Tuesday, March 23, 2010

200 plus years of Marriage Controversy, in Vermont

I don't think this present state of "marriage" was what US Senator George F. Edmunds of Vermont had in mind, when he authored a bill that banned "cohabitation" for the purposes of "strengthening" a prior piece of Legislation "the 1862 Morrill Anti-Bigamy Act that also revoked polygamists' right to vote and made them ineligible for jury service, and prohibited them from holding political office."

Thanks to an obscure blog called the "Blog of Dave" (not exactly a fellow traveler in the campaign for the most ancient of traditional marriage forms) I became aware that about the time Senator Edmunds (who was also a State Senator in Vermont) was pushing his bill nationally to put teeth into the Morrill Act, 127 years later, his home of Vermont was pushing to let men "marry" men, and women "marry" women. Vermont was successful I might add. I'm going to have to visit Senator Edmunds grave here in Vermont, and see if I can hear him turning in it.

You have to realize that from my perspective, Vermont has now been interfering with marriage for nearly 150 years, and not in a good way. As a firm believer in a "no accidents" God, it can't be said to be a coincidence that Vermont Polygamy is here at the scene of the crime, several crimes as a matter of fact, trying to turn back the clock, at least partly, to where it should be.

It is also interesting to note that leaning on the "cohabitation" angle was what the Edmunds Anti-Polygamy Act of 1882 was primarily about. Some supposed attorney types on the other side of the FLDS controversy in Texas claim that "Lawrence v. Texas" has nothing to do with bigamy and polygamy cases and laws, but it does. It was the very lack of teeth in the prior "Morrill" that inspired Edmunds to go for the cohabitation angle, and that is why court cases like "Lawrence" DO apply to bigamy/polygamy cases all over the country.

You say 2010-1882 does not equal 150 years (or 200) and it doesn't. But the "Morrill" in the 1862 "Morrill Anti-Bigamy" act was none other than US House Representative (later Senator) Justin Smith Morrill. From Strafford, Vermont.

Vermont is both a symbolic and real place in the battle swirling around marriage. Even Joseph Smith Jr. was born in Sharon, Vermont. 205 years ago in 1805. Maybe Morrill and Edmunds felt responsible.

It was this date in history, 1882 that the "Edmunds Anti-Polygamy Act" was passed.

A subsequent piece of legislation by Senator Edmunds, the Edmunds Tucker act of 1887, also directed at polygamy and Mormons was repealed in 1978.

For one of the smallest states in the Union, we cause a lot of marital discord.

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