Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Some Elephants Forget

I have already addressed the ironic history of government attempts to legislate marriage and divorce, so--though tempting--I will not rehash my previous thoughts in their entirety. I would, however, like to share another interesting quote from Foster's Moral Reconstruction which is illustrative of just how far the Republican Party has come in terms of changing its social policies (emphasis added):
The Roberts case revived interest in a constitutional amendment against polygamy and polygamous cohabitation; the later provision would have outlawed living with plural wives married before the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints presumed reversal on polygamy. Over the next few years, many resolutions or bills in behalf of a broad antipolygamy amendment were entered; none ever passed. Frank J. Cannon, son of a high Mormon official who broke with his father and became an anti-Mormon agitator, claimed that in 1900 a representative of the Republican Party reached an agreement with Mormon leaders in which they promised to support William McKinley's reelection in return for the party's pledge to block a constitutional amendment that would give the federal government power over marriage and divorce. Such a deal, if in fact it was made, would surely have applied to an antipolygamy amendment.
Interestingly, contemporary Republicans are running on precisely the opposite platform. This is a particularly intriguing position for Mitt Romney, given the way historical amendments of this nature were specifically designed to discriminate against marriage practices in his faith and to disenfranchise Mormons as a people.

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