Monday, April 21, 2008

Probable Cause Abandoned For Polygamists

The story about the polygamy cult in Texas has, if nothing else at least, proved the total hyprocrisy of the bigots who serve as Judges in our courts. The numbers that I have heard are the following, 65 men, 200 women and 416 children. That certainly seems to suggest that each of the men has approximately 3 wives, and that is polygamy. However there is no law against living with 3 women without marrying them. This cult has adopted a process where the women are not considered wives under the law. Each woman has only a little over 2 children, so it does not seem they are being required to care for as many children as women in other churches. I am quite sure that the average number of children in Catholic marriages is considerably more than 2.

There are also stories, which are yet to be proved true, that girls have been forced to take husbands that they don't want, at a very young age. This is neither legal nor moral. However to date the press reports seem to based on a hypothetical phone call from a girl they cannot find.

The officials have been allowed to interpret that as probable cause to detain and remove from their mothers, 416 children, the vast majority of whom are not near the age that would indicate they could possibly be the girl who complained, nor is there any credible evidence that these children are the children of that 16 year old girl, nor any credible evidence that the children were not adequately cared for.

The state is simply making the case that anyone who choses to belong to this cult has lost their presumption of innocence of a specific crime, polygamy. Belong to this cult and it means you are presumed to be practicing polygamy. If a child . . . it presumes your mother is a criminal who is failing you and allows the state to remove the child from the family and give it to another. Both the wife and the child can thus be arrested and forced to provide DNA evidence that murderers with greater evidence than in this case could not be forced to provide.

The problem is that DNA testing does not prove polygamy even if it results in proving that men had children with multiple women partners. It would not even prove polygamy if it proves that women ahd children with multiple male partners. It merely proves what is already known, that these women choose to live in a society where mulitple partners are the norm. But then that is also true of other segments of our society that are not condemned for it. It does not prove legal marriage under our definition, since that requires a women going to the state and asking for legal endorsement. None have.

If a man has sex with multiple partners outside this cult and does not support them, he cannot be found guilty of a crime. The state provides child welfare and the man gets a free ride. These men are caring for their children. Why are they the target of these official investigations? Polygamy.

I cannot see how it is legal for one man to go out and get endorsment from a bartender to have sex with multiple partners, many of whom have children as a result, and another man going to a church and getting the endorsment of a pastor to have sex with multiple partners. The first never concerns himself with the children but lets the state raise most of them. The second conscientiously makes sure the children are cared for.

I am not advocating polygamy. I am however astounded that idiots who serve as Judges in our society can pretend that the vast majority of these women and children are not being denied any reasonable definition of probable cauase or equal protection of the law.

May 4th, 2008 - Update

The FLDS argument will not hold up

When Texas authorities entered the Yearning for Zion (YFZ) Ranch, one of the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints (FLDS) compounds, on April 3, they did so using a warrant based on calls from a person who alleged that she was an underage girl being subjected to physical and sexual abuse, including rape, at the ranch.

Once the authorities entered, they discovered pregnant underage girls, girls with more than one child, papers indicating that rampant polygamy was occurring at YFZ, and even a document involving cyanide poisoning. The authorities then intelligently decided to remove all of the children from a situation that posed obvious and serious danger to them.

I can agree that specific crimes should have been followed up on, especially child abuse. However the failure to identify to this date the actual ages of the girls who were pregnant or previously had children still leaves me very uneasy. I also wonder how they originally werre able to identify who was an underage mother?

That said, I am appalled that the ACLU is taking the side of the parents rather than the children. That alone causes me to believe that the officials probably acted responsibly and may not have been guilty of the excesses which I initially feared. However I still find it frustrating that no one seems to know how many of the 416 childen were boys who it would be hard pressed to argue are being forced into early marriage.

This still seems to stink of injustice and abuse of government power.


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