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WSJ Helps End Polygamy Controversy of 'Turley's Arguments'

Date: Oct 18, 2004
Word Count: 900 words
Cross-Reference: Kay Hymowitz, Wall Street Journal, Jonathan Turley

Referring to both Jonathan Turley's (USA TODAY) op-ed and the activism of, Kay Hymowitz's (Wall Street Journal) op-ed helps pro-polygamy organization end the "Turley's Arguments" controversy.

Old Orchard Beach, MAINE, Oct. 18 -- -- Days after the pro-polygamy organization,, publicly revealed that its own arguments had been repeated in an October 3, 2004, op-ed in USA TODAY, founder Mark Henkel sought to end the controversy. And he had some unwitting help from the Wall Street Journal. 
Said Henkel, "We are honestly not making anything up, nor are we out to undermine Mr. Turley or USA TODAY. We're grateful, actually." 
While not listing out the different arguments which they believe had been repeated in Turley's October 3 op-ed, the original October 14 press release from had only zeroed in on the most apparent example. 
Noted Constitutional law professor, Jonathan Turley, had written, "banning polygamy is no more a solution to child abuse than banning marriage would be a solution to spousal abuse."'s October 14 press release explained that that argument is a distinct "sound-bite" argument which Henkel created and has used for years. 
Web-searches at Google and Yahoo back up the assertion, when searching: 
polygamy AND "vicious wife beaters". 
Immediately-conducted search results prove that the listed web-pages have been "in" those search engines for quite awhile. 
One search result is that of a media interview which Mark Henkel conducted with Metro Source Radio News Wire, three years ago, on August 24, 2001. 
In that interview, he said, "Just as you could find abusive men in 'monogamous marriage,' you can find 'abusive men' in 'polygamous marriage,' but just as you wouldn't ban 'monogamy' because of vicious wife beaters, it makes no sense to ban 'polygamy' on the basis of individuals with other criminal 'baggage.'" 
Another search result is that of an online copy of a published op-ed which Henkel had been asked to write for a daily newspaper in Wheeling, West Virginia. The piece was published in The Intelligencer, Page Five, July 12, 2001. (The op-ed was later also donated as the very first article published in the archives of the web-site.) 
In that published op-ed, titled, "Polygamy, When You Think About It...," Henkel wrote, "One primary, common method of anti-polygamy propaganda is that of 'tying together' unrelated side-issues, such as abuse examples. This misleads listeners with the implication that such side-issues are supposedly the 'definition' of polygamy itself.  
"God forbid. Abuse is abuse. Even most pro-polygamists vehemently oppose abuse.  
"The implication of pro-polygamists being 'tied together' with abusers is as unjust as it would be if a loving 'monogamist' was 'tied together' by implication with cruel wife-beaters." 
Later in that same piece, Henkel re-iterated that same point, saying, "banning polygamy because of a few 'bad' anecdotal examples is as absurd as wanting to ban monogamy because of vicious wife-beaters." 
Those are not the only examples of Henkel's presentation of that argument either. He has also declared it in many taped media interviews, for example. Those audiocassette tapes are available through the organization's e-commerce site, And they have always been available for anyone to order at any time. 
"This all proves our point, and it only involves one argument," said Henkel. "So we can stop here -- there's no need to address any of our other repeated arguments. Everyone now can see it. The arguments are not 'Turley's arguments.' They are clearly ours and they have been so for some time. 
"Of course, we very much want well-respected individuals to learn -- and even repeat -- our essential arguments. That's a key purpose of -- to teach our arguments (and about ourselves) for people to repeat to yet others." 
And that continues to happen -- even just four days after that October 14 press release from On October 18, the Wall Street Journal published an op-ed from Kay S. Hymowitz, titled, "I Wed Thee ... and Thee ... and Thee." 
Therein, Hymowitz noted the arguments which Turley had used. She then informed readers about the activism of "Polygamy is the next civil rights battle," she quoted -- with full attribution -- as the "motto" of 
Before additionally mentioning Mormon polygamists, "Principle Voices of Polygamy," Hymowitz wrote an important clarification as learned from ChristianPolygamy.INFO, a website linked on 
She accurately explained, "Christian polygamists are conservative evangelicals who base their beliefs on the Old and New Testaments; by contrast, Mormons cite extra-biblical revelations of their founding prophet Joseph Smith." 
By pointing out, Kay Hymowitz's op-ed gave genuine insight into the pending debate and of the sources from whom that debate is coming. 
Jonathan Turley had used important arguments, but protagonists of "polygamy rights" will not be "using his arguments." It's the other way around. 
"That is why the larger issue of our October 14 press release is not about Jonathan Turley or USA TODAY," said Henkel. "It was about preventing subsequent inaccurate attributions by anyone else, which then could thwart a true debate." 
Other subsequent responses to Turley's op-ed in USA TODAY -- such as from the Traditional Values Coalition and the Baptist Press -- had inaccurately attributed and identified the arguments as "Turley's arguments." 
But Kay Hymowitz's openly-attributing op-ed in the Wall Street Journal helped to correct that mistaken identification. 
"For these reasons," said Henkel, "we re-iterate that we have no desire for this minor controversy to undermine Professor Turley whatsoever. As we thank Ms. Hymowitz for bringing greater accuracy to the debate, we also want it fully known that we also thank Mr. Turley for vindicating our arguments and our fight for 'polygamy rights' in the first place." 


Bibliographic URLs:,,SB109805785552147645,00.html?mod=todays_us_opinion 

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