Polygamy is on trial in Canada, where one of the issues is what justifies anti-polygamy laws infringing on the choices of consenting adults. Advocates of the status quo say polygamy hurts society by creating more unmarried men, who are unhappy and violent, and by making men compete more fiercely for women’s admiration:
In Canada the British Columbia Attorney General thinks women should be except from anti polygamy laws and that only partiarchical polygamy should be illegal. Hows that for overcoming bias? Whats good for the gander is not good for the goose?
When a guy proposes marriage to you nowadays, that means he's proposing an exclusive relationship. If polygamy was legalised, what is he proposing? Yes, people often cheat on their spouses, and I've read some accounts by men that they were standing at the alter, exchanging vows, and even right then thinking about which woman in the congregation they'd next sleep with, but at least it is socially agreed that the cheaters are violating their word. If a guy proposes marriage when polygamy is okay, what is he really proposing?
It strikes me that there's a fundamental difference between a relationship that's intended and understood as being exclusive, and one that lacks that understanding. In my experience, my husband's first commitment is to me, and vice-versa. If I had another wife, and the two of us both needed him as badly, who would he help first? Obviously if we have kids that would change, but the parent-child relationship is different in nature again to the spousal one (and I note that stepparents often find their spouse's fundamental loyalty to the children a source of conflict).
A polygamous marriage doesn't have the same meaning as a monogamous marriage, and I think it's a shame that we apply the same word to both setups. Same-sex marriage doesn't change the meaning of marriage the same way, because obviously two men or two women can be committed to each other first in a way that three people can't be.
Please switch genders around as desired.
This says lesbians are more common than gays.
Concerning the laws they do sound outrageous! They aren't very congruent with our "official" positions on sexual choice.
BTW I don't get why fringe Mormons don't just have a religious ceremony performed? Or if they must use contracts to cover as much of the same legal ground as marriage does.
Brainwashing is for the most part defined as raising someone in any culture we sufficiently dislike.
Incest. Why do we forbid cousins from marrying considering the rate of birth defects by their kids is about as high as old (40s) women?
I think part of the issue is that reproductive marriage, means at least for women putting some of their eggs in the same basket as the man. A well functioning married couple is a strong form of organization (albeit temporary, especially the well functioning bit).
Also, group competition comes into play I think. If we let them marry more than one women they go after OUR women and WE can't let THOSE guys have them.
The sexual marketplace exists. One needs not be a economist to find the terms you single out appropriate, I use the all the time to describe such dynamics.
Spread of diseases was a greather threat than violence on the battle field for civilizations with primitive medicine. Why should not the same be true of live in the city or village?
In some hunter gatherer societies homicide is quite likley to be the no. 1 cause of male death. Perhaps some of those societies are more consistent in their treatment of homosexuality as a sexual release valve.
Not all of the questions about multiple partners are about marriages and legal recognition to begin with. Polyamory is a cultural movement that focuses on ideas about love, sex, relationships, and the rest, and not a lobby for any kind of changes to the marriage laws. Maybe that would change if polyamory ever becomes a movement as strong as gay rights. For now, though, it mainly seeks to observe that the unquestioned status quo is for both romantic partners to demand complete sexual exclusivity, and to further suggest that maybe they would be happier if they allowed each other to date other people (needless to say, this is an oversimplification).
Bigamy laws exist, of course, but probably most polyamorists are content to have relationships without legal recognition of these marriages. (And when I say "most polyamorists," I of course mean the free-love philosophy, not Mormon-style polygynists.) And my impression was that at the time the laws were written, the lawmakers were worried about a man who would have two wives and fraudulently let each of them think they're the only one. It's not clear whether legal marriage is a useful or neccessary means, in the present-day society, to men's age-old end of impregnating as many women as possible, but there you have it.
In fact, I looked up "bigamy" on Wikipedia, and I found it was worse than that. The United States law distinguishes between bigamy for deceptive purposes like helping someone immigrate to the US, and plural marriages that are for the purpose of openly practicing polygamy or polyamory. And the latter (named the offense of polygamy rather than bigamy) is the worse offense, a felony rather than a misdemeanor. In other words, the law has made multiple marriages a worse offense if the polygamist is openly practicing a certain sexual philosophy, rather than just trying to deceive someone. In other words, this legal distinction is just as much a thoughtcrime as the much-criticized legal distinction between "racially motivated hate crimes" and violent attacks perpetrated for any other motive. Quite an outrage, really.
All the conversations about banning polygamy, and the more common conversations about same-sex marriage, seem to try to set the debate as if the only options (other than not having or mentioning an opinion) are "It should be banned" or "the government should recognize it". But another alternative, that the government should let people do whatever they want in terms of these relationships, but not necessarily recognize them and give them benefits, is also possible. (As is the variant that the government shouldn't be in the marriage business at all).
If someone says "the government should not recognize this relationship as a marriage and give it support and benefits", that doesn't mean your saying it should be banned.
The difference between the "ban" on same sex marriage, and the occasionally real ban on polygamy, is not small. Fining, or jailing, people for doing something is a real ban. Not formally recognizing it isn't.
(Accepting this point doesn't mean you have to be against formal recognition)
They also argue for prostitution
Men don't just want to have sex with women, they also frequently want to prevent other men from having sex with her. Men want exclusive access. Prostitution thus is an inferior substitute. It doesn't solve the problem.
Brett, I don’t see why all wives can’t have the same legal rights.
As I pointed out, a number of the rights lead to legal conflict. For example, what if one wife wants to pull the plug, but the second wife doesn't? Who prevails?
Females will never freely grant equal sexual access to males. I don't see how polyamoury deals with the female desire to aquire the highest quality genetic material. I also just don't see how polyamory deals with the incentives for males to grab more than his share. The history of American utopian sexual communities is that they frequently dissolve because the top men are getting most of the sex. Polyamorous groups thus will tend to cluster around a small group of more attractive men and thus do nothing to solve the inequality problem.
Incidently, Africa has something like a polyamorous culture, where men are very careful not to surprise their wives at home, as they might be entertaining their lovers. Unfortunately, paternity uncertainty provides some serious disincentives for investing in children and society in general. Women in Africa do 80% of the work and the men mostly just sit around drinking and/or pursuing sex.
I agree. There seems to be a mindset among both the general public and OB posters that monogamy and polygyny are by far the most important systems to consider. They are quite correct that there are alpha males who would like to roll us back to the days of polygyny. But there is only a moderate degree of grounding for their fear that if women had still more freedom, they would use it to go along with the alphas, and set up what amounts to a polygynous system with them. Never mind that most of the historical polygynists, from ancient despots to gorillas to elephant seals, have maintained their systems by force, force directed against the females just as much as against the beta males. It would be unfair to talk as if they ignored the philosophy of true polyamory, which of course predicts and desires a very different outcome.
The poster Thursday is a good example. I can guess what some of his reasons are for thinking that polyandry/polyamory is something that holds little interest for women or men; but how right is he? Consider that our closest relatives, the female chimp and bonobo, surround themselves with a gang of mutually promiscuous stepfathers. And the advantages are obvious: If a woman might enjoy having a gang of men who share her love, and no man would have to stay single as long as some women are forming such a group, then why wouldn't the men and women be able to see the advantages of such a situation? While others would indeed choose monogamy or one-alpha-male harems--and we can certainly hope that everyone's chosen arrangements will work out for the best. It's true that free love systems often falter because of jealousy and parenting problems--but then, monogamy and polygyny also suffer from those problems. Anyone can see that men and women both chafe under the requirements for exclusivity, so we should be able to see the advantages of a system that doesn't impose them on either men or women.
I am disappointed by how everyone seems to be assuming polygyny (even when they use the word polygamy) or polyandry. Why not both? Allow a person to be married to as many people of any gender they wish, as long as no one they are presently married to objects to the new marriage. You can find quite a lot of people pursuing these kinds of relationships in the polyamory movement, although usually avoiding the marriage aspect, due to legal reasons.
I think part of the problem is that we don't have a good handle on what people's natural preferences are, without the influence of culture. If people were truly free to pick whatever relationship style they wanted, and were aware of this growing up, what percentage would pick monogamy vs. some version of multiple partners? What percentages would pick heterosexuality, bisexuality, or homosexuality? Without having some idea what these percentages truly are, it is hard to determine whether monogamy is increasing equality or not. It's certainly plausible that when men are privileged over women, that monogamy improves equality over polygyny, while also being true that if men and women are equal, egalitarian multiple-marriage would be even better.
So if marriage, specifically, is beneficial (as opposed to sex, generally) it sounds like gays do not contribute to the solution.