Polygamist Family Just Wants to Be Normal By Scott Ott

The family sits around the Christmas tree. The grownups sip hot cocoa. The children giggle as they shake wrapped gifts trying to guess the contents.

It’s a Norman Rockwell, home and hearth, God-Bless-America moment.

But when the Masterson family ventures into public, they’re not treated like full citizens. Archaic laws, religious bigotry and misguided morality often leave them feeling shunned — strangers in their own land. What they see as a loving family, the government calls criminal.

That’s because Bob Masterson is a polygamist. He shares his spacious suburban home with six wives, and their 23 children. The Mastersons are at the center of a court battle which they hope will grant polygamists the same rights that normal, heterosexual, monogamous married couples have.

The Masterson’s case comes as the eyes of the nation are on New Jersey, where seven homosexual couples are suing for the right to marry.

“We are good citizens, we pay our taxes and we are caring parents — but we don’t have the same equality as other Americans,” Mr. Masterson said. “We’re tired of having to explain our relationship.”

Although it may seem like a pipe dream, given America’s primitive, provincial culture, the Mastersons yearn for the day when they can enjoy the little privileges other married people take for granted.

“Someday,” Mr. Masterson said, “I want to have my checks imprinted with ‘Bob and Lorraine, Cindy, Jennifer, Lucy, Abigail and Barbara Masterson’. Is that too much to ask? I look forward to the day when I can check the ‘Married, filing jointly’ box on the IRS 1040, and there are enough signature lines for all of us. It’s little things like that.”

Although it doesn’t seem much to ask, Mr. Masterson knows that it will take a tectonic shift in American culture.

“Like I keep telling the old ladies, it’s going to take baby steps,” he said. “It will start with the TV sitcoms, where you’ll begin to see fun-loving polygamist characters. Then someone will do a show like ‘Polygamist Eye for the Monogamous Guy’.”

Still, Mr. Masterson and his wives know that fully-legal polygamist marriage is a long way off.

“Frankly,” he said, “Right now, we’d settle for being treated under the law like ordinary Vermont lesbians.”

If you enjoyed this satire by Scott Ott, you can read more of his work at Scrappleface.

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