LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — A group of self-proclaimed polygamists are suing the state of Arkansas, arguing it’s unconstitutional to recognize same-sex marriage but not other forms of non-traditional marriage.
Three of the plaintiffs identify themselves in the lawsuit as polygamists. The fourth plaintiff, Chris Sevier, identifies as a “machinist,” which he explains is someone who wants to marry a machine, such as a computer. He reportedly married his computer in New Mexico.
However, when you read between the lines, you can quickly realize this suit has very little to do with granting plural marriages, and much more to do with stopping same-sex marriages.
Sevier, a former prosecutor now based in Nashville, argues it’s a violation of the Constitution’s establishment clause for Arkansas to recognize gay marriage but not marriage between multiple people, or even people and animals.
“We argue that no form of parody marriages are permissable under the Constitution,” he explained Tuesday.
Sevier’s legal argument is based on the idea that homosexuality falls under a belief system he calls the “religion of Secular Humanism.”
“It takes a great amount of faith to believe that man-man marriage or man-object marriage or multi person marriage is real, that it is not immoral,” he said.
In the complaint, Sevier claims the Faulkner County Clerk refused to recognize his out-of-state marriage to his computer, or grant him a new license. He also says the clerk would not issue a plural marriage license to the other plaintiffs. By permitting gay marriage but not others, he says the state is favoring one religion over another.
John DiPippa, Interim Dean of the Bowen School of Law, teaches constitutional law. He calls Sevier’s complaint baseless, frivolous, and seriously flawed.
“They’re asking for a remedy that doesn’t exist,” DiPippa explained. “Which is to undo a United States Supreme Court ruling without actually challenging that ruling.”
Sevier is asking a federal judge to do one of two things: either stop the state from recognizing same-sex marriage, or declare any form of marriage must be legal.
He says he doesn’t have a preference for which way the gavel falls.
“Victory for us is that the rule of law is upheld,” Sevier said. “That the Constitution’s integrity remains intact.”
Sevier has filed similar lawsuits in other states including Alabama and Mississippi. However, he says he has Arkansas ties, having formerly lived in Hot Springs. We’re told another plaintiff grew up in Little Rock.