Editor’s note: This is another in a series of “WND/WENZEL POLLS” conducted exclusively for WND by the public-opinion research and media consulting company Wenzel Strategies.
Polygamy has had very little support in the U.S. since the Republican Party in 1854 declared it, along with slavery, one of the “twin relics of barbarism,” and Congress banned it in 1862. The Mormon church officially abandoned plural marriage in 1890.
But when the California Supreme Court ruled in 2010 in favor of homosexual marriage, one dissenting justice warned that it would not be illogical to expect that support for polygamy soon would follow.
In fact, a polygamous group in Utah just last month challenged a ban on the practice in court, and now a new WND/Wenzel Poll, conducted exclusively for WND by the public-opinion research and media consulting company Wenzel Strategies, indicates there is a surprisingly high level of support developing across the U.S.
A full 22 percent of the respondents say there is no legal justification for denying polygamy, based on the fact that legislation and judicial decisions have affirmed the validity of same-sex “marriage” for homosexuals.
Another 18.7 percent were uncertain.
Further, 18 percent of the respondents said there was no moral justification for denying polygamy, and 14.5 percent were uncertain.
The scientific telephone survey, conducted March 10-13, has a margin of error of 3.72 percentage points.
While only 6.1 percent said polygamy is a “preferred” lifestyle, another 15.9 percent said it is an “equally valid lifestyle.” Across America, that would mean tens of millions accept the idea.
“When the concept of polygamy was introduced to the respondent, one in five Americans said they saw it as either a preferred lifestyle or an equally acceptable lifestyle,” said Fritz Wenzel in his analysis of the results.
“About this same percentage said they saw no legal or moral justification for prohibiting the practice. While there was significant objection to this practice on moral grounds by conservatives, about one in five respondents across the philosophical spectrum said that, given legal rulings paving the way for gay marriage, they could not object to similar legal findings on polygamy.”
The move had been predicted in 2010 by California Supreme Court Justice Marvin Baxter, but he estimated the time frame would be in the 10-20 year range.
His dissent came in the high court’s opinion that created same-sex “marriage” in California. The decision just months later was overturned by voters who once again passed an amendment to define marriage in the state Constitution as a relationship between one man and one woman.
The vote set up a federal court lawsuit that resulted in a homosexual judge declaring that the amendment to limit marriage was unconstitutional.
The ruling from “gay” judge Vaughn Walker, who stood to benefit from his own court decision, is being appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Baxter warned in the state court ruling, “The bans on incestuous and polygamous marriages are ancient and deeprooted, and, as the majority suggests, they are supported by strong considerations of social policy.”
He continued, “Our society abhors such relationships, and the notion that our laws could not forever prohibit them seems preposterous. Yet here, the majority overturns, in abrupt fashion, an initiative statute confirming the equally deeprooted assumption that marriage is a union of partners of the opposite sex. The majority does so by relying on its own assessment of contemporary community values, and by inserting in our Constitution an expanded definition of the right to marry that contravenes express statutory law.”
He warned, “Who can say that, in 10, 15 or 20 years, an activist court might not rely on the majority’s analysis to conclude, on the basis of a perceived evolution in community values, that the laws prohibiting polygamous and incestuous marriages were no longer constitutionally justified?”
The primary pro-polygamy influences in the United States were the Mormon advocacy for the practice in the 1800s and the current influx of adherents to Islam.
It also resurfaced just last month in Utah, where a federal judge ruled there is enough evidence to allow a polygamous family – made famous by a television show – to sue over the state’s bigamy law.
It was reported U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups dismissed Utah’s governor and attorney general from the case but allowed the suit to proceed against Utah County Attorney Jeffrey Buhman. The AG had threatened to prosecute Kody Brown and his four wives – Meri, Janelle, Christine and Robyn – after the TLC show “Sister Wives” debuted in September 2010, but his office has not filed charges.
The family alleges the bigamy prohibition violates its constitutional rights to due process, equal protection, free exercise of religion, free speech and freedom of association.
The Wenzel poll showed 59 percent believe there is a legal justification to ban polygamy and 67 percent say there is a moral reason. That included 65 percent of Democrats, who reportedly are being asked to consider supporting homosexual “marriage” as a plank in their party’s national platform this year.
In the poll, 28 percent of respondent said polygamy is sinful, 33 percent said it is aberrant and destructive and 16 percent said it is aberrant. Those who described themselves as “progressive” were the most supportive, with 6 percent saying polygamy is preferred but a huge 29 percent saying it is equally valid. Those who described themselves as “moderates” followed, with 11 percent saying it is preferred and 19 percent saying it is equally valid.
Forty-six percent of the “very conservative” respondents said it is “sinful.”
See detailed results of survey questions:
Since some traditional marriage laws have been struck down because they do not permit same-sex couples to participate in the institution, do you believe there is any legal justification for denying polygamy in light of those legislative and court decisions?
Since some traditional marriage laws have been struck down because they do not permit same-sex couples to participate in the institution, do you believe there is any moral justification for denying polygamy in light of those legislative and court decisions?