European Union

Polygamous Marriage in England: Not Quite Legal, But Subsidized

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A great move for freedom of marital arrangements? One more small-time welfare state scam? Or another crushing defeat for Europe in While Europe Slept style? Britain offers extra welfare benefits for polygamous marriages. From the UK Telegraph:

Even though bigamy is a crime in Britain, the decision by ministers means that polygamous marriages can now be recognised formally by the state, so long as the weddings took place in countries where the arrangement is legal.

The outcome will chiefly benefit Muslim men with more than one wife, as is permitted under Islamic law. Ministers estimate that up to a thousand polygamous partnerships exist in Britain, although they admit there is no exact record.

The decision has been condemned by the Tories, who accused the Government of offering preferential treatment to a particular group, and of setting a precedent that would lead to demands for further changes in British law.

New guidelines on income support from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) state: "Where there is a valid polygamous marriage the claimant and one spouse will be paid the couple rate … The amount payable for each additional spouse is presently £33.65."

Income support for all of the wives may be paid directly into the husband's bank account, if the family so choose. Under the deal agreed by ministers, a husband with multiple wives may also be eligible for additional housing benefit and council tax benefit to reflect the larger property needed for his family.

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  1. BA HA HA!

    Suck on that, Mark Steyn!

  2. So if me and a few birds get kinda crazy while on holiday in the ME, we can party it up with even more dole money when we return? Fuckyeah, baby!

  3. There’s so many damn things to make fun of, I don’t know where to start.

    There’s a reason my ancestors got the fuck out of that kooky place. Thank you, Great-Grandfather SorghumFree.

  4. Sigh. Reward = more.

  5. Woah boy, this thread should be fun once the kooks show up.

  6. I detect a distinct moral hazard problem here… isn’t it the wrong message to send to protect people who went out and got more wife than they could afford?

  7. Somehow I doubt this is going to open the door for other alternate contract-based marriages like in The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.

  8. Well whadaya say girls? Are we all gonna get married?
    All of us? But that’s bigamy!
    Yes and it’s big of me too. It’ll be big of us!

  9. BA HA HA!

    Suck on that, Mark Steyn!

    Haha!

    Aren’t marriages supposedly private contracts? Why the hell is government in the business? Hygiene? At this time and age?

  10. I thought the deal was that you were allowed multiple wives only if you could afford them.

    Does this mean even Muslims are becoming socialists?

  11. I thought the deal was that you were allowed multiple wives only if you could afford them.

    Does this mean even Muslims are becoming socialists?

    It is an individual decision to be made, whether a man can afford it or not. The (prospective) wife has a right to reject a marriage, among sever other reasons including not being attracted to the man, based on his financial abilities.

    No one has a jurisdiction in Islamic law to void a marriage other than the two married individuals, though it has been made harder for women than for men to do that due to cultural reasons (and far less due to religious reasons).

  12. Fundamentalist Mormons are serious welfare drains in Colorado and Arizona (and Utah, too, I suppose). A guy has 20 wifes, each with a trailer and however many kids, and has each wife apply separately.

  13. “sever” –> “several”

  14. ??? ???? ????? ???? ???? ???? ??? ???? ????? ???

  15. ??? ???? ????? ???? ???? ???? ??? ???? ????? ???

    Whatever translator you used, it is pretty bad.

  16. ???? ?????? ???

  17. What accounts for the odd increase here in Brit-bashing posts?

  18. R C Dean-

    I do think we’ll see more polygamous marriages in England as a result of subsidy, but I wonder how many of them will be real marriages (i.e. there’s an actual interest in the additional partner) and how many will just be scams for visas and cash.

  19. What accounts for the odd increase here in Brit-bashing posts?

    Black History Month.

  20. Aren’t marriages supposedly private contracts? Why the hell is government in the business? Hygiene? At this time and age?

    Government first got in the business of arbitrating who is married to prevent interracial marriages, but it turned out that it’s also good for pandering to other interest groups besides racists.

  21. ???? ?????? ???

    Thanks!

  22. Government first got in the business of arbitrating who is married to prevent interracial marriages, but it turned out that it’s also good for pandering to other interest groups besides racists.

    Really? I never knew that. Other interest groups would be, what, churches and religious organizations?

  23. Yeah…the name Warren Jeffs has just sprung to mind. This should end well.

  24. I thought the rule was a man could have as many wives as he could find jobs for.

  25. Even though bigamy is a crime in Britain

    Indeed…

    There was an old fellow of Lyme
    Who lived with three wives at one time.
    When asked, ‘Why the third?’
    He replied, ‘One’s absurd,
    And bigamy, sir, is a crime.’

  26. I guess the true libertarian position would be, no welfare benefits for anybody. Failing that, why should the government take any interest at all in whether people are married or not? Just make the welfare payment per adult in the household.

  27. What accounts for the odd increase here in Brit-bashing posts?

    What accounts for the odd increase there in Brit self-parody?

  28. I’ll lay odds the main reason for the favorable ruling is that it’s cheaper for the government if the extra woman is an additional spouse than if she can apply as a seperate household.

  29. I’ll lay odds the main reason for the favorable ruling is that it’s cheaper for the government if the extra woman is an additional spouse than if she can apply as a seperate household.

    That’s one of the most cynical things I’ve read lately. Well done.

  30. LarryA-

    Interesting point, and a plausible counter-argument to RC’s point.

  31. “SugarFree | February 4, 2008, 1:11pm | #

    What accounts for the odd increase here in Brit-bashing posts?

    Black History Month.”

    …and the non-sequitur of the month award goes to SugarFree! Congradulations!

  32. Alternate title: When in Rome, do as the Egyptians do.

    …another example of one country allowing another countries laws and customs to rule…

    wonder if those who come from a land where forced mutiliation and marriage are legal can do the same in England.

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