Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Ten Reasons Why Polygamy Should Be Illegal

  1. In all polygamous cultures on the planet, women have extremely low status. All must obey their husbands, fathers, or brothers at all times. All are poor with few or no rights. In many, the women are virtual prisoners of their family compounds. Almost none get to choose who they marry, and many are married against their will to much older men. Moreover, the religions in these cultures assign women very low status, which teaches women not to expect more out of life for themselves. Thus, despite the polygamists' arguments, polygamy is not about rights: it's about the power over and control of one group by another.
  2. Polygamy is almost never polyandry. It's not about women's freedom to choose who they marry or how many spouses they have: it's about women being owned by men.
  3. Polygamy skews the natural ratio of marriageable men and women. If one man can take 20 women as spouses, then 19 men must do without spouses entirely. For this reason, polygamous cultures have to deal with the problem of excess males, either through wars and conflicts or through ostracization. This skewing of the natural ratio would create conflict in Canada.
  4. Most North American "families" in polygamous situations are on welfare or food stamps. The men in these "families" cannot financially support all the women and children, and the women are generally not permitted the freedom to choose a career and work outside the family compound. This shows that in a modern society, polygamous marriages are neither healthy nor stable institutions.
  5. The media has shown some polygamous women claiming that they are happy in their multiple marriages. But these statements have to be viewed carefully. According to the religion of these cultures, women are only permitted into heaven by permission of their "husband." In addition, if these women make a statement that could be construed as anti-polygamy, the leadership of the religious community will take away their children. Thus, women in these cultures are afraid to reveal their true thoughts and feelings or to jeopardize their fragile status. Meanwhile, many women who have left these polygamous cults describe the complete subjugation they had to endure. For this reason, the statements of polygamous women cannot be taken at face value.
  6. Legal polygamy would turn immigration into a nightmare. An immigrant can claim to be wed to half a nation of women and demand that all these women be brought to Canada. Polygamists can arrive at the border and demand refugee status because of persecution. Sorting out these claims would be impossible, since most nations refuse to give legal status to such marriages.
  7. Legalized polygamy would reduce women's rights. Polygamous cults from all over the world would start immigrating to Canada to take advantage of a right to live this lifestyle. Once they take citizenship, they would be able to vote for the values they believe in – low status for women. Moreover, they would raise their enormous families of children to believe these same values, which would further add to the anti-women voting pool. In a short period of time, 200 years of struggle for women's rights would vanish.
  8. The issue of same-sex marriage is not at all in the same category as polygamous marriage. First, same-sex marriage is still a partnership and relationship of two people, most often with the objective of starting a family. Second, nonheterosexuality is a biological state, not a choice. In contrast, nobody is born a polygamist. Thus, polygamy is not a rights situation in the same sense that nonheterosexual marriage recognition is a rights situation. Third, same-sex marriage does not affect anyone except the two people involved; whereas polygamous marriage affects all of society because of its impact on women's status in Canada.
  9. In Canada, marriage is a partnership and a relationship. Polygamy turns marriage into a cattle drive.
  10. Canada should be prepared to protect the lifestyle choices of those who have sexual-family forms that are not marriages. A multiple sexual partners lifestyle is not and should never be illegal in Canada. In addition, having children with multiple partners or sharing one father for several women's children should never be illegal either. These are lifestyle choices. However, Canada has the right and the responsibility to recognize only one spouse as a legal spouse and refuse to recognize all others. In other words, Canada cannot prevent polygamists from doing what they do, but they can refuse to grant it any legal status.


Re #1: Define "polygamous culture." Does the polyamorous community in the western world count? If so, your statement is incorrect. If not, why not?

Re #2: How do you know this? Do you have citations, or is it an assumption? If you do have citations, I'd be interested again to know what forms of multiple partnerships you're including and what forms you're excluding.

Re #3: An assumption based on the assumed veracity of #2, which you haven't sufficiently supported.

Re #4: See what I said for #2.

Re #5: Agreed.

Re #6: You may have a point.

Re #7: See what I said for #3.

Re #8: Agreed.

Re #9: See what I said for #2.

Re #10: Blatantly incorrect. A multiple sexual partners lifestyle *is* currently illegal in Canada if the people all live together. Just because the law isn't enforced doesn't mean it doesn't exist--and for that matter, people wouldn't be talking about the possible decriminalization of polygamy if it weren't a criminal act. I'm not sure here if you're arguing in favour of keeping polygamy *illegal*, or against legalizing polygamous marriages. Those are two very different hings.

Just to be clear: I'm not arguing in favour of people being allowed to marry multiple people. Fighting for legal marriage rights for *any* discriminated minority is never going to be paramount in my mind, so I haven't spent a lot of time considering the repercussions of it. But I do think you haven't thought this through nearly well enough.
Backing up what I said in Re #10 with quotes from the Criminal Code of Canada:

293. (1) Every one who

(a) practises or enters into or in any manner agrees or consents to practise or enter into

(i) any form of polygamy, or

(ii) any kind of conjugal union with more than one person at the same time,

whether or not it is by law recognized as a binding form of marriage,


(b) celebrates, assists or is a party to a rite, ceremony, contract or consent that purports to sanction a relationship mentioned in subparagraph (a)(i) or (ii),

is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years.

293(2) Evidence in case of polygamy

(2) Where an accused is charged with an offence under this section, no averment or proof of the method by which the alleged relationship was entered into, agreed to or consented to is necessary in the indictment or on the trial of the accused, nor is it necessary on the trial to prove that the persons who are alleged to have entered into the relationship had or intended to have sexual intercourse.
The idea is kinda fun to play with. Right now I'm thinking about the Morman sects in Canada. If we recognized polygamy then women who leave the sect would be entitled to a percentage of the property and financial support. That in itself would be a strong disincentive to have multiple spouses. A 50% divorce rate means that with two spouses there is a 100% divorse probability ... more than two, sheesh! And the child custody issues ... some fun there, too.
A 50% divorce rate means that with two spouses there is a 100% divorse probability ...
Herbinator, I hope you were just kidding with this comment. But to clarify for non mathy readers, the probability of divorce with two partners becomes 75% not 100%. (ie. probability of no divorce is .5 x .5 = .25, and the probability of divorce = 1-.75 =.25
probability of divorce = 1-.75 =.25
Oops, I should have said probability of divorce = 1-.25 = .75
I find your point that legalizing polygamous marriage will "screw up immigration" rather strange. Because on the other points you seem to be making arguments on behalf of women.* However, I've always seen immigration as one of the most compelling arguments in favour of recognizing polygamy. Take, f'rinstance, a man with 4 wifes in a conservative Muslim country who comes to Canada as a refugee by himself. His family is in hiding in his country of origin. When he tries to re-unite his family he is now forced to choose 1 legal wife to come to Canada with him. He must divorce the other 3. Those 3 wifes and all their children are forced to stay behind in said conservative Muslim country where the opportunities for them to adequately provide for their children and their status as divorced women are - I think you'd agree - not exactly favourable. I don't understand how anyone concerned with human rights can defend that, honestly.

*I don't totally agree with those points either, but I'm less certain of why so I'll stick to what I am certain about for now.
I'm mostly thinking on point #8 here.

While I agree the questions of same-sex marriage and multiple-partner marriage (which is what I'm assuming you mean by polygamy) are different, I think the underlying assumptions that mean either should be illegal are rather similar. That is, the assumption that a relationship/partnership between two people is somehow essentially right or normal while a partnership with more than two people is not so right. I don't like the assumption that anything which is (in its essence) harmless is not right or not normal.

You argue that polygamy is not harmless. However I think it's important to separate the question of polygamy from the question of women's rights purely because it can be. It is not essential that a polygamous relationship abuse women. The question of the rights of women in particular religions or particular relationships is a different one. But in my opinion I don't protect the rights of women by making it illegal for them to be in a particular relationship. I do protect it by arguing that treatment of women as second class, as submissive, as property, is essentially bad and should be avoided in all relationships, monogamous or not.

I would question whether same-sex marriage is "most often with the objective of starting a family". But I don't know any statistics on that.

More importantly (to me) I would question whether it is proven that "nonheterosexuality is a biological state". I'm gay and I figure it's partly my personality, partly my experience, and possibly partly biology that makes me primarily attracted to women and essentially preferring relationships with women. I could choose to stick with men. Men are fine. But I choose women because I prefer it. It feels like a matter of taste to me.

I do agree that it seems likely some people don't have a choice. But I'm fairly certain that something isn't right or wrong based on whether or not I can choose it or unchoose it.

I'd also guess that some polygamous people feel that it is essential to them and they don't have a choice exactly.

You say that because you can (perhaps always) choose not to be polygamous (where at least some people can't choose not to be gay) the illegality of polygamy is not a rights issue. But I would say that having the right to choose the lifestyle I wish to lead, the right to choose to be polygamous or not, should be available to me.
I'd make an exception for women having more than one husband. Given our exceptional ability to achieve multiple orgasm, and their limited abilities to perform household chores, I think that could be a right nice set-up.
Ilupesa OÜ - Siin sünnib ilu!
sorry but you kinda missed a major point...the practice of polygamy is legal...but much like gay marriage, it is not recognized. Bigomy is illegal and that means having multiple licenced marriges or is used when someone is having sex with children and calling it protected by a multile marriage...Guess What, you can have as many live in girl friends as you want...if they want to have any rights that a wife would have, then poligamy would need to be recognized...thats all..THEREFORE, all your point really mean nothing in any real sense, move two adult women in your home and call them your wives...they will only legally be your girlfriends but the government really don't care.
does anyone have an idea on how to answer this question:2. The United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women has repeatedly referred to the persistence of polygamy in some States. Does polygamy violate international human rights law? Should international law and the Committee be more sensitive towards cultural practices?
zonTalking about Live Vote: What should judge do? - Crime & courts-

Live Vote: What should judge do? - Crime & courts-
When children and women are being mind washed in a cult masquerading as 'religion' it is time for the state to step in and apply the law in as stern a way as possible. This is 2008, just forcing the girls to wear such outlandish clothing constitutes abuse in many states, and the problem here is that these people are under the influence of teachers who are misusing religion for their own aggrandizement. The situation is not much different then the Dravidian Branch and we all remember what eventually happened there. There are young children who are being indoctrinated into a belief system from which there is no escape, they are not being taught about modern day life, technology, innovation, science, or health issues. They are being taught a way of life that will forever separate them from the world at large, and they are not old enough to be able to say no on their own.
As the Social services has pointed out even the adult women from this cult are unable to make decisions on their own. The court must begin to come at this problem from the standpoint of what exactly constitutes a health psychological relationship between adults and children. Many of these children probably could not pick out the mothers who birthed them if they were put in a line and asked "Who is your Mother, who id your Father? The damage to the minds of these children is already evident in the faces of these emaciated, odd looking slow adults that are seen on the tapes from the ranch and now are on national news.
There should be no hesitation in taking these children away from what is not a healthy environment. I once as a foster parent had a child who had been raised by some Mormons these two boys have six mothers, couldn't even tell me which one gave birth to them, they didn't respond to social stimuli in normal ways. they were totally incapable of normal play with children from the foster family, they didn't understand that TV was not real, nor were they able to state they were hungry or cold, or needed something. They were reclusive, and scared of everything in the world. I bet that if you took two of three of these children at a time and put them in a playground situation with normal children you could write a thesis based on their abnormal social responses.
Although the Constitution provides freedom for Religion it does not give a blanket to what is called Religion, no indeed, if you read closely the amendments regarding freedom of Religion you will find that there are guidelines as to what constitutes a religion, and those guidelines do not cover cults that are off shoots of normal Religions, it also might surprise you to know that this entire compound there is a perfect definition of a "CULT!"
I would surely hope that the Judge in this case does her homework, because no matter what the mothers and 'fathers' of these children say, the way in which the children are being brought up is unhealthy! How many homes do you know of where coming into a central room and sitting on chairs in a circle to sing songs is considered "Playing"? How many homes do you know of where nothing is given to the children to help them learn about society in this country, and about the world? Just the facts tell a story of a place where children are treated like cattle, herded into meals in lines, made to wear clothing that is old fashioned. never dealt with as an individual, sleeping in room made up to look like dormitories, please....where is there any chance for individuality to grow, I watched as the one mother pointed out the dorm style rooms and the look alike dresses, good heavens if these children were in a live in school they would still be treated better than that!

Personally the research that I have done says that this group is not a religious organization, they are a cult and the proof is in the definition of that word. I bet that if one of their "Prophets" told them to they would poison their children thinking it was the word of God, just like the people who followed Jim Jones did. Think about that...these people have no mind of their own; they are totally dependent on the leaders of the group. If these children are sent back there in a month, or a year we will hear that their prophets have decided they should die for the cause, or perhaps they will twist their minds and decide that the rest of us are evil and should be destroyed, who know what evil is in this place. The law must find a way to extricate these precious little kids from this life which they did not choose.
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"In all polygamous cultures on the planet, women have extremely low status" - A very bad generalization to put on a possibility of legal polygamy in NORTH AMERICA (big difference is we already have women's rights, children's rights, etc here).

Consider, also, that many Native Americans had polygamous lifestyle and it was carefully balanced. Women were treated with respect. Now that was in the past, let's talk about now.

You're saying that polygamy is all about power and control. This is a generalization, and if anything, try applying it to monogamy. Are you saying the wife is being owned by the husband?

Now, on similar note, about women being prisoners, married against their will, and so forth, there are laws in place to protect women and children being put in most of those scenarios. And being modern, we also should grasp the legal possibility of boundaries put on multiple wives and husbands to control excess, reduce likelihood of being forced because of religion, etc.

"The men in these "families" cannot financially support all the women and children, and the women are generally not permitted the freedom to choose a career and work outside the family compound. This shows that in a modern society, polygamous marriages are neither healthy nor stable institutions."
WOW. Okay, consider the possibility of a MODERN polygamy (as modern as our current monogamy gets) actually existing without control, power, arranged marriages, and with most of the wives and husbands able to work as they choose.

Also, consider the fact that most monogamous families are supporting brothers, sisters, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and their aging parents. Those families have the financial wherewithal to support that situation. Polygamous families can support their own wives and husbands in that same sense, being the large family in the end.

Also, our modern society and current economy makes it hard (despite welfares, etc) to support one spouse, much less "20 spouses" as you are claiming would happen.

Your heterosexual part just boggles my mind. And nobody is born to be polygamist? Please. Nobody is born to be the marriage type, nor are they born to be monogamous. This is just a sidetrack to the whole "Rights" issue for polygamy.

I may have missed a lot of your reasoning as I jumped to write a response in a hurry to seeing how much of your reasoning I disagree with. However, I do think you have every right to believe what you wrote, I just don't agree with it. :) Good day.
the probability of divorce with two partners becomes 75% not 100%. (ie. probability of no divorce is .5 x .5 = .25, and the probability of divorce = 1-.75 =.25
.5 divorce rate x 2 spouses = 1 divorce
Hence, if you marry a second person, you will surely divorce one of the spouses.
~Insert tongue in cheek here~
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Within this article, multiple times, you imply that ONLY men would be allowed to marry multiple people if polygamy were legalized. And even if it didn't, it should be legal because the business of 2 people, that in no way directly affects you, should not be something you have a say in. We don't all vote on what you eat for lunch.
All of the reasons are On women's "rights" you forget polygamy can be one woman and 2 guys(or 12 guys).. I didn't see one good reason in the entire post..
There is a logical jump in stating that allowing polygamy will lead to society reverting back to 1,000 B.C. Back then, women WERE treated as property in all cases, and their consent did not matter in marriage, sex, or having children. Now, marriage cannot take place before age 18, and it is illegal to force someone to get married for any reason. A law legalizing polygamy would not change this.

And okay, some people define polygamy as "1 man, 2+ women." But if you make it legal for one man to take on multiple consenting wives, it follows that it is legal for one woman to take on multiple husbands. Or for 2 men and 2 women to marry each other. So 1 man has 20 wives who all want to share him? That means one woman gets 20 men who are willing to share her.

And really, the rate of polygamy probably wouldn't increase overall. You don't get into a polygamist marriage unless you actively seek one out, and how many people do YOU know who would do that?
Although I'm only just hitting the tip of the iceberg on this polygamy thing, If the government legalizes polygamy, then they get to regulate it. They can stipulate things like ages, educations, exit strategies and even distribution of properties at divorce. The rights of those involved could be monitored by people that are legally in control of it. As for now, the sectists have a free for all on the subject. The Koran allows up to 4 wives. That seems like a good limit to me. In North America, those wives and the husband working cooperatively under the guidance of free states could do a lot of good. Polyandry is practiced in a few places around the world, mostly in africa and indonesia and Nepal, but polyamory is quite common here in the US and Canada. Just because polygamy is legal, doesn't mean people will jump on the bandwagon to do it. Marriage between two people is still the marriage of choice by the world. But that doesn't mean other options shouldn't be available for those that want a plural marriage.
This has got to be one of the stupidest dissertations on polygamy EVER!!!

The numerous fallacies are just one issue. Not to mention the liberties taken with the historical record of polygamy.

I won't bother debunking them, because to do so would lend credibility to this nonsense.
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