The president of the American Civil Liberties Union says polygamy is among the “fundamental rights” that her organization will continue to defend.
During a question-and-answer session after a speech at Yale University, ACLU president Nadine Strossen stated that her organization has “defended the right of individuals to engage in polygamy,” reported AgapePress, noting that the comments cited by the Yale Daily News received little attention.
The student paper said Strossen was responding to a “student’s question about gay marriage, bigamy, and polygamy.”
The ACLU chief said her organization defends “the freedom of choice for mature, consenting individuals,” making it “the guardian of liberty … defend[ing] the fundamental rights of all people.”
Some opponents of same-sex marriage — including, notably, Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa. — have argued that its acceptance will create a slipperly slope, leading to the sanctioning of other types of relationships, including polygamy.
Crawford Broadcasting radio talk-show host Paul McGuire says the ACLU “has declared legal war on the traditional family.”
“Now the ACLU is defending polygamy,” he said, according to AgapePress. “You know, there are male and female lawyers who wake up in the morning and are actually proud of being ACLU lawyers. But I think the majority of Americans view ACLU lawyers as people who hate America and who want to destroy all Judeo-Christian values and beliefs.”
McGuire asserts Strossen’s organization seems “to only defend things that tear down the fabric of society.”
National Review correspondent Ramesh Ponnuru says the ACLU might be defending a right for people to establish households in this way without necessarily fighting for governmental recognition of polygamous marriages.
“Even if so,” Ponnuru concludes, “it is hard to see how the ACLU, on its own principles, could stop short of demanding a change to the marriage laws to allow for polygamy.”
Strossen, president of the ACLU since 1991, also serves as acting professor of law at New York Law School and is the author of “Defending Pornography: Free Speech, Sex & the Fight for Women’s Rights.”