Is Polygamy Next?

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    Dec 11, 2008 1:03 PM GMT
    I was listening to the Dan Savage Podcast, love him!!! Anywho....

    A str8 guy called in and asked what should he do cuz he was married and him and his wife have a gf...together. They both care about her and he was asking if he should tell his mother....anyway....

    Dan made a joke and said that the guy couldnt marry this other girl until he could marry his bf. The man overwhelmingly agreed and said "but as soon as you can marry your bf, I am gonna fight to marry this girl also".

    I am not sure if I would get married if I could...but I do believe gays should have the right to get married if they chose.

    But since I am very monogamous relationship oriented....I am having trouble understanding why someone would want to marry more than one person?

    I know alot of people have open relationships but to me thats different than marrying a bunch of different people. They say that the publics acceptance of us is slowly changing and that eventually we will one day be able to marry.

    I never believed it would open up the flood gates for polygamy and etc, but maybe it would? This guy was really serious speaking of his other gf and I just dont get it.

    Am I wrong for being critical of polygamy when people say that gay relationships are wrong and we shouldnt marry?

    I feel a little guilty but right now I wouldn't approve of polygamy being legal.
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    Dec 11, 2008 2:29 PM GMT
    Ok why?

    Once again, like a lot of people, you confuse polyamory, with polygamy. Note that the guy said, BOTH he and his wife loved the other woman. And I assume the woman does too. Polygamy is very different from Polyamory on two points: control as to who marries who, and in its implicit definition and cultural context:

    • Polygamy/Polyandry is the marriage of one person to several people. The person he/she marries has no say in who he/she marries. Only the head of the household controls who gets into his/her marital bed. All the rest are virtually simply his chattel.

      In contrast, Polyamory is based on the mutual feelings of all people involved. There is no unwilling party. In most cases the love is shared by everyone; or in the least, the love of one person draws 2 or more other people together who share him/her. NOTE: Mutual consent to cohabit. No one forced.

    • Polygamy (or Polyandry for that matter) is often deeply cultural. Abraham was polygamous for instance. Marriage was polygamous to most Middle Eastern cultures (including the Jews prior to the diaspora). In those cases, the marriage of several women to one man (or several men to one woman in cultures like Tibet, India etc.) is not based on love of all parties involved but of the patriarch's (or matriarch's) decision alone. Meaning, the new wives are married to the guy at worst forcibly at best because the guy grew tired of his old wife or is rich enough to support 2.

      Think of it this way:
      a) Muslims have Polygamy; Tibetans have Polyandry, etc. http://www.trivia-library.com/b/alternative-forms-of-marriage-polyandry.htm
      b) Hippie communes and committed menage a trois are Polyamorous.

      Polygamy/Polyandry - Greek: Many women/Many men
      Polyamory - Greek: Many + Latin: Love

      See the difference now? They aren't the same, not the same at all.


    People mistake the greed of the head of the household of traditional Polygamy/Polyandry as the same greed that drives Polyamorous relationships. It is NOT. Polyamory is not driven by lust at all, nor financial matters. Just as with homosexuality, it's driven by love. Why else would 3 or more people attempt to stay together given all the hostility they know they will face? The shunning, same as with gay people? They could easily just go swinging with less complications, but they elect to stay together.

    They have a bond. As strong as that between two people. It may be between three people or more, but it's the same bond.

    So how could I possibly not support polyamory? It may not be my cup of tea, but so is heterosexuality. I may not engage in it, but who am I to stop it? If those people love each other why should I? Polyamory however has the advantage that one of its forms resembles polygamy (one man + two or more women) IS fully supported by the Bible/Talmud/Koran.

    When I look at these kind of relationships, I ask two questions only: Are the participants of age, and is it consensual? If the answer is yes on both counts, then what justification do I have to prevent it from happening other than personal discomfort at seeing several people married? Would my own prejudices be enough to drive me to stop it? Because again, no matter what angle you view it, an opposition to Polyamory is plain and simple, another form of prejudice.

    I bet the main reason people don't support it is simply: 'Yuck' or the assertion that 'Humans are supposed to be Monogamous'. Both of those arguments are true only to the individual who expressed them. Note how it is disturbingly similar to how straight people would vote against gay marriage because it is also 'Yuck' and 'Humans are supposed to pair in men and women'.

    Frankly it still surprises me how many gay men can't see that. I know asking for it before we even have the right to marry is putting too much pressure on conservatives, but when the time comes to defend it, would you? I wouldn't care if it gives another reason for conservatives to label us people who love unconventionally as perverts.

    I would.

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 11, 2008 3:51 PM GMT
    Hey thanks man for the response, no I wasnt aware of the difference between the two, so thanks for explaining it, makes a little more sense now.

    I know exactly what your saying and agree with you but I feel like some of the conservatives now when they argue against us. I feel guilty about feeling this way....but if say gay marriage did pass, then the poly____ whatevers wanna get married....I mean where does it stop?

    I interpret marriage as a union between two people and I understand people can love more than one person at a time but how does it still become special and a union if someone could eventually marry 3,4,5 or however many they wanted?

    I know being discriminated against I shouldnt feel this way but I think a union or marriage should be between 2 people, I think once you get up into the multiple people it would lose some of its meaning.

    But Lord knows alot of people feel that way about 2 men or 2 women getting married, so who am I to say...

    I just shocked myself when I heard this guy say he wanted to marry a 2nd woman if he could and how I felt about it, and suddenly I felt like I was the ones discriminating against us as gay men now.

    I think I am getting to old for this crap, haha.
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    Dec 11, 2008 4:01 PM GMT


    Hey Redbull,

    What we notice over and over again in this subject is that people the US fail to look at other countries where gay marriages are OK. Why is this?

    No polygamy.

    So, why would the US be different?
    Gay marriage has never been a crime because
    there were no laws around it. When a judgement was passed to create a law allowing gay marriage, it was fought against with prop 8.
    Now then, polygamy IS a criminal offense with laws already around it.

    See the difference?

  • DiverScience

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    Dec 11, 2008 4:05 PM GMT
    Devil's Advocate...

    So what?

    What's the problem with a polyamorous legal relationship between a group of consenting adults?

    We're not talking pedophilia or bestiality, or anything, we're talking about full, consenting, legally autonomous, adult members of society. What's the harm if they want to form a 3 or 4 or 10 person family?
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    Dec 11, 2008 4:10 PM GMT
    With regard to the slippery slope RedBull,

    There are people who abuse the privileges of marriage. Some get married just for the insurance benefits or for citizenship. There will always be people who con the system. But these are a minority of couples who get married. We have no reason to expect that poly marriages would result in a wide spread con like you mention. More importantly we should deny legitimate poly couples the right to marry just because a few people would do something like this.

    But, if you are like anyone I know in a poly relationship, you and your partner could find a third person out of the blue. One morning you wake up and there is a third person you both never expected to fall in love with.
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    Dec 11, 2008 4:10 PM GMT
    redbull saidI just shocked myself when I heard this guy say he wanted to marry a 2nd woman if he could and how I felt about it, and suddenly I felt like I was the ones discriminating against us as gay men now.

    I think I am getting to old for this crap, haha.


    Hey redbull - I was in a 3 way ltr for a while and really liked it - partly due to my cultural background and that I always felt like I am capable of loving as many as a house can hold LOL. - the artist and hippie in me kicks in on that part too.

    To me I just never understand why the gay community wants to define itself in a heterosexual manner. I know and have known many "gay families" and feel like they work as well as any 1 on 1 ltr's I have seen. Some are very monogamous to each other and others are open just like the 1 on 1 ltr's we all have befriended or experienced. It's just about honesty and for me...I would like to know I have 2...3 or more BEST FRIENDS and LOVERS taking care of me as I would take care of them - If God blesses me to have that life - I would embrace it with much thankfulness.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 11, 2008 4:10 PM GMT

    Ah, Diverscience, must you? (devil's advocate)

    we're trying to move the discussion along with the framework of existing laws, and trying to explain the difference between enshrining something in law and as opposed to decriminalizing something.


    The two are very very very different.

    Instead, how about a thread about the pros and cons of polygamy, instead of 'marrying' it to threads about gay marriages?
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    Dec 11, 2008 4:48 PM GMT
    meninlove said
    Ah, Diverscience, must you? (devil's advocate)

    we're trying to move the discussion along with the framework of existing laws, and trying to explain the difference between enshrining something in law and as opposed to decriminalizing something.


    The two are very very very different.

    Instead, how about a thread about the pros and cons of polygamy, instead of 'marrying' it to threads about gay marriages?


    Ah Doug and Bill... I think not. The situation is completely the opposite of how you described it. You are basing your views in the Western world (same as how heterosexuals opposing gay marriage are basing their views on western religions, incidentally).

    Decriminalizing? Polygamous and Polyandrous marriages are very common among non-western cultures. The mere fact that Islam is the most widespread religion should give you that idea - Polygamy, after all, is a tenet in Islam and fully legal (as is divorce).

    In contrast, Sodomy laws have been enforced (and still enforced) in a lot of countries in the world. Gay marriage is the one that's being decriminalized. Or to be more precise, homosexuality.Not the other way around.

    Polygamy, as far as I know, only has criminal laws against it in the US. Especially after the Mormon incident. In other countries it is simply impossible, but not criminal. It only becomes criminal if it becomes an element of fraud. No law prohibits several people from cohabiting and loving each other.

    I have discussed the pros (and in a limited way the cons, which was taken up more in detail by redbull's slippery slope argument) in my previous post. Did you read it?

    I'm just curious then. Please enumerate the reasons why the love of several people can not be legalized?

    redbull already said one: "I think a union or marriage should be between 2 people, I think once you get up into the multiple people it would lose some of its meaning." Notice how it is "I". Of course it would lose its meaning to a naturally monogamous person. But how can you question the love of other people? You're not the one experiencing it. You simply can not dictate who (or how many, for that matter) anyone can love. Nor can you understand another person's love fully. A straight guy will never understand the love of a gay guy for another guy. So it is with monogamous people and polyamorists.

    Again the questions. Leave legality behind, being homosexual was illegal once too.

    Are the participants of age, and is it consensual?, I'll add another one for the benefit of other people: Are they hurting anyone?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 11, 2008 4:51 PM GMT
    No, because they make the choice to be in a three-way relationship. I didn't make the choice to be gay.
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    Dec 11, 2008 4:57 PM GMT
    GwgTrunks saidNo, because they make the choice to be in a three-way relationship. I didn't make the choice to be gay.


    *sigh*

    You also made the choice to be in a 'two-way' relationship didn't you? You can still be gay and single after all.

    Marriage - protection of legal rights. Visitation rights, inheritance, guardianship rights etc.

    It's not about who deserves it more.
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    Dec 11, 2008 5:03 PM GMT
    Seriously. STEP BACK. Step faaaar back and really find out WHY you wouldn't want marriage of more than two people if they really want it and are fully functioning adults.

    P.S. I am a monogamous person myself. But I recognize the bases of Polyamory and consider it just another expression of love. The reaction of people here to polyamory (or even simply open relationships) has fascinating parallels in the hetero stand on gay marriage.
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    Dec 11, 2008 5:07 PM GMT


    Sedative, we're not saying that polygamy shouldn't be de-criminalized, we're pointing out differences in the processes of law. As for the Western world, Redbull is speaking from a US perspective and about the US only.
    We're asking him to look at other Western societies, for the time being.

    As for Eastern religions and polygamy - you're right that men can have up to 4 wives - but women cannot have more than one husband.
    In all the research we've done - monogamy is considered the norm and polygamy the exception and the only form of accepted polygamy is polygyny..
    No polyandry.

    Here's a quote for you:

    "Perhaps the aspect of Islam in respect of women which is most prominent in the Western mind is that of polygamy. Firstly let me clarify that Islam does not impose polygamy as a universal practice. The Prophet himself was a monogamist for the greater part of his married life, from the age of twenty-five when he married Khadija until he was fifty when she died.

    One should therefore regard monogamy as the norm and polygamy as the exception.

    One may observe that, although it has been abused in some times and some places, polygamy has under certain circumstances a valuable function. In some situations it may be considered as the lesser of two evils, and in other situations it may even be positively beneficial arrangement."

    from http://www.jamaat.org/islam/WomanPolygamy.html

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    Dec 11, 2008 5:35 PM GMT
    Nor indeed will polyamory be the norm even after it is passed. Will everyone become gay and start marrying the same gender after gay marriage laws are passed? Of course not. Again you are making the assumption that it will be an arrangement between men and unwilling women as it is with most polygamous marriages in other cultures.

    That is the only abuse I can think of in Islamic countries. Most multiple marriages in Islam are based on convenience, alliances, and anything else, but not mutual consent of everyone present, nor love. It is distinctly unfair for you to compare, for example, a french threesome (not in the sexual sense) with a sheikh and his harem, agree?

    If this law is passed in the US, what abuses would you possibly foresee for it other than the ones MunchingZombie enumerated? Because unlike Islamic states, you can't force anyone to marry you in the US (nor in any democratic countries anyway).

    And as I have said, Polygamy in the US is criminal only because of the element of fraud. In cases where the husband takes on two wives without the knowledge of each other, for example. There are plenty of hippies in the US in the 60's living in polyamorous communes. There were no laws against them were there? The act of polyamory itself is not criminal. (As opposed to Sodomy laws, in which the act of being homosexual is crime enough in itself)

    I have also explained why I make the distinction between polyamory and polygamy in my first post.

    Seriously! Read it already! icon_lol.gif

    And as for my question? Please enumerate the reasons why the love of several people can not be legalized?

    I would rather hear the ethical and moral arguments rather than legal (which are fleeting and dependent on the times, as well as being often rooted in illogical traditional values).

    P.S. A woman can have more than one husband in matriarchal societies. Notably African and Tibetan. Also in several island cultures, including some tribes in Irian Jaya, and yes the Philippines.
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    Dec 11, 2008 6:05 PM GMT


    We never said there are reasons why polyandry shouldn't be legalized - (and indeed, our personal feelings are 'well, why not?'); we're pointing out the difference between enshrining something in law as opposed to decriminalizing something with laws already in place forbidding it.

    There's a difference between the two.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 11, 2008 6:11 PM GMT

    Here, let's try this -

    Prop 8 was to defeat a ruling by the courts saying gay marriage is OK. simple.

    A different court ruling would be required to make polyamorous marriages no longer criminal.
  • GoodPup

    Posts: 752

    Dec 11, 2008 6:12 PM GMT
    meninlove said
    Ah, Diverscience, must you? (devil's advocate)

    we're trying to move the discussion along with the framework of existing laws, and trying to explain the difference between enshrining something in law and as opposed to decriminalizing something.


    The two are very very very different.


    I don't think it is all that different. The existing laws state polygamy is wrong and that gay marriage is banned. Both existing laws. If gays can fight to have it over ruled... can they fight to over rule polygamy?
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    Dec 11, 2008 6:16 PM GMT


    "I don't think it is all that different."

    we'd suggest using the search engine, google, to research this, JasoninOC.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 11, 2008 6:22 PM GMT
    meninlove said
    Here, let's try this -

    Prop 8 was to defeat a ruling by the courts saying gay marriage is OK. simple.

    A different court ruling would be required to make polyamorous marriages no longer criminal.


    No no. There is a distinction between polygamy as a criminal offense and polyamory itself (which isn't a criminal offense).

    What are the instances of polygamy being tried in court? I know only two:

    1) Cases in religious sects which force their members to be polygamous. Obviously criminal since the girls were often not consenting, and worse underage.

    2) Cases in which a person marries one person and then marries another without knowledge of the first one. A case of having two families, both unaware of the other.

    Both aren't polyamory, obviously. As one is non-consensual, and the other is simply a more complex form of adultery.

    I have yet to see the state prosecuting three people who are cohabiting and are sexually and emotionally tied to each other.

    Again, see the difference. Homosexuality back then in the US was actively prosecuted if suspected of having sexual relations because of Sodomy laws.

    As far as I know, there is no law criminalizing gay marriage/relationships or polyamorous marriages/relationships between consenting adults, it is simply banned - impossible. You can not prosecute someone for something that is impossible to do in the first place.
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    Dec 11, 2008 6:25 PM GMT
    http://media.www.dailyemerald.com/media/storage/paper859/news/2006/03/13/Commentary/Polygamy.Criminal.Act.Or.Personal.Matter-1964572.shtml

    And one snippet from that article that rings true:

    Although it may be a libertarian concept, a doctrine of freedom, unless your actions are hurting someone, seems the best way to analyze the question of polygamy, as well as marriage law in general. If marriage is truly the most sacred of institutions, why are politicians and judges the only people with the right to define it? As long as marriage is strictly defined by the law, it will always be a public, political institution rather than a personal, sacred bond between partners. Perhaps the reason for a skyrocketing divorce rate has something to do with the fact that U.S. society spends more time looking at what makes a marriage legal than what makes a marriage good.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 11, 2008 6:31 PM GMT

    If he gets to marry more wives, I get to marry more husbands!
    Please, meet, Mr, Mr, Mr, Mr, and, Mr. Stewart.
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    Dec 11, 2008 7:06 PM GMT
    I think we haven't touched on the fairness of polygamy. One person may marry only one person so that everyone is having a fair chance of getting a mate. No hoarding. Take a look at China for example, where male and female ratio is highly tipped over to males, which leads to many men can't find any girl to get married. This is becoming alarming in a lot of asian countries.

    Also the unfairness inside a polygamous household itself. There's almost always a higher ranking, preferable treatment towards 1 wife versus the other(s). That also leads to preferable treatment towards offspring of that wife. So the other wife/wives and their offspring are at disadvantage.

    It's in society interest to maintain that fairness.
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    Dec 11, 2008 7:45 PM GMT
    magus_iii saidI think we haven't touched on the fairness of polygamy. One person may marry only one person so that everyone is having a fair chance of getting a mate. No hoarding. Take a look at China for example, where male and female ratio is highly tipped over to males, which leads to many men can't find any girl to get married. This is becoming alarming in a lot of asian countries.

    Also the unfairness inside a polygamous household itself. There's almost always a higher ranking, preferable treatment towards 1 wife versus the other(s). That also leads to preferable treatment towards offspring of that wife. So the other wife/wives and their offspring are at disadvantage.

    It's in society interest to maintain that fairness.


    Again. You are putting YOURSELF in their situation and assuming things which are only true for monogamous people. Plus you make a (painfully generalized) judgement based on 'fairness' of distribution of sexes? wtf... are we ants that we must take care and sacrifice individual happiness to maintain the balance of the entire colony? Why! That sounds positively... communist. icon_lol.gif Hello arranged marriages. icon_rolleyes.gif

    Good luck with the hoarding bit. If a guy can convince 2 much less 10 girls to marry her, I'll bet he's probably the real-life 007.

    Also why, why, why the CONFUSION between traditional polygamy/polyandry and polyamory? The two are scarcely even the same!

    Watch A Home At The End Of The World, undoubtedly a classic polyamorous relationship - a straight person, a gay person, and a bisexual person. Or simply find the dozens of french films that deal with polyamorous relationships. One I remember is of two men, both bisexual, and a transgendered MTF.

    THAT is Polyamory. NOT the patriarch+harem Polygamy model which you all seem to think it is.
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    Dec 11, 2008 7:48 PM GMT
    I don't know about you guys but I wanna marry goat, I feel discriminated against yet where's my proposition, and marching and protesting icon_rolleyes.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 11, 2008 7:54 PM GMT
    AMT87 saidI don't know about you guys but I wanna marry goat, I feel discriminated against yet where's my proposition, and marching and protesting icon_rolleyes.gif


    Three questions:

    1) Is it consensual? NO! I can see the fear in the goat's eyes.
    2) Are you both of age? NO! A goat only has an average 15 year lifespan... way too young for you, mister, even if it's already dying.
    3) Are you hurting anyone? YES. The goat.The POOR GOAT.

    Sorry, you are not eligible for marriage, mister. icon_evil.gif