Thu, 01st Feb, 2018

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PostHeaderIconWhy is Polygamy Illegal?

I probably have to start out by stating that I do not endorse (or disapprove of) any sort of -gamy.

My political views are N/A - I'm not a liberace or a conservacrat. I don't know whether I'm left or right (or off in some other non-euclidian dimension altogether)

I was reading a book this morning (this book) and the author was talking about the rights of Americans to practise whatever religion they feel like - as long as they don’t violate the laws of the land. Specifically mentioned were “human sacrifice, animal cruelty and polygamy”.

Now this isn’t the first time that I’ve considered this question, but the surprising juxtaposition of polygamy with violent and unambiguously despicable crimes made me want to write a blog post about it.

So it turns out that there are a lot of emotional rants about polygamy on the internet, which seems to suggest that I need to define what I'm talking about.

Hopefully it should be obvious to my regular readers that I'm not talking about supporting Islamic laws (or any similar society) - where polygamy means women (and young girls) are brought and sold into what is effectively a harem.

Obviously this sort of treatment of anyone (not just women and children) is not acceptable and probably needs to be explicitly prohibited by law.

But is a blanket prohibition on 'polygamy' the correct response?

Let's consider a hypothetical situation:

Two men and 3 women live in a house together. They all have sex with each other (in various configurations and on a regular basis). They're all there by choice and they're all blissfully happy (as much as anyone can be).

Is this illegal?

Should it be?

I can't for the life of me find any reason to prohibit these people from pursuing a lifestyle that makes them happy and fulfils all of their various needs.

Other than Victorian-era, religious prudishness of course.

But, suppose that they want to formalise the relationship and get married - now it’s a different story. Let’s say that each of them gets married 4 times - now what they’re doing is illegal.

Why can’t they all get married (or civil unioned)?

Now there may be some legitimate concerns - for example: IRD and various other government (and other) databases would need some redesigning.

That’s a bit of a cop out though isn’t it? And not really a good enough reason to deny people the right to live in the way that makes them the happiest.

I don’t want to over-simplify what may be a very complicated topic, but it seems to me that there must be a solution that allows for basic human rights all round…