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Gay marriage – And now on to polygamy

April 19th, 2013 Jill Posted in Gay Marriage, Polygamy Comments Off

From The Economist

THE excitement over the Supreme Court arguments on gay marriage has probably died down until the court comes back with a decision. And what with a majority of senators now in favour, it certainly looks like, whether by judicial or legislative action, gay marriage is on a fairly rapid road to acceptance across America. So this moment, when fewer people are paying attention and it can't do too much harm, seems like a good time for people who support gay marriage to admit that there are a couple of arguments for it which they've always thought were wrong.
Alexander Borinsky's article in N+1 takes up the issue from the perspective of a 20-something gay man who's not entirely comfortable with marriage advocates' campaign to show that gay people's sexual preferences are inborn and involuntary, and to present gay people as non-threateningly monogamous. Sexuality, he feels, is in part something you actively construct as part of the bildungsroman of your life, and that journey for a lot of gay people involves a bunch of sex with strangers. After the dissolution of a relationship led him to a period of screwing around, he writes:
…my promiscuity served a purpose. Abandoning myself to alcohol and flirtation felt like a salvific, if reckless, kind of machismo. Uncommitted sexual encounters meant self-reliance. I vividly remember leaving the house of a waifish, doe-eyed dancer from Devon who grinned and giggled and wore a ripped army jacket. It was around four thirty in the morning. The sex had been terrible, but outside was a lovely, warmish night. As I waited for the night bus I felt disappointed, embarrassed, and a little frightened. I also felt brave, dangerous, and grown…
The urge to prove that I could stand on my own two manly legs came, in part, from the language of helplessness that pervades most messages of gay acceptance: “It’s okay that you’re gay, because you were just born that way. It’s no one’s fault.” Binging and [having sex] made my gayness into, yes, a “lifestyle” choice—not just a hormonal tic I couldn’t help. I was a person making choices, not a sexuality unfolding itself.
Right on. And this kind of sentimental education isn't exclusively or even particularly gay.
Read here
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Legalize Polygamy! No. I am not kidding.

April 16th, 2013 Jill Posted in Polygamy Comments Off

By Jillian Keenan, Slate Magazine

Recently, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council reintroduced a tired refrain: Legalized gay marriage could lead to other legal forms of marriage disaster, such as polygamy. Rick Santorum, Bill O’Reilly, and other social conservatives have made similar claims. It’s hardly a new prediction—we’ve been hearing it for years. Gay marriage is a slippery slope! A gateway drug! If we legalize it, then what’s next? Legalized polygamy?
We can only hope.
Yes, really. While the Supreme Court and the rest of us are all focused on the human right of marriage equality, let’s not forget that the fight doesn’t end with same-sex marriage. We need to legalize polygamy, too. Legalized polygamy in the United States is the constitutional, feminist, and sex-positive choice. More importantly, it would actually help protect, empower, and strengthen women, children, and families.
For decades, the prevailing logic has been that polygamy hurts women and children. That makes sense, since in contemporary American practice that is often the case. In many Fundamentalist Latter-day Saints polygamous communities, for example, women and underage girls are forced into polygamous unions against their will. Some boys, who represent the surplus of males, are brutally thrown out of their homes and driven into homelessness and poverty at very young ages. All of these stories are tragic, and the criminals involved should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. (That goes without saying, I hope.)
But legalizing consensual adult polygamy wouldn’t legalize rape or child abuse. In fact, it would make those crimes easier to combat.
(We hope our readers understand that we are not endorsing this article!  It is just one of a growing number of items we have seen on the topic.)
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Polygamous marriage: why not?

April 9th, 2013 Jill Posted in Polygamy Comments Off

By Blaise Joseph, MercatorNet

A very interesting read in The Economist about the link between same-sex marriage and opening the door to polygamous marriage.
“One of the assumptions that gay marriage calls into question, for many conservatives, is: why pairs, then? If not man-woman, then why not man-woman-woman, and so forth? Again, the response of gay-marriage proponents is generally ridicule. I don't think this is a ridiculous question…It's easy enough to show that gay marriage does not empirically lead to pressure to legalise polygamy; that hasn't happened anywhere that gay marriage is legal. But this is different from explaining why opening up the boundaries of the 20th-century understanding of marriage shouldn't raise the possibility of legalising polygamy. Why shouldn't it be legal for more than two consenting adults to marry each other?”
It is interesting that this problem with same-sex marriage has been getting an increasing amount of attention. As Carson Holloway at The Public Discourse pointed out, Justice Sonia Sotamoyor also raised this issue during the oral arguments on Proposition 8.
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Justice Sotomayor and the Path to Polygamy

April 6th, 2013 Jill Posted in Gay Marriage, Polygamy Comments Off

By Carson Holloway, Public Discourse

The oral arguments on Proposition 8 at the Supreme Court suggest that there is very good reason to believe that the declaration of a “right” to same-sex marriage will set us on the path to polygamy

Opponents of same-sex marriage resist it because it amounts to redefining marriage, but also because it will invite future redefinitions. If we embrace same-sex marriage, they argue, society will have surrendered any reasonable grounds on which to continue forbidding polygamy, for example.

In truth, proponents of same-sex marriage have never offered a very good response to this concern. This problem was highlighted at the Supreme Court last week in oral argument over California’s Proposition 8, the state constitutional amendment that defines marriage as a union of a man and a woman.

Surprisingly, the polygamy problem that same-sex marriage presents was raised by an Obama appointee, the liberal Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Sotomayor interrupted the presentation of anti-Prop 8 litigator Theodore Olson to pose the following question: If marriage is a fundamental right in the way proponents of same-sex marriage contend, “what state restrictions could ever exist,” for example, “with respect to the number of people . . . that could get married?”

In response, Olson tried to set up a clear distinction between same-sex marriage and polygamy, suggesting that the kinds of governmental interests that justify a prohibition of polygamy are irrelevant in the case of same-sex marriage.

The Court has said, he contended, that polygamy raises “questions about exploitation, abuse, patriarchy, issues with respect to taxes, inheritance, child custody” and therefore “is an entirely different thing” than same-sex marriage. Moreover, Olson argued, when a “state prohibits polygamy, it’s prohibiting conduct,” but if “it prohibits gay and lesbian citizens from getting married, it is prohibiting their exercise of a right based upon their status.”

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Holland discusses ‘group marriage’ as next step

March 20th, 2013 Jill Posted in Gay Marriage, Polygamy Comments Off

The politician who masterminded the gay marriage campaign in Holland says that ‘group marriage’ is now being discussed in the country.

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Taking same-sex marriage step by step

March 5th, 2013 Jill Posted in Gay Marriage, Polyamory, Polygamy Comments Off

By Michael Cook, MercatorNet

Whether you call it polygamy, or polyamory, or consensual nonmonogamy, multiple partners in a single relationship is just over the horizon

Australian activists for same-sex marriage have always insisted, that it will not lead to polygamy or polyamory. Never, ever, ever. Gay marriage is just like traditional marriage, except for the sex of the spouse. Activist Rodney Croome wrote last year that “studies show most LGBTI people want to be part of a two-person marriage, while partners in polyamorist relationships (most of which begin as heterosexual unions) say they don’t want their relationships recognised as marriages.” Former Greens leader Bob Brown described a push for polyamory as “nonsense”.

This is a crucial point for supporters. If they were to concede that same-sex marriage would ultimately lead to polygamy and more imaginative forms of marriage, they would prove that there is a slippery slope. So they are forced into vehement denials.

How odd, then, that a Polyamory Action Lobby (PAL) has been founded in Australia “to combat the image of poly people as relationship bogeymen”.

PAL is testing the waters by spruiking a public petition on, an internet site for activists. “For too long has Australia denied people the right to marry the ones they care about. We find this abhorrent. We believe that everyone should be allowed to marry their partners, and that the law should never be a barrier to love. And that's why we demand nothing less than the full recognition of polyamorous families.”

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Utah: Difference between affair and polygamous marriage questioned in court

February 18th, 2013 Jill Posted in Polygamy Comments Off

by Pat Reavy,

What is the difference between consenting adults engaged in an affair and consenting adults in a polygamous marriage?

That was the question U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups asked Utah assistant attorney general Jerrold Jensen on Thursday afternoon during final oral arguments for the case involving a former Utah County polygamist family made famous by a TV show.

Kody Brown and his four wives, who gained notoriety in the reality TV show "Sister Wives," are challenging Utah's bigamy statute, claiming it is unconstitutional because it violates their constitutional rights to due process, equal protection, free exercise of religion, free speech and freedom of association.

The TV show sparked an investigation by the state, which ultimately forced the Browns to move from Lehi to Nevada in 2010.

In their motions, the Browns say they are not seeking the legalization of plural marriage, only that their constitutional rights be upheld.

During Thursday's hearing, Jensen was grilled by Waddoups with questions about what specifically made polygamy a crime. Jensen was on his heels for most of the hearing.

When Waddoups asked whether a married adult who had no children and an adulterous relationship with three other women living in separate homes was different from a polygamist relationship, Jensen said, "Yes." He said it was the "criminality that comes out of polygamous unions" and the crimes against young girls and boys that made it wrong.

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Fewer social problems in monogamous societies

October 17th, 2012 Lisa Posted in Marriage, Polygamy Comments Off

Compared to monogamous societies, polygamous cultures see more rape, kidnapping, murder, assault, robbery, fraud, child neglect and child abuse, a new UC Davis study suggests.

The reason: When men take multiple wives, the competition for fewer available women results in greater levels of strife, the researchers hypothesize.

The findings may explain the global rise of monogamy as the dominant marriage institution in recent centuries, replacing the polygamy once practiced by 85 percent of the world’s societies, said Peter Richerson, an environmental science professor at UC Davis and co-author of the study, which appears in the January issue of the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society.

“We wanted to understand both why monogamous societies have been economically more successful in the last few centuries and why monogamy has spread to many formerly polygamous societies in the course of modernization,” he said. Read the rest of this entry »

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Polygamy may be hot, but in marriage three’s still a crowd

October 11th, 2012 Jill Posted in Polygamy Comments Off

By Lisa Miller, Washington Post

This week, in one of his first public statements since this past summer’s anti-gay-marriage remarks, Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy told an Atlanta television reporter that he supports “Biblical families.” This comment immediately gave rise to jokes questioning his familiarity with the Old Testament, where, as any Mormon elder can tell you, patriarchs such as Abraham, Jacob and David all practiced polygamy.

John Witte Jr., however, thinks it isn’t so funny. A scholar of religion and law at Emory University in Atlanta, Witte is working on a lengthy history of polygamy due out next year. He believes that polygamy is the next frontier in marriage and family law. If states are able to dismantle traditional or conventional views of marriage by allowing two men or two women to wed, then why should they not go further and sanction, or at least decriminalize, marriages between one man and several women?

This is the argument that Kody Brown and his wives, the stars of the reality television show “Sister Wives,” are making in a civil suit against the state of Utah. They are claiming that Utah’s anti-polygamy laws violate their privacy and their religious freedom. “The Browns want to be allowed to create a loving family according to the values of their faith,” Jonathan Turley, the family’s lawyer, wrote in an op-ed this summer.

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Toward a Less Minimal Marriage

October 4th, 2012 Jill Posted in Marriage, Polyamory, Polygamy Comments Off

By Scott Yenor, Witherspoon Institute

A new argument that reduces marriage to any consensual caring relationship is grounded by a cynical view of human nature that we ought not accept.
Elizabeth Brake’s Minimizing Marriage breaks new ground in the contemporary liberal critique of traditional arrangements. The object of her critique is what she calls amatonormativity—the belief that society should value two-person, amorous love relationships. Even same-sex marriage (SSM) advocates are too restrictive for Brake in that they would confer benefits on two people alone; SSM advocates are unwitting amatonormativists. Their defenses of marriage leave out “urban tribes, best friends, quirkyalones, polyamorists” and other diverse groups united by a common bond of caring. Brake argues for an almost complete disestablishment of marriage.
Brake’s argument for minimal marriage is both destructive and constructive. Rather than propose that we abolish marriage, Brake contends that we free ourselves of any demand that marriage have an approved form. Yet Brake’s minimal marriage does not abolish the function of marriage, though she thins out that function considerably. After attacking traditional normative beliefs about marriage, she constructs a new vision of marriage as an institution that fulfills, broadly speaking, the function of caring. States, in her view, should recognize and provide benefits to caring relationships.
The destructive facet of Brake’s argument is pretty standard contemporary liberal fare. She holds two trump cards, and she plays them whenever she seeks to show that the institution of marriage is not really about children, procreation, amorous love or whatever one might think marriage is about.
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Toronto school board denies posters promote polygamy

September 29th, 2012 Jill Posted in Children/Family, Gender, Polygamy Comments Off

By Jenny Yuen, Toronto Sun

The Toronto District School Board is denying claims it's promoting polygamy — just illustrating it exists as a family dynamic — with a poster campaign for gender-based violence prevention.

The school board's website depicts a series of five posters — one of them has the message "Love has no gender" in big white capital letters. Surrounding the slogan are various hearts containing different stick-figure people. In one of them there is an image of a man with two women; in another, two women with one man.

Some education groups said these posters endorse polygamy and have no place in the public school system.

"This is outrageous behaviour on behalf of teachers," said Rev. Charles McVety of the Canada Christian College, who wants the posters removed immediately if they're in the schools.

"In fact, in some ways these posters are abusive — psychologically," he insisted. "Now the TDSB has not only decided to teach our children to question their gender, but to indoctrinate them with a sign campaign so children can't get away from it. That is beyond education."

Read here

See more posters supplied by the Toronto District School Board  here

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‘The Notebook’ director says if we back gay marriage, why not incest?

September 12th, 2012 Jill Posted in Incest, Polygamy Comments Off

By Ben Johnson, LifeSite News

Defenders of marriage have long said if the institution is redefined beyond one man and one woman, there is no clear end to the new combinations that could be considered “marriage.” A growing body of evidence shows the popular culture, led by Hollywood elites, do not intend to stop with same-sex unions.

Nick Cassavetes, the director of the romantic film The Notebook, told reporters at the debut of his new film that incest is no different than allowing same-sex weddings.
“Love who you want, isn’t that what we say? Gay marriage – love who you want,” he said.
“If you’re not having kids, who gives a damn?” the son of legendary director John Cassavetes and actress Gena Rowlands asked in an interview with The Wrap while premiering his new film, Yellow, which features an incestuous affair between a brother and sister. “If it’s your brother or sister it’s super-weird, but if you look at it, you’re not hurting anybody except every single person who freaks out because you’re in love with one another.”
Meanwhile, a celebrity gossip rag has become the latest publication to support polygamy and polyandry.
In a column entitled “Three Shouldn’t be a Crowd,” the digital tabloid The Frisky stated, “Polygamy and polyamory get a bad rap.”
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The changing idea of ‘family’

August 30th, 2012 Jill Posted in Polyamory, Polygamy Comments Off

By John Richardson

The BBC is reporting that a notary in Sao Paolo, Brazil, has registered the civil union of three people. According to the report, "Public Notary Claudia do Nascimento Domingues has said the man and two women should be entitled to family rights."

[...]  "But," the BBC continues, "the move has angered some religious groups, while one lawyer described it as 'absurd and totally illegal'."

Personally, far from being angered, I find it rather amusing. More importantly, I wait to see what arguments, rather than emotional reactions, will be mustered to oppose the move. Lawyer Regina Beatriz Tavares da Silva is said to have told the BBC this was "something completely unacceptable which goes against Brazilian values and morals". But of course that does not answer the argument of Ms Domingues, that the idea of family had changed.

If 'family' is what 'families' do, and if marriage is whatever we choose to call it, then I can see no logical reason why anyone could oppose a three way, or any other way, civil union, 'marriage' or whatever people want. Who are we to deny their happiness, fulfilment, or right to enjoy the relationships they choose?

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Brazil allows three-person civil unions

August 29th, 2012 Jill Posted in Polygamy Comments Off

From The Christian Institute

Three people in a polygamous relationship have been allowed to enter into a civil union in the Brazilian state of Sao Paulo.

The decision has sparked controversy in Brazil. Campaigners in the UK say that tampering with the definition of marriage would pave the way for such unions here.

The Brazilian trio, one man and two women, have been living together for three years.

Public notary Claudia do Nascimento Domingues has sparked controversy by allowing a union between the trio. She says they are entitled to family rights.

But Regina Beatriz Tavares da Silva, a lawyer, said it was “absurd and totally illegal”, and “something completely unacceptable which goes against Brazilian values and morals”.

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Opponents of gay marriages say it will ‘open the door to polygamy and incest’

June 23rd, 2012 Jill Posted in Gay Marriage, News, Polygamy Comments Off

By Daniel Boffey, Guardian

Claims by lobby group that reform of law would have far-reaching effects attacked as 'extremist and confused'

A lobby group against gay marriage, formed by MPs and bishops, is embroiled in a row after one of its leaflets claimed that reforming the law would open the door to incest, polygamy and a new wave of illegal immigration.

The eight-page document, produced by the Keep Marriage Special campaign, whose supporters include the former bishop of Rochester, the Rt Rev Michael Nazir Ali, warns of the "consequential impact" of the reform.

The glossy leaflet, which has a picture of a mixed-race couple in an embrace on the cover, claims: "If the only basis for marriage is the desire of the parties to get married then there is, according to the logic of this proposal, no reason not to open up marriage to more than just same-sex couples. Polygamy, polyandry and incest would all be permissible."

It adds: "The immigration service is already swamped with false marriages – this would only add to their problems."

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Gay ‘marriage’, polygamy and female inequality: where’s the link?

June 19th, 2012 Jill Posted in Polygamy Comments Off

From Lapido Media

Conservative Muslims and others will ‘inevitably’ push for polygamous and polyamorous marriages to be legalised if the government goes ahead with its plans to redefine marriage, according to one top barrister.

Following the closure of the government’s public consultation on equal marriage on Thursday, lawyer Neil Addison told Lapido: ‘If same-sex marriage is legalised then it is inevitable that legal polygamy will be requested.
‘After all if heterosexuality is no longer to be part of the legal definition of marriage, why should monogamy continue?’
A recent report by the BBC Asian Network revealed that polygamy – or more specifically polygyny, the practice of having more than one wife – was on the rise among Muslim communities where men can marry several women under the religious ‘nikah’ ceremony despite these marriages not being recognised in UK law.
Mr Addison, the UK’s authority on religious freedom legislation, said: ‘It is already an open secret that amongst the Muslim community there are a number of unregistered polygamous marriages and this means that these extra ‘wives’ are denied legal status, the rights of a next of kin and rights of inheritance – all the arguments that were originally used to justify same-sex civil partnerships.’
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The Perils of Polygamy

May 21st, 2012 Jill Posted in Polygamy Comments Off

By by Christopher Kaczor, Witherspoon Institute

Recent empirical research suggests that, in virtually every respect, polygamy is socially detrimental—to society in general, to men, to women, and to children.

In the course of history, approximately 85 percent of societies have practiced polygamy. Pushed by advocates of same-sex marriage and multiculturalism, some scholars, such as the signers of “Beyond Gay Marriage,” argue that it is irrational and bigoted for contemporary society to limit marriage to just two people. However, there is no bigotry in treating different things differently, and there are many important differences between polygamy and monogamy in practice as well as in principle.
There are three main forms of polygamous relationships: polygyny, polyandry, and polygynandry. In polygyny, by far the most common form of polygamy, one man may marry a number of wives. In polyandry, one wife has two or more husbands. This form of polygamy is extremely unusual, and often takes the form of two brothers marrying the same woman. In polygynandry, two or more wives marry to two or more husbands. Polygynandry is even more rare than polyandry, but will be similar in some respects to polygyny, insofar as a man has more than one wife. Since both polygynandry and polyandry are virtually non-existent, I’ll focus on the more common case of one man with multiple wives, and use the more common term polygamy to describe this arrangement.
Now let us turn to the practical considerations drawn from human experience. Recent empirical research suggests that, in virtually every respect, polygamy is socially detrimental—to society in general, to men, to women, and to children. These problems arise because of the nature of human reproduction.
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Where the LGBTQ train is heading, from Huffington Post Gay Voices

March 25th, 2012 Jill Posted in Polyamory, Polygamy Comments Off

Santorum: Are we saying that everyone has the right to marry?
Crowd: Yes!
Santorum: So anyone can marry anybody else?
Crowd: Yes!
Santorum: So anybody can marry several people?
Crowd: [Mutterings and incoherent babbles of "No!"
Cut to Santorum getting booed off the stage.
The problem is Santorum is right....
He's right in the sense that once we realize it's stupid to keep any two loving, consenting adults apart, we may start wondering whether it's equally stupid to keep three or more loving, consenting adults apart....
The fact is that the struggles of the poly/NM [nonmonogamy] community are not unfamiliar to the LGBTQ world. Couples in open relationships have lost their jobs and even custody of their children after people around them outed them as polyamorous. Sound familiar?
By distancing themselves and trying to divorce their struggle from the struggle of the poly/NM community, LGBTQ progressives end up throwing another sexual minority — indeed, a minority within their own minority — under the bus (a significant contingent of the poly/NM community is queer/bi and vice versa)….
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Polygamous Muslim unions on the rise in Britain

March 19th, 2012 Jill Posted in Islam, Polygamy Comments Off

From The Christian Institute

An “unprecedented” number of Muslim women are inquiring about polygamy, the Islamic Sharia Council in Britain has said.
Newspaper reports suggest that thousands of Muslim women in Britain are entering polygamous relationships.
The news comes as the Westminster Government launched a consultation on whether marriage should be redefined.
British Muslim men reportedly bring about 12,000 brides to Britain each year, leaving UK-born Muslim females struggling to find a husband.
Although polygamy is illegal in Britain, many Muslim communities believe it is legitimate for a man to have up to four wives.
Under UK law only one marriage is legal, but men can have “nikah” religious ceremonies.
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Monogamy ’safer’ than polygamy

January 30th, 2012 Jill Posted in Polygamy Comments Off

From The Telegraph

Monogamy has replaced polygamy because societies where men can marry more than one woman are more violent, researchers say.

A study found that in polygamous cultures, levels of rape, kidnap, murder and robbery increase as the dissatsified men left on the shelf go on the rampage.
Researchers from the University of British Columbia say that monogamous marriage has replaced polygamy because it has lower levels of inherent social problems.
Prof Joseph Henrich said: "Our goal was to understand why monogamous marriage has become standard in most developed nations in recent centuries, when most recorded cultures have practiced polygaymy.
"The emergence of monogamous marriage is also puzzling for some as the very people who most benefit from polygymy – wealthy, powerful men – were best positioned to reject it.
"Our findings suggest that that institutionalised monogamous marriage provides greater net benefits for society at large by reducing social problems that are inherent in polygymous societies."

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