesterday’s action undermines public confidence in our system of justice and Attorney General Garland must give a full accounting to the American people as to why this action was taken and he must do so immediately,” Pence demanded.
Pence could have made the exact same demand of Donald Trump, who has a copy of the lawfully executed search warrant and inventory of the likely hundreds or thousands of documents that are the rightful property of the U.S. government, and recovered by the FBI from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home.
Meanwhile, Pence was singing a very different tune int he weeks before he was elected Vice President.
“We call on the FBI to immediately release all emails pertinent to their investigation,” he tweeted about Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton on October 28, 2016. “Americans have the right to know before Election Day.”
Trump “and I commend the FBI for reopening an investigation into Clinton’s personal email server because no one is above the law,” Pence added just hours later.
Responses to Pence’s remarks on Tuesday were strong.
“Mike he was going to sacrifice you,” tweeted Daily Kos staff writer Gabe Ortíz.
“No President has ever attempted to have an armed mob assassinate his Vice President either,” wrote journalist Marcy Wheeler.
Trump sent a “violent mob to murder you so he could end [the] republic,” tweeted economist David Rothschild. “Trump took boxes of classified documents from White House & is known to destroy documents.”
“Trump won in 2016 because FBI intervened on his behalf over ‘concern’ about Clinton’s document retention & security,” he continued. “Not investigating & prosecuting former president who flaunts breaking law, including leading coup against US, undermines rule-of-law for all of US.”
“You don’t know what the FBI’s warrant said or what evidence was presented to the judge who authorized it,” tweeted U.S. Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA). “Your suggestion that Trump should be beyond accountability to the law, like your silence when Trump called for imprisonment of his opponents as president, harms our country.”
Talking Points memo editor and founder Josh Marshall writes, “this is a good reminder of who Mike Pence is. None of this happened. The FBI never plotted against Trump. To the extent it has org bias it’s toward the right. Everyone knows this. Pence is just repeating anti-‘deep state’ propaganda invented to give Trump cover for his crimes.”
“The pervasive rightwing lie and conspiracy theory that the FBI is controlled by Biden for political purposes is based on the assumption that everyone in the Biden admin, the FBI, the department of justice, the media and secret service is corrupt and abusing power—and trump is not,” wrote Condé Nast legal affairs editor Luke Zaleski.
Vox’s legal expert, Ian Millhiser asks, “Is there anyone on earth more pathetic than Mike Pence? Donald Trump egged on a lynch mob that wanted Pence hanged, and Pence is still Trump’s toady.”
‘Pledging to Sue’: Christian Nationalist GOP Nominee Subpoenaed by J6 Committee ‘Didn’t Answer a Single Question’
Christian nationalist Doug Mastriano, the Republican Party’s gubernatorial nominee for Pennsylvania who was at the US Capitol on January 6 and is seen as a central figure in the plot to overturn the election, complied with a subpoena to appear before the U.S. House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack but didn’t answer any questions.
“Trump ally Doug Mastriano’s virtual appearance Tuesday before the House January 6 committee only lasted about 15 minutes,” CNN reports, adding that “‘he didn’t answer a single question,’ according to a source familiar with the matter.”
New York Times reporter Luke Broadwater confirms, adding that Mastriano is “pledging to sue the committee,” although it is unclear on what grounds.
Mastriano is a conspiracy theorist with strong ties to far right wing extremists including antisemitic Gab found Andrew Torba.
CNN adds that “Mastriano’s attorney cut off the virtual appearance soon after it began, the source said. His lawyer, Tim Parlatore, took issue with several procedural matters related to the deposition, and raised questions about the legality of the subpoena that Mastriano received from the panel, the source added.”
As of May the Committee had already interviewed over 1000 people and it appears few, if any, have made these claims.
The New Yorker in May called Mastriano “a leader of the Stop the Steal campaign, and claims that he spoke to Donald Trump at least fifteen times between the 2020 election and the insurrection at the Capitol, on January 6th.”
“He urged his followers to attend the rally at the Capitol that led to the riots, saying, ‘I’m really praying that God will pour His Spirit upon Washington, D.C., like we’ve never seen before.’ Throughout this time, he has cast the fight against both lockdowns and Trump’s electoral loss as a religious battle against the forces of evil. He has come to embody a set of beliefs characterized as Christian nationalism, which center on the idea that God intended America to be a Christian nation, and which, when mingled with conspiracy theory and white nationalism, helped to fuel the insurrection.”
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