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Friday, December 31, 2010

Fear of Paperwork is No Excuse for Inequality

In the US, when someone asks why we don’t have the freedom under the law to polygamous marrage, one of the typical justifications for this denial of rights goes something like this…

It's a logistical issue. Imagine the paperwork involved if everyone was allowed to have multiple spouses. Just figuring out the health insurance would be a nightmare.

Figuring out health insurance would not be a nightmare. Any government health insurance can certainly be extended to all spouses, especially if it covers unmarried people anyway. With health insurance though an employer or directly with the insurance company, there has long been the issue of the number of children (and now, up through age 26) and how they are covered. Some people have no children, some have one or two, some have many more. This has not been a problem. Likewise, coverage terms can be set for any spouse that does not get insurance through another employer or does not otherwise have insurance.

For this and other paperwork issues, there wouldn’t need to be much extra paperwork at all. Once a form is created for a spouse's information, it is very easy have duplicates for additional spouses.

This is a rather weak reason to deny people this freedom to marry. Certainly, more paperwork is generated because of divorce by the population of supposedly monogamous couples than will be generated by people choosing to exercise the polygamous freedom to marry.
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