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?
Polygamy as a theory is a fine idea - but the reality is not the same.
Sexual harassment laws are much more idiotic than polygamy laws in my humble opinion, and should definately be retired as it's just people taking offense at other people ogling them. Of course, females sexually harass as much as men, and therefore whatever real-world negative implications are equally split between the genders, right..? ;)
I'm going to go out on a limb here with some observations which might upset. I don't (necessarily) agree with these observations, But I believe they're points that should be considered and haven't been up to this point.
There's been a lot of talk about creating imbalance. And further, that women are just as likely to form relationships with more than one partner as men.
To the latter point I say, "no, I don't think so". In the words of an old friend of mine, "Anthropologically speaking, it's a woman's job to select the "best" possible mate - it's a man's job to spread his seed as far and wide as possible." This might point to polygyny being a more "natural" state than polyandry. (Again, I don't want to imply that what is perceived to be "natural" is necessarily socially acceptable in our society.
As to the former point. Daria spoke only of money. I don't believe this to be THE driving force for selecting a mate - or even the major one. If a man is handsome, intelligent, strong and powerful, gentle, funny (this guy's got everything), and is, therefore able to attract 10 women who are willing to share him, while nine other ("lesser") men must do without, this strikes me as, again, a perfectly "natural" situation. This, of course creates problems. But isn't it also true that natural selection has been turned upside-down over the last hundred years with lower "classes" reproducing at 10 times the rate of the upper classes?
Please don't jump on me too hard. I'm just putting these ideas out there so that IIIiii may learn. Teach me.
You are clearly not listening.
"Anthropologically speaking, it's a woman's job to select the "best" possible mate - it's a man's job to spread his seed as far and wide as possible."
Bullshit. That's not "anthropology", that's evo-psych, which is a flawed course of study at best.
How many times do I have to say THIS DOES NOT HAPPEN? The problem that you and everyone else here seems to have is that you keep forgetting that it is religious, patriarchal, dogmatic institutions that prescript polygyny. When women and men (and other genders) are given equal power to make their own choices based on love and sexual orientation, we do not have polygyny, we do not have "surplus men", we do not have "limited females", we do not have any of these problems. And if another fucking man tells me what my "job" is as a woman, I'm going to stop being so fucking polite.
There is already a community of tens of thousands of people right here in the US that you all seem insistent on ignoring. Women are the ones writing the books, women are the ones driving the research, women are the ones talking their male partners into opening up the relationship, women are the ones taking multiple partners. We simply do not have single men with 10 wives, leaving 9 "lesser" men without mates. And your depiction of a society that only doesn't do that because we have laws to prevent it is about as frightening as those fundies who insist that we only don't rape and murder because we have a commandment from god not to.
I have 4 male partners. One of those male partners has 5 female partners, including me. One of those female partners has 5 partners, some male, some female. One of my other male partners has 4 female partners, including me. Two of those female partners are dating each other. One of those female partners has only 2 male partners, and the other one is dating the female partner of my male partner. And that other male partner is one of my 4.
You can clearly see that when women and men are given equal freedom and equal power in a relationship, it does not result in a single man with 10 women all competing for the "best". It results in each individual having as many partners as he or she has time and energy for, and of whatever gender each individual prefers. My network is actually more than 50 people, I only listed 6 of them. Besides my own personal network, I am also a community organizer, and have access to the numbers of members of local groups around the world. I'm sorry, but my sample population size is far more representative of what *actually* happens in an egalitarian society than your "my friend once told me" anecdote. I can also tell you preliminary demographics of this group, such as average age & religious affiliation (majority atheists, btw), as well as gender.
The problem is not how many people are in the relationship. The problem is creepy old men who hear voices and who use translations of translations of books to justify asserting and maintaining their privilege. Get rid of the religious edicts and you get rid of the problem. As we have demonstrated, and have been demonstrating, for decades now.
The people in this thread are so busy patting themselves on the back for remembering some vague, culturally-biased assertion from a college anthropology class that you're not listening to the people here who have actual, real-life experience with an actual, existing, non-patriarchal, non-religiously-based society. It's a lot like when theists smugly proclaim that all atheists are angry, or nihilistic, or miserable, or fat, or secretly Muslim, while the atheists jump up and down shouting "No I'm not! If you want to know what an atheist thinks and feels, just ask me!"
So rather than a bunch of privileged monogamists sitting around debating whether or not to continue to criminalize an entire population of people based on stereotypes, assumptions, and half-assed memories of some college class or article they read online, instead, listen to the people who are actually living this way tell you what it's like to live this way.
"I'm just putting these ideas out there"
Yeah, and "teach the controversy" is a legitimate lesson in science class. Your points, and those of everyone else, have been contradicted, repeatedly, by those of us actually living in these communities that none of you even knew existed until we jumped in here. I'm happy to teach those willing to learn. But when the lesson has been spelled out, repeatedly, and the response is to doggedly ignore it, or to make proclamations instead of ask questions, I can only conclude you people are not willing to learn. Ignorance may request "don't jump on me too hard". Willful ignorance does not deserve it.
Shall we see how many of these points have been made in this forum?
See, while you're talking in theory - and theory mainly based on crackpot studies in misogynist cultures, we're talking in practice. The fact of the polyamory movement being female driven in not anecdotal, it's empirical. The comments that you are claiming translate to 'this works for me and my friends' really state 'of a large number of self-identified polyamorous people, amongst whom Joreth is a well-connected community leader, the *majority* of people pushing for acceptance of responsible, equal non-monogamy are female'. This is not an anecdotal statement - why? Because we're talking percentages, not individual stories. If you can measure it in numbers it's not a fricking anecdote, okay?
However, the statement you made was a generic one, of the type 'all As are Bs', and in fact it only takes one example to disprove such a statement. So the single data point that Joreth provides ought damn well to be enough.
Anthropology is the study of communities. We're telling you there is a large existing community of polyamorous people who do *not* have gender imbalance issues within the community. There is no shortage of women, and nor is there a shortage of men. Within the community of polyamorous people there is a roughly equal gender balance. Women clearly *are*, when given the option, just as likely to choose multi-partner relationships as men.
There is a growing community of women, both in the US, and the UK, who have been given (in actual fact, demanded) the option of having multiple partnerships, and they take it. There's your anthropology data right there, where you keep ignoring it.
A more interesting question might be whether women are more often drawn to a particular *kind* of multi-partner relationship than men are. I note that whilst the polyamory movement is strongly female-led, other forms of non-monogamy such as swinging may be less so. If you really can't resist the evo-psych nonsense, have a crack at that one.
There's a Church in Texas who's looking for women to join them for polygamy - must be under 18 and virgin to join.
Here's an operational mathematics question for you: Create a balanced system with cooperating nodes A and B, where these are in equal ratio, with single A and multible B or single B and multiple A connections, without the presumption that A and B has the same preference in multiple vs dual connections.
Thanks. I'm definitely a fan of gender balance. BTW, I don't "keep" doing anything regarding this thread. When it started getting heated, I backed out for 12 pages or so.
What my friend said about gender roles SEEMED reasonable. Reminds me of our recent earthquake predictions, which this publicity seeker whom the press nicknamed Mr. Moon, said he could make. The theory was that the proximity and phase of the moon were sufficient to trigger earthquakes. His theory was that if these gravitational forces are enough to virtually lift up the ocean, surely they could give the tectonic plates enough of a kick to push them over the edge. Seems quite reasonable. The unfortunate fact is that studies have been done starting a hundred years ago. It seems there is NO direct statistical correlation between lunar phases and proximity and major earthquakes. Great! Done deal, as far as I'm concerned.
Further I'm perfectly happy to learn your "findings".
Because we're talking percentages, not individual stories. If you can measure it in numbers it's not a fricking anecdote, okay?
Okay! And the numbers are...? :-)
Isn't forming an hypothesis the first step of the scientific method? Do you really think that proffering such hypotheses for the expressed purpose of learning warrants attacks such as "crackpot" and "nonsense"? Why do you believe that presenting facts which contradict an hypothesis must be accompanied by such loss of composure?
I don't think polygamy by nature is any more evil than monogamous, male/female marriages. It's the people in the relationships that make them good or evil.
One statement that almost always gets me in trouble on forums is saying that the abuses that exist in polygamist relationships also occur in monogamous, male/female ones, and shear numbers-wise, much much more in "traditional" marriages and households.
Okay, sure we don't have the instance of child brides; but molestation, emotional abuse, and physical abuse all happen in "traditional" marriages. But for some reason nobody is saying "traditional" marriages need to be banned. Nobody blames these evils on the relationship structure as they do with plural relationships.
So whether a relationship works or not is not dependent on it's configuration, it's depended on he quality of the people involved in it.
I agree with Lucius. I think relationships are about contracts. If you agree that a relationship is polygamous with your partner at the start, then it is fine. however, it isn't cool to say you are going to have one type of relationship then either break the rules or get bent out of shape when your partner sleeps with another person when the rules say they can.
I don't think relationships are one size fits all, but I do think that both people should know what the rules are and both should agree to the rules at the start.
Very good post. I have often stated that the 'marriage' contract should not be 'for' two adults. IMO contracts' only purpose are the ones you stated... care of children and division of goods. Love and sexual choices should not be subject to any contract whatsoever and people who get hitched, just so they can have a piece of paper to hold them together... blah.
Also agreed that there should be zero tax incentives to marriage or procreation. There are plenty of humans on the planet, we don't need tax payers' money subsidising more of us.
As for 'collecting wives'... men do that outside polygyny anyway. If we include the act of reproduction in the definition of 'wife collecting', I'd really like to see a stat on the percentage of men who's offspring (at least those they know of) are with different momas... I know several men who've procreated with at least three. A similar stat to see how many male genitors women have procreated with would of course also be interesting.
Of course the male stats will be biased to the lower end since a great many babies are born to 'unknown' fathers. Also, such stats would need to ensure that babies are assigned numerically to their biological parents, not their adoptive parents, to ensure unicity.
I see two principal differences between polygyny and 1M-1F marriages:
1-Caring for previous relationships. Our one-on-one system allows males to be gone, and leave previous wife and offspring dangled.
2-Physical/mental abuse. This is often mentioned, and we know it is present in polygynist clans. However, IMO the mistreatment of various family members is due to the very nature of them operating outside the law (in the same vein as alcohol and drug prohibitions being the root cause of violence, not the consumption of the product itself).
Some people bring up 'the poor males who won't get a mate' statistically. I don't buy that. Not all humans need to mate/breed, we don't all want to, and certainly we should not all of us breed. Social codes insisting that each male get his assigned female is a modern human construct meant to ensure patriarchal rule.
I doubt anyone would do it but marry who you like, whether you are man or woman, a bisexual person could have a husband and a wife, i see nothing wrong with thst as long as everyone consents to their spouse getting married to someone else as well. as regards to tax breaks i don't see why they should exist anyway.