Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A Happy Spouse May Want Another Spouse

Romantic_Rebel asked, “What are your views on polygamy?” Granted, this was in a section of Yahoo Answers were mostly Muslims write, and I typically address the legal and social, rather than religious aspect of marriage equality, but I read the responses anyway.


Well polygamy has always existed around the world.

True. Sadia then goes on to write about Muslim restrictions on polygamy.


No woman wants to share her husband and that is why cheating hurts so much.

Many women do not want to share. Not all. Some are fine with sharing. Some have other husbands themselves.


If muslim men truly loved their wife they would not want a second one.

I’m not sure how that makes sense. A man may want another wife (or another husband) even if he never even says so. If a man truly loves someone else, and that other person has made it clear they need monogamy with their spouse, the man can either live with that or not; he can stay or leave. It would be unloving to lie or disregard existing vows while trying to fool the first spouse into staying around. But it isn’t necessarily true that if a man truly loves his wife, he would have no desire for another wife. This sounds a bit like an only child saying a sibling shouldn’t be desired, because if the parents truly loved him, they wouldn’t want another child. It could actually be the reverse. A man may find he loves being married so much that he has room in his heart for another spouse.

It is silly for a society in which people can legally have multiple sex partners (I’m not knocking that), divorce and remarry countless times, in which men can impregnate any number of women… to prevent a person from marrying more than one person as a time. If, for example, a man is willing to marry three women, perhaps before he impregnates them, and the women are all agreeable to this, why in the world would the law deny this, while it would allow him to impregnate all three women, but only marry one at a time?

To answer the original question, I am in favor of full marriage equality, which means both men and women are free to marry any consenting adults. That includes both polygyny and polyandry and every other form of polygamy. They should also be equally free to not marry, free to divorce, free to seek prosecution for and protection from domestic violence, etc. Certainly, if a Muslim man and four Muslim women choose to have a polygynous marriage situation, they should be free to have it, but legalized polygamy should not end there.
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