by Andrea Moury
A group of polygamists and a “machinist” have filed a lawsuit against the State of Mississippi for allegedly violating the U.S. Constitution. They argue that by legalizing same-sex marriage and simultaneously forbidding other types of unions, the government is favoring one religious view over others. That, they say, is a violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment which prohibits laws “respecting an establishment of religion” over others by giving it preferential treatment.
The plaintiffs note that their defense of the Establishment Clause should not be reason for anyone to accuse them of bigotry:
The plaintiffs are not bigots for respectfully asking that this court uphold the Constitution. This case is not based on emotion but on what the Constitution allows. This is a war for the viability of our Constitutional Republic itself.
Chris Sevier, a man who calls himself a machinist and is seeking to get the state to recognize his marriage with his computer, explained his reasoning behind the lawsuit:
Because gay marriage is not secular. It’s controversial. It’s questionably real. It’s questionably moral. And just like polygamy, and zoophilia, and machinism, and other forms of perspective marriage are also not secular. All forms of parody marriage are equally part of the religion of secular humanism.
The 50-page lawsuit further elaborates on the plaintiff’s argument that same-sex marriage, polygamy, machinism, and all other forms of “parody marrriage” come from different branches of the religion of secular humanism. If one of those types of marriages is legalized, they all must be, the plaintiffs argue; doing otherwise is favoring one religion over another and is unconstitutional.
This line of reasoning echoes Chief Justice John Roberts’ dissent in Obergefell v. Hodges when he foresaw that the legalization of same sex marriage would make it extremely difficult to refuse to legalize other types of “marriages”:
Although the majority randomly inserts the adjective “two” in various places, it offers no reason at all why the two-person element of the core definition of marriage may be preserved while the man-woman element may not. Indeed, from the standpoint of history and tradition, a leap from opposite-sex marriage to same-sex marriage is much greater than one from a two-person union to plural unions, which have deep roots in some cultures around the world. If the majority is willing to take the big leap, it is hard to see how it can say no to the shorter one.
Getting the government to legally recognize a marriage to a computer or a marriage between three or more people might seem like a stretch, but then again, one hundred years ago, who would have guessed that our country would legalize same-sex marriage? Just two years after Roberts’ prophecy, it would appear we may be very close to having it realized.