For most of human history there has been only one type of marriage: a marriage between a male and a female. But now we have same-sex marriage, which has been supported this week by a ruling of the US Supreme Court. With the recent advent of same-sex marriage, we now have three possible permutations for marriage:
- A marriage between a male and a female
- A marriage between a male and a male
- A marriage between a female and female
I have a suspicion that (for better or worse) there are still additional permutations coming.
Let me explain why I suspect this. Yesterday there was a news headline: UK may approve creating babies with DNA from 3 people. The story was about an exotic genetic technique that could be used so that certain couples with a genetic problem might have healthy children by having doctors splice in additional genes from a third person.
Now let's imagine if this process were to be legalized. The door would be open to cases of entirely healthy parents combining their genes with genes from a third person. Let's imagine Karl Karrington has some special genes that cause him to be a brilliant scientist or athlete. It might then be that John Doe and Jane Doe arrange to have some of Karl's genes spliced into the genes of their developing embryo, to improve the chances that their child will be a brilliant scientist or athlete.
The result would, in effect, be a child with three parents. The child would be sharing the genes from three people. Now if the world starts seeing children with three parents, what can you imagine will happen next? I imagine the next step would be a demand for a legalization of polygamy.
Think of it: John Doe and Jane Doe go on television and tearfully plea: why can't we marry Karl – he's one of the fathers of our child.
If the idea of legalized polygamy sounds outrageous, I may note that it is no more outrageous than the notion of gay marriage seemed thirty years ago. There have already been cultures in which polygamy was accepted.
If my suspicion about the future legalization of polygamy is correct, then in the future we may soon be seeing wedding invitations like this: