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 is legal in a number of countries and it is strongly interrelated with the general gender roles in the MENA region - especially the male misogyny. (France is an example of the antonym - male philogyny.)
If banning polygamy is an attack on basic human rights and deprive countless people of a harmless part of their human nature, I would advise them to seek political asylum in Saudi Arabia (but only if you are a man). They have a number of, both factual and ironically meant, lovely family values such as that.
Yet I don't see polygamists emigrating in droves, which makes me doubt it's particularly important to them as they seem to prefer complaining on the internet instead of actually solving their dilemma.
Monogamy is a trait that arose out of a evolutionary process? I really hope you're borrowing some terms from biology to reference something you mean in sociology. Otherwise I think you're in troubled territory. Numerous animals, including humans, demonstrate both traits; establishing stable child rearing environments and polygamy. Being a good parent is a totally separate trait from being a advantageous breeding partner. There are plenty of humans and other animals that set up housekeeping with one individual, but choose to breed with another.
"monogamy is a social construct, not biological."
It's not a dichotomy. Institutionalized monogamy is a social construct created to provide the best possible conditions for rearing productive members of society in a socially and behaviorally optimal
How many great modern humans have been the result of an upbringing in a polygamist relationship vs how many ungreat ones? Just because western cultural morals are restrictive on the issue does not immediately prove them wrong.
How many great modern humans have been the result of an upbringing in a polygamist relationship vs how many ungreat ones?
You're asking for data on a segment of society that's been pushed underground and criminalized. That's like asking how many great modern humans were brought up by gay people during the period while we were still jailing people for being homosexual. Sure, we may happen to be able to name one or two by luck alone, but the statistics are never going to be reliable. And I think you know it, too.
Nice passive-aggressive arguing style though. "I'm going to ask for data that is impossible because of the legal structure of my country (a legal structure based on a historically religious reasoning, and nothing to do with biology whatsoever), and when you can't produce it I will claim this supports my otherwise untenable argument". (Not to mention the lack of definition for 'greatness' - a beautifully weaselled word that can be defined by you to mean anything that happens to suit your pre-ordained conclusion)
Lack of proof is not proof of lack.
Monogamy is extremely rare in nature. They are very few animals that form life-long bonds. And some recent studies suggest that even in those cases, the partners will sleep around.
It's in a species best interest to spread genetic traits around. Monogamy runs counter to that. The compromise would be serial monogamy where pairs have children and stay together some time to raise them, then move on to have children with another partner. That's what most humans do.
Actually, historically speaking, a "stable set of parents" has never been the preferred household to raise children, nor has it ever been "better" for children. Historically, households had dozens of children because of the high infant mortality rate, and they also had more than 2 adults, because 2 adults cannot possibly maintain a household of dozens of children. Households usually had the parents, the grandparents, and even aunts and uncles.
Going back further, we were not segregated into "households", children were effectively raised by a communal effort. It wasn't until the Industrial Revolution that sent individuals out on their own into large cities that the "family" got knocked down to just two parents and a handful of kids. The fewer adults there are to contribute to the household, the worse off everyone is, with stress, financial difficulties, and care and attention to give to children.
Even within monogamous families, parents find other adults to help with the childcare, from daycare to babysitting grandparents to the public school system. There are absolutely no studies and no evidence to suggest that children being raised by multiple adults is harmful and plenty to show that it is beneficial. What being raised in a polyamorous household teaches children is that there is an abundance of love, that they have multiple adults they can count on, and effective communication and conflict resolution skills that are mandatory to maintain functional poly relationships.
What, exactly, do you think is being "demonstrated in front of children" other than communication and affection? And how is communication and affection being demonstrated in front of children harmful?
Seriously? What advantages are there. I'll just list a few. I shouldn't really assume this is for the whole world, as there are plenty of other models out there, but for the U.S. Healthcare is shared for incorporated families. Assets and custody and power of attorney are streamlined in married couples. Financially, partners can pool their income for greater purchasing power, whereas roommates can't.
I think your argument is a "baby with the bathwater" scenario. Sure, some people are feeling discriminated by not being able to marry. The solution isn't to deny everyone. So your solution is to abuse, discriminate and neglect everyone? The easy solution is to not discriminate against certain groups.
We have a healthcare problem in the U.S. right now. Would your solution be to burn the hospitals, and hang the doctors? There. Now no-one gets healthcare. Problem solved. Apparently that's the solution you have for discriminating partnership laws too? And just for the record, People can get married, and do, without the without government's involvement. They just don't get any of the benefits. So I don't actually see the state "policing", but they don't hand out the benefits to any couple that ask. That's the problem and it isn't just "drama".
Tax breaks were instigated to establish marriage as the primary live-in and child raising relationship.
Married couples have dramatically lower domestic violence rates than non-married live-ins and are less likely to become the victims of crimes or accidents (i.e. are more conscious of their safety, possibly because of the husband/wife they would leave behind). Children of married couples get better grades in school, are more likely to go to college, spend less time unemployed in adulthood, are much less likely to commit crimes (especially violent felonies), become pregnant in their teens, etc. than children raised by single parents or non-married couples.
The tax breaks only seem strange in a modern context because people are marrying for less traditional reasons than they used to, and often delay having, or have less or no children, a big part of what marriage was about in the earlier part of U.S. (and world) history.