Family Issues

Marriage Without Benefits

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Some polygamists are glad the U.S. Supreme Court this week declined to hear fundamentalist Mormon Rodney Holm's challenge of his bigamy conviction as a violation of his religious freedom. Holm, who married Ruth Stubbs, his legal wife's 16-year-old sister, in a religious ceremony, is something of an embarassment to polygamists who believe in plural marriage only among consenting adults. An essay at Pro-Polygamy.com notes  an interesting wrinkle in the case: In Utah a girl may marry at 16 with parental consent, which Ruth had, and marriage makes sex with her husband perfectly legal, even if he is considerably older. Yet Holm was convicted of "unlawful sexual conduct with a minor" in addition to bigamy. Why? Because he never really married Ruth. If so, how could he be convicted of bigamy? State law makes you guilty of bigamy if you "purport to marry" a second wife. Holm argued that he did not "purport to marry" in a legal sense because everyone involved understood that the marriage would not be recognized by the state. But in upholding Holm's convictions, the Utah Supreme Court ruled that marry in this context includes a religious union with no legal standing.

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  1. Utah Supreme Court ruled that marry in this context includes a religious union with no legal standing.

    Might this lead to interesting rulings with respect to gay marriage?

  2. In Utah a girl may marry at 16 with parental consent, which Ruth had, and marriage makes sex with her husband perfectly legal, even if he is considerably older. Yet Holm was convicted of “unlawful sexual conduct with a minor” in addition to bigamy. Why? Because he never really married Ruth. If so, how could he be convicted of bigamy? State law makes you guilty of bigamy if you “purport to marry” a second wife. Holm argued that he did not “purport to marry” in a legal sense because everyone involved understood that the marriage would not be recognized by the state. But in upholding Holm’s convictions, the Utah Supreme Court ruled that marry in this context includes a religious union with no legal standing.

    My head hurts.

    Unfortunately this seems to be part of a “convict them all, let God sort them out” trend in U.S. courts.

  3. See? I keep telling you goofballs that telling the government that you are married is nothing but bad news!

    Now, if the government would stop issuing these “who you can do” licenses we would all be much better off.

    How about enforcing the written wills of people rather than tossing their belongings ro whomever has some other piece of paper? How about stop telling people who they are married to if they don’t want to be married, aka, “common law marriage”.

    Biggie: stop tossing benefits at any person listed on the who-you-can-do sheet?

    Once you take out these government handout scams (to include ignoring one’s will) then it is a big fat non issue.

  4. Hold it. Being married twice is illegal. The act of going through the second ceremony and claiming someone as your wife for the second time is the crime. It is not a continuing crime. It is a one time crime. It doesn’t matter if you divorce the second wife 20 seconds or 20 years after the ceremony, you are just as guilty either way.

    Of course, the second marriage has no legal effect. But, that doesn’t keep you from being guilty of polygamy. When this dirt bag napped his second child bride, he was committing polygamy. Since the wedding has no legal effect beyond making him guilty of polygamy, he is guilty of sexually abusing the girl.

    It is not logically inconsistent at all and this dirtbag got what he deserved. I hope Reason does not become a shill for polygamists and their child brides.

  5. A Tidal Wave of Polygamists at the Gates of Fortress REASON! Everybody Panic!!!

    That, or else people here are attatched to the whole “rule of law” thing.

  6. Easy there, John. I think Sullum’s just noting the inconsistency of the court ruling that the man was “married enough” to the young girl to be guilty of bigamy, but not “married enough” to use the marriage exemption to the law against sexual conduct with a minor.

  7. Joe I don’t think it is an inconsistancy. Polygamous marriages have no legal effect other than to make you guilty of polygamy. There is nothing logically inconsistant in that.

  8. joe’s right. It’s a silly hair-splitting done in order to support the state’s crusade against polygamy. If Mr. Holm were named Ali and he and his brides were Somalis I doubt it would have gone this far.

  9. The law in Antarctica says you are no longer married after one year. So we usually do not have that problem.

  10. If “polygamous marriages” do not produce a marriage, then no crime is committed. That DOES sound somewhat inconsistent, John.

    Cracker’s Boy

  11. If Mr. Holm were named Ali and he and his brides were Somalis I doubt it would have gone this far.

    Somali Ali?

  12. Laws can sometimes be hard to sort out, that’s why courts are needed.

    Beyond that, I don’t see how this case is relevant to society as a whole either way.

  13. “If “polygamous marriages” do not produce a marriage, then no crime is committed. That DOES sound somewhat inconsistent, John.”

    “Marriage” can have a lot of meanings. It doesn’t produce a marriage in terms of creating a defense against child molestation. It does create a “marriage” in terms of making you guilty of “polygamy”. It is not hair spliting at all. The law makes these kinds of distinctions all the time.

  14. Somali Ali?

    Great name for a rapper, eh?

  15. Yet another example of why the state should get out of the marriage business. One wife is all I can handle and I can’t possibly imagine wanting an additional one, but it’s not the state’s business.

  16. I don’t feel the court was inconsistent. The Utah statute states, “A person is guilty of bigamy when, knowing he has a husband or wife or knowing the other person has a husband or wife, the person purports to marry another person or cohabits with another person.”

    He is obviously guilty of that. If there is a problem, it is a problem with the statute, not the ruling.

  17. Wait, wouldn’t that make it bigamy to move in with a boyfriend/girlfriend after separating from your spouse but before finalizing a legal divorce?

  18. I don’t feel the court was inconsistent. The Utah statute states, “A person is guilty of bigamy when, knowing he has a husband or wife or knowing the other person has a husband or wife, the person purports to marry another person or cohabits with another person.”

    Which, incidentally, makes anyone who has moved in with a new lover before the divorce was final a criminal, too.

    It’s just that the Utah AG doesn’t dare enforce it that way. He’d rather selectively enforce it against members of unpopular religious groups.

  19. This is making my head hurt and I have not even gone out drinking after the good news at work, much less earning a hangover.

  20. Hey, John,

    See the news about North Korea?

  21. I find that a lot of seemingly inconsistent court rulings can be cleared up if you start from the legal theory of “We are almighty and hold dominion over all”.

    About the only thing you can say about this case is, at least he isn’t gay.

  22. I’d buy that, John, if it was two different “marriages” that we were talking about. But we’re not. It was one ceremony. That one ceremony produced two totally opposite legal decisions; that he was married, and that he wasn’t.

    Still sounds inconsistent.

    On the other hand, I’ve got no dogs in this fight, so… it’s hard to get emotional about it either way. As stated above, one wife at a time is more than enough. And sex with a 16 year old? Who wouldn’t want that?

    CB

  23. Q. What do Mormon polygamists say about the women they recruit to be their brides?

    A. I don’t care how you bring ’em, just bring ’em young.

  24. “joe | March 1, 2007, 1:59pm | #
    Hey, John,

    See the news about North Korea?”

    you mean that they saw the goings on in Iraq, started throwing flowers and kisses, and declared they don’t want to be ronery any more?

    Sucksess!

  25. I take it back. There’s no inconsistency.

    It wasn’t a real marriage, but a fake one. First, it is illegal to stage a fake marriage when you are actually married (bigamy). Second, only a real marriage, not a fake one, is a defense against a charge of nookie with a teenager.

    The court didn’t say that he was “married enough” to commit bigamy, because you don’t have to be married at all (to the second wife) to commit bigamy.

    Never mind.

  26. By your logic, being a polygamist would be impossible because it is impossible to be legally married to two people at the same time.

  27. Right, Cab.

  28. Life sucks when you are a child molesting bigimist. You marriage is good enough to get you thrown in jail for bigamy but not legally sufficient to work a defense to child molestation. My heart bleeds.

  29. “By your logic, being a polygamist would be impossible because it is impossible to be legally married to two people at the same time.”

    In a sense it is. You have to divide the act of being married and the legel effect of being married. When you take the second wife, you are committing the act of being married and comitting the crime. Since however, the state doesn’t recognize polygamy, that second marriage is against state policy and legally void except to make you guilty of polygamy.

    If it were any other way, you couldn’t ever prosecute polygamy because if the second marriage is void, then how are you married twice and if the second marriage is valid, how is it a crime? The answer is that the second marriage is invaled and legally will not be recognized but you will be prosecuted for the act of being married to two different people and no you don’t get to claim spousal privileges when explaining why you were having sex with a 15 year old.

  30. Look at it this way. If I go off and get a second wife and die, does that mean she should get a forced share of my estate at the expense of my first wife? You could make the same argument in that case. I was married enough to be prosecuted for polygamy had I been caught, but not married enough for my poor second wife to get a piece of my estate.

    The answer is that in cases of polygamy, the state does not recognize the marriage legally other than to declare it illegal and prosecute you for it.

  31. For those that still can’t see the consistency, I’ll take it in stages for you.

    Stage 1: He is a bigamist because he TRIED to knowingly marry someone while he was married. That is not my definition, that it Utah’s definition.

    Therefore, at this stage he is a bigamist in Utah.

    Now, stage 2: This bigamist sleeps with a 16 year old that legally isn’t his wife.

    Therefore, at this stage he is an asshole bigamist in Utah.

    Clear it up at all?

    At this stage he is an asshole bygamist.

  32. strike last sentence

  33. So John,
    Is your concern that he was ‘married’ to two women at once or that his second ‘bride’ was 16? In other words, do you feel this man should be convicted because he had two women or that he appears to be a child molester?

  34. John,

    Strike “act of being married,” replace with “act of getting married.” You don’t actually become married when you perform that act while already legally married. That’s why the marriage defense isn’t available.

  35. And sex with a 16 year old? Who wouldn’t want that?

    Any number of other 16-year-olds.

  36. “Is your concern that he was ‘married’ to two women at once or that his second ‘bride’ was 16? In other words, do you feel this man should be convicted because he had two women or that he appears to be a child molester?”

    Had both women been over 18, then obviously he is not guilty of sexual abuse of a minor and couldn’t be prosecuted for it. Once he got the second marriage, he is a bigamist and the state has a right to prosecute him.

    This case is really an issue of the ability to raise a criminal defense. If for example, he had committed some other crime and were on trial, would he be able to claim spousal immunity and prevent his second wife from testifying against him? No way because the state doesn’t recognize second marriages. Same way here, he can’t use the defense of “being married” to the charge of having sex with a minor. That doesn’t mean you were not “married” it just means that the state will not recognize your marriage for the purpose of criminal defenses.

  37. It doesn’t produce a marriage in terms of creating a defense against child molestation.

    Sorry, but this guy isn’t a child molester. Just because the law lumps in people who have sex with 16-year-olds with those who have sex with three-yearsolds doesn’t mean that both acts are child molestation. The fact that this guy is a creepy asshole who broke the law doesn’t mean that he’s a child molester.

    A 16-year-old isn’t a child by any reasonable definition. They may not be old enough (legally or morally) to give meaningful consent, but there’s a big difference between an adult man who is sexually attracted to a sexually mature person and one who is attracted to sexually immature children. Men are designed to be attracted to sexually mature women, and throughout most of human history a 16-year-old would have been fair game for marriage, often to a man decades her elder. That doesn’t excuse taking advantage of an emotionally immature girl in this case, but using the loaded words “child molester” is wrong and, in my view, immoral. Whatever crimes this man committed (of which only the statutory rape should be an issue), calling him a child molester only confuses the issue.

  38. It’s moot because SCOTUS didn’t take the case, but isn’t the fact that the A.G. isn’t the lack of enforcement in the situation Captain Holly noted at 1:58, a violation of Equal Protection?

    Since Utah has since amended their law (Utah Code section 76-7-101.5, making the conduct as issue a 2nd degee felony, 1-15 years of imprisonment) to cover just this situation, why not just give the guy the max at sentencing (5 years) and then hammer his ass when he tries to do it again? And we know he will.

    That would seem to be preferable to allowing the State to torture the plain meaning of and the policy behind, the unlawful sex with a minor and the bigamy statutes.

  39. Please strike “the fact that the A.G. isn’t” in the first sentence of my previous post. I’m really not that incoherent normally.

  40. The Utah statute states, “A person is guilty of bigamy when, knowing he has a husband or wife or knowing the other person has a husband or wife, the person purports to marry another person or cohabits with another person.”

    Wow, so in Utah you can be a bigamist without ever being married! If you move in with your boyfriend who is separated but not divorced–and you know he’s separated but not divorced–you are a bigamist, even if you’ve never been married yourself. Am I reading the statute correctly?

    And doesn’t this mean the 16 year old Rodney Holm married is a bigamist as well?

  41. It may in fact be that 16 years old is too high and age of consent. I am not unsympathetic to that argument. The fact is however, it is below the age of consent in Utah. Granted, child molester was a bad term to use, but it still is perfectly legitimate to prosecute this under the law as written.

    Gray Ghost,

    Good point on equal protection issue.

  42. John,
    Way to dodge a question. I don’t give a shit what the Utah law says, there are lots of bullshit laws. I will ask again, is your concern that he was ‘married’ to two women, or that one of his ‘brides’ was under 18?

  43. If the guy had married the 16 year old first, he wouldn’t have as many legal problems. Having sex with a 16 year old wife is legal. Then if he was to discreetly take the older woman as a second wife, the authorities would have been less likely to notice, but at worst he would only have to defend against the bigamy charge.

    I never understood the allure of bigamy. I always thought having one mother-in-law was enough. But then, I hadn’t considered marrying sisters.

  44. “I will ask again, is your concern that he was ‘married’ to two women, or that one of his ‘brides’ was under 18?”

    Both. Polygamy is inherently misogynistic and there is not one society that allows it that isn’t grossly misogynistic. Further, unless you are going to start mandating that far more girls be born than boys, by allowing polygamy you are depriving men of the ability to marry. If the number of men and women are roughly equal, only a few men have to have multiple wives in order to totally screw a large number of men out of the chance to marry.

  45. “I never understood the allure of bigamy.”

    Neither do most adult women. I keep trying to talk my wife into letting me order some gorgous 20 year old Russian off of the internet as a second wife, but somehow she never goes for it. I wonder why? Women’s aversion to it is why polygamy is almost always associated with child brides. Got to get them when they are young and don’t know any better.

  46. Both. Polygamy is inherently misogynistic and there is not one society that allows it that isn’t grossly misogynistic.

    So, your take is that polygamy is wrong because it is mysogynistic. What about polyandry then? How is polygamy different than concurrent girlfriends?

    As for the under 18 bit, I have been unable to find any statute regarding age of sexual consent, but is 16 really that close to “child”? If so, then I must have been a real early starter for a “child”.

  47. Further, unless you are going to start mandating that far more girls be born than boys, by allowing polygamy you are depriving men of the ability to marry.

    “I never understood the allure of bigamy.”

    Neither do most adult women.

    So which is it: if polygamy is legal then everybody will be doing it and we will have a society of restless single men or women just don’t get it and won’t participate, ergo, no problem?

  48. “So which is it: if polygamy is legal then everybody will be doing it and we will have a society of restless single men or women just don’t get it and won’t participate, ergo, no problem?”

    Most women won’t, but it only takes a few to screw up the numbers. Further, these freaks inevitably go for child brides. How do you stop that? Lastly, while it may not take off much in our current society, who is to say that will always be the case? One large influx of immigrants who buy into the idea and that changes. In addition, if you legalize it over time there is nothing to say that it won’t become more accepted and more common and we end up with a backward mysogonistic society full of unmarried young men.

    As far as polyandry, I don’t know of one place it is practiced. Humans just dont’ seem to be wired that way. It doesn’t seem to be much of a threat. But of course equal protection concerns means it has to be banned as well.

  49. “How is polygamy different than concurrent girlfriends?”

    Having multiple g/fs isn’t a perminant arrangment that requires said g/fs to get a divorce to date someone else.

  50. Having multiple g/fs isn’t a perminant arrangment that requires said g/fs to get a divorce to date someone else.

    John, there are plenty of men who live with and create children with several different women — NBA player Shawn Kemp being the most notable — at the same time. Yet no one considers that to be a problem anymore; I don’t see the Utah AG going after any of them (unless they don’t pay their child support).

    So how is a polygamist who marries two different women different than a deadbeat who impregnates two different women? Why isn’t the state going after men who fly from blossom to blossum without any sense of commitment, instead of throwing men who have committed in a religious ceremony to support two different women in jail?

    I’m not a cheerleader for polygamy, and I’m glad the LDS Church washed its hands of it years ago. I’m just disgusted by the way the law turns a blind eye to irresponsible cohabitation without any commitment, yet turns its full fury on religious men who want to stay with their wives.

  51. John,

    Polygamy adjusts the reproductive rate to match what the parents can support. Polyandry is rare, but you find it in Tibet, where the lack of resources calls for a lower child parent ratio. Allowing polygyny is common in cultures, but few men manage to attract mutiple wive. Like your wife, most women aren’t apt to share their husbands. The exception is when a husband has to much wealth that 1/2 of his income is greater than the average man’s income. Then the second wife would get more child support during the marriage than if she married a less wealthy monogamist.

    Today, birth control, modern jobs, bisexuality, and gender equality make the old rules of thumb obsolete. Is it misogynistic if a husband has to share his first wife with a second wife because his first wife falls in love with a woman?

    If everyone is an adult, they should be legally allowed to make whatever contracts they want. It’s time to get the government out of marriage.

  52. Having multiple g/fs isn’t a perminant arrangment that requires said g/fs to get a divorce to date someone else.

    Marriage isn’t permanent either, $250 and a judge’s stamp later and boom, free to go about your merry ways. Worried about the “legal” aspects of marriage/divorce, get a prenup. Better yet, get the prenup, get a religious marriage (if that’s your thing) and keep the state out of it altogether.

    Anyway, if I read your post correctly, cohabitating with two women is perfectly fine and dandy so long as the state hasn’t stamped a piece of paper for either one. Now according to Utah law, even if the state has only stamped one piece of paper, cohabitation with the other is illegal.

    So, if you are already breaking the law by having a wife and a mistress, why not two wives? Better yet, if you are worried about the “permanence” of said marriages, why get married in the first place. Just keep two girlfriends. Oh, yeah, I forgot, Utah has a “common law” marriage statute to make sure that if you care enough about a single somebody to live with them for seven years, they have the right to claim your property.

    Further, these freaks inevitably go for child brides.

    Freaks…child brides. Interesting choice of divisive words. What of those “freaks” that don’t choose “child brides”, who choose adult, consenting women. You know, those rare specimens you referred to earlier. Are they still freaks? What about the consenting women? Are they “freaks” for wanting to get married to a man who already has a wife? You make a bunch of assumptions about people and espouse a prohibition based on the generalized acts of a few. But then, that is what moralists do.

  53. If the court didn’t find that it was polygamy as well as “unlawful sexual contact with a minor” couldn’t dirtbag old men “marry” impressionable young girls for the express purposes of having sex with them….

    Oh, wait a second… something just occured to me…!

  54. But in upholding Holm’s convictions, the Utah Supreme Court ruled that marry in this context includes a religious union with no legal standing.

    So, basically, he is a bigamist because he married the girl, but he raped her because he did not marry her… It is not the first time, nor will this be the last time, that government faux judges make such aberrant “legal” decisions.

  55. “You make a bunch of assumptions about people and espouse a prohibition based on the generalized acts of a few. But then, that is what moralists do.”

    Please find one society that has practiced polygomy in large areas that isn’t both mysogonistic and backward? Go to the middle east where it is done and look at those societies. I doubt you would want to live there. You are the one making generalizations. Just because you can imagine cases where polygamy wouldn’t harm anyone, you think that you can therefore deny the obvious horrible effects widespread polygamy has on society.

    As far as being a moralist, it is not being a moralist to take a practicle look at what certain rules or lack thereof would do to a society and decided that those rules are a bad idea. You could make the lame ass “your just a moralist” argument about anything. They used to practice human sacrice in some places, who are we to moralize about it being wrong. You live in a free forward looking society and benifit from people following some basic moral rules and then deny the validity of those very rules. Like I said, if you think it is such a great idea, go live the societies on earth where polygamy is practiced and then come back and talk to us.

  56. “So how is a polygamist who marries two different women different than a deadbeat who impregnates two different women? Why isn’t the state going after men who fly from blossom to blossum without any sense of commitment, instead of throwing men who have committed in a religious ceremony to support two different women in jail?”

    The state will throw you in jail for not supporting your children. Further, the state draws lines. It has to. Of course we don’t want people out there knocking up multiple women, but it is probably not practical or just to throw them in jail for that. That fact does not mean we should walk all the way down the road and endorse polygamy.

  57. People need to look at the Morman sects out in Arizona where they dump their young male children literally in the streets so the they will not be competition for the old men to marry the young women. It is the most disgusting thing in the world. Yes, I know but once we allow Polygamy we will only have nice polygamists. Bull shit. If so, they will be the first ones in the history of the world.

  58. Nice isn’t a legally definable term.

  59. People need to look at the Morman sects out in Arizona where they dump their young male children literally in the streets so the they will not be competition for the old men to marry the young women. It is the most disgusting thing in the world. Yes, I know but once we allow Polygamy we will only have nice polygamists. Bull shit. If so, they will be the first ones in the history of the world.

    Uh, John, you need to check you assumptions at the door. Historical Mormon polygamy, as practiced during the 1800’s, was a far cry from what is practiced today.

    Polygamy back then had a strong practical element to it, ensuring that there were no widows or spinsters in the community who did not have some source of protection or support. Quite an important aspect when you’re stuck out in a untamed frontier several hundred miles from the nearest civilization.

    There was an unwritted obligation that men who practiced polygamy should marry older women for this very reason. Brigham Young had as many as 12 of these “non-connubial” wives, while my own great-great-grandfather had two.

    Plus, there was a constant stream of new converts arriving in Utah during the 1850’s and 1860’s, and many of them were single women. Polygamy allowed them to integrate quickly and efficiently into the colony. And contrary to popular stereotypes, it was not very hard to get out of a polygamous marriage; Brigham Young himself gave one of his own wives who was unhappy with the arragement a divorce without much fuss.

    The fundamentalist communities today are none of that. They are isolated agricultural islands that are slowly disappearing; hence the increasing “inbreeding” and marriages to ever-younger women. They have very little if any “recruitment” into their ranks, and would probably vanish on their own in 20-30 years.

    The reason I defend them is not because I support their lifestyle, it’s because they’re being prosecuted for largely political reasons.

  60. I think people should read the posted links before they speak. Click and read the entire linked “glad” page and linked “notes” page from the original post. When you do, it is obvious that many people are saying foolish things. They do not know what they are talking about. The links show it.

    The articles state that there is a national movement of polygamists. They oppose the underage crimes coming out of one single mormon polygamous sect. Get it? They even say it is fiction to associate them to that one sect.

    In case anyone still doesn’t get it, here is a clip:

    “Because all of those reports and the Holm case all originate from that one small local group called the FLDS, on the border of Utah and Arizona,” Henkel explained, “the overall media has mis-applied those stories to present a false illusion that all polygamists around the country supposedly are Mormon Polygamists and/or come from the FLDS.

    “That illusion is utter fiction,” Henkel said. “Around the country, there are many different forms of consenting-adult polygamists with fully different reasons for how they conduct themselves. There are evangelical Christian Polygamists, secular polygamists, and other forms as well, including Muslim polygamists. The world is so much larger than the little ‘Mormonland bubble’ of Utah/Arizona,” said Henkel. “And the polygamy rights movement is so much larger too.

    “At the national level, polygamy rights pertain only to consenting adults, as a laissez faire method to overcome the ills of a modern society of marriage-phobic males and abandoned single moms,” Henkel explained.

    You cannot get any more libertarian than that last statement there.

  61. >When you do, it is obvious that many people are saying foolish things.

    I meant to say:
    When you do, it is obvious that many people posting comments here are saying foolish things.

  62. Please find one society that has practiced polygomy in large areas that isn’t both mysogonistic and backward?

    Certainly. Pre-Roman Celtic society was both polygynous and matriarchal. They were not a backwards culture but rather valued the rights of the individual and tribe over that of an impersonal “government”. There were few “crimes” as almost everything was solved in a civil manner, repayment for wrong doing instead of jail. Women were not marginalized but revered.

    Just because polygamy is practiced by mysogonistic peoples does not make the practice itself mysogonistic. If you want to point to the the middle east, you can argue that polygamy is actually against certain tenets of Islam (and is practiced to varying degrees across the Moslem world) and is fully endorsed by Judaism and Christianity. In fact, it wasn’t really frowned upon until Aurelius Augustinus (St. Augustine) doubted it’s place in the “modern Roman custom”. Of course, we see just how non-mysogonistic Romans were.

  63. I have no problem with polygamy.
    I just don’t like Mormons.

    I joke. Really, I just hate Utahns.

    Kwix,
    Any examples of polyandrous societies?
    In the Judeo/Christian/Muslim world?

  64. Polygamy is inherently misogynistic and there is not one society that allows it that isn’t grossly misogynistic.

    All things aside, it was probably an advantage to be a multiple-wife in the ancient world. It meant that you were attached to a man who had the financial means to take care of several wives – not just some poor schmuck. That meant things like servants, or at least divided domestic labors, and better nutrition. Because sexual “duties” were distributed among several women, you were also pregnant less often. Having more material resources and fewer pregnancies meant that as a woman in the ancient world, you were likely to live a longer and healthier life. The system worked for multiple wives. It just screwed the men too poor to afford a wife.

  65. highnumber,

    Any examples of polyandrous societies?
    In the Judeo/Christian/Muslim world?

    Does “The Collective” count?

  66. I just want to point out the brilliant title . “Marriage without benefits” which is a play on “friends with benefits”.

    And furthermore, isn’t that a bit redundant? “Marriage without benefits” is just “marriage” in my experience.

    Like christ rock said, if you like fu**in, marriage ain’t for you.

    nmg

  67. Like christ rock said…

    I thought he said stone unto others as you would have them stone unto to you, or something like that.

  68. “Please find one society that has practiced polygomy in large areas that isn’t both mysogonistic and backward?”

    Hey Kwix – are there examples of cultures that have practiced torture – but where those cultures aren’t backwards?

    (herewith, the thread is now officially dead)

  69. Being married is like being trapped in a small cabin with an angry bee. Why would you want more bees?

    Those of you outside of Utah might want to know that this is the only state in the Union which has anti-polygamy written into the state Constitution. This has led to some pretty oddball legal decisions, such as the guy who was convicted of polygamy for marrying his third (IIRC) wife, even though he had married AND DIVORCED twice before. That’s right, he had complied with the law to the letter, and still was convicted, because he maintained a close relationship with his earlier wives.

    So, here in Utah, it is lawful to shack up with as many women as you like, as long as you were never married to any of them!

    Fortunately, there IS a God, and He won’t permit any judge to tell me that I am still married to my ex-shrew . . .

    I predict that, within 10 years, California will pass laws permitting marriage between consenting adults, including what Heinlein called “Synthetic” marriages of any number of people. Within 25 years, 49 states will have such laws . . .and Utah will still be chasing after polygs, because there will be no way to get the state Constitution changed in the face of all the flak from out-of-state fools.

    Personally, I do believe that plural marriage is a crime — and the penalty is having multiple wives! Women living in close proximity adjust their periods to match the dominant woman . . .I would NOT want to be in a family with 10 women (wives and teen daughters) all with PMS at the same time.

  70. John wrote:

    “Further, unless you are going to start mandating that far more girls be born than boys, by allowing polygamy you are depriving men of the ability to marry. If the number of men and women are roughly equal, only a few men have to have multiple wives in order to totally screw a large number of men out of the chance to marry.”

    This is a STRAW MAN. It assumes five things which are not true. First, that there are an equal number of men and women in each age group (women outnumber men). Second, that a polygamous society is closed, with no option for marriage except within that society. Third, that everyone who wants to marry will find a suitable mate from within the options available to them (ASK me why I don’t date American women!). Fourth, that all marriages are permanent. Fifth, that women who marry polygamists would rather either be married to someone else or wait for the perfect man.

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