Friday, January 28, 2011

A Feminist Supports the Freedom to Polygamous Marriage

Over at Finding My Feminism, Not Guilty wrote in regards to the Canadian poly trial and the community of Bountiful…

As I have stated before, I am wholly supportive of adult women making the decision to enter into a polygamous marriage. I believe that making polygamy illegal is simply the government seeking to make decisions for women that men believe women are incapable of making for themselves. There is a case in the British Columbia courts involving the polygamous communities in Bountiful, BC. The case is challenging Canada's polygamy laws as unconstitutional on the basis that they are a Charter violation of religious freedom. While I personally don't enjoy supporting ridiculous religious beliefs, the reality is that a polygamous relationship affects nobody else and it thus none of our damn business.

Very well said. She goes on to write that she is against teenage women marrying much older men, and gives a suggestion for revisions in the law.

She links to an earlier message she wrote that references “Sister Wives.”

My gut reaction to polygamy is that it is wrong and I am glad it is illegal. I also wish it were enforced more strictly. Unfortunately, I never let myself just go off my gut reaction; I always think more deeply about issues.

That’s a good thing. My gut reaction when seeing open-heart surgery is “gross!” but it doesn’t mean it should be illegal. It saves lives.

My reasons for disagreeing with polygamy include the manifestation of the patriarchy since it is always men with multiple wives and never, as far as I know, women with multiple husbands; oppression of women; and the effect on the children.

That isn’t true, of course. There are polyandrous families. I link to some of them on this very blog.

She mulls over how things are for the children in polygynous familes….

Except when you delve a little deeper, this is no different from children raised by same-sex couples. There is no evidence kids are harmed by having same-sex parents and any harm that does befall them is due to prejudices in society. If this is the same with children of polygamous families, I really don't have a leg to stand on. Unless there is clear evidence that these children are somehow damaged by being children of a polygamous family, I don’t feel comfortable declaring polygamy wrong.

The reason my gut reaction is that polygamy is wrong is because I don’t understand it and to an extent, the idea repulses me. But I don’t get to judge the lifestyle of other people just because I disagree with it; that isn’t my right. I despise people who judge LGBT, so I cannot in good conscience, without evidence of harm, judge polygamous families.

Yay for solidarity.
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