This is where liberalism gets you. Last Friday, the first ever civil union between a threesome took place in the Netherlands.
Viktor de Bruijn "married" two women in a ceremony before a notary who officially registered their civil union. At the moment, only a civil union rather than a marriage is recognised, but who knows when this will change.
Viktor described the events thus: "A marriage between three persons is not possible in the Netherlands, but a civil union is. We went to the notary in our marriage costume and exchanged rings. We consider this to be just an ordinary marriage."
It was only a year ago that I wrote an item on Alastair Nicholson, the very respectably liberal former chief justice of the Family Court of Australia. In arguing for homosexual marriage, Nicholson claimed that the traditional understanding of marriage had been superseded, to the point that "it is difficult to argue that a modern marriage necessarily excludes all others."
Once you begin to see marriage as any kind of arrangement which individuals contract to, there is no logical reason to limit it to two people - so it seems inevitable that liberal societies will move toward a recognition of polygamy. I just didn't think it would happen so quickly.
The lesson? We should think very carefully before moving from a traditional view of marriage as an exclusive union between a man and woman. Once marriage becomes liberalised into nothing more than a state sanctioned contract between individuals it loses its particular character and begins to take any form - including a polygamous one.