Tony Perkins slams NY court’s polygamy ruling: Conservatives were right about slippery slope

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Getty Images

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins has denounced a New York judge's ruling that nonmonogamous relationships should be treated equally to marriage under the eyes of the law. 

Last month, Judge Karen May Bacdayan of the New York City Civil Court ruled in the case of West 49th St., LLC v O'Neill that “the time has arrived” for non-monogamous relationships to be given legal recognition.

Bacdayan argued that the U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage “while revolutionary,” nevertheless “still adhered to the majoritarian, societal view that only two people can have a family-like relationship.”

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“Why then, except for the very real possibility of implicit majoritarian animus, is the limitation of two persons inserted into the definition of a family-like relationship for the purposes of receiving the same protections from eviction accorded to legally formalized or blood relationships?” Bacdayan wrote in her decision.

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, speaking at the Pray Vote Stand Summit on Friday, Sept. 16, 2022.
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, speaking at the Pray Vote Stand Summit on Friday, Sept. 16, 2022. | Screengrab/ Pray Vote Stand Summit 2022

In a commentary published by The Washington Stand on Tuesday, Perkins said the decision showed that conservatives' claims about a same-sex marriage slippery slope were correct. 

“The media laughed off the conservative movement’s concerns about the slippery slope when Democrats pushed to sexualize the military 20 years ago,” Perkins wrote.

“Now, almost two decades later, with American parents in the fight of their lives over transgenderism and judges paving the way for ‘plural marriage,’ it unfortunately proves we were right.”

Perkins also pointed to a recent Gallup poll that found 23% of respondents believed polygamy was “morally acceptable,” well above what it was a generation ago.

“And why not? If ‘love’ and ‘consent’ are all that define a relationship, then proponents of incest, pedophilia, and group marriage can follow the LGBT playbook all the way to validity,” Perkins added. “The Left has been quick to say that polygamy isn’t the next gay marriage. But who could possibly take them seriously?”

During the debate over same-sex marriage legalization, conservative politicians and activists argued that if same-sex marriage was legalized, polygamy would follow soon after.

In his dissent in the 2015 ruling Obergefell v. Hodges, Chief Justice John Roberts argued that the reasoning behind the majority opinion legalizing gay marriage could be argued in favor of “a fundamental right to plural marriage.”

“If a same-sex couple has the constitutional right to marry because their children would otherwise ‘suffer the stigma of knowing their families are somehow lesser’ … why wouldn’t the same reasoning apply to a family of three or more persons raising children?” Roberts wrote.

In 2014, U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups finalized a ruling in which he struck down part of Utah’s ban on polygamy, though he stopped short of declaring polygamy a constitutional right.

At issue was whether Kody Brown, star of the reality TV series "Sister Wives," could be married to four women at once. Brown argued that the state ban violated his religious freedom.

Brown and his family belonged to a small Mormon denomination that, unlike the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, still practices plural marriage.

Waddoups ruled that Brown could marry a fourth time while cohabitating with his three wives, but those other marriages would not receive official legal recognition.

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