Dignity Of Women Or Non-Traditional Family Forms: Choose One

Looking at the pictures from that polygamist sect down in Texas, a line from Leif Enger's Peace Like A River keeps coming back to me. Introducing Sara, a girl in captivity to an old felon who's raising her to be his bride ("got her from a fellow in Utah"), we're told:
Anyone could hear her voice was worn to the contours of apology.
A marvelous summation of the lot of women and children where polygamy is tolerated. Here's Rich Lowry with a column on the implications of polygamy for the people who live it:
The dynamic of polygamy is that older, higher-status men take as many women as they can. They work to crowd out young men and to make young women as pliable as possible, so as to eliminate any competition from the former and inhibit any tendency on the part of the latter to fall for men their own age. It inherently features brutish sexual competition among men (the winners get many wives, the losers none) and the subjugation of women who are made to serve a man not, in turn, fully devoted to her.

This is exactly how FLDS works. It looks for any excuse to kick out teenage boys. These "lost boys" are left to fend for themselves on the streets. Meanwhile, teenage girls are taught obedience, which can mean, as 13-year-olds, marrying men old enough to be their grandfathers.

Lowry quotes Jonathan Rauch of the National Journal:

No polygamous society has ever been a true liberal democracy, in anything like the modern sense.
Here's the rub: earlier in the column Lowry's also pointed out that one FLDS defender isn't exactly wrong when she suggests they're only doing what everyone else is:

"It's just like in any society in America," one woman at the ranch told a reporter, by way of explaining the confusion over the children. "A mother might have been in two or three relationships, and a child may be confused about what name to give."
Destroy "traditional" marriage (even though not every such marriage is ideal and not everyone is called to the married state) and you also destroy the principle that all men are created equal. Marriage, with all its flaws and vulnerabilities, is the single greatest guarantor of the freedom of the individual. Which makes it all the more sad that so many "women's groups" are in the vanguard attacking it. The rights of the weaker sex will be the first to go if their agenda is ever fully successful. Lowry closes:
In his classic book Men and Marriage, George Gilder argues, “Monogamy is egalitarianism in the realm of love.” It promises one woman per man, and limits the ability of powerful men to dominate.

One disapproving columnist says of the Texas raid: “There is a whiff of cultural imperialism here. This is about further marginalizing an already-marginalized way of life.” Indeed it is. There are limits to pluralism. In the 19th century, when the Mormon Church still supported polygamy, the U.S. government harried it mercilessly. As Stanley Kurtz points out, the campaign against polygamy related to the effort to democratize Utah.

Now, polygamists are trying to ride on the liberal wave of nonjudgmentalism and of hostility to traditional marriage. Who are we to say what marriage is? As liberal democrats, we’ve said it before, and have to again.

You can have marriage, or you can have might makes right. Choose.