Monday, August 22, 2016

Escaping a Broadbrush

It is irksome to see the title "Escaping Polygamy." I know many people who could say they escaped monogamy, escaped marriage, etc. Abusers are someone to escape. A relationship construct is only something to be escaped for someone who isn't suited for it. For example, if you're polyamorous, it can be rather painful to be coerced into a monogamous relationship with no hope of polyamory.

With that in mind, here's a report from at with the headline "Escaping Polygamy's Lorie: Sharing My Husband With My Sister Is Like a 'Bad Dream."

A polygynous man taking sisters as wives is not all that unusual. However, I can understand that if someone really doesn't want to be in a polygynous marriage, or doesn't want to be in one with her sister, that it could be a terrible way to live. Nobody should be pressured into a relationship they don't want. Part of having full marriage equality and relationship rights for all is allowing people to be themselves. This will allow people to have the relationships they want, including not having a legal, romantic, or sexual relationship at all.
The wrong kind of sisterly bond. Escaping Polygamy's Lorie opens up about the pain of sharing her husband with a blood relative in the Sunday, August 21, episode, as seen in Us Weekly's exclusive sneak peek.
The wrong kind of sisterly bond for her. For other women, sharing a partner with their sibling is something to which they aspire.
The A&E unscripted series' preview clip shows Lorie telling the camera that she has 10 children with husband Verl, who she married when she was 17. Verl was already married to Lorie's older sister, and the two of them have 15 kids together. (Verl also has six kids with a third wife, who is his half-sister.)
How did that not make the headlines? He's in a consanguineous marriage. Of course it wouldn't be a legal marriage anyway, since he has a legal wife and the law still only allows one, but not only is polyfidelity criminal in Utah, so is having sex with your half-sibling. I'm not defending Verl specifically, but consensual adult relationships shouldn't be criminalized.
They all belong to the polygamist Salt Lake City–based Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
Is the problem here really polygamy, or rather something about the FLDS? Consider what the article says next...
'Escaping Polygamy' Star Lorie

"My mom walked out of our life when I was 9, and [my sister] took the role of a mother, and she really felt strongly that I needed to be a part of her family," Lorie explains. "She would tell me that she felt like if I didn't do this, then I would lose my eternal salvation."
I'll take this opportunity to point out that so many articles refer to "polygamous towns" and "polygamous religions" in a way that there's nothing else that goes on except polygamy. The articles never refer to monogamous towns or monogamous religions.

From the coverage...

Lorie went on to explain that being part of a polygamous family is especially hard on the children.
Only the first wife can put the father's name on the birth certificates. The children of the subsequent wives weren't 'allowed' to call Verl 'daddy.'

'They weren't allowed to acknowledge their father as daddy or whatever. They always called him by his name,' Lorie said.

Whose fault is that? It is the people who have criminalized polyfidelity and denied full marriage equality. If adults were allowed to marry, religiously and/or legally, instead of being denied their rights, everyone could have the paperwork they want.

Everyone, including the women and children, would be best off if polygamy and consanguinamory was decriminalized and brought out of the shadows. Victims  and witnesses of abuse would be much more likely to cooperate with law enforcement. Utah has long criminalized polyfidelity (and relationships between half siblings) but they're still going on. The laws do much more harm than good.

I don't really understand much about the FLDS. I do know about what has been in the news for several years now, I know the big LDS church rejects certain FLDS teachings and practices (and vice versa, apparently). The age of consent in Utah is 16 for women and 18 for men; the blatant inequality there needs to be addressed. So it is legal for 17-year-old females (as Lorie was) to marry and/or have sex. although apparently not with someone who is 28 or older, and she can't be married, even just religiously, to someone who has another spouse.

I also know that reality shows don't give the whole picture. For all we know, a lot of people in the FLDS families are very happy; or, most of them could be miserable and desperate.

Something else I wanted to note was that Verl has six children with his third wife, who is his half-sister. The popular misconception is that any child born to such close relatives would have severe birth defects. Do any of those six children have such challenges? I'd think that would be noted in the article if they did, but maybe not, since it was mostly about Lorie not liking sharing a husband, especially with her sister.

This blog isn't here to defend every specific relationship. If someone is miserable, they shouldn't be stuck. We are here to argue for the rights of all adults to have their relationships, including marriage, if that is what they mutually agree to do. This necessitates gender equality. A woman should be just as free as a man to not marry at all, to divorce, to be protected from assault and domestic violence, to marry a man or a woman or multiple people.
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