December 28, 2004

Half Gay and Half Polygamist?

The prolific Mark Steyn observes that the UK is well on the way to legalizing polygamy:
"This wasn't news to me, because I'd spotted an item six months back in that invaluable publication Pensions News. Contracting marriage with more than one spouse simultaneously is a crime in the United Kingdom. However, if a polygamous marriage is entered into abroad in a jurisdiction permitting polygamy, that marriage is regarded as valid under English law. Hence, the interest of Pensions News: trustees of pensions funds were concerned that, under new anti-discrimination regulations which came into effect in Britain last year, they'd be obligated to pay out to more than one widow, thus doubling, trebling or quadrupling their liability.

But you see how easy it is to start talking about polygamy in a nuts-and-bolts, incremental, legal-harmonisation, partners'-benefits, insurance-agent kind of a way. Just tidying up a bit of the fine print, old boy. Nothing to worry about. But, once a polygamous union is recognised as such by the Inland Revenue for the purposes of avoiding 40 per cent death duties, how long can the broader British state withhold recognition? No lack of taxation without representation!

When I mentioned the Pensions News item in a North American column on same-sex marriage, I was besieged by e-mails from huffy gays indignant at being compared with some up-country Nigerian wives-beater. 'It's not the same thing at all,' they insisted. But why? If the gender of the participants is no longer relevant, why should the number be? 'Don't be ridiculous,' they huffed back. 'There's no demand for it.' Au contraire, recent investigations into de facto polygamy in Muslim communities in France and Ontario suggest that even in Western jurisdictions there'll be many more takers for polygamy than for gay nuptials."

Steyn is right. There's no principled difference. Consenting adults. Private lives. Why not? And there is a demand for it, not just from Muslims, but from various Mormon splitoff groups and God knows who else.

Rich Santorum said it, and they flogged him as a troglodyte.

Steyn goes on to observe that the current situation can't last, and suspects that given the collapse of Christian belief, the Muslims will outlast the gays:

Last year, I was strolling down the boulevard de Maisonneuve in Montreal and saw across the street a Muslim woman, covered from head to toe in black, struggling home with her groceries past a "condom boutique" whose front window was advertising massive discounts on a, er, item of useful gay-sex paraphernalia. I wish I'd had a digital camera: there, in a single image, were the internal contradictions of the multicultural society. It seems highly improbable to me that gay hedonism and creeping sharia can co-exist for long. As yesterday's dispirited poll results implied, the modern multicultural state is really a nullity, a vacuum. The question is what's likely to fill it.

With four wives, they're certainly likely to outbreed them.

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