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Again, Jonathan Turley Repeats Polygamy Organization's Arguments

Date: May 02, 2006
Word Count: 2200 words
Cross-Reference: Jonathan Turley, ending the "same sex marriage" debate, polygamy rights

Back on October 3, 2004, the USA Today columnist repeated the well-established pro-polygamy arguments previously made by the founder of the organization. In an April 2, 2006, op-ed about “ending the ‘same sex marriage’ debate,” Professor Turley did it again.

Jonathan   Turley   is   a   Constitutional   law   professor   at   George   Washington   University;   and,   he   writes   an   opinion   column   for   USA   Today.     Mark   Henkel   is   the   founder   of   the   evangelical   Christian   Polygamy   organization,;   and,   he   is   the   singularly   established   national   polygamy   advocate.     Although   the   two   talking   heads   have   yet   to   meet   each   other,   Professor   Turley,   in   his   USA   Today   op-eds,   has   been   repeating   the   same   arguments   about   marriage,   polygamy,   and   government   that   had   already   been   previously   established   by   Mark   Henkel. 
Back   on   October   3,   2004,   Professor   Turley   wrote   an   op-ed,   titled,   “Polygamy   laws   expose   our   hypocrisy.”     Notwithstanding   making   references   to   Tom   Green   who   is   loathed   by   most   normal   pro-polygamists,   Turley’s   op-ed   otherwise   echoed   the   similarly-worded   legal   and   biblical   argumentations   that   Henkel   had   presented   for   years.     Consequently,   some   pundits   started   referring   to   those   arguments   as   “Turley’s   arguments”   instead   of   referring   to   Henkel   or   .     Knowing   full-well   about   Henkel’s   organization   and   his   established   national-level   advocacy,   the   pundits   hoped   to   shut   him   out   from   the   public   debate   so   as   to   keep   the   debate   framed   by   non-advocates. 
Consequently,   the   organization   issued   a   press   release   on   October   14,   2004,   through   the   media   distribution   web-site,   .     In   correcting   the   pundits’   fraudulent   error   of   identifying   the   presented   arguments   as   “Turley’s   arguments,”   the   press   release   quoted   Henkel   commenting   on   Turley’s   op-ed,   “Said   Henkel,   ‘It   was   like   reading   something   written   by   someone   who   has   been   studying   my   writings,   press   releases,   and   media   interviews   for   a   long   time.’” 
Four   days   later,   an   article   by   Kay   Hymowitz   appeared   in   the   Wall   Street   Journal,   titled,   “I   Wed   Thee   …   and   Thee   …   and   Thee.”     In   addition   to   mentioning   Turley’s   op-ed,   the   article   thereby   informed   readers   about   evangelical   Christian   Polygamy   and   actual   polygamy   rights   activism.     Not   only   did   they   repeat   Henkel’s   specific   sound-bite   that   “Polygamy   rights   is   the   next   civil   rights   battle,”   but   the   Wall   Street   Journal   even   referenced   by   name. 
With   such   immediate   correct   attribution   and   recognition   being   helpfully   provided   by   the   Wall   Street   Journal,   the   organization   responded,   issuing   a   second   press   release   that   same   day,   October   18,   2004.     In   addition   to   providing   further   evidence   that   the   erroneously   identified   “Turley’s   arguments”   were   actually   Henkel’s   well-established   arguments,   the   press   release   sought   to   positively   bring   an   end   to   the   controversy. 
That   second   press   release   concluded   with   Henkel’s   comment,   saying,   “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.” 
Putting   it   to   rest,   and   successfully   pre-empting   the   pundits’   attempted   debate-sabotage,   the   pro-polygamy   arguments   used   in   the   op-ed   were   not   “Turley’s   arguments”   -   they   were   Henkel’s.     And   the   organization   was   grateful   to   Turley   for   repeating   -   and   thereby   vindicating   -   those   arguments. 
A   year   and   a   half   later,   Professor   Turley   did   it   again.     In   an   April   2,   2006,   op-ed   for   USA   Today,   Professor   Turley   explicitly   echoed   more   of   Henkel’s   well-established   arguments   –   doing   it   again. 
The   now-famous   sound-bite,   “Polygamy   rights   is   the   next   civil   rights   battle,”   has   been   well-established   as   being   originated   by   Henkel.     In   March,   2006,   word   of   Henkel’s   sound-bite   had   exponentially   spread   rapidly   throughout   much   of   the   media. 
Accordingly,   Henkel   was   asked   to   conduct   numerous   interviews   in   which   he   explained   and   clarified   the   sound-bite’s   meaning.     Namely,   as   Henkel   has   frequently   declared,   his   polygamy   rights   argument   actually   provides   the   win-win   solution   to   resolve   the   “same   sex   marriage”   debate   once   and   for   all. 
Throughout   that   month   of   March,   2006,   Henkel’s   frequently-stated   clarification   had   become   more   necessary   to   state   than   usual.     That   necessity   was   due   to   a   number   of   supposed-to-be   conservative   sources   who   were   attempting   to   falsely   link   the   sound-bite   to   something   it   was   not.     It   was   being   erroneously   implied   that   Henkel’s   polygamy   rights   sound-bite   was   supposed   “proof”   of   a   “slippery   slope”   from   “same   sex   marriage”   to   polygamy. 
Even   the   supposed-to-be-Christian   news   service,   Family   News   in   Focus,   for   example,   intentionally   and   unrepentantly   bore   false   witness   about   it.     After   that   news   division   of   James   Dobson’s   Focus   on   the   Family   had   interviewed   Henkel   twice   on   March   14,   2006,   they   asserted   in   a   March   16   report   that,   supposedly,   “polygamists   say   homosexuals   showed   them   the   way.” 
But   that   assertion   directly   contradicted   what   Henkel   had   actually   said   in   his   interview   with   Family   News   in   Focus.     Rather,   he   had   quite   emphatically   explained   what   the   polygamy   rights   solution   really   meant. 
Knowing   that   he   was   speaking   to   his   fellow   conservative,   evangelical   Christians,   Henkel   made   it   clear   to   Family   New   in   Focus,   saying,   “the   way   to   stop   the   legalization   of   ‘same   sex   marriage’   is   to   get   government   out   of   it   altogether,   because,   when   government   is   no   longer   abominating   God's   doctrine   of   marriage,   and   is   no   longer   involved   in   it   whatsoever,   what   do   the   homosexuals   have   at   that   point?     Nothing.     They   have   nothing   but   a   vain   imagination.     They   have   nothing.     And   that's   the   true   limited   government,   true   conservative,   Constitutionalist,   Christian   principle   -   getting   government   out   of   the   business   of   social   engineering.     Because:   the   government   that   can   be   liberally   used   for   Christian   social   engineering   can   later   be   used   and   considered   authorized   to   -   and   ‘justified’   to   -   be   used   against   Christians.     God   forbid.     The   best   way   is   limited   government   and   get   government   from   having   any   power   either   way.” 
Indeed,   the   argument   of   getting   government   out   of   marriage   altogether   truly   presents   a   win-win   to   both   sides   of   the   “same   sex   marriage”   debate. 
True   conservatives   have   much   to   win   by   this   solution,   as   they   can   finally   get   back   to   their   limited   government   values,   by   rejecting   the   marital   Marxism   of   idolatrously   turning   to   the   false   god   of   big   socialist   government   to   define   God’s   doctrine   of   marriage.     And   thereby,   churches   will   never   be   later   forced   by   big   government   to   perform   “homosexual   weddings.” 
Homosexuals   can   see   an   important   win   in   the   solution   as   well.     Removing   government   out   of   the   marriage   business   altogether   would   rightly   bring   an   end   to   unconstitutional   “special   rights”   for   those   who   choose   “one   man,   one   woman”   for   their   marriage.     When   the   frankenstein-monster   of   big   “government   marriage”   is   abolished   and   big   government   no   longer   defines   any   marriage   (real   or   imagined),   homosexuals   can   perceive   their   claimed   intent   of   legal   equality   with   other   consenting   adults. 
Using   government   as   nothing   more   than   a   municipal   level   repository   of   the   public   records   of   the   contractual   arrangements   that   local   consenting-adults   make,   such   records   would   then   exist   only   for   the   applicable   legal   contract-enforcement   disputes   -   limited   to   general   contract   law   and   the   terms   as   self-determined   between   the   parties   thereto. 
Therefore,   with   genuine   legal   equality   for   all   consenting   adult   citizens,   then   truly,   no   one   will   have   “special   rights”   either   way.     And   that’s   genuine   limited   government   and   freedom   for   everyone. 
Because   Family   News   in   Focus   and   other   pundits   still   tried   to   contradictorily   imply   a   link   between   homosexuals   and   polygamists   that   does   not   exist,   it   became   essential   for   Henkel   to   explain   his   win-win   solution   argument   at   every   opportunity. 
In   interview   after   interview,   Henkel   would   do   just   that.     He   would   continue   to   explain   how   his   polygamy   rights   argument   actually   provides   the   conclusive   solution   to   finally   ending   the   “same   sex   marriage”   debate   altogether. 
For   one   example,   in   a   March   22,   2006,   interview   on   “The   Kevin   and   Bean   Show”   on   KROQ   in   Los   Angeles,   California,   with   an   audience   of   1.6   million   listeners,   Henkel   made   it   clear   that   his   sound-bite’s   argument   presents   a   solution   that   is   a   win-win   for   both   sides   of   the   legalized   “same   sex   marriage”   debate. 
He   said,   “I   am   not   for   same   sex   marriage;   and,   frankly,   I   refer   to   it   as   ‘the   biological   impossibility   of   same   sex   marriage.’     However,   the   ‘polygamy   rights   as   the   next   civil   rights   battle’   is   the   solution   that   resolves   the   ‘same   sex   marriage’   debate   in   a   win-win   for   both   sides   of   the   issue   -   because   true   conservatism   is   limited   government,   gets   government   out   of   it   altogether,   and   if   homosexuals   want   to   imagine   that   they're   being   ‘married,’   well   have   at   it.     But   [what   they   imagine]   doesn't   have   any   legal   basis,   so   it   doesn't   matter.     So   everybody   wins.” 
Henkel   also   further   clarified   the   only   role   of   government   for   marriage,   saying,   “The   only   function   of   government   in   marriage   whatsoever   could   potentially   be   at   the   municipal   level,   as   a   repository   of   public   records   of   the   contractual   arrangements   that   consenting   adults   make.   That's   it.     Period.” 
To   further   re-iterate   his   point,   later   in   the   live   on-air   interview,   Henkel   explained   his   sound-bite’s   meaning   even   more   clearly.     He   stated,   “I've   got   the   sound-bite   out   there,   ‘Polygamy   rights   is   the   next   civil   rights   battle,’   and   it's   not   that   it's   a   slippery   slope   of   one   thing   to   the   next   to   the   next.   But   rather,   we   see   polygamy   rights   as   actually   resolving   this   exhausting,   tiresome   ‘same-sex   marriage’   debate   in   a   win-win   way   for   both   sides.” 
In   yet   another   example,   Henkel   re-explained   his   argument’s   win-win   solution   again   in   a   March   27,   2006,   interview   for   the   talking   head   radio   show,   “Culture   Shocks.”     The   host,   Barry   Lynn,   is   the   Executive   Director   of   “Americans   United   for   Separation   of   Church   and   State”   but   is   more   notably   known   as   the   very   liberal   commentator   who   was   regularly   matched   up   for   years   on   radio   and   television   against   conservative   Pat   Buchanan. 
In   that   interview,   Henkel   explained   to   Barry   Lynn,   “We're   not   saying   that,   one,   we're   following   the   homosexuals,   and   [two],   going   for   the   same   agenda.     We're   actually   saying,   ‘We've   got   the   solution   to   end   the   marriage   debate   altogether.’     And   that   is,   the   true   -   and   it's   a   win-win,   both   for   true   limited   government   conservatives   as   well   as   for   homosexual-behavior-choosing-individuals.     The   key   is,   you   get   government   out   of   it   altogether,   because   according   to   the   Constitution,   the   Tenth   Amendment   states   that,   if   it's   not   in   the   Constitution,   the   federal   government   has   zero   authority   to   be   involved.     Ergo,   the   word   ‘marriage’   is   not   in   the   Constitution   and   it   is   wholly   unconstitutional   for   the   government   to   be   involved   in   marriage   whatsoever.” 
And   in   that   same   interview,   Henkel   also   re-declared   his   stated   definition   of   the   only   valid   role   for   government   regarding   marriage.     He   said,   “We're   saying   that   government   has   no   authority   either   way   and   the   only   function   of   government   at   all   in   marriage   is   as   a   public   repository   -   at   the   municipal   level   -   of   public   records   of   the   contractual   arrangements   that   consenting   adults   make.” 
Without   question,   repeatedly   saying   it   in   interview   after   interview,   Henkel   had   well-established   that   his   polygamy   rights   argument   is   a   solution   that   could   finally   resolve   and   bring   an   end   to   the   great   current   debate   about   “same   sex   marriage.” 
In   the   next   month   after   all   that,   Professor   Jonathan   Turley   repeated   those   very   same   arguments   in   his   USA   Today   op-ed   on   April   2,   2006.     In   strikingly   profound   similarity   to   those   exact   arguments   that   Henkel   had   been   saying   over   and   over   again,   the   op-ed   was   even   titled,   “How   to   end   the   same-sex   marriage   debate.” 
Therein,   Professor   Turley   wrote,   “leav[e]   the   moral   validity   of   a   marriage   to   religious   organizations.     For   state   purposes,   couples   would   simply   sign   a   civil   union   agreement   that   confirms   their   legal   obligations   to   each   other   and   any   progeny.   Whether   they   are   married   in   religious   ceremonies   would   be   left   entirely   to   them   and   their   faith.   The   government's   interest   and   role   would   be   confined   to   enforcing   the   civil   contract,   as   it   would   any   other   civil   agreement. 
“Consenting   adults   should   be   able   to   assume   the   obligations   of   a   civil   union   regardless   of   how   their   neighbors   view   their   morality.   As   in   other   areas,   adults   should   be   able   to   follow   the   dictates   of   their   own   faith   so   long   as   they   do   not   endanger   or   harm   others,   particularly   minors.    
“Whether   damnation   awaits   monogamists   or   polygamists   or   same-sex   couples   is   a   matter   between   citizens   and   their   respective   faiths.   The   government   should   address   that   aspect   of   marriage   that   concerns   its   insular   needs:   confirming   the   legal   obligations   of   consenting   adults.” 
The   similarity   between   that   quote   from   Jonathan   Turley   and   the   frequently   stated   arguments   beforehand   from   Mark   Henkel   is   self-evidently   clear.     The   additional   fact   that   Turley   rightly   adds   the   impact   regarding   polygamists   in   the   context   of   his   op-eds   further   demonstrates   his   understanding   and   awareness   of   the   polygamy   rights   movement.     There   is   no   mistake   or   co-incidence.     Just   as   before   in   2004,   these   were   not   “Turley’s   arguments”   –   they   were   Henkel’s.     Again. 
Accordingly,   just   as   before   in   2004,   it   became   necessary   in   2006   to   thwart   another   “Turley’s   arguments”   controversy   from   pundits   who   would   identify   these   points   as   “Turley’s   arguments.”     Again,   they   will   not   succeed   in   shutting   out   from   the   debate.     As   the   facts   herein   have   shown,   pro-polygamists   are   not   “getting   their   arguments   from   Jonathan   Turley.”     It’s   the   other   way   around.     Mark   Henkel   had   already   said   it   first   and   he   had   said   it   over   and   over   again. 
And   also   just   as   before   in   2004,   the   organization,   its   founder   Mark   Henkel,   and   all   pro-polygamists   still   continue   to   express   their   sincere   gratitude,   in   2006,   to   Professor   Turley. 
Indeed,   the   fact   that   a   published   Constitutional   law   professor   is   repeating   Henkel’s   arguments   -   yet   again   -   is   a   very   encouraging   development   for   the   polygamy   rights   movement.     It   further   demonstrates   how   successful   the   organization   has   been   in   promoting   real   freedom   and   establishing/teaching   the   valid   arguments   to   be   repeated   by   others   –   including   a   renowned,   published,   Constitutional   law   professor,   such   as   Jonathan   Turley. 
Truly,   “polygamy   rights   is   the   next   civil   rights   battle”   –   and   it   really   does   offer   the   solution   to   finally   end   the   exhausting   “same   sex   marriage”   debate. 


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