I don’t have time to write the quality of post this topic deserves, but the topic can’t wait for me to write the high-quality edition. Hence this abbreviated post.
Many Mormons have suggested that the Mormon experience with polygamy makes them reluctant to oppose same-sex marriage. Some have gone so far as to accuse the church of hypocrisy for opposing gay marriage. The concerns expressed by these people, however, expose a fundamental misunderstanding of the relevant issues facing the two debates about marriage.
Mormon polygamists, like my great-great-great-grandfather, John Johnson, were imprisoned by the US government on charges of co-habitation. John Johnson couldn’t have cared less about whether the government condoned his marriage. He was completely satisfied with the religious sealing his marriage received by the priesthood of God. He just wanted the state to leave him alone with his two wives and their children to whom he was faithfully committed.
Gay marriage advocates, on the other hand, aren’t being jailed for co-habitation. I don’t believe they’ve ever been jailed for co-habitation (though I confess ignorance on the historical question). In any event, it’s not illegal for gays to commit acts of sodomy, let alone live together. Instead, gays are asking society to condone their relationships on the same grounds it condones heterosexual marriages.
If gays were pleading for the government not jail them for living together, then analogies to Mormon polygamy would work.
But they’re not, and they don’t.