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?
Polygyny is more likely to occur than polyandry due to the imbalance of power between the genders. Polygyny will only contribute to the problem by lowering the status of women in general society--women as chattel, as harem girls, etc.
After women have elevated themselves and have gained equal legal status, financial parity, and social status to men, one would expect the gender make-up to be less skewed toward polygyny. At this point, polygamy would not be a significant threat to the well being of the women and children in such arrangements nor to women as a class.
While I agree we are no longer a culture entirely held hostage by Puritan sexual morals, we still have quite a bit of maturing to do before we can claim to have jettisoned all of their patriarchal values. Polygamy is not going to help the situation.
If the family consists of religious nuts, the women would be regarded as property and that is the same for tradition marriages.
We're not taking about cults or compound families, are we?
Women in a plural marriage are not automatically the submissive mate or mates.
They can be independent, work outside the home, and basically run the ship with the husband as the equal or submissive role.
Some women might find it better to have the other wives help with all the responsibilities of being a wife, mother and the list goes on and on...
Just because it's not for me, doesn't mean it's not for you.
To be able to have a choice is what it's all about
The governments should get off that latter and stop looking over my fence!
Bullshit. As @Robin said, women in plural marriages are not automatically submissive mates. You're talking about religiously-mandated polygyny. There is already a significant portion of the population engaging in egalitarian, consensual multi-partnerships and women are most certainly not chattel, harem girls, or have "lowered status".
In fact, the polyamorous movement is a female-driven movement. It is neither polygynous nor polyandrous. It is egalitarian, with individuals deciding how many partners they want, and of what gender, based on personal preference. An individual family may be made up of one man and several women, but there is no expectation that they *should* be that way, nor that anyone else should.
You are also assuming that one person, specifically the solo gender representative, will have relationships with each of the opposite gender partners, but no one will have a romantic relationship with anyone else. You do not take into account either sexual orientation, nor cross-partnering with members of all genders having multiple mates. This is far more common in polyamory than any polygyny or polyandry structure.
My concern is that the majority of the population is not as advanced in their understanding of gender relationships as people in the polyamorous community. I don't see the type of egalitarian relationships you describe happening outside of that group--instead I see men and women people conditioned in a patriarchal structure entering into inequitable relationships mirroring the power structures they already know.
If the majority of people in our culture were at the point of social evolution in which homosexual, bisexual, and heterosexual relationships were equally valued and men and women stood on equal grounds in society, I would wholeheartedly support expanding marriage to include polyamorous relationships. Until then, I think we would simply be creating a new forum for the suppression of women.
And lastly, I didn't mean to imply that women are chattel and harem girls but rather that seeing women in abusive polyamorous relationships would contribute to the impression of women as being of lowered status in the mind of the general public.
When people do not play nice in the poly community, they quickly find themselves without anyone to play with.
If someone is not "as advanced in their understanding of gender relationships as people in the polyamorous community", they don't find partners until they learn.
Besides that, even if polygamy were legal, the majority of people in our culture will not be polygamous anyway.
Also, there *are* no reported cases of women in abusive polyamorous relationships. Not that this never ever has happened, but it is so rare as to be completely off the radar and certainly has never been reported. Abuse is rampant, however, in patriarchal, religious polygyny. And the point that I've been making over and over again is that if you remove the religious edict that dictates polygyny, you remove the basis of the abuse. Abuse is *also* present in monogamy, yet no one has tried to criminalize *that* ... because it's not the "gamy" that makes it abusive, it's the sexism and the cover of religion that perpetrates it. Get rid of the religious protection, make it legal so that people can be held accountable, and you have no *more* problems than you do with monogamy ... and a fair bit fewer, since loving multi-partner relationships actually takes a LOT more work than monogamy, because of the communication involved.
"Polygyny will only contribute to the problem by lowering the status of women in general society--women as chattel, as harem girls, etc."
Whether legalizing polygamy would have an overall positive or negative benefit on how society views women is not relevant. The point is that individuals should be given free choice and should not be constrained by how their society might view this choice. If a group of women desire to marry a single man that is fine, regardless of whether it would appear to reduce their status, as long as it is their decision. This is also true if a group of men wish to marry a single woman. How the culture of the day might view this choice is unimportant.
There was no "Blanket", I said some women...
That was my point, that not all women in any marriage are in that stereotypical role.
I know about polyamory. But it's partly the traditional perception of polygamy that still exists in religious cults that prevents its acceptance. Especially when a man says he has relationships on the side. But just have certain perceptions about that stuff. Maybe less so in the case of polyandry.
And I think you'd need some kind of protection for the wives of the religious nutcases. So that the improvements for truly polyamorous and egalitarian relationships doesn't come at the cost of sanctioning the abuse that happens in patriarchal households. Abused that's largely mentally, so not really protected under the law, which rather covers physical abuse.
If the US weren't so ridiculously religious that wouldn't be a problem, but unfortunately that kind of stuff still exists - and more often than people may think.
>"Many women are just as powerless in monogamous one man/one woman marriages."
Psychologically yes, certainly. But not legally.