Thursday, March 31, 2011

One Size Does Not Fit All

The question is “Should Alternative Family Structures Be Legally Recognized?” After discussing same-sex marriage, the writer goes on to ask…

What about Common-law Marriage? Some couples, whether opposite-sex or same-sex, live together without benefit of any State-sanctioned Marriage.

The right to marry also means a right not to marry. I do believe people should be able to live together without being considered married.

The writer discussed polygamy, including polygyny, polyandry, and group marriage.

Now, let's ask a few questions.

Questions are always better than closed-minded dismissals.

How many people are allowed to be legally recognized in an arrangement like this?

No restriction is needed in law.

Who does an employer have to provide insurance for?

How many children are allowed under an unmarried employee's coverage? Why should spouses be any different? Whether or not this is a government’s choice or an employer’s choice is another debate. Either way, there’s no reason this should prevent the freedom to marry.

How does inheritance of property work?

It’s not that complicated. For people who have not provided written instructions, the default would be, under current law, that the property go to the remaining spouses equally. If those spouses were part of an “all-for-all” marriage with the deceased, this is the same thing as the property going to the surviving spouse in a monogamous marriage.

If the Family includes more than two adults: How does it affect the legal status of the arrangement if one or more people decide they want out of the arrangement, maybe taking children with them?

Just like now, it would be written agreements, and absent such agreements, it would be mediation or courts.

Foster Care & Adoption of children must also be looked at.
Should multiple-adult-partner families be allowed to take in foster children, or to adopt children?

Of course.

When multiple-partner families split up, who gets custody of which children?

The same as when two-partner families split up.

The writer gets into age of consent questions, which is not a focus of this blog and not a matter that had anything to do with adults having the freedom to marry or full marriage equality.

Finally, think about moving from one State to another, and finding your Family is no longer legally recognized.
Should these laws be established by States or by the Federal Government?

The federal government in the US is obligated to protect the civil rights of all.

What do you think about alternative family structures? Which ones should be legally recognized as equal? Where should we draw the boundaries?

Adults should be allowed the relationships that are best for them. The boundary is consenting adults. The law should recognize any marriage comprised of consenting adults, unless they only want religious or social recognition, not legal recognition.

There were comments…

so basically, marriage should be legal where a relationship is legal.

Relationships between consenting adults should be legal in the first place.

I definitely believe gay couples have the right to marriage if they please. All of the others you listed (polygamy and the opposites and others) get a little confusing. If you want a family like that, then HAVE A FAMILY LIKE THAT. But it would be kind of hard to create laws that would help structure those kinds of relationships because, unfortunately, people are selfish. Everyone is selfish. Eventually, there will be some sort of dispute about whether or not one "partner" is getting more affection, more attention, more funding, more this and that and whatever.

That happens already under monogamy-only laws.

Recognizing gay marriage does not require recognizing polygamous marriages, incestuous marriages, or any other marriages mentioned in the OP.

Right, it doesn’t. The same-sex freedom to marry is not full marriage equality. Full marriage quality contains the same-sex freedom to marry, though.

These are completely different issues that would have to be handled in completely different ways.

Actually, no, they can all be handled by allowing consenting adults to have their rights to love, sex, and marriage.
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