Thursday, August 30, 2012

Nobody Could Defend the Denial of Polygamous Freedom to Marry

I asked this question at Yahoo Answers....
Is there any good reason to still deny the polygamous freedom to marry?
To pre-empt the usual Discredited Arguments, I gave a long explanation...

By polygamy, I'm not just talking about polygyny (one man, multiple women) but any form of polygamy, including polyandry (one woman, multiple men), three or more men, three or more women, or multiple women and multiple men. If they are all CONSENTING ADULTS I just don't see why the fundamental right to marry is denied to people who want more than two people involved.

Please do not cite problems for women and children in communities where polygyny is the only form of polygamy allowed, being gay or lesbian is shunned and/or illegal and women would be denied equal rights with or without polygamy.

Please do not cite anything that also applies to (professed) monogamy.

I am talking about a system with gender equality under the law, the equal freedom to NOT marry and the freedom to divorce, protections against domestic violence, protections against preying on children and neglecting children, a system that allows adults to marry any consenting adults.


1. A man marries, has kids, divorces. Moves away, marries his pregnant girlfriend, they have another kid, divorce, he moves away again, he gets a new girlfriend pregnant, they live together, but don't bother to marry

2. A man marries a woman, they have kids, there is a female friend they both like, the kids like her, both want him to marry her. But it is illegal.

Scenario #1 is entirely legal and commonly practiced and accepted. Why isn't scenario #2 legally and socially accepted? In Scenario #2, the adults can be together in every way, living in a marriage, but the law discriminates against them and won't recognize their marriage.

People can have sex with, live with, have kids with many different people and even be serially married and divorced, but we don't allow one person to be legally married to more than two people at the same time. What kind of sense is that, if they all agree to the marriage?

These are NOT applicable reasons to deny others the fundamental right to marry:

1. “It is disgusting" or "I don't like it" or "I wouldn't want to do it" or "not a lot of people want to do it."
2. “It goes against tradition.” So did the abolition of slavery. But polygamy has a long tradition in world history.
3. “My religion is against it.” Then don't do it.
4. “It's not natural." HELLO! Neither is Yahoo Answers, but you're still here, right?
5. “This will hurt children.” I think it will help children far more than it could hurt. More children would have their parents married to each other. But we allow people to marry who are unable to have children or won't have children anyway.
6. “What’s next?” “Where do we draw the line?” Freedom for consenting adult persons. Who has a problem with that?
7. "Polygamy is abusive." It isn't. More people are abused in "monogamous" relationships than polygamous ones.
8. “Polygamy spreads sexually transmitted infections.” Wrong. Unprotected sex with someone who is infected is how such infections may be transmitted. Twenty people could have group sex and a group marriage for fifty years and if none of them brings an infection into the marriage and they only have sex with each other, none of them will get a sexually transmitted infection. We do not deny people their freedom to marry based on which diseases they have.
9. “It will be a legal/paperwork nightmare as our system is set up for couples.” That’s essentially what the bigots said about Americans With Disabilities Act and just about any civil rights laws. Of course it is easier for those who already have what they want to keep things as they are. But what about all of the people who are denied their rights?
10. “What about child custody and child support?” What about children from one night stands, donated sperm, surrogate mothers, affairs, brief flings, or supposedly monogamous marriage that's ending? What about children born to a woman whose husband wasn’t the man who impregnated her? All of these situations are entirely legal. A court decides custody disputes that aren’t resolved amicably.
11. “This will cause inheritance disputes.” This can’t be a reason for the continued denial of the freedom to marry. With today’s restriction of monogamy-only for marriage, we see inheritance disputes all of the time.
12. “What about insurance/employment benefits?” There are many simple ways to deal with this. It is dealt with when an employee has more kids than the next, isn't it?
13. “This oppresses women.” Gender equality and the right to be unmarried or to divorce are necessary components of full marriage equality. See what I wrote above.
14. “Some men will be left out as polygyny increases.” This is based on the assumption that in a culture with gender equality, polygyny would still be more plentiful than polyandry. But shouldn't people be allowed to enter into polygyny if they freely choose it?

The answers were disappointing.

anonymous wrote...
If people are not allowed to answer your question the way they see fit, why ask in the first place?
People could answer as they wanted, I just wanted to see if anyone had a good answer.
Polygamy is a thing of the past and had nothing to do with people loving multiple others. It had to do with one rich man providing for several women because that's how it was before there was a law protecting women or enabling them to provide for themselves.

Polygamy had nothing to do with love back when it was practiced in the Middle East (and still is sometimes), and it doesn't now.

That wasn't an answer to my question. It merely states an opinion about the past, which has nothing to do with what I was asking.

lovely wrote...
They can't legally marry, in my vows it said forsaking all others and the law agrees with my promise.
This is someone else who didn't read the question. I know they can't legally marry. My question was why not? Not all people make the same vows, and the law doesn't stop people from living with, having sex with, and having children with multiple partners.
If you are going to promiscuous with your chosen partners then why marry?
For many of the same reasons anyone else marries. But polygamy doesn't mean promiscuous. The question doesn't make sense. It is like asking, "If you're going to dance, then why have dinner?"

the constitution and bible says that marriage is between a man and a woman
The Constitution says no such thing, and the Bible is not a governing document, at least not in the US.

when they decide to split up who gets what ? who gets what when they die? imagine the court battles for inheritence or the battles in divorce
I covered that in my question.

None of the answers was good, but Yahoo encourages Askers to pick a "Best Answer." Here is what Ash Loren wrote...
there really should not be a guideline on how to answer. obviously you are looking not for a wide variety of opinions, but people who only share your own.

IMO polygamy is wrong. a marriage is to be shared by two people, not three or four or more.

I chose that as "Best Answer" and explained...
Your answer is not quite as bad as the others. Nobody was able to come up with a good reason. YOU say marriage is to be shared by two people only, but you don't give a good reason to deny other people their fundamental rights to marry. Nobody else did, either. My point is made.

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