A Utah judge bizarrely casts opposition to polygamy as racist.
Judge Clark Waddoups, in striking down Utah’s ban on “spiritual” polygamous marriages, noted that the Republican party was founded with the goal of eliminating the “twin relics of barbarism” — slavery and polygamy.
He didn’t mean it as a compliment to the GOP.
Waddoups, appointed to the federal bench by George W. Bush in 2008, is clearly deeply hostile to laws that limit marriage to monogamous couples. Laws against polygamy are not just wrong, they are also racist, he writes in his ruling.
Why, he asks, did the United States oppose polygamy so fiercely that it hounded Utah Mormons into abandoning the practice as a condition of statehood? Using Edward Said’s work as a conceptual framework, Waddoups answers:
19th-century hostility to polygamy was based, in part, on polygamy’s association with non-white races. As the U.S. Supreme Court wrote in Reynolds v. United States, “Polygamy has always been odious among the northern and western nations of Europe, and, until the establishment of the Mormon Church, was almost exclusively a feature of the life of Asiatic and of African people.”
When he notes that the Republican party was founded in opposition to slavery and polygamy, he doesn’t see in that pairing the irony of his casting moral opposition to polygamy as racism.