NY Times and the Left: Champions of Polygamy

The New York Times, ever eager to push any meme that undermines the Judeo-Christian devotion to traditional morality and the single heterosexual family unit, has progressed from championing LGBT rights to its newest passion: polygamy. 

The Times is not alone; other leftist media outlets such as Huffington Post are leaders in the effort, too.

The Times‘s latest puff piece regarding polygamy revolves around Kody Brown, his four wives, his children, and their TLC reality show Sister Wives. The Brown “family” filed suit against Utah’s polygamy ban, having moved to Nevada to avoid it, and watched as a federal judge partly overturned the ban on the grounds that it violated the First Amendment guarantee of free exercise of religion. The Times, appealing to the best hedonistic and materialistic impulses of its readers, notes of the Browns, “their four new houses arranged on a Las Vegas cul-de-sac and their television handler are testament to the fact that the Browns, who once fought penury, have turned their cause into a minor industry.”

The Times continues, “Having attained a measure of celebrity, the Browns find that people seek out their homes and stop them on the street, expecting hugs. While the familiarity can be unsettling, Robyn, one of the wives, said it means ‘they saw us as a family, and that’s huge.'”

Comparing Brown favorably to Warren Jeffs, another polygamist who wound up serving a life sentence for child sexual abuse, the Times says warmly, “Mr. Brown comes off more as a beleaguered sitcom father facing the challenges of scheduling family time split 21 ways.”

Why, posits the Times, the Browns are just a normal American hard-working family: “Mr. Brown and each of the wives works to support the family. Along with the income from the show and book, the Browns have an online jewelry business and are involved in a health supplements distributorship; Janelle works in real estate.”

The Times is happy to report that after the early years of the polygamous relationships caused hard feelings, one of Brown’s wives, Robyn, “has a knack for mediation that helped them all learn to argue more constructively.”

Of course, in order to remain respectable, the Times has to trot out an academic approving of the situation, and they found one: William Jankowiak, chairman of the department of anthropology at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Jankowiak said the blissful state of the Browns was not unique. In his studies of polygamous communities, he said, he found “about 35 percent of the families that I knew just had horrible marriages. They were miserable. But about 65 percent of the marriages were workable.”

This attitude is nothing new from the Times; when the HBO show Big Love, which revolved around a polygamous family, concluded in 2011, the Times wrote, “Big Love was many things, including an inventive narrative of middle-class assimilation and a satire of modern marital negotiation… But it was always at its most compelling as an indictment of the mindless spiritual avidity and the bizarre displays of self-exoneration that can go on in the name of faith.” The Times added sympathetically of the polygamous protagonist after he was murdered in the final episode, “Figuratively, though, it was all of us who pulled the trigger, all of us who could never really give over our sympathies to a man who seemed to get way more than he deserved.”

Meanwhile, TLC is milking the polygamy meme for all its worth, planning to produce nine one-hour episodes that will air in March about Brady Williams and his five wives and 24 children. The Huffington Post, eager to join the party, ran a column last month titled, “Are Polygamy Bans Unconstitutional?” in which author Adam Winkler, a Professor of Law at UCLA, wrote:

Indeed, maybe it’s time we all reexamined polygamy. Sister Wives suggests one reason why. The show features what appears to be a genuinely loving plural marriage comprised of consenting adults. No underage girls were forced to marry Kody Brown against their will, and it’s not obvious from the show how the Brown’s plural marriage oppresses his wives or harms his children. Actually, they all appear to be quite normal. If the adults are all truly consenting, what business is it of anyone what happens in their bedroom – or bedrooms?

Winkler continued, “Yet the decision should force us to ask the question the gay rights cases require of us: do these bans further a valid public policy or are they, like so many other laws regulating sex and marriage, built on fear and misunderstanding of people who make different choices about their intimate relationships?”

The New York Times‘s attitude can be summarized perfectly in a column it published on December 17 by Ron Den Otter, an associate professor of political science at Cal Poly San Luis Opisbo, in which he stated:

When it comes to something as important as marriage, the more options, the better. The meaning of marriage should be largely left to competent adults, who have many different ideas about what a marriage should be, and will have better lives when the law becomes just as pluralistic.


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