Plural Marriage Recognized in New York Under Key Precedent

Ruling Could Lead to Right To Marry 3 or More, Or Reconsideration of Same-Sex Marriages
WASHINGTON - Sept. 25, 2022 - PRLog -- A judge in New York has just ruled that polyamorous relationships - in this case a 3-person married unit living together in an apartment - are entitled to the same legal protection as opposite-sex or same-sex 2-person marriages.

Since the judge relied upon the famous legal precedent which led to constitutional protection for same-sex marriages, this ruling could expand that right by creating a fundamental right to marriages of 3 or more persons.

On the other hand, this expansive reading of the law could even lead to an overruling of the constitutional right of two people of the same sex to marry, says public interest law professor John Banzhaf.  Moreover, it is not the only example of the rapidly expanding legal recognition of plural marriages.  As the trial judge wrote:

"In February 2020, the Utah legislature passed a so-called Bigamy Bill, decriminalizing the offense by downgrading it from a felony to a misdemeanor. In June [2020], Somerville, Massachusetts, passed an ordinance allowing groups of three or more people who 'consider themselves to be a family' to be recognized as domestic partners….[T]he neighboring town of Cambridge followed suit, passing a broader ordinance recognizing multi-partner relationships. The law has proceeded even more rapidly in recognizing that it is possible for a child to have more than two legal parents. In 2017, the Uniform Law Commission, an association that enables states to harmonize their laws, drafted a new Uniform Parentage Act, one provision of which facilitates multiple-parent recognition. Versions of the provision have passed in California, Washington, Maine, Vermont, and Delaware, and it is under consideration in several other states. Courts in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Texas, Arizona, and Louisiana have also supported the idea of third parents. American conservatism has long mourned the proliferation of single parents, but, if two parents are better than one, why are three parents worse?" [emphasis added]

If rights not expressly found in the Constitution can be held to establish entitlements to marry someone of the same sex, as well as 3 or more persons of any sex, could they be further expanded to a right to marry a close relative, especially if offspring with possible genetic defects are unlikely to occur (e.g., father and son), asks the law professor, who has himself created some new legal rights.   @profbanzhaf

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