16 April 2009

A Single Poly Question

a question a day keeps the doctor away

This one's gonna be brief. I really have just a single question.

Why is polygamy illegal?

If a man married to one wife has multiple affairs a court will order him to pay support to any children he fathers.

Nobody is ever prosecuted for philandering. The worst that could happen is he'd lose a custody hearing should they divorce.

But if he is willing to volunteer support, if the mistresses want to live near him, and if nobody is underage, what's the problem?

Let me reiterate that underage marriage is obviously wrong and should be prosecuted. Based on that big raid last year it seems that underage marriage isn't a frequent issue.*

Does anyone know why polygamy is illegal?

*Besides, I want to discuss polygamy as a concept as opposed to a particular groups use of it.


good video


Scot said...

A woman's studies prof. once told me it was because it is so tied to inhumane treatment of women. It turns out, while a lot of men like to spread their seed, most men and women prefer to be the only person sleeping with their spouse(s :-)), and, to get them to change their mind, they often have to be coerced in some way. Didn't Emma Smith even have to be threatened with divine "destruction" in the D&C to get her to agree, or am I misremembering?

There are, though, other considerations that make polygamy a legal nightmare and that causes another point of resistance; I went on about those here.

Anyway, I think the best argument for legal polygamy (and a reason I would support it) would be the legal power it'd give the women who are coerced into it. Right now most of the women have only limited legal power in their home through their children; it's a different story for the man when his 2nd through 5th wife can all take him to divorce court and make a claim on his future earnings.

playasinmar said...

Clearly, polygamy wouldn't be right for every woman but neither is "traditional" marriage.

These communities become insular, inbred, and coercive.

If it wasn't illegal and if men actually had to court from the general population...

...what would be the harm?

Again, I don't really want to talk about Zion's Ranch or whichever flavor-of-the-month colony is out there being weird.

What would be the problem if men and women could opt-in to these relationships?

MoHoHawaii said...

I assume you mean to include polyandry as well as polygyny. Funny how nobody ever talks about the case of multiple husbands....

This asymmetry lends credence to the idea that polygamy is generally abusive.

Scot said...

"If it wasn't illegal and if men actually had to court from the general population...

...what would be the harm?"

To the general public or the polygamist? :-)

I think that's the problem. It seems to me the insulation from the general public and the lack of legal recourse for all but one woman in the home often works in polygamy's favor; it makes polygamy larger than it would otherwise be. The general population, in great majority, doesn't want their partner having sex or deep coupling relationships with another person--they feel split affection risks too much emotionally and practically for themselves and their children. But those in the general population who wouldn't object, without coercion, are generally not the type that the conservative patriarch is looking for. The polyamorous generally think what's good for the gander is good for the geese.

Still, let them court in the general public and they may find the exceptions, but, without threatening with and convincing a woman about eternal rewards or damnation, they have slim odds... I'd think about as much chance with the average woman as the LDS church would have with the average gay man if they told him he could still have all the supernatural rewards in a same-sex relationship but asked him to just give heterosexuality a shot, just for the heck of it :-).