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Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Katherine Kersten's Korner

I knew it. I just knew it. Since her last two kolumns were relatively benign, I knew that she was saving up a doozy, one so incredible stupid that it threatens to implode itself due to the weight of its idiocy, and this week's kolumn is it. Wow. Just, wow. She has taken up the battle cry of the truly wackjob anti-gay marriage wingnuts, saying "If gay marriage is legalized, polygamy won't be far behind."

Wingnuttia level (∞: It's a Kersten singularity!)

First, let's take the easy things. An HBO series? Yeah, right, that's important. And how can conservatives like Kersten say that "Brokeback Mountain" is simultaneously a meaningless movie that is ignored by "Middle America" because of its far-out values while at the same time saying that it culturally packs a big wallop? If I've learned nothing else, it's that conservative minds don't explode when faced with such cognitive dissonance. Finally, "influential voice" and "John Tierney" don't belong within a hundred miles of each other, much like "Katherine Kersten" and "able to put together a coherent argument."

I almost forgot the "elite" law professors at elitist coastal law schools like Columbia and Yale that are "laying the groundwork" for polygamy. Names? Proof? Facts to back this up? Nah, we don't need those.

Now that the simple stuff is out of the way, I'll explain the reason why polygamy will not happen, in small words so that even Kersten can understand: marriage law is incapable of handling polygamy.

That's it. No ambiguity. Existing law can very easily handle same-sex marriage: just remove gender language from the statutes, and there you go. Nothing fundamentally changes in statute. However, to legalize polygamy, you can't just change a few words. It would take a fundamental rethinking and redrafting of the law to incorporate this change, something that is probably impossible.

If three people are in a marriage and one wants out, how you do you handle it? How do you divide assets? Who gets the house? How do you handle custody of kids? Do the two remaining people get two-thirds of the custody, and the person leaving the marriage one-third, in order to keep the proportions? What about child support? What happens if one member of the marriage is in a Terri Schiavo-like situation, and his or her spouses have to decide what to do, but are evenly split. Do you flip a coin? Can marriage be added to or subtracted from at any time, or do you have to marry everybody at once and then separate everybody if one wants out?

That's three people. Imagine five, or ten, or fifty. It is completely untenable. I don't think even the most "elite" of minds could come up with a framework that allowed this to happen.
Does Kersten care about this, though? Has she given one split-second of thought to what allowing polygamy would mean from a legal standpoint? Of course not. No, it's far more fun to just parrot stupid arguments in favor of the homophobic marriage amendment, throwing them out there in case they stick. Thinking gives you wrinkles, after all.

Why doesn't Kersten simply write a piece about how not passing the marriage amendment will lead to the destruction of Earth by space mutants? Because that has as much logical basis as her polygamy argument, and it would probably be a lot more fun to read.

Star Tribune: are you embarrased to have this fool writing for you yet? I could write drivel like hers if you want, and I would probably do it for less. How about it?


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