Saturday, May 27, 2006

Why is polygamy illegal?

I’ve been watching HBO’s latest series Big Love, which is about a polygamist Utah family. It’s an interesting and well-written show. The fear of the family getting discovered is a constant theme that hangs over the characters’ heads.

It got me to wondering why polygamy is illegal. If consenting adults decide they want to create such a family, why can’t they?

To me, it is similar to gay marriage. If gays get married, fine. What do I care? If a man wants multiple wives and the women agree to the situation, who am I to say no?

So why is polygamy illegal?


Blogger airforcewife said...

zak, dont' tell the Catholic Church, but I could give a flying fig if gays get married. In fact, I'd prefer if EVERYONE got a civil union through the gov't for it's purposes, and then went to their own church if they wanted to use the title "married" (although I don't think there should be added benefits for that). My own view of separation of church and state. My cousbians have a more stable relationship than a lot of straights I know, and they have a gorgeous son.

As to polygamy, though, name one culture with polygamy that values women and doesn't have an inherent element of female abuse and degradation. There isn't one, because it is human nature to devalue what we have a surplus of. In a relationship where the husband is enough of a master over the environment that he can go get another wife when one displeases him (but the wife is not allowed multiple husbands), she is little more than chattal.

There are some things which even I, with fairly libertine social politics, think should be regulated. I do not think that we should allow enclaves in the US where women are expected to be second class to men, and where (because this also tends to be the case in polygamist societies) female girls are married off at 12 or so to satisfy some old and powerful man's perverted sexual desires.

Big Love offers a very Hollywoodish view of polygamy, one which just doesn't stand up to the realities of the stories given by women who have escaped the various polygamist cultures.

12:30 PM  
Blogger semite1973 said...

I realize Big Love isn't how it really works. And I understand and agree with what you say about how it reduces women to chattel, in most cases. And I was very disturbed by the cult-like nature of the modern-day polygamists who have been in the news lately. But I still don't understand why consenting adults can't do it if they want. I think it's a terrible idea. Don't get me wrong.

7:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What about gay polygamy?


3:54 AM  
Blogger semite1973 said...


7:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your general comments about how women think and what women want and what men want and think - really go to the heart of the matter.

It is not your place or the place of anyone to make decisions for an individual, unless you really think you are the king.

It really dosen't matter if there are horrible examples either way. What really matters is that each and everyone of us has the right to make our own choice, on how to spend our life.

Stop propping up you argument with bad or good examples.
Your argument in support of women is really saying that these are your women. Think about that. They can make their own choices. Just like men. Good and Bad choices.

People need to support each others right to make a choice. If you or I have a problems with other peoples choices then, the most we should do is to make sure that we, teach the young how to think rationally and to be really know how to recognize fallacious thinking and arguments.

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