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, TruthBearer.org; 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.
THE “TURLEY’S ARGUMENTS” CONTROVERSY
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 www.TruthBearer.org . 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 TruthBearer.org organization issued a press release on October 14, 2004, through the media distribution web-site, www.Pro-Polygamy.com . 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 Pro-Polygamy.com by name.
With such immediate correct attribution and recognition being helpfully provided by the Wall Street Journal, the TruthBearer.org 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 TruthBearer.org 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.
HENKEL’S SOLUTION ARGUMENT
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.
SOLUTION ARGUMENT FREQUENTLY EXPLAINED
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.”
TURLEY REPEATS THAT SOLUTION
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.”
IT SHOWS TRUTHBEARER.ORG IS SUCCEEDING
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 TruthBearer.org 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 TruthBearer.org 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 TruthBearer.org 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.