The New York Times presents a debate on polygamy that includes IGF friend John Corvino, who says:
Polygamy raises a number of public-policy concerns that same-sex marriage does not. … While I’m skeptical about extending state recognition to plural marriages, a free society has no more business outlawing “cohabitation” — as the Utah law did—than it has outlawing consensual romantic relationships. Instead of fearmongering, it’s time we debate polygamy on the merits.
I would agree. There are strong arguments against extending marriage recognition to polygamy, but also major differences between fundamentalist religious polygamy, in which women have few if any rights, and what might be termed contemporary polyamory, in which long-term trios, for instance, see themselves as real families that deserve the rights of families. Without question, the topic will continue to be used by social conservatives to discredit same-sex marriage equality as a “slippery slope.” But the issue should nevertheless be addressed and debated.