Strange Bedfellows: ABC Analyst Suggests Polygamy Ban Unconstitutional

You might think MSM support for the raid by Texas state authorities on the polygamist compound in Eldorado would be a slam dunk. After all, the religion involved is the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Not just Mormons: fundamentalists Mormons! Throw in patriarchy and allegations of exploitation of young women, and surely the feminist-inspired liberal media would be cheering on the bust.

But not so fast. Support this intervention, and perhaps a precedent is established for restrictions on unorthodox family arrangements of a more PC tint.

Take the comments of Jonathan Turley on today's Good Morning America. The George Washington law school professor went so far as to strongly suggest that the ban on polygamy is unconstitutional. And co-anchor Bill Weir was anything but unsympathetic to Turley's arguments.
BILL WEIR: Talk about just polygamy, equating polygamy, with child abuse. That is really a legal thicket there, isn't it?

JONATHAN TURLEY: It is. You know, they've got to be very careful. They can't start saying we're going to raid every polygamous compound. Because that's like going into a Catholic church and demanding to talk to every altar boy because some priest committed crimes.
There's nothing in polygamy that requires a child bride or child abuse or child rape. Warren Jeffs, in his cult-like operation, were extremists, from what I can see. That doesn't mean this doesn't occur in other polygamous compounds but this country's had a very difficult time with polygamy, some of us seriously question whether it is constitutional to outlaw polygamy without having proof of abuse of children. The Supreme Court did that in the 1800s. And many of us have questioned that. Because consenting adults are usually allowed to pick their life style particularly if it's religious-based.
And many polygamists don't even have children in the household. So this is going to reignite a lot of that controversy. Because some feel that by criminalizing polygamy, you forced it to go underground. Pushed these the people to the very outsides of society and that has made this all the more difficult.
WEIR: And makes it more, easier for them to engage in illegal activities in those compounds.

TURLEY: Perhaps so.
Busting a polygamous compound is "like going into a Catholic church and demanding to talk to every altar boy"? Say what? Polygamy is a crime on the books of every state. Last time I looked, Catholicism isn't. Turley and Weir's real concern, one suspects, is less about protecting polygamous Mormons than avoiding establishing precedents that could come back to bite other, more politically correct, personal arrangements.

In the meantime, talk about your strange bedfellows . . .
Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.