Whither Polygamy; Uber Questions

Kody Brown and his four ‘Sister Wives' from the TLC network reality show PHOTO FROM BOB JONES

Kody Brown and his four ‘Sister Wives’ from the TLC network reality show

Those of us who espoused same-gender marriage on the grounds that government should not control whom we marry find ourselves in a bit of a pickle about polygamy.

If we’re free to marry any man or woman, why not several men or women?

Both same-gender and polygamist marriages are abhorrent to a lot of Americans, but don’t they both fall into the same constitutional niche about equality?

A federal judge struck down the Utah law forbidding co-habitation with more than one person claimed as “spouse.” He left standing the anti-bigamy portion, which says you cannot have multiple marriage licenses. That’s a fine line of difference.

The judge said banning cohabitation violates freedom of religion. This case was about a Mormon man with four Mormon “wives” in a TV reality show. The judge also cited a Supreme Court writ that “liberty protects the person from unwarranted government intrusions into a dwelling or other private places. In our tradition the State is not omnipresent in the home.”

That and the same-gender marriage decisions give logical rise to this question: Why is any state empowered to decide how many marriage licenses a person can have?

The answer from pro-traditional family groups is that a single marriage protects the welfare of children. But legal precedence says the state must have compelling evidence of that, not just recite common beliefs.

So maybe polygamy is the next challenge?

There’s good reason why we’ve given government heavy regulatory powers over airplanes that carry passengers. The crash of one jetliner can snuff out a lot of lives. In the case of a taxicab, however, while there might be a fatal crash, more likely it’s a fender bender and maybe some whiplash.

So an argument can be made that it’s over-regulation for government to say nobody can use his car as a taxi if he doesn’t have a taxi license and all kinds of insurance and special safety checks.

You’ve been reading about Uber, which lets you connect with “private transporters” (personal cars used as taxis) and is operational here and in many cities. It has the licensed taxi companies in a snit.

I’m sympathetic in that those taxi companies pay a lot for the limited licenses, vetting and training of their drivers.

But then, there are restrictions on Uber. Its cabs cannot troll for business. You have to call one via the app. So I guess it’s “buyer beware.” They cannot do airport pickups (but can drop off somebody there.)

Uber operates in 45 countries. It’s competition and generally that’s a good thing — unless you’re talking about an unlicensed, unregulated passenger airline.

I’ve noticed those orange, two-deck Waikiki Trolleys with billboard ads on their back ends. Ross, the discount clothing store, is a big advertiser.

Isn’t that a violation of our no-signs ordinance that only allows self-advertising on a business vehicle?

If so, why isn’t somebody citing the trolleys?