Just 153 years after Abraham Lincoln put his signature to the Morill Anti-Bigamy Act a judgement of the Supreme Court of the United States, in the case of the State of Idaho vs Young, Young & Young, has declared a constitutional right to polygamous marriagee in all 50 states of the Union.
In the groundbreaking Judgement, Justice Andrew Thompson and five of the nine judges ruled that the fourteenth amendment of the Constitution guarantees to all citizens the right to marriage according to their own understanding. ‘Marriage is not only for monogamists. The nature of marriage,’ he said, ‘is that, through its hopefully enduring bond, persons together can find other freedoms, such as expression, intimacy, and spirituality. This is true for all persons… There is dignity in the bond between men or women who seek to marry and in their autonomy to make such profound choices.’ The State must respect and uphold that autonomy of choice.
The Judgement was welcomed in a statement by the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church. ‘That monogamy, as an institution, has failed the people of the United States has long been apparent from the statistics of divorce and remarriage. We in the Episcopal Church have sought to help the people of God, both clergy and laity, through the traumas of serial matrimony. We embrace this new possibility as an exciting way forward for those who are seeking God’s will for them in relationship; and we rejoice that it brings us closer to our Muslim sisters and brothers.’
President Obama called the ruling a ‘charter of freedom for loving Americans.’ Asked what her reaction would be if both Malia Ann and Sasha decided to marry the same woman, Michelle Obama said: ‘I’m cool about that.’