Thirty or so years ago, when the homosexualist movement got moving in the Episcopal Church, they argued for giving the “lesgay community” the same opportunity to solemnize their (allegedly) monogamous relationships as heterosexual couples had. The arguments were variations of “God made me this way” and “This is the way I am,” combined with either skepticism about the biblical teaching or reinterpretation of what it actually meant.
Eventually they added bi-sexuals to the list and began speaking of the “lesbigay community.” They continued pressing for the same goals with the same arguments, despite the fact that they now included people who believed that the way God made them did not include monogamy. This showed the logical drive of the sexual liberationist movement, even if the rationalizations lagged well behind the reality.
One argument against homosexual marriage, which we seem to have to keep hammering home, is that if marriage is only a matter of the affections, of the state solemnizing the sexual and communal arrangement people choose, there is no end to the arrangements it must approve. It has no reason to stop with two people, as it has, in many places, done now.
A few years ago I wrote an article on this for Inside Catholic, called Gay Marriage and the Slippery Slope to Polyamory . It began with a description of a group called Unitarian Universalists for Polyamory Awareness and their defense of “the philosophy and practice of loving or relating intimately to more than one person at a time with honesty and integrity,” and then described the ambiguous or confused or compromised position of the religious sexual liberal who wants to change the rules but not that much. And then it traced out the way liberationism develops as its people become bolder in following out its principles in public.
And so one can plot the trajectory of polyamorousness easily enough: It has started with the Unitarians and it will end with the Episcopalians, Lutherans, Presbyterians, and We Are Church. Once you have replaced the Dos and Don’ts of Christianity with some idea of sex as self-actualization, you cannot rationally resist anyone who wants to be more liberal than you are, and there will always be someone more liberal than you are. Begin with the principles of sexual liberalism, and reason is always on the side of the person who wants to be more liberal still.
You want contraception; someone else wants easy divorce. You want easy divorce; someone else wants homosexual marriages. You want homosexual marriages; someone else wants threesomes. You want threesomes; someone else wants children. You want children; someone else wants sheep. And his reason for wanting sheep will be just as good as yours for wanting contraception or easy divorce or homosexual marriages.
At some point, of course, most sexual liberals will say, “But I don’t want that !” Nevertheless, the liberal cannot say no to the man more daring than he. To resist his proposal to increase sexual freedom — meaning receiving wide social approval for having sex with more than one person within a shorter period of time than hitherto allowed — you must give a reason for resisting, and reasons for resisting one thing have a way of ruling out many things you would like to keep ruled in.
A reason for saying no to threesomes may well turn out to be a reason for saying no to homosexual marriages, and a reason for saying no to homosexual marriages may well turn out to be a reason for saying no to easy divorce, and a reason for saying no to easy divorce may well turn out to be a reason for saying no to contraception. It may not, of course, but the risk is too great to run.
“The heart wants what it wants,” as Woody Allen famously said. That is the essence of the argument for homosexual “marriage,” and it is just as good an argument for any number of other arrangements, including polygamy and polyamory. The current limit of two people per couple is irrational, if marriage is defined by desire and not restricted by the need for complimentary sexual organs and the possibility of creating children.
So here’s a new slogan for the marriage movement: If sex doesn’t matter, number doesn’t matter.