Pandora’s Box Opened: Court Ruling Does Support Incest & Polygamy

And out of Pandora’s Box…

When the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a Texas prohibition on homosexual sodomy, leaders including then-Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., warned the decision would be used in support of incest, adultery and polygamy. While Santorum got “holy hell” for his prediction, a media leader of no less influence than Time magazine now admits that he was right.

“It turns out the critics were right,” the magazine said in a recent article addressing the use of the precedent in a series of other cases. “Plaintiffs have made the decision the centerpiece of attempts to defeat state bans on the sale of sex toys in Alabama, polygamy in Utah and adoptions by gay couples in Florida.”

Also, in Ohio, a man’s conviction of incest for having sex with his 22-year-old stepdaughter also is being challenged based on the Lawrence vs. Texas decision, the magazine said.

Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby noted that just one of the warnings about the Texas ruling, which essentially struck down all state laws in the nation banning homosexual sodomy, came from Santorum.

“If the Supreme Court says you have the right to consensual sex within your home,” Santorum said at the time, “then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything.”

As Jacoby noted, Santorum was given “holy hell” and handed “nail-spitting” by some critics.

“When the justices, voting 6-3, did in fact declare it unconstitutional for any state to punish consensual gay sex, the dissenters echoed Santorum’s point. ‘State laws against bigamy, same-sex marriage, adult incest, prostitution, masturbation, adultery, fornication, bestiality, and obscenity are … called into question by today’s decision,’ Justice Antonin Scalia wrote for the minority,” Jacoby wrote.

Writing for the majority, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy said the Texas law “demeans” the lives of homosexuals. “The state cannot demean their existence or control their destiny by making their private sexual conduct a crime,” Kennedy wrote.

At the time of the 2003 decision, Time, in its “A Yea for Gays,” said, “Lawrence v. Texas turns an issue that states have historically decided for themselves into a basic constitutional tenet.”


But with same-sex marriage now on the books in Massachusetts, and pending in several other states, the magazine’s position has changed.

“Now, Time magazine acknowledges: ‘It turns out the critics were right.’ Time’s attention, like the BBC’s, has been caught by the legal battles underway to decriminalize incest between consenting adults,” Jacoby wrote.

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