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Only Queers Can Save the Flaming Refugees of Love: Time to Decriminalize Polygamy

Massacres aren’t exactly unusual in the failed narco-state of Mexico, especially since the US pushed its beleaguered southern neighbor to declare all-out war on the cartels a couple of decades back. More blood irrigates the Sonora Desert than acid rain. Barely a week goes by without some horrendous Bataille-esque crime of absurdly grotesque proportions popping up on the CNN news ticker, – 16 heads found in Juarez Chucky Cheese ball-pit, no tongues or eyes – But it’s rarely enough to steal Anderson Cooper’s attention from the latest minute kink in the Ukrainegate circus. This month was different though. This month, in early November, the cartels crossed the ultimate Rubicon of corporate news hysteria. They killed a bunch of pretty white people. 9 to be exact. 3 mothers and 6 children, savagely slaughtered in what appears to be a tragic case of mistaken identity.

But as the usual yammering heads blathered on about the proven necessity for endless drug wars, and Donald Trump used the garish details to further his border jihad while he and his brown counterpart AMLO compared dick sizes, there was one detail to this story that seemed to come to no one’s attention but mine. Oh, there was plenty of coverage of the fact that these innocent victims of American drug policy were Mormon Fundamentalists, usually in the form of some off-hand detail on the way to some other asinine point. But nobody seemed to do the math, to acknowledge the very basic fact that in an age when people are so desperate to get the hell out of Mexico that they’re willing to risk losing their children to one of Trump’s immigration zoos, there are still American citizens, dual citizens to be exact, who are living in exile in this hellhole, seeking refuge from 19th Century American puritanical persecution. The cartel put the bullets in those bodies, but those bodies where put in cartel country by the American government’s ongoing war on polygamy.

The families who were shot and roasted alive in their SUV’s were part of the Mormon Fundamentalist community of La Mora. While most of this community no longer practice plural marriage, they are all descendants of polygamist families forced to flee Utah after the federal government strong-armed the Church of Latter-day Saints into banning a lifestyle among consenting adults which had long been a cornerstone of their religion. To this day, all fifty states maintain bans of varying degrees of severity against polygamy and the federal government has continued to make a point of persecuting polygamist communities, often on severely flimsy evidence of child abuse, separating and, in the case of Waco, even murdering whole families in the process. Our government has made it crystal clear that they don’t approve of the way these people choose to worship and raise their families and the result has been historically devastating. Thousands live in exile. Others have been forced to seek refuge in the shadows of demented false prophets like Warren Jeffs. All because of what? People finding love in unconventional places? Where the fuck have I heard that before? And why am I the only one outside of this community who seems to care?

As a queer person, I can’t help but to find common ground with these flaming refugees of love. These are whole families living in the closet of a close-minded society that still can’t handle the fact that happiness doesn’t have to come pre-packaged in a nuclear family like some goddamn TV dinner. I may be painfully single, but as a lesbian transwoman, I have never felt a greater sense of peace and intimacy than I do when I’m alone in the company of more than one woman. What makes my transbian polyamory any different than the Fundamentalist’s polygamy? Why am I seen as “brave” while they’re reduced to the status of zealots? Why should our love be given any less legal cache then that of couples? And, finally, why is this not considered a queer rights issue?

But to most queer people it isn’t. After achieving the assimilationist token of the Supreme Court approved gay marriage in 2015, too many cisgender gay and lesbian couples have become gate-keeping snobs, peering down their noses at us lesser queers for interrupting their new found privilege. The body of DOMA wasn’t even cold before right-wing hatefucks like Antonin Scalia and Rick Santorum began barking “Next it’ll be polygamy!” Sometimes I feel like the only fag who responded “Fuck yeah!” The Buttigieg Queers responded with more than enough reactionary pomp to match the homophobes in passion and stupidity. “Gay marriage isn’t polygamy! We aren’t perverts like them!!” Well maybe your not but I am.

As a Queer Anarchist, I’ve always preferred marriage privatization to a government-sanctioned religious ceremony, but the criminalization of love in all of it’s consensual forms needs to stop and the queer community are the ones to stop it. We’ve done it before and we should do it again. These people may see us as hedonistic heretics and we may see them as sexist prudes, but we both want the same thing. We want to love who we want to love, how we want to love. And we want the government to get the fuck out of our way. Let’s make it happen, dearest motherfuckers. Let’s welcome our vanilla pioneers home with open arms and a hobbled police state.

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Nicky Reid is an agoraphobic anarcho-genderqueer gonzo blogger from Central Pennsylvania and assistant editor for Attack the System. You can find her online at Exile in Happy Valley.

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