Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Polygamy Painted Guilty by Association

Maybe you don’t like the idea of polygamy: you think someone should only be able to be married to one person at a time. If that is your position, have you ever considered why you hold that position? Can you think of any fair, reason-based justification to deny someone else the right to be married to more than one person?

I think it is possible that a lot of people have a knee-jerk negative reaction to polygamy largely because media portrayals.

Consider this headline in today’s Los Angeles Times: “Polygamist Leader's Conviction Reversed.” The article is about Warren Jeffs, who heads a religious sect. There are many things Jeff’s religion teaches, and there are many accusations that have been made against him. He had been found guilty of being an accomplice to the rape of a 14-year-old child, but the headline focuses on his belief in polygamy (polygyny only).

This kind of framing of the article demonizes polygamy by trying to associate it with rape and child abuse and as something that is only wanted by certain males in a small religious sect seen as strange by most outsiders.

Wanting polygamy doesn’t make someone a child abuser or rapist. There are millions of monogamists who commit child abuse and rape.

Antifreedom portrayals need to be changed.

Maybe you don’t want to be married to more than one person, but there are people who don’t want to be married to anyone. What if they prevented you from being able to marry? Negative media portrayals of polygamy are part of what prevents marriage equality.

There are mainstream members of society who support polygamy, perhaps someone in your family or living next door. They shouldn't be made to feel like second class citizens.
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