For those that have been around my LJ for a while, you should remember that my father's family is devout Mormon. Meaning, came over with Brigham Young in the 1840s. Got the call to polygamy. Have (are currently) served (-ing) in the Presidency of the Mormon church. Did you catch that polygamy bit? I have a strong feeling that most people around here don't know much about polygamy, aside from a few anecdotal bits printed in the paper on occassion, etc. The public face of the Mormon church denounces polygamy, but they secretly continued practicing it until the 1930s when the public found out and got pissed off all over again. Modern Mormons revile polygamy today, but it's because of the black eye it gives the church. The state of Utah (which is the Church, don't kid yourself) rarely goes after their flagrant abuse of the law.
In a nutshell, polygamy is child abuse. I lived near, worked with, helped, rescued, and fought against polygamy while living in Southern Utah. In fact, I was 15 miles from the largest polyg community, Colorado City (also known as Hilldale and/or Short Creek, depending on who you talk to.) You know that saying, "old enough to bleed, old enough to breed?" Well, they live by that. The leader of the group determines who gets to marry which girl. Let's say Hezekiah, 63, sees a pretty young thing with her momma at the store. PYT is 12. The "prophet" (as their leader is called) says God wants them to marry. By the way, Hezekiah is her Step-Dad, Step-Uncle, and also a cousin. Because there are only so many ways 1300 people can join up in a community before the Family Tree begins to look like the Family Vine. And when one man dies, his wives are passed out amongst the men of the community, regardless of relation.
So she is taken from her home, forced to "marry" him (read: lie there while he rapes her) and give him babies. If she fights, if she shows displeasure, she's packed off and sent to Canada, Mexico, or GUESS WHERE NOW? Texas. Now there is a HUGE ranch (and I'm talking Texas huge - I have no idea where they got the money in oil country to buy such a big plot of land) in western Texas where they are trying to build a huge community to rival those in Bountiful, Alberta and Colorado City, AZ. (Or Hilldale, UT, if you stand off Main Street.)
So: the state of Texas is trying to force these guys out, or at least out of hiding so they can be arrested because there is sexual abuse, slavery, child abuse, and murder happening there. Which means the state of Texas is re-defining the law on marriage for the books. You may see where this is headed.
While I FULLY SUPPORT routing out polygamists (and don't kid yourself. This is not anything noble, anything spiritual... If you haven't been around it, you just don't know how fucking ugly it REALLY is.) it disturbs me that these laws are going to hurt many of my gay friends who DESERVE to have fair laws giving them the rights as legally married couples. It could hurt their chances to adopt children. All of which saddens me greatly. I firmly believe that if a person, or persons, regardless of being gay, straight, black, white, polka-dotted, Buddhist, atheist, devout Catholic, want to take a child into their home and love it, nurture it, and raise it up in the atmosphere of "family," that person(s) should be allowed to do so.
Notice the gratuitous use of the word "love." Not controlling, not cutting that child off from the world, teaching them X and Y people are evil or bad or wrong... My grandma (mother to 15) said you can't go wrong with kids if you just simply love them. I believe that in my bones.
As voting day draws closer here in Texas, more information is coming to light about these fundamentalists and the bills being written. And there are several Gay & Lesbian groups aligning themselves with the polygs, simply because they need to not be excluded from having marital rights, and I understand the panic. BUT. Please. Those of you on my flist that are homosexual: do not align yourself with child abusers. I personally have helped take young girls out that have been raped repeatedly by their fathers, their uncles, random "leaders" in the church because God told them to "raise up a righteous generation."
Don't group yourself with people who actually ARE deviants. Being homosexual is just a part of who you are biologically. You love someone, you want to have a life with that person, and they happen to be of the same sex. Polygamy is about patriarchal control. About using (literally) the fear of God to make a woman submit to a life where she has no choice. NO CHOICE! And is forced to become a servant of the man's other wives. They live a life where independant thought will get you removed from all family, never to be seen again, or to be killed. I am not exaggerating.
I'm shaking with the thought of the lovely people I know (who happen to be homosexual) being lumped in with these abusers and murders who claim God wants them to act this way. How can we separate these two things? Is there any hope? I believe one day that being a homosexual will not bar you from rights afforded to everyone else. But to me, aligning yourself with these wackadoos underscores what the right-wing fearmongers try and teach: homosexuals are deviants. We can't let that happen.
How can we help the Gay Rights movement and not include these child-abusers (and groups like NAMBLA, another child-abuse sanctioning group)? Any and all suggestions are welcome. But bear this in mind: my great-grandfather was a polygamist. Please, PLEASE do not try and tell me what polygamy is (unless you have managed to keep it secret that you are from a polyg background, then by all means: talk away).
If you want an indepth look, pick up In My Father's House about the Allred family, written by one of my friend's sister (both of whom escaped, and both have a price on their head for leaving the "faith.") And of course, an interesting book (albeit it mind boggling for those not aware of how the LDS church works - LOTS of info in this one) is Under The Banner of Heaven which discusses the violence inherent in the church and its off-shoot, i.e. the Fundamentalist polygamists. Think Elizabeth Smart. "God" told David and Wanda (who was commanded to obey her husband) to make Elizabeth his wife. Did you know he tried to kidnap her cousin, too?
Your thoughts, your ideas: go just below here. I welcome all in the spirit of pulling the thorn out.
[ETA]: JUST hung up the phone from someone in Records at the church office in SLC. Wanting to confirm my membership. Had my maiden name. Laughed (gently) and asked if they could update their records to show I was an apostate. She got quiet and asked me to think about it. How friggin' creepy is that? The call, not the nice elderly woman wanting to make sure I was counted among God's flock.