Polygamy: Gay Marriage and the Slippery Slope Argument

Cast your memory back in time. Think of the infamous gay marriage bill and the arguments surrounding it. Do you recall anything similar to the following exchange?
"If we allow gay marriage, then it won't be long before we have to allow polygamy as well."
"Polygamy? Nonsense. You are clearly using a slippery slope argument."
"But, what would be the difference between allowing gay marriage and polygamous marriages?"
"Polygamy is clearly harmful to society, especially to women and children. Polygamous relationships often involve some degree of incest. There is a big difference between gay marriages and polygamous marriages."

Put this in your pipe and smoke it!
I told you!! Too bad I didn't blog on it at the time.
And get a load of what they say at CTV! But the project was also intended to provide the Liberal government with ammunition to help defend its same-sex marriage bill last spring.


Nicol DuMoulin said...

Yes, this is a very sad day indeed. Sad because no matter what people say...the slippery slope argument always wins.

Good post.

Canadi-anna said...

The big problem is that there are a lot of people who don't see polygamy, or any other 'alternative lifestyle' as any big deal.
It's that 'not my business' attitude.

Peter Thurley said...

Unfortunately you seem to have forgetten why it is a 'slippery-slope' argument in the first place. If it is a true slippery slope argument, then there is a logical causal relationship between X and Y. That is, Action X must have a logical relationship to and more specifically, must cause Y. The fallacy is committed when someone tries to argue that X leads to Y without a logical causal tie. Thats why the discussion and the legalization of same-sex marriage will lead to polygamy being legalized is a slippery slope FALLACY. Quite simply, there is no demonstrable logical causal link between legalizing same-sex marriage and legalizing polygamy. The study that was commissioned did not consider the relationship between same-sex marriage and polygamy. You cannot say one led to the other without showing how. To merely assert a connection and not show it is to make use of the fallacy.

There is no slippery slope argument between same-sex marriage and polygamous relationships, only a slippery slope fallacy. They are two entirely different issues, and should be dealt with accordingly. For the record, I too am opposed to polygamous relationships being legal. But any argument I might make to that effect will be indenpendant of any argument I may make about same-sex marriage.

Ruth said...

"Quite simply, there is no demonstrable logical causal link between legalizing same-sex marriage and legalizing polygamy."

Wrong again, Pete.
I'd like to point out what was said in the article (that you obviously did not read before you wrote your response).

"Why criminalize the behaviour?" she said in an interview. "We don't criminalize adultery. "In light of the fact that we have a fairly permissive society. Why are we singling out that particular form of behaviour for criminalization?"

So, despite what you have said, the two behaviours WERE linked. So was incest and bigamy. The linkage was the permissiveness of our society, specifically as it relates to sex.

Anonymous said...

I think Peter needs to stop arguing the arguments and argue the ESSENSE of the argument. You can get caught up in all the semantics about X and Y and
so forth but what good does that prove.

Conservatives said all along that if you legalize SSM then you will open up a Pandora's box because the arguments that were used to legalize SSM can be used to legalize polygamy etc. Although the 2 behaviours may not be linked via relationships (although what if homosexuals demand the right to marry multiple partners in the future?) or something like that, they are linked by the reasoning for allowing one or the other. You can not treat the issues as 2 completely unrelated things and take them each one at a time when the reasons for allowing one apply to the other.

It was short sighted by liberals to allow SSM based on reason X when conservatives were saying that reason X could be used by other groups such as polygamists. But of course liberals say "Oh no, they'll never do that. That's completely wrong. That's fear mongering. Allowing one group to do something will never spur other groups to want the same 'rights'". Now look what we have to deal with.

Is incest next? Perhaps. If we now allow polygamy. That is, a unique sexual relationship between 2 consenting adults why shouldn't we allow first-cousins to marry if they both are consenting adults?

It is interesting how the "slippery-slope" argument is always condemned by liberals as not being valid to PROVE something but it seems to EXPLAIN the situation very well.

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