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Author Topic: Polygamy?  (Read 4460 times)

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Offline Belladonna1Topic starter

Polygamy?
« on: May 09, 2011, 02:11:22 AM »
 After watching "Sister Wives" on T.V. tonight, the reality show that chronicles the lives of a man and his four wives in Utah, I got to thinking about polygamy and the law.  And while I'm not a proponent of such a lifestyle , for the life of me I cannot figure out why in the world it should be against the law..? 

Offline Wolfy

Re: Polygamy?
« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2011, 02:33:33 AM »
I assume it's the same reason why people think Gay Marriage shouldn't be allowed.

One Man. One Woman.

That's it.

Rather stupid, if you ask me. >_>

Offline Belladonna1Topic starter

Re: Polygamy?
« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2011, 02:50:03 AM »
Quote
I assume it's the same reason why people think Gay Marriage shouldn't be allowed.

One Man. One Woman.

That's it.

Rather stupid, if you ask me. >_>


I thought of that as well, right after my post- and agree 100 %!  It also brings to mind the issue of prostitution being against the law- and again, not that I'm in favor of anyone having to sell their body/sexual favors for money but the way I see it, it's Your Body= Your Choice.
It seems so absurd that a government body should have the right to declare such a choice is unlawful and thus legally punishable....   

Offline Tamhansen

Re: Polygamy?
« Reply #3 on: May 09, 2011, 02:55:17 AM »
Actually, in the case of prostitution, the law was originally made to stop married men from cheating on their wives. (not that it worked)

As for the one man, one woman thing isn't that up for debate. I remember the bush administration was pushing to have the one man one woman thing up in the constitution, but got held back by fear of disaproval from his mormon following.

Pesonally, I'm not against multipartner relations, but it should work both ways. There should be the possibility of brother husbands as well.

Offline Sure

Re: Polygamy?
« Reply #4 on: May 09, 2011, 03:21:00 AM »
Polygamy is a gender neutral term (just like monogamy). Polygyny and polyandry are the related gender-specific terms. Legalizing polygamy should make it just as legal for a woman to take four husbands as vice versa.

But yes, while it is not as apparent, the anti-Homosexual lobby also tends to be the anti-Polygamy lobby. However, while homosexuality is becoming more and more accepted, polygamy is not. Gallup's Moral Acceptability Report polls about this yearly and 2010 showed 90% of Americans consider polygyny immoral (putting it a few percentage points 'better' than cheating on your spouse).

Offline Wintercat

Re: Polygamy?
« Reply #5 on: May 09, 2011, 03:26:56 AM »
As long as its all between consenting adults, I think sexuality and love ought to be free. I've heard a lot of talk against polygamy in the past, and even more towards gay people. Personally, I think if gay couples are happy, let them, if polygamy makes the people involved happy, let them.

The one-man-one-woman model does not work for everyone.

Still, its hard to get the government out of the bedroom, let alone married life.

Offline Tamhansen

Re: Polygamy?
« Reply #6 on: May 09, 2011, 03:31:31 AM »
I know the term is gender neutral the practice is not however. Polygyny is common in many countries around the world, including certain states of the the US Polyandry however only occured frequently in precolonized Mali.

Hmm here's a thought. If I wanted to marry two women who not only both wanted to marry me, but also each other. So a three way wedding sop to speak, I'd have to find a country accepting both Polygamy as well as homogamy.



Offline Martee

Re: Polygamy?
« Reply #7 on: May 09, 2011, 11:33:25 AM »
I told my husband the other day that polygamy is a brilliant idea outside the confines of fundamentalist religious leaders and child brides.  What I wouldn't give to have another set of hands to help out around the house, keep an eye on the kids, do the shopping, hell - even keep the husband occupied a few nights so maybe I can get some uninterrupted sleep. I think I could be totally okay with that, as long as she was someone I really connected with too, on a platonic level.

I realize there are most likely downsides to this kind of arrangement, but I'm having trouble thinking of any at the moment.  ;D

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Re: Polygamy?
« Reply #8 on: May 09, 2011, 11:43:55 AM »
I'd guess jealousy would be one of the more obvious ones.

Offline Will

Re: Polygamy?
« Reply #9 on: May 09, 2011, 12:10:01 PM »
I think the association with the fundamentalist religious leaders and child brides that Martee mentioned will do more in the long term to keep it illegal. 

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: Polygamy?
« Reply #10 on: May 09, 2011, 12:11:22 PM »
Not to mention the fact that a lot of the 'lost boys' and other problems that are missed in the shows dealing with plural marriage. The number of 'lost sons' in the Fundamentalist Mormon plural marriage society. The sons who are gently pushed aside to allow the elders to continue gaining more and more wives. The pool of females that are available is smaller than the national average as more and more women go to fewer and fewer men.

Taking away the religious aspects could fix some of the social problems that come from the practices of the FMC but it still comes down to a glaring disparity between male and female.

I surprised that the supporters of plural marriages haven't come forward to pursue some sort of 'if it's alright for homosexuals to practice what they believe why can't we?' arguments.

Offline Will

Re: Polygamy?
« Reply #11 on: May 09, 2011, 02:28:05 PM »
I can't imagine that would go over well.  Gay marriage seems to be making progress, if slowly.  That progress might be stalled if it were suddenly tied (at least in public perception) into fundamentalist, polygynous Mormons.

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: Polygamy?
« Reply #12 on: May 09, 2011, 02:48:39 PM »
I can't imagine that would go over well.  Gay marriage seems to be making progress, if slowly.  That progress might be stalled if it were suddenly tied (at least in public perception) into fundamentalist, polygynous Mormons.
You have to admit from them it would be a valid argument. From their point of view, their religious practices have been curtailed and persecuted for the better part 110+ years.

The fundamentalist types must be just as conflicted, given the biggest supporter AGAINST the Gay Marriage initiative in California was the Mormon Church. Realistically it would be a MAJOR coup for them to leverage the Gay Marriage Movement to their benefit, but on the other hand they are staunchly against the movement.

I do wonder, however, how plural marriage might have been better controlled and directed if it hadn't been put underground like it was. Would the proliferation of 'child brides' have been as prominent? Would there have been as many 'lost boys' cast out of the communities?

Definitely something to consider, though the cynical side of things make me think that it wouldn't have been greatly changed in the long run.

Offline Belladonna1Topic starter

Re: Polygamy?
« Reply #13 on: May 09, 2011, 03:02:48 PM »
Quote
I told my husband the other day that polygamy is a brilliant idea outside the confines of fundamentalist religious leaders and child brides.  What I wouldn't give to have another set of hands to help out around the house, keep an eye on the kids, do the shopping, hell - even keep the husband occupied a few nights so maybe I can get some uninterrupted sleep. I think I could be totally okay with that, as long as she was someone I really connected with too, on a platonic level.

 I think HairyHeretic is right with regards to the jealousy issue being a huge deterrant/reason against polygamy.  Afterall, who wouldn't love the help that is mentioned above?  However, that is why people hire nannies, housekeepers, etc.. some who live with the family on a full time basis- but, I believe that it becomes a seperate issue entirely when you talk about said housekeepers or nannies having sex ( or sharing in marital relations) with ones husband ( in the case of polygamy) 

Offline Will

Re: Polygamy?
« Reply #14 on: May 09, 2011, 03:11:23 PM »
Slapping the label "religious practice" onto something sleazy like marrying your underage cousin against her will doesn't obligate me, or anyone else, to respect it or give it legal protection.

I'm all for polyamory, polygamy, or any other relationship dynamic that floats someone's boat.  I just don't think any of us will see it accepted by the general public in our lifetimes, much less made legal.  You say "polygamy," and nine times out of ten, the first association someone makes is with fundamentalist Mormons, and they recoil in horrified revulsion.  I can't even really blame them. :P

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: Polygamy?
« Reply #15 on: May 09, 2011, 03:27:23 PM »
Slapping the label "religious practice" onto something sleazy like marrying your underage cousin against her will doesn't obligate me, or anyone else, to respect it or give it legal protection.

I'm all for polyamory, polygamy, or any other relationship dynamic that floats someone's boat.  I just don't think any of us will see it accepted by the general public in our lifetimes, much less made legal.  You say "polygamy," and nine times out of ten, the first association someone makes is with fundamentalist Mormons, and they recoil in horrified revulsion.  I can't even really blame them. :P

I agree that the Fundamentalist Mormon groups have painted it with a very 'icky' brush. Just saying that I'm surprised they haven't tried to 'mainstream' their cause.

I personally think that Polygamy the way THEY practice it is bad.

Offline Will

Re: Polygamy?
« Reply #16 on: May 09, 2011, 03:32:41 PM »
In that case, yeah.  We're in total agreement.

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Re: Polygamy?
« Reply #17 on: May 09, 2011, 03:37:26 PM »
I do wonder, however, how plural marriage might have been better controlled and directed if it hadn't been put underground like it was. Would the proliferation of 'child brides' have been as prominent? Would there have been as many 'lost boys' cast out of the communities?

Do you mean just amongst those communities, or as a general society thing?

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: Polygamy?
« Reply #18 on: May 09, 2011, 03:41:25 PM »
Do you mean just amongst those communities, or as a general society thing?

I think they are the only organized proponents for it, and the largest number of folks that would practice it. I doubt that if it was legal today that the folks who practice among the Mormons would change ANY of their actions. You'd still have child brides, and the lost boys. The leaders of the groups that practice it don't think they are doing wrong and won't be willing to 'fix' their problems.

Offline Martee

Re: Polygamy?
« Reply #19 on: May 09, 2011, 03:50:25 PM »
I was being cheeky earlier, but I would clarify my position some and point out there would be a marked difference between hiring a babysitter and choosing a second wife in a polygamous family.

The babysitter I trust to watch the children and follow my rules, a second wife would be trusted to raise the children and set rules. Completely different dynamic. When the existing wife (wives) has as much input into the choice of new wife, it may help alleviate jealousy issues as well.  Not completely eradicate them, due to human nature, of course. But there are relationships out there that are successful with more than just two people involved, so why couldn't polygamy work for the right people?

Thanks Mormons, for blowing it for the rest of us!



I think HairyHeretic is right with regards to the jealousy issue being a huge deterrant/reason against polygamy.  Afterall, who wouldn't love the help that is mentioned above?  However, that is why people hire nannies, housekeepers, etc.. some who live with the family on a full time basis- but, I believe that it becomes a seperate issue entirely when you talk about said housekeepers or nannies having sex ( or sharing in marital relations) with ones husband ( in the case of polygamy)

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Re: Polygamy?
« Reply #20 on: May 09, 2011, 03:57:03 PM »
I believe that polygamy could work for the right people. The legal aspects of it might prove rather complicated mind you. Taxes, inheretances, children, all that sort of thing. Still, I suppose the countries where it is legal would have some handle on the legal stuff, so there would be templates to work from (maybe).

Offline Shjade

Re: Polygamy?
« Reply #21 on: May 09, 2011, 04:14:46 PM »
Slapping the label "religious practice" onto something sleazy like marrying your underage cousin against her will doesn't obligate me, or anyone else, to respect it or give it legal protection.
Wait, sorry, when did "against her will" come into the equation? Any practice that involves doing something to someone else against their will doesn't get much in the way of legal protection. Let's not make things any murkier than they already are, eh?

Offline Trieste

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Re: Polygamy?
« Reply #22 on: May 09, 2011, 04:15:21 PM »
I'm not actually sure if this has been brought up yet, but my instinct would be to approach legalized polygamy carefully. While I support same-sex marriage, it would essentially be using the framework already in place (one spouse per person). But when you add more spouses per person, it gets into things like infrastructure.

Just as one example, how would companies that currently offer benefits to their workers and their workers' families be affected if those workers abruptly had two spouses each? And what would be the manner of coping if they then produced twice as many children? If I am married to a man who is also married to another wife, and that wife has a child, is the child of my husband still to be covered under my health insurance?

That's just one example, but I think it illustrates my point. It's just one more reason for marriage to be a civil institution and not a federal one, really.

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: Polygamy?
« Reply #23 on: May 09, 2011, 04:19:29 PM »
back to the original question:

After watching "Sister Wives" on T.V. tonight, the reality show that chronicles the lives of a man and his four wives in Utah, I got to thinking about polygamy and the law.  And while I'm not a proponent of such a lifestyle , for the life of me I cannot figure out why in the world it should be against the law..?

I read somewhere that the recognition of common law marriage in a dozen U.S. states, including Utah - it is by default a one-on-one thing - would make it illegal for a man who is living in such a not-initially-formalized but obviously long-term, steady home relationship, a marriage, with a woman, to enjoy a similar marriagelike relationship with another woman at the same time. If he did, it would instantly mean he had committed polygamy, not just been adulterous (adultery of course isn't a legal offence in the Western world anymore). So a de facto marriage, where they share a home regularly, might have kids together and do most of the things married couples normally do - except sign full marriage papers - would lead to some civil duties and it would preclude another similar marriage.

Sometimes this kind of marriage can be fixed with documents of its own, though that will only happen after it's been a steady affair with the same home for at least a full year. Otherwise though, it seems this status can be conferred on the couple as a "state of obvious trust" when it would be vital for the prosecution from outside of a legal case, even if the couple have not asked for any recognition and don't want it. In countries where common law marriage ("marriage by conscience") isn't recognized as being legally valid at all (e.g. practically all of Europe), polygamy of a Mormon kind would be technically possible if both/all wives tolerate it and if those people are not ostracized by the community they live in. Even if the neighbours wouldn't react, it's likely that social authorities in the city those people lived in would get word of it and take action though.

In Canada, Saskatchewan, which has common-law marriage, also permits multiple live-in partners for both parties involved in a common-law marriage - that must be almost unique for a western nation.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2011, 04:24:20 PM by gaggedLouise »

Offline Will

Re: Polygamy?
« Reply #24 on: May 09, 2011, 04:22:05 PM »
Wait, sorry, when did "against her will" come into the equation? Any practice that involves doing something to someone else against their will doesn't get much in the way of legal protection. Let's not make things any murkier than they already are, eh?

When did it come into the equation?  It's the reality of the situation. :P  I'm not sure what you're getting at; polygamy doesn't receive any legal protection no matter how it's done.  I was responding to the hypothetical idea that the fundamentalists might cry "religious freedom" to obtain that protection.