For all intents and purposes, the New York marriage equality debate is over, but Archbishop Timothy Dolan is still talking about it. In addition to reiterating all his anti-gay talking points and his “apology” for offending the gay community, Dolan reinforces the fear that polygamy is an inevitable outcome:
And now we ring the steeple bell again at this latest dilution of the authentic understanding of marriage, worried that the next step will be another redefinition to justify multiple partners and infidelity. If you think I’m exaggerating, within days of the passage of this bill, one major newspaper ran a flattering profile of a proponent of what was called “nonmonogamy.” Apparently, “nonmonogamy” is the idea that society is unrealistic to think that one man and one woman should remain faithful in marriage, and that openness to some infidelity should be the norm!
Dolan is referring to a New York Times profile of sex-advice columnist Dan Savage, in which Savage said, “Men were never expected to be monogamous.” He suggested that the feminist revolution “mistakenly” confined men to monogamy rather than extending to women “the same latitude and license and press-release valve” (such as “concubines, mistresses, and access to prostitutes”). It’s an argument for what Savage calls “monogamish,” acknowledging that monogamy is important and works for many people, but that some couples actually have healthier relationships if they do not bind their pleasures to sexual exclusivity.
The important distinction between Dolan’s claim and Savage’s argument is that Savage is not advocating for either “multiple partners” or “infidelity.” Infidelity implies unfaithfulness, whereas Savage advocates for relationships to consider being open, but still built upon trust and commitment. Dolan’s attempt to add to the “slippery slope” fear-baiting is weak, but demonstrates that the leadership in the Catholic Church has no intention of ending its condemnation of same-sex couples, even after they’ve lost the fight against marriage equality.