Thursday, July 28, 2011

Give Up the Myths Denouncing the Polygamous Freedom to Marry

This commentary at The Economist cites Turley’s opinion piece, then goes on to look at polygamy largely from an economic perspective.

Though I am not quite sure what gay couples and polygamists have in common.

They both continue to endure persecution by the self-appointed sex police.

Extending these same rules to polygamy would be a fiscal nightmare.

This has all been answered already.

Economists often argue that polygamy (we’ll focus on men marrying multiple women because that tends to be more common than polyandry, but the logic still applies to a woman with multiple husbands) benefits women because it enhances their market power.


But once a woman enters into a polygamous arrangement, it seems she’d have less power.

Even assuming this were true, we allow people to choose to have less power all of the time.

But the power structure is different when you have one man and several women.

Yes, it is. They outnumber him. As long as there is gender equality under the law, this isn’t a problem.

The marginal value each woman can uniquely provide diminishes the more women that are added to the family.

It appears to me that the writer assumes that a woman’s sole worth is her sexual availability and her ability to be pregnant, and/or that all women are the same and have the same talents, skills, personalities, experiences, etc.

As the writer heads to the finish line, the “roving bands of untamed-because-they’re-unmarried males” concept is invoked. Hey, shouldn't we force men to get married young so as to avoid that problem? Silly question, right? But here in the US, men (and women) have been marrying for the first time at later and later ages, and guess what? Crime rates are down.

The piece finishes with the suggestion of a “polygamy tax.” What? Marriage equality is good for the economy. Economists should back full marriage equality.

Another common thing I’m seeing from those writing in opposition to the polygamous freedom to marry is the claim that it threatens democracy. That point may have had some weight when women were denied their voting rights, and when a husband was legally considered to have authority over a wife. But that’s not the case anymore. Women no longer start out with meager rights and then have them stripped away by marrying. Great strides have been made in gender equality under the law, and our thinking about cohabitation and marriage needs to catch up.

Time to give it up, bigots. You do not have good arguments to stand in the way of progress, so let adults marry the consenting adults of their choice.
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