Federal judge strikes down Utah’s polygamy law.

Brigham young family

"After learning of the ruling Saturday afternoon, Marvin Wyler exclaimed "hallelujah" and said polygamy never should have been criminalized in the first place. Wyler — who left The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints more than a decade ago but continues to believe in polygamy — said that in the past polygamists feared legal repercussions for their criminalized lifestyle. The ruling lifts that threat — which surprised Charlette Wyler, a wife of Marvin’s."


 Well, well,  I went to grad School in Salt Lake and always have thought that Mormons are among the most civic minded and  decent people I have ever met.  Their theology is bizarre but, then, what theology is not weird?

The Utah Territory outlawed polygamy as a condition for admission to the Union as a state.  I have always though that was a senseless intrusion into what should be private family business.

My Fearless Forecast is that there will not be a an appeal by Utah against this decision and what will follow is an elimination of laws against polygamy.  this wil affect Mormons and Muslims across the country.  pl   



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87 Responses to Federal judge strikes down Utah’s polygamy law.

  1. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Yes, and then parts of Sharia will be incorporated into state codes in matters of marriage, divorce, inheritance etc.
    If I recall correctly, there was no limits to the number of wives a man could marry among Mormons; and that women could also have multiple marriages.
    One practical consequence of the absence of limit is that it will lead to rich men marrying unlimited number of women leaving poorer men wife-less – just like the late Sassanid period in Iran and the Mazdak Revolution.
    I think Jews from the Cohen family can marry more than one wife.
    And the Baha’ai also are permitted 2 wives.

  2. jerseycityjoan says:

    It seems to me that only way that polygamy can work in the small fundamentalist Mormons choose mates from within their own groups is how it does work: The older generations of men can only have 3, 4 or more wives by poaching the women of their sons’ and grandsons’ generations. Some of the younger men of each generation must be forced out so that the “winning” men can have a sufficient pool of young women. These communities are based on manipulation, fear and prioritizing the ability of the adult men to have multiple wives at the expense of everybody else.
    I certainly don’t want more of such groups cropping up. I feel ashamed we did so little to break them up in the past.
    Polygamy has great costs, it seems to me, even when it is not conducted among closed groups of people where the competition for women is intense. Some are financial, others are not. A lot of the financial cost of the freedom of polygamists to have multiple wives and many children is paid for by the American taxpayer.
    The poorest place in America is a Hasidic Jewish town where having many children [from one wife, mind you] is emphasized:
    “Because of the sheer size of the families (the average household here has six people, but it is not uncommon for couples to have 8 or 10 children), and because a vast majority of households subsist on only one salary, 62 percent of the local families live below poverty level and rely heavily on public assistance [government welfare]”

    “The per capita income for the village was $4,355.”
    The situation in Kiryas Joel, which is a place with many demands that also requires heavy subsidies, causes considerable tension and uproar.
    All in all, more polygamy seems to me to be the last thing America needs.

  3. turcopolier says:

    “The older generations of men can only have 3, 4 or more wives by poaching the women of their sons’ and grandsons’ generations.” Poaching? You think of women as game animals? In any event this should be their business not yours. At the same time you approve of gay marriage? pl

  4. Will says:

    the district court case is narrowly addressing the cohabitation equals polygamy. the judge probably found it vague or overbroad as a criiminal statute. that would make David Crosby and Charlie Sheen criminals. Some south africans, including the present president, are polygamous even though they are not Muslim or Jewish. Semites were polygamous from antiquity. Ditto, the Hindus and Chinese. The Romans were monogamous but divorce was freely given. The Greeks were a mixed bag. Phillip of Macedon was polygamous. Mormon polygamy was founded on religious grounds. Anathema to the Abrahamic religion, Mormons believed they could become gods on their own planets thru the process of exaltation. Exaltation is achieved by becoming the father of many children. this goal is enhanced by having more wives, of course. The Church may have recalled polygamy but it’s still practiced theologically, Consider that a divorced man can remarry in a sealed temple ceremony, but a divorced woman cannot. she still belongs to her former spouse”s celestial family.
    the 19th century sureme court case

  5. Fred says:

    How soon until we have gay polygamist marriages?

  6. Babak Makkinejad says:

    You are right; once “gay marriage” became acceptable, the flood gates were opened for any alternatives to the traditional marriage.
    “Who are you to infringe on my God-given rights to be a deviant and deny me and my sheep a license to marry?
    Because God loves sheep.”
    US jurists should go to Qum and study with ayatollahs there to learn a few things about polygamy.
    They need to go to India to learn about human-animal and human-plant marriages.
    It would have been funny if the ramifications of this type of social experimentation were not so very grave indeed.

  7. shepherd says:

    I think your first point is important to reiterate. The mechanism by which polygamists got around laws against it was that their marriages are not legal, but merely religious. So the extra wives of the men involved do not have legal rights of inheritance, etc. Nor are they registered as such. If so, they seem to be playing by the rules.

  8. CK says:

    None of your exemplars had to account for modern feminist American females. Which creatures are significantly missing in Utah also.
    Having more than one wife is attractive only if the wives are feminine and useful and fecund.
    Harems are expensive, putting the harem’s inhabitants to work to earn their keep invalidates the idea of the harem.
    It is possible that an alpha male might wish to have a harem arrangement; but not necessarily a legal marriage arrangement.
    Marriage is a fine institution if you need to be institutionalized.

  9. CK says:

    Do dorms count?

  10. turcopolier says:

    That is just nonsense. A lot of women in illegal Mormon plural marriages work outside the home. You are just bigoted against their way of life. pl

  11. Will says:

    and the 91 page district court opinion
    Babak makes a point about the slippery slope. i was against gay marriage. civil unions should have been enough.

  12. Fred says:

    No, they do not. Neither does a barracks or a ship nor a drunken Friday night hook-up party.

  13. Babak Makkinejad says:

    You wrote:
    “only if the wives are feminine and useful and fecund. Harems are expensive…”
    Specially in US where wives are often self-supporting and money-making.

  14. Babak Makkinejad says:

    In Islam, just like in Judaism, marriage is a form of contract with rights and obligations of both sides clearly stipulated in the marriage contract.
    Are you arguing that even under the current statutes, a Muslim man can marry multiple women in the United States?

  15. Peter Hug says:

    This sets the stage for a complete vindication of Robert Heinlein’s vision of the future…

  16. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Yes, and as the old Persian saying goes: “It is the goat that should like the grass.” which these Mormon wives evidently do.

  17. Tyler says:

    Considering the low low low low rate of monogamous male homosexual relationships, I’d say they’re already here to stay.
    Remember when the slippery slope was just an urban myth and if you opposed gay marriage you were a bigot? Yeah.

  18. Tyler says:

    You know who else was a “feminist”? The wife of Tamerlane Tsarnev. I wouldn’t put too much stock in them defending anything.
    Watch the Left wig out about Mormon polygamy while defending Sha’ria polygamy as “their culture”.

  19. Tyler says:

    Not sure how many of you are familiar with the Colorado City fiasco here in Arizona, but this is just paving the way for more of that.

  20. trooper says:

    Polygamous societies are violent, bc of the “frozen-out” young men–I am not particularly worried about Mormons, bc “soft-harems” are already present in, say, college and corporate life. This is leading to the male dropout problem and will end in violence and tears.

  21. Jose says:

    Does anybody know if this ruling also applies to Polyandry?

  22. Stephanie says:

    Unfortunately, contemporary polygamy as practiced in Utah and neighboring states such as Arizona often operates as jerseycityjoan describes. The “lost boys” phenomenon is a sad fact. The young men and boys were exploited for their labor and then expelled from the community on the flimsiest of pretexts, while the older men “marry” young girls – sometimes very young girls – in an atmosphere of coercion. It was also the practice to impregnate the girls promptly and keep them pregnant, to serve as a deterrent to any attempts to escape. All of this was revealed as part of the Warren Jeffs prosecution, among other things. Polygamous communities also tend to be heavily dependent on welfare and public services and intentionally so. In other words, not entirely a matter of consenting adults acting in private.
    That said, it is difficult as a matter of logic to support one form of unconventional union and not another, even if there are obvious differences between two adults seeking to wed – regardless of whether you think they are right to do so — and middle aged men and old farts “marrying” teenagers.
    Scalia had a point – you stop legislating morality and there may be undesirable consequences. But I don’t see any reason why there can’t be a middle ground – no reason, in other words, for “floodgates” to be opened.
    I know Mormons as family members and they’re fine people. They also think contemporary polygamists are an embarrassment, although they also point, correctly, to the historical circumstances of life on the frontier that helped support the practice.

  23. abusinan says:

    Muslims in the US already marry more than one wife. This is common knowledge in the community and well known. The way it works is the man takes one wife as his “legal” wife and the second, third or fourth are then married Islamically with no state recognition.
    The idea that softening of marriage laws will lead to loads of Muslim men taking more than one wife is unfounded. Those who want to take more than one wife and are able to support them, already do it. As to potential wives working, thus making more than one wife affordable for the man, that wont happen. Why? Because 90%+ of women who are okay with being a second wife do not work and would not work.
    Most Muslim women who work and have careers would not be agreeable to being a second wife. I know first hand of several such situations and it almost always involves older men who are independently wealthy.

  24. turcopolier says:

    Having lived in the midst of societies in which polygamy was legal but fairly rare except among the rich, I must say that these societies are no more violent than societies in Europe where polygamy is forbidden by law. I do not understand why so many of you are so hostile to the idea that people could choose to live in family groups that do not correspond to the traditional form in the West. Is this not a matter of liberty? If women choose to marry old men that is their business. DOMA maintained that “marriage” was limited to relationships between one man and one woman. That’s gone now. So what is the logical basis for forbidding polygamy? pl

  25. Babak Makkinejad says:

    There is none.
    And there is none which forbid incest either.
    “God loves us and who are you to tell me that I cannot be in a loving relationship with my son or daughter, or both.”

  26. shepherd says:

    This can be a little confusing, and I’m only married to a lawyer, not one myself. In the United States, religious marriages have no legal status. Marriage involves the signing of a marriage license, which is a state-issued document. The fight over gay marriage is whether same sex couples can obtain this document. That’s why you see gay couples joyfully headed to courthouses, not churches.
    My reading of this is that the judge has not said polygamy is ok. It is still illegal. If you have multiple marriage licenses signed simultaneously, you’re in trouble. However, Utah apparently had a lawon the books that said that if you cohabit with multiple women for a set amount of time, you’re de facto married to them, even if you haven’t signed a marriage license. They used that to prosecute these folks for polygamy. It’s those laws which has been called into question, not polygamy itself.
    There are probably a lot of legal technicalities involved here. In the first place, there will likely be an appeal of this. In the second, it’s quite possible that a different legal tactic might be used to enforce laws against polygamy.
    It’s estimated there are tens of thousands of Muslim families in the US already using this very tactic to have polygamous “marriages.”

  27. Charles I says:

    apples and oranges, you guys never give up on the bestiality

  28. Nancy K says:

    As long as the wives are over the age of 18 and are not forced into these marriages, so be it. I can see the advantage of more help with house work, cooking, child care. Someone to watch the kids for that special date night alone with your husband. If each wife and her children needed to have their own home however, it could get really expense.
    My husband and I visited Tibet a number of years ago and they practice polyandry, where the brothers in a family share the same wife. Having multiple husbands just does not seem like a pleasant idea to me.
    In all these various multiple marriages I wonder how jealousy works, or maybe they are more evolved people than the average American with just one spouse.

  29. Babak Makkinejad says:

    “Married Islamically” is a distinction without merit – Marriage is not a sacrament in Islam, it is only a contract.
    What you are saying is that some Muslims enter marriage contracts under the statutes governing marriage in the prevailing jurisdiction in the United States and later they enter other marriage contracts which are not recognized by those same statutes.
    I wonder if the Muslim marriage contracts can be subsumed under the “domestic partnership” laws within various US jurisdictions.
    Can anyone shed any light on this?
    Can a man enter multiple concurrent domestic partnership agreements with multiple women (let us stick with females for the sake of clarity and decency) in the United States?
    If so, is that not effective support for polygamy?

  30. Babak Makkinejad says:

    OK, thanks for the clarification.

  31. Babak Makkinejad,
    In my view it is quite difficult to overstate the importance of the idea of marriage as a sacrament in Christian culture.
    I can only speak with some reasonable grasp of Anglicanism and variants of Protestant sectarian belief, although I suspect the same paradoxes apply in other variants of Christian culture. Theological conviction is not the primary issue – on this point devout evangelicals, who think the Bible is literally true, practising but not believing Anglicans, and people without a shred of religious belief but who are still part of Anglican or nonconformist culture are absolutely agreed.
    One implication is that even Anglicans who sympathise with Muslims in other respects – and would for instance admire great achievements of Islamic culture, such as the marvellous art and music of ‘Al Andalus’ – find Islamic attitudes to marriage instinctively abhorrent.
    Another ambiguous implication relates to the issue of ‘gay marriage’. In terms of the tax benefits which one can obtain from being married, it has long seemed to me that these should be available to gay couples who go through a civil ceremony. But this view is quite compatible with a traditional Christian view that marriage is properly a matter between a man and a woman, in which both make a pledge intended to last for life, and, at the least, make an honest stab at keeping to it.

  32. shepherd says:

    No, domestic partnerships are between two people, neither of whom can be married or have any marriage-like arrangement.

  33. Lesly says:

    “Can a man enter multiple concurrent domestic partnership agreements with multiple women … in the United States?”
    Short answer yes, but the state does not have to recognize any civil/religious marriage for the purpose of inheritance and other legal rights, whether the marriage bed includes one or several women. This is why you have Jewish orthodox women unable to convince their husbands to divorce, resorting to creative methods of persuasion:
    If the state didn’t recognize a union through a marital certificate, it can’t issue a divorce decree.
    To make matters more confusing, states that don’t recognize common law marriage within their territory will recognize out of state common law marriage.
    I agree with one of the commentators; this ruling doesn’t outlaw polygamy, it outlaws equating cohabitation with polygamy. Possibly to discourage polygamy, possibly to stop fundamentalist Mormons from “bleeding the beast”. I don’t care if polygamy is outlawed as long as everyone who enters the contract is a consenting adult. It will not turn monogamous people into polygamists anymore than gay marriage will turn straight people gay, or, you know, find bleating sheep sexy all of a sudden. I would have preferred a civil union option, so long as I could have participated in the same contract and left marriage to the War on Christmas Christians.

  34. Pat,
    I didn’t realized you went to grad school in Utah (UofU it sounds like?). As a practicing Mormon (member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) I’m glad my church ended its practice of polygamy something like 115yrs ago–my wife is angelic, but one is still plenty enough for me, thanks!
    So while this is an interesting development from a legal/theoretical standpoint, I’m not sure how much impact it will have on “Mormons” in general.
    One thing to keep in mind is that a lot of people here are talking about polygamist “Mormons” in a way that might create false impressions. Of the ~15M worldwide members of any church that could be remotely considered as “Mormon” (ie any that are an offshoot of what Joseph Smith originally started), something like 99.9% of them belong to faiths that actively reject polygamous relationships, and which practicing polygamy would get you excommunicated. I know there might not be any other convenient shorthand for a breakoff sect in Southern Utah that has as much in common with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints as Lutherans or Methodists have with Catholics. Not offended at all, just trying to point out that the sects that do condone polygamy these days make up less than 0.1% of the total population of “Mormons” even defined as loosely as possible.
    So for most of us “Mormons”, this ruling is as much of a shruggable curiosity as it is for most of the rest of you.

  35. turcopolier says:

    I see this as a civil liberties issue. No offense meant but I don’t really care about the LDS church’s position on polygamy. pl

  36. optimax says:

    Many years ago I heard a woman on the radio say she liked being in a polygamous marriage because it allowed her to pursue her own interests instead and didn’t have to devote as much time and energy on her husband as she would have in a monogamous relationship. For her polygamy offered increased independence.
    Claiming more than one wife and her children as dependents for tax purposes and social services is the only harm to society I can see. If a man or woman can financially or emotionally (good luck with that) support his polygamous family, fine.

  37. Pat,
    No offense taken! I actually agree with you–what is law shouldn’t be driven by doctrines of churches. I had originally intended to include more on my thoughts about the civil liberties issues, but the comment was getting too long.
    Personally, as a libertarian, I lean towards the opinion that the government should get out regulating/defining marriage altogether, and handle all of the legal benefits currently tied to marriage via some sort of civil union law. I’m not 100% convinced that’s the right approach, but so far it seems like the best way of protecting both civil liberties and religious liberties that I’ve heard of.

  38. shepherd says:

    “Short answer yes, but the state does not have to recognize any civil/religious marriage for the purpose of inheritance and other legal rights, whether the marriage bed includes one or several women. ”
    Just so we’re clear, and I don’t think we disagree, domestic partnerships are a legal entity in some states. They confer certain legal rights which differ by state. Common law marriages are apparently not very common.
    They are written so as to avoid a back door to polygamy. You can’t have three domestic partners or a spouse and a domestic partner. If you want to live with three women, you can. But if you die intestate, they’d better not expect to inherit.
    Some states recognize common law marriages, others do not. But all states recognize each other’s marriages. So if you obtain a common law marriage in one state, it is recognized in another.

  39. Babak Makkinejad says:

    My understanding was that in East Asia marriage is also a sacrament and not a contract.
    Let me assure you that while sympathetic to the Christians in general, I do find Christians insistence of Marriage being a sacrament rather amusing and – on the plane of reality – unworkable; as that famous Englishman, Henry VIII, amply demonstrated.
    As for “… find Islamic attitudes to marriage instinctively abhorrent.”, my friend, that is just plain envy – they are itching to have a second wife – without a doubt.

  40. Tyler says:

    @ Charles I – Is pedophilia more attractive to you then?

  41. CK says:

    In an attempt to be not humourous.
    There are only four types of marriage arrangements available to humans with humans.
    One male to one female, one male to several females, one female to several males, and the Heinleinian line marriage of several females and several males simultaneously. ( An economic arrangement that sounds a bit like a commune).
    Polygyny ( one male several females ) has two serious issues, the first is the superfluous male issue. It shows up immediately a society allows polygyny. If a society allows polygyny and the average is 4 females to one male. Then 75% of the born males are superfluous. What does a society do when 75% of its males are unnecessary and will have no skin in the game, no reason to contribute to a future in which they will have no offspring. In some societies the solution is castration after the testes drop. This was the Ottoman solution. In other societies sale of slaves is the profitable solution. Far away and out of mind. The Bight of Benin and Brazil, Barbados and other sugar plantation countries come to mind here.
    In other societies, the solution is to send the unnecessary men out to find nearby communities to pillage and abscond with the fecund females. Local war is always a chancy deal but better to have the excess males killing “others” than to have them assassinating local Polygynists and redistributing the local ladies.
    And if those first three options are unavailable, gladiatorial combat and increased socially encouraged prostitution might work for a short while.
    The second serious issue in polygyny will appear several generations down the road and is the result of having so few males line contributing to the gene pool. Too many half brother and half sister matings, too many first and second cousin matings. This consequence will appear sooner the higher the average number of wives in the generations of polygynists.
    Polyandry ( one female to several males ) is the society of the bee, ant and termite hive.
    I can not find any human society where this arrangement obtained for any length of time.
    Paraguay after the Chaco wars was close to a societal mandated polygyny because there were so few men available to procreate. This was a self righting situation because by sexual maturity, a human population will be 50/50 barring wars and sex linked medical plagues

  42. CK says:

    In a society that encourages a man to take a mistress as well as a wife, over time 50% of the men born into that society become non contributors to the future population and as such have reduced motivation to contribute to the advancement and upkeep of the current polity.
    3 simultaneous sexual consorts means 66% of the born males have no sexual or procreative future.
    4 the Koranic rule; 75% of males born will not have progeny.
    10 simultaneous spouses means 90% males redundant and dangerously unable to enjoy female companionship. It matters not if a man can “support” them, they will be redistributed in bloody and uncivilized ways. ( I believe that the military suggests a 3 to 1 superiority [ that is the Koranic again ] for the offensive.
    Now if it were possible to trick nature into delivering multiple female births per male born, you might have a workable finagle. Human species pretty much squeeze them out at a 50/50 ratio.

  43. turcopolier says:

    Your exposition of the possibilities of male mating sound like rubbish to me. Having lived in such societies I find your numbers to be unconvincing. I suggest you document your statistics. pl

  44. CK says:

    Mathematical calculation:
    Given a society of 10K mating age humans half male half female.
    Variable: Average number of wives per husband. Range 1 to all the women. second variable, % of marriages polygynist.
    0% polygynist implies that the men and women assort into monogamous marriages. There may be voluntary choice of bachelorhood and spinsterhood and celibacy but there is no theoretical involuntary non marriage.
    1 polygynist marriage of 2 wives in the society , there is now one man who cannot have a local wife no matter how much he might wish.
    and so on and so on up to
    100% of the marriages in the society are polygynous with a 4 wife/husband ratio. 5000 available females /4 = 1250 husbands.
    5000 males -1250 husbands = 3750 surplus males who cannot have a local wife, cannot father a legitimate child, have no skin in the game.
    Increase the size of the society as much as you wish, the mathholds. Make polygyny the law for all 7 billion humans and the math still obtains only now there is no place not local for the unspoused to go and pillage a spouse or three.
    It’s not statistics it’s just the logical implications and conclusion that one draws from the mathematics of polygamy.
    Colonel if the numbers do not suit because they are appended to humans; the same calculations hold true for wildebeest, kudus, sheep, cattle, lions, wolves, walrus, seals, etc. The only difference is that these animals have one successful herd bull for all the females.

  45. scott s. says:

    Anglicanism adopted 39 articles of Religion, specifically XXV “Of the Sacraments” declares matrimony do be non-sacramental, rather a state of life which “have not the like nature of Sacraments”. This view was adopted by Methodism verbatim as Article XVI of the (now) United Methodist Articles of Religion.

  46. turcopolier says:

    Humans are not wildebeast. “Mathmatical calculation?” That sounds as though your mind has been destroyed by too much schooling. My wife says that the real effect is that fewer social derelicts will reproduce. pl

  47. Fred says:

    There is a great deal of coercive pressure towards conformity in any social group. In this case I think the perceived joys of a promiscuous lifestyle fed into this conduct. Something similar is an unexpected byproduct of the sexual and feminist ‘revolution’ of the sixties. Just look at a college campus today. They succeeding very will in teaching an young adults how to have a nurturing emotional relationship with a life partner. “More is better” seems to be the thing. Just like too many calories makes on fat, too much of transient relationships makes one hollow.
    If you oppose gay marriage you are not conforming, of course you must be a bigot. Especially in that liberal town just east of me.

  48. jerseycityjoan says:

    Just wondering —
    Did you ever wish you yourself came from the kind of society?
    How about the fundamentalist Mormons?

  49. jerseycityjoan says:

    Is it possible for a society in which polygamy is common not to be grossly unequal in many ways?
    Are not the men with multiple wives “winners” who dominate that society, even far more than they would have been had they merely been financially wealthy or popular with women or the father of many children or naturally talented or gifted in any way?
    It seems to me that men with multiple wives in a place in which polygamy is common exercise enormous power and control, far more so than they would otherwise.
    They all seem to be little kings, at the expense of everybody around them.

  50. jerseycityjoan says:

    Gay marriage, whatever anybody thinks of it, does provide the opportunity for a group of marginalized people — marginalized by both custom and law — to do what the rest of us who are not gay do.
    I do not see the same parallel experience with polygamy.
    We have had a lot of change in our social and sexual customs in my lifetime. Each change has made some people think that because X change, then A, B, C, and D will have to change too.
    A lot of times that’s not true — or it will be only A that changes.
    I do not think polygamy will become popular. If we agree to pay for it as taxpayers, we’re nuts.

  51. turcopolier says:

    I could easily have stayed in SA, converted to Islam and had several wives. I did not. I know several Americans who did that and they became very rich. Your insinuation that my insistence on the civil rights of those who wish to marry more than one person is based on secret yearnings is just wrong. “or it will be only A that changes. I do not think polygamy will become popular. If we agree to pay for it as taxpayers, we’re nuts.” The massive changes in American mores and law that have occurred in my lifetime do not support your assertion that such changes are not linked and indeed inevitable in their linkage. The truth is that you, like a lot of Americans, have a deeply felt bias against other cultures when “the rubber meets the road.” How would taxpayers pay for legalized polygamy? pl

  52. Tyler says:

    I think a lot of it has to do with those in the NYC/DC/LA cultural axis unable to view things outside of that limited paradigm.
    There will be a correction against this sort of lifestyle sooner rather than later.

  53. jerseycityjoan says:

    My curiosity was not about whether you wanted multiple wives, not at all. I would never have attempted to ask you that, in any case. I am sorry you thought that.
    I wondered if you supported these societies enough to be willing to imagine being born into one of them, a forced participant in their “life lottery” yourself. Because that is what I see going on here.
    If you are born into their culture, it seems the chances for being a “loser” in that life lottery is pretty high. The winners are the adult men with the multiple wives; the losers are the men without any wife and the women and children.
    It is one thing to look at this from the outside but another to be looking at it from the inside. I can only thank God I am looking at it from the outside. I wish no one were looking at it from the inside.

  54. Pat Lang,
    From what I’ve read, the offshoot Mormon groups of southern Utah and northern Arizona, though not in legal polygamous arrangements have been able to game the system quite well. In the case of legal polygamy, off the top of my head, I think tax deductions, earned income credit, food stamps, Medicaid, public education and unemployment insurance could provide substantial financial help to a hypothetical family of husband, four wives, and sixteen children. And, the husband has removed three girls from the pool available to the poor chap who’s looking for the love of his life.

  55. abusinan says:

    “Married Islamically” just means that the relationship has met the requirements under Islamic law, ie Mahr has been paid, ect.
    So one relationship is legal under state law, the others are not, and all are legal under Islamic law.
    I have zero problem with the practice as long as everyone knows what they are getting into. All too often the women involved are tricked into it, or given the choice of letting the husband take a second wife or be divorced. In many Islamic cultures , divorce for a woman is a gigantic social issue that allows men to use it as a blackmail tool.

  56. turcopolier says:

    Abu Sinan is an American convert to Islam. He raises the point that Muslim women are sometimes coerced by social pressure into marriages that they do not like. that is certainly true, but it is also true that Muslim women cannot be forced into marriage and they have the right to divorce. pl

  57. turcopolier says:

    “the husband has removed three girls from the pool available to the poor chap who’s looking for the love of his life.” So what? are you the marriage boss? the argument about polygamous welfare “kings” is just bigotry. pl

  58. David Habakkuk,
    I immediately, upon reading your remarks, grabbed my Book of Common Prayer and concluded that you are substantially, though not literally correct. Holy Matrimony while not a Sacrament of the Gospel, is “an honorable estate, instituted of God,signifying unto us the mystical union that is betwixt Christ and his Church”. The teachings of the church and the studies of history and anthropology and the immutabiliy of the concept of marriage as between man and woman render the notion of same – sex marriage inconceivable.
    I would say that the view of marriages in other religions and traditions and the practices therein are perceived as just different and, perhaps, not the right or Godly way to do things. The abhorrence of practices in Islamic marriage you mentioned probably has to do with local and tribal customs more than the institution of marriage itself.

  59. turcopolier says:

    “Holy Matrimony while not a Sacrament of the Gospel,” i am not sure what you mean by “a sacrament of the Gospel.” pl

  60. optimax says:

    Some here make it sound like monogamy is a form of sexual socialism that guarantees each adult an acceptable mate. Most states do not have anti-cohabitation laws and it doesn’t seem like a popular trend. If the income-gap continues to grow, a marriage-gap would grow correspondingly. But that would just be a symptom of a much larger inequality.

  61. shepherd says:

    The question is the total cost, isn’t it? So while he’d have all those benefits if they were married, don’t his extra wives now still get substantial tax deductions, earned income credit, food stamps, Medicaid, public education and unemployment insurance? It might not be all that different.

  62. Babak Makkinejad says:

    In Islam, there is a limit of 4 on the number of wives although that is relaxed in Shia Islam under the statutes governing temporary marriages.
    I think what you have been stating certainly took place under the late Sassanid period in Iran whereby men could marry a large number of women – they had a Kade-Banoo – the head wife – whose duties included managing the other wives who happened to include the cook, the servant etc.
    This phenomenon probably was one of the causes of the Mazdak Revolt.
    At any rate, I think although the dispensation to marry more than one wife is granted in the Quran, in actual practice their numbers have been fewer than one would otherwise expect – for a variety of reasons, I should imagine.
    I think the application of the Quranic dispensation made eminent sense in USSR after World War II and likewise in Germany.
    And I think Paraguay could have benefited from legalization of polygamy with certain limits.
    Lastly, for men who find themselves in analogous situations as Bill Clinton found himself, perhaps the institution of (temporary) polygamous union to another women could have offered a certain level of comfort.

  63. Tyler says:

    I’m not arguing with your disposition of superfluous males, but with your assurance that “modern American females” will be the sand in the gears to any sort of polygamy. In my experience, American women gravitate naturally towards alpha males, no matter how much they might claim they just want a “sensitive guy who listens”.
    Ergo, Tamerlane’s strong feminist wife putting on a burqa and marrying a Chechen thug.
    Feminists will do what they have done since the beginnings of their idiotic ‘movement’- rewrite the script and claim that’s what they’ve believed all along as they turn to a strong provider after they find out their Masters in Gender Studies qualifies them to work at Starbucks and little else.

  64. turcopolier says:

    “In my experience, American women gravitate naturally towards alpha males, no matter how much they might claim they just want a “sensitive guy who listens”.” Yes, there seems to be something interesting for most concerning soldiers. pl

  65. CK says:

    Humans are not herd animals?
    Not a day goes by that I am not further schooled in some aspect of something. 67 years of schooling so far, a few more left before I can safely conclude that I know it all.

  66. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I think the “sensitive guy who listens” already has a boy-friend.

  67. CK says:

    Chateau Heartiste covers the alpha male and “game”
    quite thoroughly.
    The point I was trying to make is that few men would wish to be legally burdened with a harem of young, entitled, graduate American feminists.
    The Alpha, to use a fishing metaphor, is much more into catch, enjoy, and release than he is catch and take home and keep.

  68. Fred says:

    Yes, that is very true.

  69. optimax says:

    “Nice guys don’t finish last, they finish second.”

  70. Fred says:

    That’s the best laugh I’ve had all day, thanks!

  71. Fred says:

    I think you understand neither alpha males nor American women.

  72. Stephanie says:

    Adding to this:
    “Their religious belief is that they’ll bleed the beast, meaning the government,” said Mark Shurtleff, Utah’s attorney general. “They hate the government, so they’ll bleed it for everything they can through welfare, tax evasion and fraud.”
    There may well be polygamous sects who don’t seek to soak up taxpayer money. And all are entitled to welfare and other aid in times of need, including long term need. But in some cases said soaking is an actual matter of community policy.
    It’s also possible that there’s a way to make polygamy legal in such a way that such abuses are curbed and the rights and interests of young people in isolated communities are protected. Fine with me. But it does seem plain that extending marriage rights to such parties may have ramifications for public policy in a way that simply adding a new class of couples doesn’t.

  73. Tyler says:

    I’ve been asked more “have you killed someone” with baited breath more by women than men. “The gentler sex” indeed.

  74. Tyler says:

    Oh, I’m familiar with Roissy. He’s not as bad as Moldbug for using 100 words when one will do, but he can be a bit long winded for me.
    There’s something to be said for fishing and ‘soft harems’, but the perpetual adolescence of a different girl every night into your forties speaks of stunted development and is not as admirable as they think.

  75. Colonel Lang,
    William Fitzgerald was responding to a correction by ‘scott s.’ of an earlier comment be me.
    When ‘scott s.’ pointed out what the Anglican 39 articles say, I realised I had made an ass of myself in suggesting that the sacramental nature of marriage is part of Anglican doctrine. Both Luther and Calvin, as I understand it, restricted the sacraments to Baptism and the Eucharist, leaving out the five further traditional sacraments, including marriage, and when the 39 Articles were issued in 1571, Article 25 did the same.
    However, there are divergencies within the Anglican communion. From the Wikipedia entry:
    ‘Five other acts are regarded variously as full sacraments by Anglo-Catholics or as “sacramental rites” by Evangelicals with varied opinions among broad church and liberal Anglicans. Article XXV states that these five “are not to be counted for Sacraments of the Gospel, being such as have grown partly of the corrupt following of the Apostles, partly are states of life allowed in the Scriptures; but yet have not like nature of Sacraments with Baptism, and the Lord’s Supper, for that they have not any visible sign or ceremony ordained of God.”
    It remains the case that as William Fitzgerald notes, the symbolism used in relation to marriage is very strong – and among other things, makes it quite different from a contract. Meanwhile, I think that BM is quite wrong in suspecting men regard Islamic polygamy with envy. Affairs, a mistress, even a change of wife are one thing – the notion of having more than one wife at the same time still goes deeply against the grain.

  76. turcopolier says:

    David habakkuk
    Catholicism considers matrimony to be a sacrament. As for polygamy making one uncomfortable as a concept I suppose that my long association with Muslims has eliminated that in me. pl

  77. confusedponderer says:

    IMO a lot of the outrage about Polgamy is rooted in deep rooted and persistent protestant anxieties about the matter of sex.
    There is a beautiful Monty Python sketch about that in the meaning of life.
    ” Harry Blackitt: Look at them, bloody Catholics, filling the bloody world up with bloody people they can’t afford to bloody feed.
    Mrs. Blackitt: What are we dear?
    Harry Blackitt: Protestant, and fiercely proud of it.
    Mrs. Blackitt: Hmm. Well, why do they have so many children?
    Harry Blackitt: Because… every time they have sexual intercourse, they have to have a baby.
    Mrs. Blackitt: But it’s the same with us, Harry.
    Harry Blackitt: What do you mean?
    Mrs. Blackitt: Well, I mean, we’ve got two children, and we’ve had sexual intercourse twice.
    Harry Blackitt: That’s not the point. We could have it any time we wanted.
    Mrs. Blackitt: Really?
    Harry Blackitt: Oh, yes, and, what’s more, because we don’t believe in all that Papist claptrap, we can take precautions.
    Mrs. Blackitt: What, you mean… lock the door?
    Harry Blackitt: No, no. I mean, because we are members of the Protestant Reformed Church, which successfully challenged the autocratic power of the Papacy in the mid-sixteenth century, we can wear little rubber devices to prevent issue.
    Mrs. Blackitt: What d’you mean?
    Harry Blackitt: I could, if I wanted, have sexual intercourse with you…
    Mrs. Blackitt: Oh, yes, Harry.
    Harry Blackitt: …and, by wearing a rubber sheath over my old feller, I could insure… that, when I came off, you would not be impregnated.
    Mrs. Blackitt: Ooh.
    Harry Blackitt: That’s what being a Protestant’s all about. That’s why it’s the church for me. That’s why it’s the church for anyone who respects the individual and the individual’s right to decide for him or herself. When Martin Luther nailed his protest up to the church door in fifteen-seventeen, he may not have realised the full significance of what he was doing, but four hundred years later, thanks to him, my dear, I can wear whatever I want on my John Thomas…
    Harry Blackitt: … and, Protestantism doesn’t stop at the simple condom. Oh, no. I can wear French Ticklers if I want.
    Mrs. Blackitt: You what?
    Harry Blackitt: French Ticklers. Black Mambos. Crocodile Ribs. Sheaths that are designed not only to protect, but also to enhance the stimulation of sexual congress.
    Mrs. Blackitt: Have you got one?
    Harry Blackitt: Have I got one? Uh, well, no, but I can go down the road any time I want and walk into Harry’s and hold my head up high and say in a loud, steady voice, ‘Harry, I want you to sell me a condom. In fact, today, I think I’ll have a French Tickler, for I am a Protestant.’
    Mrs. Blackitt: Well, why don’t you?
    Harry Blackitt: But they – Well, they cannot, ’cause their church never made the great leap out of the Middle Ages and the domination of alien Episcopal supremacy. ”
    When you say that America is nuts about sex that’s probably just on point, and, clearly, Monty Python provides essntial context ^^
    Getting outraged about them outrageous Mormons was an opportunity to talk about what those Mormons do with their many wives behind closed doors. Before the Mormons it was what was happening in them Catholic monastries and so forth. Now it’s the Muslims.
    Other religions appear to be a protestant’s pornography.

  78. I wish I’d said it like that.

  79. turcopolier says:

    Yes, this obsession with sexuality arrived in the USA with my puritan ancestors. Along the way Catholicism picked up a lot of that from them prods as well as such baleful influences as Jansenism. pl

  80. Stephanie says:

    Some of these discussions invariably remind me of another bit of dialogue:
    Turgidson: Doctor, you mentioned the ratio of ten women to each man. Now, wouldn’t that necessitate the abandonment of the so-called monogamous sexual relationship, I mean, as far as men were concerned?
    Dr. Strangelove: Regrettably, yes. But it is, you know, a sacrifice required for the future of the human race. I hasten to add that since each man will be required to do prodigious…service along these lines, the women will have to be selected for their sexual characteristics which will have to be of a highly stimulating nature.
    [The men all look thoughtful.]
    Russian Ambassador: I must confess, you have an astonishingly good idea there, Doctor.

  81. shepherd says:

    I’ve debated whether to share this, but here goes. When it comes to polygamy, I think it depends on how the culture implements it. There seems to be a general idea among some here that it’s fine and limited in the cultures that use it. Only people with enough wealth do it, so the net impact of it is not too bad. That’s not always the case.
    Several years ago, I was part of a team commissioned by an agricultural company that had a lot of dealings in West Africa, particularly in Cote D’Ivoire and Ghana. One of the problems the company faced was a rash of incendiary media reports of child labor and trafficking in the region. As part of a much larger farm rehabilitation effort, we conducted interviews in country and underwrote the research of several anthropologists to help us understand the situation. We wanted to see a) if there was anything we could do to alleviate the problem, and b) make sure no one talked stupidly about it.
    The bottom line finding was something like this. Nearly all of the affected children were from Muslim ethnic groups, particularly from Mali and Burkina Faso. What was happening was that, contrary to the logic expressed here, men were marrying multiple wives and having children with them–while having absolutely no means of supporting them. I remember the women of one village joking about the local Lothario, who had four wives and 39 children. This in an area where the ‘rich’ guys had tin roofs on their houses.
    At a certain age the children were introduced to a larger network of connections and assigned to people who either did not have children themselves or had the ability to support them. They were not sold or stolen, as you might expect, they were voluntarily given in to them (though instances of kidnapping did exist). In theory, these networks were linked by kinship groups, etc. but once the children were in the network, the oversight ended. Sometimes, this would work out well for the kid. But most ended up going to farms where they would work at dangerous tasks until their majority in exchange for sustenance and little more. They were essentially slaves until 15 or so (the age of adulthood is lower there).
    Of course, the situation was ripe for worse exploitation than this. There is little administrative reach (none really) in most of these areas. No schools, clinics, policeman etc. The entire child trafficking task force in Cote D’Ivoire consists, I believe, of five people. So there were plenty of instances where the children were badly mistreated. Some, as you might expect, ended up as sex slaves in brothels in the cities.
    The anthropologists (extremely liberal) tried to educate us on how this was a custom and folk culture, all that stuff. Sure, we could get that. But we didn’t think the public would appreciate the niceties. Children were being sent away from their mothers very young. Some of their new “parents” treated them as their own children; others did not. And some treated them very badly indeed.
    I’m obviously not a bleeding heart. I was a hired gun, trying figure out if a series of shocking media reports on the situation were fair, or whether they were sensationalistic and misrepresenting a cultural dynamic that Westerners could not understand. While we found a mix of both, it wasn’t a pretty picture overall. And if you wanted to place your finger on the cause, it was polygamy.
    I don’t think this affects the debate on what should happen in the US, but it is food for thought.

  82. Tyler says:

    Polygamy is going to increase the sexual cachet of certain types of men and likely force a lot more out of their perpetual adolescence in order to compete.
    For American women, it will change the landscape like the atomic bomb did for warfare. It would be ironic if polygamy brought back a return to Hawksian Women & Good wife/wise mothers of the 50’s – I find them preferable to the angry, overeducated under experienced women in their 20s today.

  83. Serial monogamy outside marriage seems to be the cultural trend in the evolving remnants of Western Civilization!
    Children and taxes appear to be the big drivers of marriage in the west.

  84. confusedponderer says:

    re: ‘Gay marriage” as far as I am concerned that was always a legal practical matter, a problem in want of a solution.
    Contracts oftered no satisfactory alternative.
    It is impossible to adress with contracts the issues of status, inheritance, representation or the issues of partners having children, because many of those are all matters of administrative law and beyond the reach of contracts.
    In the absense of a legal framework such relationshits are quite messy legally.
    The reality of such couples living together had to be addressed legally one way or another. In that sense, a legal framework is a sensible step because it allows to adress such matters in a coherent way and not on a case by case basis.
    As long as ‘gay marriage’ as a legal framework solves the legal problems and is unlike marriage and about consenting adults the construct is to me a sensible one.
    The problem in the US arises from calling it ‘marriage’. Cons in the Us are consistently incapable or unwilling to reconcile themselves with the fact that something that’s called marriage not necessarily is marriage. Calling it by that name dosn’t change that.
    To the best of my knowledge, the constructs chosen in the US differed from marriage, but by necessity had to adress many of the same areas in similar or identical ways.
    An identical solution to the same set of problems does not indicate equalling marriage and such a legal framework, but may simply be the what a fair and equitable solution suggests.
    Just a thought.

  85. BTW Utah courts have carefully avoided PALIMONY issues!

  86. Tyler says:

    ” But it does seem plain that extending marriage rights to such parties may have ramifications for public policy in a way that simply adding a new class of couples doesn’t.”
    Ahahaha. That’s what we were saying about gay marriage all along, but now that it’s rural whites versus effete cosmopolitans you discover there’s a problem!

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