Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Freedom to Marry Will Reduce Abuse

Dr. Todd Shackelford, a psychology professor at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan, stated the obvious for the record on the Canadian trial over the poly freedom to marry. He pointed out that there are abusive monogamous relationships, too. The point, of course, is that some people abuse. Polygamy is not the cause of abuse, abusive people area.

“Polygyny doesn’t have the market cornered in the negative correlates and consequences” in relationships, he told the judge.

Shackelford questioned some of the conclusions about the social harms of polygamy drawn by a witness for the attorney-general of B.C., which wants to uphold the law.

There’s another article reporting the same thing here.

"My overall comment is that Professor Henrich has not provided any direct evidence of statistic comparisons of the risks for these various negative outcomes in polygynous marriages, as compared to monogamous marriages," said Shackelford.

Thank you, Dr. Shackelford.

B.C. government lawyer Craig Jones suggested it's irrelevant whether abuse also occurs in monogamous relationships. Rather, he said, the real issue is whether it occurs more in polygamy.

Let’s assume that it does. We have several examples showing that outlawing consensual behavior correlates to an increase in problems as people try to avoid law enforcement and other authorities. The right to polygamous marriage will most certainly reduce abuse, as victims can go to the authorities with much less fear. So if there is more abuse in poly marriages, and I haven’t seen evidence of that, then the solution isn’t the status quo, it is in making the relationships official, and prosecuting abusers. Victims will be much more forthcoming.

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