The War against Marriage and Men

Victor de Bruijn and his two wives

Stanley Kurtz of the Hudson Institute has a long and interesting analysis in this week’s Weekly Standard on the Dutch “trio marriage” that was reported on the Brussels Journal (BJ) three months ago. The marriage between Victor de Bruijn and his two “wives,” Bianca and Mirjam, was not a case merely of polygamy, but one of polyamory, Kurtz explains. Contrary to bigamous/polygamous relationships, where one person has a sexual relationship with multiple partners, polyamory denotes a relationship in which all partners have sexual relations with one another. This is the case in the Dutch trio-marriage, where the partners sleep in the same bed and where the two women, who are bisexual, have sex with Victor as well as with each other.

In this respect the de Bruyn marriage differs from the relationship of the Belgian Serge Régnier, which was recently reported in the Belgian press (Het Laatste Nieuws, 17 November) and which is also referred to in the Kurtz article. Régnier lives with three women, but sleeps with each woman separately, while the latter (two of whom are sisters) do not engage in lesbian sex. This is an instance of traditional polygamy, as it is practised by some Mormons and Muslims, and also – one might argue – by Western men who have mistresses (though in that case the women do not live under the same roof, let alone share the same bed).


Serge Régnier, his three wives and some of his 30 kids

Traditional polygamy entails problems of its own. According to some French officials the recent French riots were caused by the fact that France has an estimated 30,000 polygamous families, in which fathers hardly look after their offspring. Paul Belien twice made the point on BJ that he does not find the so-called slippery slope argument, which says that gay marriage will almost automatically lead to polygamy, convincing “for the simple reason that polygamy is more ‘natural’ than homosexuality. The case of Victor and his two women,” Belien said, “is a mixture of both” and hence, he stressed, “morally distinct from the traditional polygamy of the Muslims.”

As Stanley Kurtz convincingly argues, however, the slippery slope following gay marriage will lead to polyamory rather than traditional polygamy, because “what gay marriage is to homosexuality, group marriage is to bisexuality:”

Polyamorists would call the De Bruijn union a ‘triad.’ In a polyamorous triad, all three partners are sexually connected. This contrasts with a three-person ‘V,’ in which only one of the partners (called the ‘hinge’ or ‘pivot’) has a sexual relationship with the other two. So the bisexuality of Bianca and Mirjam classifies the De Bruijn union as a polyamorous bisexual triad. In another sense, the De Bruijn marriage is also a gay marriage. The Bianca-Mirjam component of the union is gay, and legalized gay marriage in Holland has clearly helped make the idea of a legally recognized bisexual triad thinkable.

It is notable, Kurtz observes, that apart from the conservative blogosphere, which picked up the BJ article about the Dutch trio marriage en masse, the American media devoted no attention to this story. This is significant, he explains, as “of course, the mainstream American press understands that the triple Dutch wedding cannot be spun in a way that helps the cause of same-sex marriage with the American public.” What also strikes him is the fact that in the Netherlands the triple marriage barely caused a ripple. Apart from the conservative religious fringe, the secular Dutch did not protest. On the contrary, Victor and his wives were welcomed by their neighbours, while Piet Hein Donner, the Dutch minister of Justice and a Christian-Democrat, not only refused to dissolve the contract between the polyamorous triad, but even “articulated the rudiments of a ‘conservative case for group marriage.’”

The Dutch seem to be shocked more by the Belgian Serge Régnier, who lives under one roof with his three (heterosexual) women and (so far) 30 children. Régnier is very proud of his offspring – the eldest of whom is 19 – but finds it “hard to remember all of the birthdays.” He and his wives are hoping for lots more children. To the secular mindset such a pro-birth attitude is considered to be more out of touch with the zeitgeist than a polyamorous relationship without an abundance of children. The reason why Régnier, after four years of marriage to his (first) wife, took a second woman (his wife’s unmarried sister) was exactly because the latter wanted to have children, and not, as in Victor de Bruyn’s case, because the two women felt sexually attracted to each other.

Under Serge’s roof the women, later joined by a third (unrelated) one, live like sisters sharing one man who is the patriarch of the household, while under Victor’s roof they live like lovers sharing a man who is on equal terms with them. Patriarchy is considered to be a thing of the past, while equality is the current norm. Moreover, procreational sex is considered to be outdated, while recreational sex is part of the modern way of life.

All this leads one to suspect that the crisis of traditional marriage that we are witnessing in Europe and America may at heart be a crisis of fatherhood. This thought occurred to me recently, during the debates in the Belgian Parliament aimed at legalising adoption by gay couples. Belgium was the first country after the Netherlands to legalize gay marriage. Now the battle is on for the right of gay couples to adopt children. The bill to make this possible has already passed the House of Representatives and is being debated in the Senate. As a member of the Belgian House of Representatives, I received letters from activists, including one from a married lesbian couple who asked me to vote in favour of gay adoption because they each have a daughter. The girls were both conceived through artificial insemination with sperm from the same male donor. “We ensured that our daughters are of the same anonymous donor,” the two women wrote, “so that they are related. They are sisters.” However, as adoption by gay couples is not possible yet, they do not have the same surname, which is not logical for two sisters. Hence, the lesbian mothers were asking me to correct an illogical situation which resulted from the state’s prior approval of artificial insemination of women without (male) husbands and of homosexual marriage.

In this specific relationship, where two married lesbians each have a baby girl by the same donor, the two daughters could later also “marry” each other and each have a daughter through artificial insemination. What they are doing is establishing an all female nuclear family that does not need any male presence or influence. They are living according to a longstanding feminist ideal which envisages the total destruction of every male influence in society – the dream which radical feminists such as Bella Abzug worked to establish. According to Abzug and her followers the two sexes – male and female – do not exist. Instead there are five genders – male, female, homosexual, lesbian and bisexual. People can move from one gender to another, according to choice or at will, which liberates them from the sexual constraints of nature.

Since the United Nations’ Fourth World Conference on Women, which was held in Beijing in September 1995, the word “sex” has been replaced in official texts throughout the world by the word “gender.” At Beijing an international agenda was drawn up with an accompanying action programme of moving “towards the common goal of gender equality around the world,” “undertaking statistical gender analysis and mainstreaming a gender perspective in policy development and the implementation of programmes” and working “to break down persistent gender stereotypes.” Every year, the government in Belgium (as those of all other countries) is obliged by law to submit a report to Parliament outlining what progress it has made in implementing the Beijing action programme.

Every year, in the Autumn, members of the parliaments of various European countries meet to compare how far their respective countries have advanced towards the common goal of gender equality. One of the Beijing objectives is to “adopt all appropriate measures, especially in the field of education, to modify the social and cultural patterns of conduct of men and women, and to eliminate prejudices, customary practices and all other practices based on the idea of the inferiority or superiority of either of the sexes and on stereotyped roles for men and women.” It is clear that the polygamous Régnier household conforms to the “stereotyped roles” and “cultural patterns of conduct of men and women,” while the polyamorous de Bruijn household does not.

The Beijing agenda has permeated the way our society thinks. This programme was not carried out overnight, but proceeded on a step by step basis. To me, as a politician who has witnessed the process unfold since 1995, and has attended some of the annual gatherings of European politicians, there is no doubt that a planned agenda is being implemented. After the acceptance and legalisation of homosexuality, the promotion of bisexuality is the next step.
As Stanley Kurtz writes:

The worldwide campaign for gay marriage seems to have stirred up an active bisexual movement in its wake. Bisexuals have traditionally been one of the least visible components of the GLBT (gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered) alliance. After a flurry of publicity in the 1970s, at the height of the sexual revolution, bisexuality faded from public view. Yet the 1990s brought new attention, with articles in Time and Newsweek touting the emergence of bisexuality as a distinctive and politically tinged identity (and linking bisexuality to nonmonogamous marriage). In recent years, websites, books, and academic studies devoted to bisexuality have proliferated. [...] Precisely because the personal challenges confronting bisexuals are profound, the emerging bisexual call for polyamorous marriage is going to take on formidable legal force. In a world fully accepting of gay marriage, it will be difficult to withhold equal standing from another organized sexual minority.

Kurtz concludes that

It’s easy to imagine that, in a world where gay marriage was common and fully accepted, a serious campaign to legalize polyamorous unions would succeed – especially a campaign spearheaded by an organized bisexual-rights movement. Yet win or lose, the culture of marriage will be battered for years by the debate. Just as we’re now continually reminded that not all married couples have children, we’ll someday be endlessly told that not all marriages are monogamous (nor all monogamists married). 

Americans who want to know what the future has in store need only look to Europe.

More on this topic:

First Trio “Married” in the Netherlands, 26 September 2005

A Marriage Made Up, 14 October 2005

Dutch Minister Not to Prevent Polygamy, 1 November 2005

Too Many Wives Causes Unrest, 16 November 2005

Polygamy All Over the Place, 16 November 2005

The war against marriage

The war against marriage has already been fought and won, at least in a few countries along the Atlantic rim of the Eurasian continent.

For a long time marriage was something established independently of the state and the state's role was limited to connecting an non-political institution with questions of civil, military and fiscal administration by means of legal rules. That time belongs to the past. Now, most people identify marriage with a position defined by the state's codebooks. From an institution recognised and protected by the state it has become a legal form that can be changed at will by whoever happens to have a legislative majority. In short, objectively speaking, legal marriage effectively means nothing on a personal level, as the rules under which people marry can and will be changed, independently of what the individuals involved in it have in mind. With interventions such as liberal divorce laws and the legal equalisation of the status of legitimate and illegitimate children, the state has made its "institution of marriage" an empty box, to be filled in any way the majority of the moment deems appropriate.

If heterosexual marriage had become an empty box of that kind in the past century then gay marriage was an empty box from the very start.

Of course, there is nothing "progressive" about gay marriage: progressives have sought to undermine the institution of marriage, inter alia by promoting all sorts of cohabitation arrangements as "equivalent" to marriage. Those gays who take their right to marry seriously, should not be surprised when they find out that hardly anybody else does -- least of all the political left that pushed gay marriage through the legislative process.

At least with respect to marriage, Christians and Jews should know that the state's embrace of their preferences is no more than a kiss of death to their values.

People who value a genuine marriage still can have one. The state no longer recognises or values or protects it as such. So be it. Who cares? It's a poor soul that allows his or her self-respect and self-esteem to be defined by a bunch of non-entities in politics and the media.

The only problem with a genuine marriage is that it requires an unconditional mutual commitment of one person to another and to the children they intend to bring into the world. Mutual affection (a fortiori infatuation) and a willingness to adopt other people's children or to make do with off-the-rack laboratory-generated children is not enough. Apparently, the synagogues and the mosques have been better places to learn about that sort of commitment than the churches have been. (Mrs Coolen, weren't you the one who once demanded "bishops with balls" -- with the courage to stand up for what their Church stands for rather than the cowardice of those whose outlook on life is dominated by their concern for "good public relations" and a smooth career?)

One more thought on Monsieur Serge and Mijnheer Victor: Yes, Monsieur Serge is a "man" and Mijnheer Victor just might make it as a voyeur with some semen to spare. Does this matter? Both are «faits divers», and so are legally married gay couples. Now, if the Church were to recognise gay marriages, that would be something. But politicians? You've been close enough to know that they'll stoop at anything.

About the war against men (fathers): yes, there is such a war and the main victims are boys. But there is a silver lining (sort of): girls now have ample opportunity to prove that thay can mess up things as easily as boys ever could (and without the excuse of being boys).

These arragnments, in the

These arragnments, in the name of progressivisn and anti-
patriarchy, will create ever more unstable homes for
children, who in turn will be ever poorer parents themselves,
if they even bother to have children at all. Thus the death
spiral of Europe in demographic terms can be accelerated and
the ever more feminized culture becomes easier prey for
rampant Islamism.

Feminists and other anti-patriarchy, anti-western types
are sewing their own burkhas without knowing it.

In general there are more

In general there are more unstable relationships worldwide divorce rates are up some people see marriage family counseling and try and save their relationships but little works once one or the two people feel they want to leave their partner the marriage is finished.

Marriage and "marriage"

In all their numerous discussions about and objections against the same-sex marriage, the ethic-right or "verkramptes" always seem to confound the civilian contract “marriage” with the religious concept of it. I even suspect they do it on purpose. The issue bears some resemblance with the creationism issue. The civil contract or union between two people (traditionally of opposite sex) is on a different level than the “mystical” or religious level. Such civil contract doesn’t degrade the religious marriage in any way and it doesn’t dilute it. If it would, that would be a very insecure religion indeed. It’s like believing that God created the world in seven days would dilute the strong scientific indications that evolution theory might have some validity. In both cases, religion and personal belief are confounded with another dimension, and that is civil law and science. And I’m not claiming that religion is inferior to science and law. They just sit on a different level.

After all, we – in the “free and enlightened West” - do have a separation between church and state, thank God. Now till far in the 19-th century, the civil “marriage” contract was only popular with the rich and the haves, because it offered a legal framework for acquiring (look how Kings “acquired” land by marrying the right widow), sharing and inheriting property. The poor peasants only married “in the church” and that was it. With the rise of the bourgeoisie and the middle-class in the 19-th century, civil “marriages” became more common But it’s still a civil law contract to organize property, nothing more and nothing less.

When Holland, Belgium and Spain legalized same-sex marriage, they only abolished (and rightly so) a gender-specific discrimination. Those countries didn’t force the Church or the Islam or the Pagan rites of Thor to adopt the same rules. The “ethic right” may still well claim that the mystical religious “marriage” is the only true one that counts, and nobody should object. It’s their club and it’s their rules.

But in turn, they shouldn’t impose their private rules on the rest of us. Religion nor personal beliefs and certainly not prejudices or plain bigotry can meddle with the civil-law unions we conveniently call “marriage”. If they do so, they act as objective allies of fundamentalist Muslims that tend to interfere in public business on behalf of their beliefs too.

Personally I don’t see how a 3-way can work, if it exceeds the sex- and submissive-dominance level to what we call “love”. But that’s not the issue here. I just don’t care what other people do in bed, and I’m always amazed how the “ethic right” does, like out of some archetypal obsession. They must be very frustrated and insecure in their own marriage then indeed. The bottom-line is that we should care more about what people do outside of that private “bed”. Nobody started a war from under the sheets yet.

Link between civil and religious marriage

See my earlier explanation in this thread on why I think the author does not believe that civil marriage is an entirely private affair. They do not necessarily see gay marriage as a threat against their personal marriage but as a threat against society itself. They sincerely belief that a society that allows gay marriages is one that promotes a culture of self-destruction. In fact it is certainly possible to subscribe to that idea while at the same time being a-religious. I think the substantial low-profile aversion against gay marriage that is still present in Belgium is strictly areligious and more based on distrust in gays to be responsible enough to marry than faith.

Also read from the same author where she defends moral conservatism an sich without using it as proxy for her religous beliefs.

Can a delegalisation of

Can a delegalisation of mariage be a solution. Like I stated: if you recognise that only the state can create a legal mariage , then there are some arguments for the fact that a state must treat every citizin equal. However, if you privatise the mariage you do not have to create a same-sex mariage. An institution, like the catholic church may create their own mariage (like they now have) without off course same sex mariage. So you can keep the old institute of different sex mariages.

The moral problem can then only be changed by the power of convincing people.

By the way: I do not see the word 'conservative' with a bad connotation. May be a forgot to mention that in my other posts.

Delegalisation is not a solution

I can't speak for the author nor for the pro-traditional marriage movement she is part of but I think I've followed this debate enough to offer an explanation of why they won't ask for delegalisation.

They see the traditional family (father/mother/children) as the cornerstone of a healthy society. Thus, according to their view, should the state wish to promote a good community, it needs to encourage people to form such families and support them afterwards. Civil marriage is an excellent institute to do so. Its prestige invites couples to deepen their mutual commitment in the first place and the financial incentives and security that comes with it as the essential support thats needed.

The original author should correct me if this is not an accurate representation of her position but unfortunatly her busy professional (and one might hope, family) life seems to prevent active participation in most discussions on the BJ.

Personally; I can find the

Personally; I can find the De Bruijn marriage acceptable. Whilst Régnier's situation seems less acceptable to me.

Probably because in the first case the women are bisexual; its a situation which would require some serious 'internal clearcut rules' in order to work out.
Its a situation that I find acceptable for myself to live in if I ever were confronted with a bisexual g/f. I would see it as a sort of compensation for an added liberty which I seem to accept since; I personally believe one could love 2 women equally...thus answering a polygamist request which seems natural to me...but still it wouldnt turn out like Régnier.