By Jonathon Van Maren
A few years ago, the best way to trigger an advocate for redefining marriage to include same-sex couples would be to note that once the gender of those involved in the marriage became arbitrary, there really was no reason, strictly speaking, that the number of partners involved should be limited, either. This logical argument—that once you redefine one characteristic of an institution, there is no reason you can’t redefine others, too—was extremely inconvenient for the activists who recognized that they needed to move the Overton Window slowly enough that nobody would get too alarmed. It is always important not to boil the frog too fast.
And so those who noted that polygamy could be coming down the pipe as other unorthodox romantic arrangements demanded government recognition (and the accompanying benefits) were met with outrage and accusations of being smear merchants, bigots, or promiscuous employers of the slippery slope fallacy. It was ludicrous to claim that those who wished to redefine an institution that was thousands of years old would not stop with one radical change, they said, and anyone who said otherwise was simply a raging homophobe.