Consequences of Gay Marriage

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For the first time ever I've seen an argument against gay marriage based on the consequences it might lead to, and I've actually understood the argument and how same-sex marriage might lead to those consequences. Not every step in this slippery-slope argument is guaranteed to happen, but it makes sense that it might. A lot of people have been saying that allowing same-sex marriage will guarantee allowing polygamy and polyandry. Many libertarian-minded people have no trouble with this, despite the psychological trouble in multiple-wife families of rebel Mormons. If that happens, all sorts of troublesome scenarios arrive. People could abuse the multiple-spouse allowance in all sorts of ways that most people wouldn't ever think of, e.g. to get fifteen people into this country, including already-married people, to get twenty spouses covered by your health insurance? What if all the members of a gang or mafia group marry each other and therefore claim immunity from testifying? What do you do with tax laws or parental custody and adoption laws? This all assumes same-sex marriage will lead to polgamy and polyandry, but these are real problems if it does. Of course, these may be good enough reasons not to allow polygamy and polyandry, thus blocking the slide down the slippery slope.


I think this article on the effects of SSM in Scandinavia could provide an empirical case to look at some effects of SSM. Also Mary Ann Glendon, Learned Hand Professor of Law at Harvard, has an interesting article on the unknown social consequences of legalizing gay marriage. See For Better or for Worse? Also Richard A. Posner had numerous interesting points in his lengthy critical review of Evan Gerstmann's Same-Sex Marriage and the Constitution. I think one of his conclusios is that we need more information on the long term affects.

It's not really the effects of SSM that are at issue here, though. It's the effects of multiple-partner marriage. Many people have argued that once SSM is allowed we'll also have to allow multiple-partner marriage to be consistent, according to the grounds we've allowed SSM. As far as I know, the Scandinavian countries haven't done that yet, so it wouldn't affect this argument.

I don't know why it dropped my link but here is the Scandinavia article and the Posner article.

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