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Stepping Stone


If you’d like to get a graphic sense of what the slippery slope from gay marriage, to polyamory, to the abolition of marriage will look like, now you can see it on video. In “Beyond Gay Marriage,” I talked about the radical professors currently in control of the discipline of family law. These professors favor gay marriage–but only as a step toward group marriage (polyamory) and/or the legal abolition of marriage itself. Now you can see some of the most prominent radicals give their vision of the future at the March 2003 conference on “Marriage, Democracy and Families” at the Hofstra University School of Law. If you go to Panel V–”Intimate Affiliation and Democracy: Beyond Marriage,” and click on Part I, you will see the third speaker (counting the introduction of the panel by the chair as the first speaker), Martha Fineman, advocate the abolition of legal marriage. I think the fourth speaker is even more interesting. Judith Stacey, the Barbra Streisand Professor in Contemporary Gender Studies at USC, describes a three parent family–a lesbian couple and an inseminating gay man–that she would like to see get legal recognition. (There wasn’t enough time for Stacey to present her example of a four parent family.) There’s no real difference between Stacey’s plea for recognition of triple or quadruple parent marriages and the pleas for recognition of same-sex marriage. We are bound to be hearing more about this in the future. Finally, take a look at the talk by Martha Ertman, the first speaker (after a brief introduction) in the “Part II” video of the same panel. Ertman has offered the law of business partnership as the basis for an infinitely flexible set of relationship contracts. These contracts would recognize marriages in any combination of number or gender. Ertman’s goal is to render distinctions between any possible sexual grouping “morally neutral.” Again, what’s interesting here is that all of these radicals favor gay marriage. Yet each sees gay marriage as a stepping stone to the effective abolition of marriage itself.

Judith Stacey’s plea for recognition of three and four person marriages is important, because she makes it in conjunction with a group of powerful professors of family law. But there’s another sense in which Stacey’s campaign is not isolated. Check out this article from the Village Voice. Once gay marriage is safely in place, we’ll be seeing a lot more articles like that. And the pleas for fairness and compassion for multi-parent gay families will be every bit as heartfelt as the pleas for two person gay marriage are now. By the way, I got the link to this article from the blog at That is the site to go to for thoughtful arguments on both sides of the gay marriage issue.


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