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Polygamy And Marriage Equality — Are They The Same Fight?



Are polygamy and marriage equality 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 in 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 privacy—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 the Lawrence v. Texas decision, when intimate relations between LGBT persons were decriminalized, intimate relations between polygamous families has been decriminalized (in Utah, at least). 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 marriage—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. 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 choice—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 equality to the fight to legalize plural marriage is a legal and logical leap I cannot make in my own mind.   

Image, top, by Sister Wives via Facebook 

Follow author Eric Ethington on Twitter @EricEthington

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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. Eric’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 at

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Trump Lawyers Blindsided by Existence of Bombshell Recording – ‘They Don’t Know How to Defend This’: Maggie Haberman



CNN on Friday morning obtained a bombshell transcript of a recording in which former President Donald Trump boasts of retaining “secret” military information that he never declassified while he was president.

Appearing on CNN shortly after this news broke, New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman revealed that the former president’s team was essentially blindsided by this recording’s existence.

“I don’t think they quite know how to defend this… from what we have heard,” she said. “They were… startled by the existence of this tape. This tape was something that they learned existed when this aide to Trump testified. The prosecutors were already in possession of this tape. They didn’t get it from the aide, although it appears the aide had a copy when it was subpoenaed later, but this is has been described to us by multiple sources… as a really problematic piece of evidence for Trump.”

Haberman predicted that the recording’s existence would not change the Trump legal team’s overall defense strategy, however.

READ MORE: ‘He’s just not that smart’: Trump buried by Morning Joe for handing investigators all they need

“I think they are going to stick that their line: ‘He says things, he didn’t mean it a certain way,'” she said. “I am sure they can come up with all kinds of explanations for why he used the language he used. But it’s on tape.”

Trump is due in court in Miami next week to face seven felony counts related to his handling of top-secret government documents.

Watch the video below or at this link.


Image via Shutterstock

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Trump Indicted by Grand Jury: Reports



Donald Trump’s attorneys have been notified a grand jury has voted to indict the ex-president on numerous federal charges and ordered to appear in a Miami court next Tuesday, according to ABC News, CNN, and NBC News. Trump on his Truth Social account made a similar claim..

“Former President Donald Trump has been indicted in the special counsel’s classified documents probe, sources familiar with the matter tells CNN,” the network reports. “Trump has been charged with seven counts in the indictment, according to another source familiar with the matter.”

“We’re learning from our sources that there appears to be at least seven counts here,” ABC News’ Katherine Faulders reported on-air, ABC News online reports.. “This ranges from everything from the willful retention of national defense information to conspiracy to a scheme to conceal to false statements and representations.”

MSNBC on-air reports NBC News has confirmed the Trump indictment, and NBC News online reports the indictment is “in connection with his mishandling of more than 100 classified documents that were discovered last year at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, making the twice-impeached former commander-in-chief the first former president to face federal criminal charges.”

Watch this currently ongoing ABC News live streaming video:

In three separate entries on his Truth Social platform, Trump writes: “The corrupt Biden Administration has informed my attorneys that I have been Indicted,” along with several false allegations NCRM will not publish.

“I have been summoned to appear at the Federal Courthouse in Miami on Tuesday, at 3 PM,” he adds.

He also declares he is “innocent.”

This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change.

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‘Where’s the Money?’: Biden Laughs Out Loud, Mocks GOP’s Allegations



Just as his press conference with the U.K. Prime Minister was coming to a close and reporters were asked to remain seated, a jovial President Joe Biden stayed and took several questions from reporters desperate to ask about Republicans’ baseless and unsubstantiated claims he accepted millions in bribe money when he was vice president.

Shouting “bribery allegations,” one reporter told the President, “Congresswoman Nancy Mace says there’s damning evidence in an FBI file that you sold out the country.”

As a smile worked its way across the President’s face, the reporter continued saying: “Do you have a response to congressional Republicans?”

The President did.

“Where’s the money?” he deadpanned.

“I’m joking,” he added.

READ MORE: Watch: Stunned Bill Barr Speechless After Fox Host Asks Why DOJ Is Pursuing Trump ‘In the Middle’ of an Election

“That’s a bunch of malarkey,” Biden ultimately responded, denying the claims which were fueled by FBI Director Chris Wray’s decision to allow the entire House Oversight Committee, in eluding far-right Republicans, access to an old FBI form documenting a second-hand tip alleging bribery.

NBC News Peter Alexander then threw a curious question at the President.

“Mr. President, what do you say to Americans to convince them that they should trust the independence and fairness of the Justice Department when your predecessor, Donald Trump, repeatedly attacks it?”

Biden quickly became less jovial.

READ MORE: SCOTUS ‘Surprise’ Voting Rights Decision Could – and Did – Have Big Implications for Democrats, Legal Experts Say

“Because you notice,” he said very seriously, pointing his finger at the reporter, “I have never once, not one single time, suggested to the Justice Department what they should do or not do relative bringing a charge or not bringing a charge.”

“I’m honest,” he stressed.

Foreign policy, national security, and political affairs analyst and commentator David Rothkopf responded to the video clip, stating: “Questions like these are not serious journalism.”

Watch below or at this link.


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