Personally, I'm in favor of marriage. The public declaration of fealty steers the focus of any marital problems onto resolution rather than dissolution. However, I don't think the question should be, "Should gay couples be allowed to marry?". It should be, "Why is the government involved, AT ALL, in how people wish to structure their households?".
We should be relying on government for assistance in enforcing contracts. But how these contracts are structured should be entirely up to the people involved. This, of course, includes people who wish to structure their households around participation by more than two individuals.
I guess there needs to be a set of default contracts (to protect children and establish ownership of chattels, etc.) which are deemed to be in effect when people share a household; but, other than that, the government should have no role.
I know that polygamy facilitates some injustices that never occur in "traditional" marriages <joke>, but is polygamy sufficiently evil by its nature to require the government to ban it?
1.) When people say "polygamy" they nearly always mean polygyny. One husband collecting many wives. That's deeply patriarchal and mysoginistic.
2.) Legally it's also the only form that works because the women are relatively powerless and there is a clear structure. There is nothing morally wrong with polyamory and it works nicely for some people (better than monogamy). But recognizing such relationships legally is a nightmare and all but impossible. You just can't account for all possible constellations.
There are some common ones like the "V", the "N" and the triangle, but that's still messy in a legal sense. What if one partner in a triangle becomes ill? How gets to make medical decisions?
1) No, I meant polygamy. I guess we have accept the women are NEVER powerless in traditional marriages, are they? :-)
2) Legally...blah blah. What I said is that there should be NO definition of any household structure in law. I imagine that the vast majority of marriages would continue to be of the traditional model. Add a few default contracts for same-sex marriages and maybe three-way and you're left with less than one percent of households requiring any kind of special contract. All the legal "problems" go away when the government stops treating marriages as "relationships" (which are none of government's business) and starts viewing households purely in a contractual sense.
Then what you have is the current situation. Don't recognize is it legally. Period.
What you really want is a social acceptance of polyamory. Once that's happened we might talk about the legal issues
Because drawing up expensive contracts works so awesomely well for gay people, right? They can get protection with it! All legal problems will be magically solved. Please tell me you're not that naive.
I certainly agree that in the past several decades marriage has been used way, way too much for the allocation of benefits, particularly in the US. Too much mundane stuff is dependent on being married. But you're overreacting. You can't get rid of that entirely. Just reduce it in certain areas. For example, universal health care would solve a lot of problems.
As said, if you want things like wills and side-contracts to be honored for such arrangements, you need to get polyamory socially accepted in the first place. Only then you can start with any kind of legal reform. And moving polyamory away from the standard understanding of polygamy is invaluable for that
I agree with everything you said except the chicken and egg. As with virtually all social injustices which have been addressed in the last 50 years, the legal changes PRECEDED social acceptance. Not to say that we've fully achieved social justice, but where would women and blacks be if we'd waited for social acceptance before proceeding with legal changes?
I see your point, Mike. Sure, polygamy reeks of sexism, but then again, so does religion, in general.
I don't see why polygamy should be illegal, frankly. The adults who buy into it should be free to do so, just as much as the people who buy into more "traditional" marriage. And, while I really can't understand where these people come from, I agree that the stigma against them is a tad overstretched and that we should maybe work on our tolerance and understanding.
Then again, some polyamorous people have been real dicks to me, and talk about me being "brainwashed", "conditioned", etc for liking my relationships monogamous. Ah, well. Perhaps tolerance and understanding should work, both ways.
(And yes, I understand the difference between polyamory and polygamy - but I'm sure some polyamorous people may be interested in marriage, as well!)
I don't think Daria misunderstood the proper meaning of "polygamy". She acknowledges polygyny and polyandry in her first paragraph.
Anyway, I think it was an insightful addition (but then again I'm a fan of social sciences in addition to physical ones - so perhaps that's a 'bias' on my part).
Her point is well taken though - looking at different cultures...polygyny is more prevalent than polyandry. Although the best way would be to test it, we would expect an outcome of polygyny to be more common than polyandry if polygamy was permitted. Such an outcome would in effect create a scarcity of eligible females for "less desirable" heterosexual males...with all the attendant effects Daria mentioned.
The hope I suppose would be that polgamy would be so rare that the imbalance doesn't create systemic problems. South Africa might be considered an imperfect example of this scenario.
oh for crying out loud, are you people even reading? there already IS a social experiment in multi-partnerships. It's called "polyamory" and there IS NO POLYGYNY PROBLEM.
What everyone here is doing is assuming A) polygyny and B) a binary, zero-sum system. When religion dictates the form, that's what you get.
But when you take religion out of the equation and just let people choose the partners they want, you do not get either polygyny, or polyandry. You get gender-neutral, no power-structure, no imbalance, no "scarcity of eligible females", blah blah blah.
When people get to choose partners based on love and personal preference, not because some old guy in the sky (or in the pulpit) chooses the "best" structure, women are not treated as resources, there is no "scarcity", and there is no "surplus of men".
Frankly, just as the religious wackaloons tell me far more about themselves when they claim that only god keeps us all from raping and murdering people, all you in this thread are displaying a frightening outlook on women and relationships.
And I have to say that, as a polyamorous person, I couldn't be more thankful that none of you are in my dating pool. Fortunately for me, the men, women, and trans people who prefer multiple partnerships do not view me as a "resource" to be "scarce" and all go out and start wars out of some bizarre fear of being "surplus" without an "eligible mate".
A. I have been working through the thread and have found many of your posts enlightening. However this is Page 1. Does it really make sense to berate people on Page 1 for not having read through to Page 12?
B. South Africa is an example of a country with some legal acceptance of polygamy. Polygamy proper, as in the simultaneous marriage of multiple adults. You are arguing from the position of a participant in the polyamory community. That makes your input highly valuable. However, an aspect of the topic is about the effects (if any) of state-sanctioned polygamy.
Does your experience include legal, state-sanctioned polygamy?
And if not, does it make sense for you to claim or imply your experience addresses the same set of concerns as my example?
C. That you are bothered by the concept of considering people as a resource says nothing to the usefulness of the concept. If you want a child you need two fertile people of opposite sex. For any individual fertile person who'd like a child, another fertile person of opposite sex is a necessary resource. Want to field a baseball team? Want to build a GPS satellite? Want to start a university? In every instance you need certain resources, and among those resources are people.
No, we don't tend to refer to each other that way in everyday conversation, but we don't refer to each other according to our chemical make-up either. In both cases the utility of recognizing those alternative methods of accounting for people (sociological or chemical) is not diminished by the fact that colloquial terms of reference differ.
[As as aside: I assume you don't work in HR? :D]
D. You don't seem too concerned with the possibility that polyamorous relations might work differently than your experience when practiced by a much larger population and the diversity of practice that will invariably bring.
D2. You are quite insistent with the notion that removing religion will result in the elimination of negative relationship dynamics. Consider your post above. You don't hedge at all, rather you suggest that it's some sort of straight forward operation: If you remove religion, you remove power imbalances.
The problem is...religion is not the sole cause of such events. Even if you were granted the unlikely event of a religion-free society, the idea that there would be no power-structure or imbalance anywhere in human romantic relations is doubtful. More likely would be a diversity of power-structures and imbalances, with varying degrees of fairness among the instances.
D3. Also, you haven't addressed the issue that the polyamorous community is not analogous to the 'monoamorous' society in which it is embedded in a critical way - the polyamorous community is a relatively small, voluntary association of people.
The voluntary nature of the polyamorous community means that anyone who finds themselves strongly disliking something about the community can simply opt-out of it.
Furthermore, like all other small voluntary groups, the community itself has the luxury of casting out people who do not properly integrate its values and practices. In effect, leaving the broader society to handle the person who didn't cooperate well.
General society has no such privilege. At least not by as simple a means.
And this is why I don't think it makes sense to unambiguously claim that the practices of the polyamorous community will scale up to the national level free of common problems - even with the utopian 'no religion' caveat attached. Once you move a set of social practices to the national scale you lose the ability to easily 'purify' your practice by removing those who do it wrong. Once a set of social behaviours becomes common human practice, it will be subject to common human errors.
E. I actually agree with you that polygamy should be legal like other marriage arrangements of consenting adults.
The problems it will have at the family level (various sorts of interpersonal abuse and so forth) are not unique to it. Additionally, the current system of benefits that are granted to married couples could be adapted to a polygamy-permitting society.
Still, the best way to find whether there would be unique positive or negative effects at the societal level would be to test it at a broad scale. Of course I previously suggested the best way would be to test it, but...
Thanks for any and all clarifications.