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USA TODAY Op-Ed Copies Pro-Polygamy Organization's Arguments

Date: Oct 14, 2004
Word Count: 400 words
Cross-Reference: Jonathan Turley, constitutional professor, USA TODAY

The pro-polygamy arguments used in op-ed by constitutional professor, Jonathan Turley, are the same arguments taught by

Old Orchard Beach, MAINE, Oct. 14 - -- Mark Henkel, national polygamy advocate and founder of the (non-Mormon) Christian polygamy organization,, responded with mixed emotions to a USA TODAY article on October 3, 2004. 
The op-ed, "Polygamy laws expose our own hypocrisy," was written by noted constitutional law professor, Jonathan Turley. 
Although Henkel's organization is disappointed by what they perceive as some unwitting plagiarism in the op-ed, they are also grateful. 
All of the arguments used in the op-ed are the same arguments which Henkel says has been teaching for years. 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." 
To Henkel, one argument which stands out more loudly than others as being apparently plagiaristic is where Turley wrote, "banning polygamy is no more a solution to child abuse than banning marriage would be a solution to spousal abuse." 
In most of the tape-recorded media interviews which Henkel has done, he has said, "Banning polygamy to prevent some criminal child abusers is as ridiculous as banning monogamy to prevent some vicious wife beaters." That specific argument is a deliberate rhetorical "soundbite," directly attributable to Henkel. 
"Seeing that argument used is like seeing my own words said back to me. It's very gratifying to see, yes," admitted Henkel. "But it is somewhat disappointing that neither Professor Turley nor USA TODAY gave our organization the proper attribution in so using all our arguments.  
"Consequently, the whole ensuing debate goes forward without even allowing us to be involved in that discussion -- even though is where the arguments were framed in the first place." 
Among others, groups such as the Traditional Values Coalition and the Baptist Press have responded to the op-ed by citing them as "Turley's arguments." But Professor Turley admits that he "personally detests polygamy." Hence, they were never "Turley's arguments" anyway. 
"Like USA TODAY, those organizations receive our press releases," said Henkel. "They know full-well about, our organization, and our arguments. But rather than debating our arguments with us, they deliberately respond to 'Turley's arguments' instead -- knowing that he does not personally support polygamy. So they prevent an honest debate about 'polygamy rights.'" 
Even so, a noted Constitutional professor using's arguments vindicates their organization's fight for "polygamy rights."  
"And we very much appreciate that," said Henkel. "To Mr. Turley, we say, 'Thank you, sir.'" 


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