Count Bob Vander Plaats among the Religious Right activists responding to a court decision decriminalizing polygamy in Utah by crowing that they “correctly” predicted that marriage equality victories would lead to legalized polygamous marriage. Never mind that the decision does not legalize multiple-party marriages – or even cite the Supreme Court’s recent marriage equality rulings – or that the issue brings up some tricky issues around the objectiveness of biblical interpretation about marriage.
In an interview with Des Moines radio host Jan Mickelson on Tuesday, Vander Plaats – head of the Family Leader and possible 2014 Senate candidate – insisted that the Utah ruling was evidence that “when you remove God’s design and parameters, there’s no limit to what we’ll invent to be our freedoms.”
He speculated that marriage equality would also pave the way for parents marrying their adult children for tax purposes. “There’s no more standards and the judges get to determine,” he said. “That’s tyranny, not freedom.”
Mickelson for his part compared the legal recognition of same-sex marriages to providing “constitutional protections” for bestiality and warned that soon “you could have a spouse in every state.”
Mickelson: Now that you’ve been objectively vindicated — that once you open that door there is no real principle. If you start with the premise of self-determination – you define your own reality, that’s the essence of being human, nobody else can determine your reality for you – that means that if you think you’re a polygamist, you think that you’re a bigamist, you have a fondness for your animals, your livestock, or two or three women, or some person of the same gender. If that is what is affirming you, that defines you, and the rest of us are obligated to, A, respect it – we mainstream it, we subsidize it, and we give it constitutional protections. Because that’s the inevitable logic of their own reasoning process.
Vander Plaats: And I think, Jan, we have to take a couple learnings from here. Number one is when you remove the parameters of God’s design, there is unlimited opportunity for an individual’s freedom.
Mickelson: The Muslims say this is God’s design, and the Mormons say this is – well, some of the Mormon’s still think this is God’s design.
Vander Plaats: And I’m saying that’s not going to be a limit there either, whether it be polygamy. Because it’s also about a parent marrying their child – of age, marrying their child. Sex probably not even being involved, but I love the child, I want to pass on — again, the welfare state – I want to pass on my estate to a married spouse without the tax implications, that can happen. So, one is when you remove God’s design and parameters, there’s no limit to what we’ll invent to be our freedoms.
But two is, there’s no limit to judicial activism. So when a business person says, ‘You know what, I want to have predictability in the courts,’ you bet you won’t have predictability in the courts based on the constitutional separation of powers. Because now you have these courts saying, we’ll be allowed to have polygamy, you can marry a guy and a woman in North Dakota, there’s no more standards and the judges get to determine. That’s tyranny, not freedom.
Mickelson: Yeah, you could have a spouse in every state.