Tuesday, May 20, 2008

You mean you're not underage?

Y'know, when your justification for a violent raid on a ranch owned by an eccentric polygamous religious sect and the kidnapping of hundreds of that sect's children is a supposed crusade to save the sect's girls from being forced into underage unions with older men, it helps if you can find girls who have actually been forced into such relationships. It's not much help when many of the "underage" girls you claim to have rescued turn out to be at least 18 years of age.

Note that Texas's situation is even more complicated than the recent revelations suggest, since the state's age of consent is 17.

Further complicating the situation is the fact that Texans can marry at 16 with their parents' consent. Sure, Texas doesn't recognize plural marriages, just as it doesn't recognize same-sex marriages, but we've now wandered into technical violation territory. If a relationship is illegal only because there are several wives rather than one wife, that hardly justifies armed assaults by the state, mass roundups of children and legal battles over custody.

More and more, it looks like the real crime of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is being different and ... well ... creepy. The FLDS has apparently been targeted for destruction because its tenets and practices rub America's increasingly intolerant soccer moms and suburban dads the wrong way.

We just can't let people live that way!

I'm as weirded out by the Persian-harem-via-How The West Was Won ambience that clings to the FLDS as the next guy, but I want allegations of abuse against the group to be (fancy this) based on actual evidence, and addressed on an individual basis, rather than as an excuse for a pogrom. That is, as weirded out as we all may be, you prosecute the actual abusers among the oddball minorities (as well as the bland majorities) and leave everybody else the hell alone.

As it is, we're well on the way to SWAT raids against any community that doesn't abide by the lifestyle script favored by local prosecutors and Children's Protective Services seat-warmers. If you think that's a good idea, just give me a crack at appointing the committee that decides whose doors get kicked in. Just for laughs, my nominees will all either wear leather chaps or pioneer garb.

Oh, and don't forget to review my argument for why traditional marriage, gay marriage and plural marriages should all be permitted -- as private arrangements.

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Anonymous mostly cajun said...

The whole "plural marriage" thing is easily bypassed in the courts as long as the husband doesn't try to license more than one marriage.

So here's the deal: Husband marries wife #1, complete with state filing and license. Subsequent wives are 'married' in the church. The state has nothing to stand on in court. Is it illegal to cohabit without benefit of 'official' marriage? Not any more. Is it illegal to father children outside of wedlock? Nope.

Makes for an interesting case...


May 21, 2008 1:05 PM  

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