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?

Tags: marriage, polygamy

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And what's with giving tax breaks to people who choose to be married?

Two things:

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 see why polygamy should be illegal, frankly.


I haven't read the whole thread so I don't know if someone already said this. However, I read an article on polygamy from a sociological point of view and the writer made a few good points about the dangers of polygamy. The problem is that polygamy is incredibly lopsided. There are way more couplings where a man has multiple wives vs a polyandry where a woman as multiple husbands. This causes an imbalance in the social system where poor men are more likely to not get married.


The basis for this statement was that a woman may prefer to have 1/10 of a rich man rather than a poor man all to herself. That may like a crazy notion in the Western world where women have more financial autonomy and can marry for other reasons besides money. But in some cultures, a woman's ability to provide for herself is severely impacted by society and she must depend on her husband for her survival.


In these cultures, men with little to no chance of marriage are more easily recruited into gangs and other violent groups and may resort to illegal activities in order to gain the money and stature to attract a wife. This leads to social instability and increased crime overall. So restricting couplings to one person for one person would reduce the social impact of polygamy.


On the one hand, I can see that prohibiting polygamy does step on people's personal freedoms. On the other hand, if there are social consequences to polygamy is it really wrong to restrict the practice? After all, there is no law that says you can't have more than one lover etc. The law will only recognize your marriage to one person.

Actually, there are plenty of laws dealing with who, how many, and in what capacity, lovers are taken, including being married and having a lover. The government has *always* seemed to have an interest in who puts what bits where. In fact, one of the whole reasons the far right is opposed to gay marriage is because it "promotes homosexuality", as if you can't have gay sex outside of marriage.

Since you haven't read the whole thread, I'll repeat this part: You are mistaking "polygamy" for "polygyny". Polygamy is gender-neutral and does not prevent any one of any gender from having multiple spouses of any other gender (barring anti-same-sex-marriage laws).

I'm going to go back and read the whole thread before I reply to you.


Edit: Nevermind

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".




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