Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Gregg Strauss on Equality in Polygamy

There is much to clear off the desk here, and here's another tidbit. Back at the end of April, Lawrence Solum called attention to something from Gregg Strauss, "Is Polygamy Inherently Unequal?" (Ethics April 2012, Vol. 122, No. 3: 516-544)...
This article begins the task of assessing polygamy as a moral ideal. The structure of traditional polygamy, in which only one central spouse may marry multiple partners, necessarily yields two inequalities. The central spouse has greater rights and expectations within each marriage and greater control over the wider family. However, two alternative structures for polygamy can remove these inequalities. In polyfidelity, each spouse marries every other spouse in the family. In “molecular” polygamy, any spouses may marry a new spouse outside the family. These new models of polygamy face additional difficulties, but they can be egalitarian in principle.
The position of this blog is that there is often power differential in many monogamous relationships, but that as long as everyone is aware and consenting to the marriage, they should be free to enter into such a marriage. Some people actively seek to be the submissive in a power differential. With polygamy, the participants should determine the structure. If that works out so that one person is married to two or three people, none of whom are married to each other, so be it. If it means they are all married to each other, so be it. It should be up to them. The equality is in access to marriage for all adults, including LGBT people, including polyamorous people.
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