First it was the end of Christian America. Then the end of the recession. Now the end of monogamy as the basis for socially acceptable relationships, in a lead article captioned:
Only You. And You. And You.The article is sure to re-ignite the slippery slope argument over gay marriage, that legalizing and institutionalizing gay marriage inevitably will lead to the requirement of similar treatment for
Polyamory—relationships with multiple, mutually consenting partners—has a coming-out party.
But doesn't this start us down the slippery slope to hell? No. Consider first the case of polygamy. People are capable and some desire lives intertwined with more than one person. Couldn't three people make decisions as a unit and wouldn't this argument require affording the legal status to all of them? No. The purpose of civil marriage is to make sure that the location of rights and responsibilities is perfectly clear. Polygamy would not only not make these issues unambiguous, it would entrench further ambiguity into the law. It would do the opposite of what civil marriage is meant to do.And a counter to this counter is:
Dismiss it, if you must. Be offended, if you choose. Send hate mail, if you’re inclined. But allowing two people of the same sex to declare themselves “married” renders the whole institution meaningless and opens the door to legally recognizing other “inimical” relationships. Perhaps 10 years from now, those cases will make headlines.Say what you will, slippery slope arguments often work in the legal context:
But it seems to me that decisions such as the California, Massachusetts, and Vermont ones illustrate that it's a mistake to just factually dismiss the claims that slippage is possible. When we're dealing with a legal system that's built on analogy and precedent (both binding precedent and persuasive precedent), slippery slope risks have to be taken seriously.Newsweek knows how to get attention, and sex and sexuality sells. Newsweek, however, does not know how to break out of the doctors-office-magazine-rack hell it is stuck in.
How about this for the next Newsweek cover: "The end of the world is near!" That ought to generate a few hits, but probably not any paying subscribers.
UPDATE: For other views, Defend Marriage as an Institution to Avoid Slippery Slopes and Homosexual equality has nothing to do with slippery slopes
Follow me on Twitter and Facebook