Polygamy

Of Course the Law Should Tolerate Plural Marriages

A legal battle in Utah shows how misguided a crackdown on polygamy can be.

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Last Friday, a U.S. District Court struck down a central part of the Utah statute that outlaws polygamy. The ruling was not just a victory for the husband and wives who had brought the suit to court—Kody, Meri, Janelle, Christine, and Robyn Brown, who belong to a Mormon splinter church called the Apostolic United Brethren and star in a reality TV show called Sister Wives. Nor was it merely a victory for families with more than two spouses. It was a victory for sane public policy.

The case is drenched in the politics of polygamy, but in one important way it isn't about polygamy at all. The Browns all live together, but only one of the wives has a marriage license. To the extent that their family departs from American marital norms, it is a private arrangement unrecognized by the state. The Browns' household is more like the informal and contractual gay unions that have existed for decades than the fully recognized same-sex marriages that many states are beginning to allow today.

And that's all that is now legal. Previously, Utah considered a person guilty of bigamy if, "knowing he [or she] 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." It is the final part of that restriction—the bit about cohabitation—that comes into play here. If a dozen roommates in San Francisco decide to set up a polymorphous polyamorous partnership, the law would have nothing to say about the matter. (The building code enforcers might object, I suppose. But that's a separate issue.) Utah's rules are different, and they are different because of a long legacy of prejudice and religiously targeted persecution. Pointing to this persecution and to a history of selective enforcement, Judge Clark Waddoups ruled that the portion of the statute prohibiting cohabitation violates the First Amendment's guarantee of religious liberty. Pointing to other matters of law, such as the fact that Utah no longer has common-law marriages, he ruled that the ban on "purport[ing] to marry another person" should apply only to someone attempting or pretending to acquire more than one marriage license. That puts households like the Browns' in the clear.

So Utah is not about to start recognizing group marriages. It's just going to stop bringing criminal charges against people who have done nothing more than establish their own unlicensed big-love homes. Whether or not you agree with Waddoups' legal reasoning, as a matter of policy the new order is vastly preferable to the old. Indeed, this case demonstrates just how misguided a crackdown on polygamy can be.

The most common argument against tolerating plural marriages is that they are often associated with abuse. There are stories of desert sects forcing women into marriage, of girls raped by their elders, of boys being abandoned instead of letting them grow up to compete for scarce wives. Terrible, unconscionable stuff. Yet the Sister Wives case makes it clear that, no matter how exploitative some plural marriages may be, that does not mean they all are. The court's decision notes that "There has been no allegation of child or spousal abuse by members of the Brown family" and that "No member of the Brown family has ever been charged with a crime." To punish the Browns because of crimes committed by other polygamists would be discriminatory and perverse. Indeed, it would divert resources that could be spent ferreting out the genuine abusers.

This ferreting, in turn, was harder to do because plural marriage was a felony. That broad bigamy statute drove entire subcultures underground. It gave non-abusive polygamists an incentive not to come forward when they learned about abuses in other homes. It exacerbated the problems that the law was supposed to solve. By tolerating plural marriage, Utah will allow more sunshine to fall on it.

Nor does this decision stumble into the thorny issues raised by the idea of licensing these marriages. There are non-trivial questions of how the tax, welfare, and immigration systems would handle a world where the state recognizes, as opposed to merely tolerates, polygamous and polyamorous unions. I don't think those issues are insurmountable, and I think a strong case for fully legal plural marriages can be made; but in this case, you don't need to make it. The state of Utah isn't being ordered to revamp its family law. It is being ordered to revamp its criminal code. It will now be both easier to combat genuine crimes and easier for nonviolent nonconformists to live their lives without fear of arrest. That's two reasons to cheer the decision.

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  1. Jesse

    You do realize the people in Utah who practice polygamy are often sick fucks who marry teenage girls and kick teenage boys out on the street to ensure that they don’t compete for the young brides?

    The state of Utah isn’t being ordered to revamp its family law. It is being ordered to revamp its criminal code. It will now be both easier to combat genuine crimes and easier for nonviolent nonconformists to live their lives without fear of arrest.

    Because nothing says freedom like an unelected robed overlord telling the people of Utah to go fuck themselves they no longer have a right to make laws of their own. What could possibly go wrong Jesse? As long as this result is to your liking, why worry about the precedent it sets.

    1. You do realize the people in Utah who practice polygamy are often sick fucks who marry teenage girls and kick teenage boys out on the street to ensure that they don’t compete for the young brides?

      From the article: “There are stories of desert sects forcing women into marriage, of girls raped by their elders, of boys being abandoned instead of letting them grow up to compete for scarce wives.”

      Because nothing says freedom like an unelected robed overlord telling the people of Utah to go fuck themselves they no longer have a right to make laws of their own. What could possibly go wrong Jesse? As long as this result is to your liking, why worry about the precedent it sets.

      From the article: “Whether or not you agree with Waddoups’ legal reasoning, as a matter of policy the new order is vastly preferable to the old.”

      1. I’ll take this as a “yes”

        1. The first answer is a “yes.”

          The second answer is a “the article is about whether the new policy is better in an absolute sense, not about whether we took the right route to get there.”

          1. But the route is horrible Jesse.

            1. I disagree. But I do think the legal argument is more debatable than the policy argument.

            2. Judges are supposed to uphold the constitution, and laws that inconsistently may or may not criminalize different kinds of cohabitation aside from marriage are unconstitutional. Do you (John) even know what the exact issue here is?

              1. For people like John, ‘freedom’ is whatever the government says it is.

      2. Well, I’m on board. It’s not often the evolution of the law has the potential of benefitting me.

        Now how about being married to three blood sisters? The prudes won’t try to twist it into incest, or something, will they?

        1. Probably, if you have an orgy.

    2. Polygamists can be troubled tyrants to be sure but clearly the monogamy that society has accepted lock-stock-barrel isn’t without ITS myriad troubles.

      In short there should be no laws designed to engineer marital arrangements of any kind outside of addressing issues relating to age and consent.

      1. There we go. Is that so hard?

        1. Apparently, yes.

        2. Alan,

          According to conservatives, going down the road to liberalizing family arrangements will screw up society.

          Screwed up society leads to more lawlessness and will eventually lead to less freedom and a societal breakdown.

          This is why conservatives support government intrusion into private matters. If they think the arrangement will hurt society, they are willing to use force to stop that.

          For them it boils down to fear…fear of living in a society that practices things they do not like, and fear that society will break down and everyone will lose.

          I stopped being a conservative because they are just too fearful of the unknown and of the future. They cannot live and let live.

      2. In short there should be no laws designed to engineer marital arrangements of any kind outside of addressing issues relating to age and consent.

        I know of two plural marriages, neither one of which is a polygyny. The first is a line marriage in New England I was invited to join 30-ish years ago. I refused, but only because I was too much the jealous type at that age. (BIG mistake. They’re all rich beyond belief now.) The other, in British Columbia… well frankly I don’t understand the structure except that on paper it looks more like a mutual aid society corporation for the protection of their many children than anything else. They’re also the happiest people I’ve ever known.
        The common focus for both is the raising and education of the children.

        1. Both straight out of Heinlein, and each with exactly the purpose (child rearing) and benefit (financial stability) projected.

          1. The NE line was founded with inspiration from the same group RAH was associated with. I never got to meet any of those folks, though.

            The BC group started out with a bunch of hippies who ran from the draft, started a farm and figured it out as they went along. I turned them on to RAH by giving them an old paperback each time I saw them. The ones who read his work found him “primitive but entertaining.”

        2. Another anecdata point: One of the more successful plural marriages I know is two men raising children with one woman who is the mother of said children.

          I think China’s going to run into a shortage of ladies way before America does.

    3. Hey, since you mention precedents you might be one of those Bible-humping, no-fun-with-your-weewee socons who are always jabbering about slippery slopes.

      That is not the done thing here, I believe.

    4. ‘kick teenage boys out on the street’

      Well, that might be a ‘god’send, considering that otherwise, they might grow up to actually believe the nonsense that is Mormonism.

      There is always an upside.

      1. hey might grow up to actually believe the nonsense that is Mormonism.

        You mean they will grow up to be successful, family oriented, responsible members of their communities? Heaven(pun intended) forbid!

        1. ‘You mean they will grow up to be successful, family oriented, responsible members of their communities? Heaven(pun intended) forbid!’

          They might well be, but that doesn’t mean that they haven’t still fallen for the nonsense of the religion they follow.

          Being a believer does not automatically equal success or responsibility.

      2. FLDS != “Mormons”

    5. The extent to which they marry girls and how young is subject to a lot of accusations and rumors.
      While I think it’s obvious the law should step in and prevent sexual contact below a certain age regardless of cintext, I do think that laws that create a lower-age exception to age of consent laws specifically for marriage do make sense. One of the great things about marriage is it internalizes and takes care of all the negative consequences of sex; disease, pregnancy (the dad has to help take care of the kid), etc.

      Where the mormons kick out young men, it’s all part of the process of competition in the social/institution marketplace. If everyone can see the bad effects of mormonism, they will be convinced it is not worth taking up, or those in it will leave.
      If they’re actually kicking out people younger than the age of majority only after which it’s reasonable to expect them to suport themselves, then they should be made to pay until the young one gets to that age

      1. Just look at the alternative to kicking young men out to live on their own. Other groups end up with these whining guys living with mom well into their 30s with no skill beyond video games and porn. If they do get out, it is for an #Occupy event to bitch about how unfair they are being treated by society.

      2. Where the mormons kick out young men, it’s all part of the process of competition in the social/institution marketplace. If everyone can see the bad effects of mormonism, they will be convinced it is not worth taking up

        You do realize that the fundy (poly) Mormons are about 1% of all those who call themselves Mormon, and that the main church disavows their take on marriage?

        It would be like talking about Jim Jones’ suicide cult as “Protestants” without noting that they are way outside the mainstream of what that term usually means.

        1. Yes thank you I’m well aware of that and my point still stands. So the young men kicked out and anyone who sees and cares will realize that fundamentalist mormonism, if not all of mormonism, is a bad idea.
          I include all of Mormonism because the Mormon church has not let go of its interpretation of scripture as allowing multiple wives, even if right now they don’t sanction such marriages.

    6. Because nothing says freedom like an unelected robed overlord telling the people of Utah to go fuck themselves they no longer have a right to make laws of their own.

      The law comes from the fact the federal government required them to prohibit polygamy to gain statehood, nevermind the First Amendment freedom of association and Fourteenth Amendment privileges or immunities clauses.
      Prosecute actual cases of abuse instead of persecuting people who want to live in a way you don’t approve of.

      As long as this result is to your liking, why worry about the precedent it sets.

      If polygamy offends your religious sensibilities, I suggest you try reading your Bible a bit closer: Abdon, Abijah, Abraham, Ahab, Ahasuerus, Ashur, Belshazzar, Benhadad, Caleb, David, Eliphaz, Elkanah, Esau, Ezra, Gideon, Heman, Hosea, Ibzan, Jacob, Jair, Jehoiachin, Jehoram, Jerahmeel, Joash, Lamech, Machir, Manasseh, Mered, Moses, Nahor, Rehoboam, Saul, Shaharaim, Shimei, Simeon, Solomon, Terah, Zedekiah and Ziba.

      1. No people no longer having a say in the laws of their states offends my sensibilities. I could give a shit less about polygamy.

        Not everything is about the KULTURE War you fucking half wit.

        1. So if the people of Californistan pass a law outlawing corporations, it should be upheld by the courts?

          That seems pretty fucktarded.

        2. No people no longer having a say in the laws of their states offends my sensibilities. I could give a shit less about polygamy. Not everything is about the KULTURE War you fucking half wit.

          First, please note “halfwit” is one word, not two. (Thanks for the irony!)

          Second, it appears the simple majority vote is more important to you than several major constitutional (1st and 14th Amendments, to start) principles.

          Third, you mentioned “the precedent it sets” without bothering to amplify. What precedent does it set that worries you?

        3. People should have almost no say regarding anything that other people do. Fuck “democracy”.

        4. No people no longer having a say in the laws of their states offends my sensibilities. I could give a shit less about polygamy.

          It’s illegal for democratic majorities to vote to execute you. That’s people not having a say, is it unreasonable? Not everything in this world can be legitimately decided by arbitrarily defined democratic majorities.

          Not everything is about the KULTURE War you fucking half wit.

          Not everything is about DEMOKRACY you fucking half wit.

    7. …who marry teenage girls and kick teenage boys out on the street to ensure that they don’t compete for the young brides?

      Sounds like…. just about every other mammalian species?

    8. Plenty of others, like Lutherans and Habayit Hayehudi Hashalem Jews (don’t let that title throw you, an editor did that) practice polygamy too. Should their liberty be curtailed because some other people did bad things?

      1. Garrison Keillor seems to have covered up a few peftinent features of Lutheranism

        “Well, it’s been a quiet week in Lake Wobegon. Sven and Hilda and Alice and Brunhilde and Diane went on a marriage encounter trip with the Lutherans. They brought plenty of lube. Contributeto public radio and I’ll tell you the restnof the story…and give you a free tote bag.”

        1. As a recovering NPR listener, that sounds pretty close to the truth.

    9. John-

      Do you realize that there are members of your demographic group and your self-selected groups of interest who are despicable human beings? Because that has as much to do with you as your boogeymen do with polygamy.

    10. That is one purpose of judges. “This law does not conform to higher law, or does not treat everyone equally.”

      Since you obviously missed this part of third grade, please go fuck yourself with your Bible, and move to Iran.

      1. Higher law might be referring to Constitutional law. Or even natural law, which doesn’t necessitate theism to acknowledge.

    11. Marriage is a legal contract ‘between” legal aged adults. What’s so difficult about changing the preposition “between” to “among”? Take religion and tradition out of it, and it is a simple case of upholding individual rights–and the government’s role in arbitrating legal contracts if some in the voluntary arrangement wish to opt out. Let the lawyers versed in contractual law work out the details, and insurance companies make decisions about what is a family, etc. and this issue is not that big a deal.

    12. You do realize the people in Utah who practice polygamy are often sick fucks who marry teenage girls and kick teenage boys out on the street to ensure that they don’t compete for the young brides?

      Except, on principle, that shouldn’t matter. People’s rights oughtn’t be contingent on whether they are decent people who we consider likable. And to the extent they break laws like rape or abandonment, they should be punished for those offenses.

    13. You do realize that Utah did not make this law because they wanted it, by any means. Utah was forced to outlaw plural marriage as a condition of joining the union. So, while it sounds nice to say Utah is being stripped of it’s law making powers, the law was unjust and unconstitutional in the first place, and one that the citizens of Utah did not want. Never forget, Joseph Smith was a polygamist and preached that it was in fact, a man’s duty, especially a morman man’s duty, to have multiple wives and pro-create at a faster rate than 9 months.

    14. Hey! Let’s practice some more ad hominem. You do realize that people in San Francisco who are gay are often sick fucks who entrap teenage boys and try to convince them they are gay to ensure that they have a steady supply of fresh meat?

      Or another one; You do realize that people in San Francisco who are gay are often sick fucks who try to spread HIV to their partners and other unwilling participants (there’s someone who just did an AMA Reddit who talks about being infected by someone who just wanted to spread HIV). Let’s criminalize gays again!

      This decriminalizing of polygamy ruling in Utah is a victory for marital freedom. You can apply any objections you have to the Polygamy ruling to the gay marriage ruling the “supreme court” passed yesterday.

  2. Nobody’s gonna appreciate the nuance you’ve described, and it’s all gonna be blamed on the gays.

    1. I know I blame the gays for everything.

      1. Damned happy people ruin everything.

        1. Took our jarbs

  3. Why the fuck would anyone want more than one wife? One shrill harpy telling how much I fuck up and can’t do anything right is enough, amiright?

    1. (Because polygamy is almost always about the husband having authoritarian control over his fuck-doll wives.)

      1. Well, somebody sure bought into the stereotype!

      2. Tony, you’re nuts. Even in the most paternalistic society, women are fuckin bowls of crazy and a shit ton of work, especially wives, so having more than one is nuts
        You think just because a society says the woman has to do the kitchen work she still won’t be annoying and immediately bother you with problems you have to fix that cost money as soon as you see her?, and all that other shit? pfffff…. I guess you gays are lucky in that sense, never have to deal with a woman

        1. I suppose the appeal of multiple wives increases with the level of control you have over them. I wonder how much backtalk Genghis Khan tolerated. On the other hand, some ancient polygamist practices kept the women in there own separate spaces, so you could just go choose to bed the demure one if you weren’t in the mood for lip.

          I completely agree with your last sentence.

          1. OTOH, there are gay men who behave exactly like the shrill women described above.

            It’s not like every imaginable personality type isn’t represented among gays and straights alike.

            1. lol, the gay-guy husband sketches on Key and Peele

          2. This sounds so poly-a-phobic.

          3. From Huckleberry Finn, Jim and Huck discuss polygamy:

            “What’s de harem?”

            “The place where he keeps his wives. Don’t you know about the harem? Solomon had one; he had about a million wives.”

            “Why, yes, dat’s so; I — I’d done forgot it. A harem’s a bo’d’n-house, I reck’n. Mos’ likely dey has rackety times in de nussery. En I reck’n de wives quarrels considable; en dat ‘crease de racket. Yit dey say Sollermun de wises’ man dat ever live’. I doan’ take no stock in dat. Bekase why would a wise man want to live in de mids’ er sich a blim-blammin’ all de time? No — ‘deed he wouldn’t. A wise man ‘ud take en buil’ a biler-factry; en den he could shet DOWN de biler-factry when he want to res’.”

          4. Congratulations Tony, you are able to bring the stupid on a larger set of topics than anyone in living memory.

            The article you are commenting on is about a lawsuit brought by a polygamous family that happens to have a reality TV show, so it is pretty easy to find out how they live.

            If anything the man in this family has as close to zero power as it gets. If I were to armchair psychoanalyze their relationship, I’d say that by and large the women chose this form of relationship because they didn’t really want to be bothered with a man full time.

            They may or may not be a typical example of polygamy – I have no way of knowing – but trotting out lazy stereotypes that run entirely counter to the real people that are the subject of this discussion is grade-A stupid.

            1. Why do i suspect that Tony is experienced in Grade-A stupid?

          5. If multiple women wish to be with the same man why do you feel it is your right to encroach upon their choice?

          6. (Because polygamy is almost always about the husband having authoritarian control over his fuck-doll wives.)

            Behold; the ever tolerant and forward-thinking progressive that is Tony.

            People like you are why fascism exists. Your intellectual forefathers were justifying genocide, plundering wealth and quashing freedom for much of the 20th century. We shouldn’t expect much better from the likes of you.

      3. Well, if anyone would be familiar with authoritarianism, it’s Tony.

      4. Plural relationships can very much involve control disorders but this in no way makes them more insidious than monogamous arrangements with similar issues. Any form of relationship can be remarkably beneficial, boring, irritating, or downright destructive. It’s not the relational structure that is to be blamed- it is the entities within.

        You obviously have no problem painting with a very broad brush things which you know practically nothing about. Learning from people who are strongly opposed to alternative relationships is no different than shouting Amen at the feet of a rabid Baptist preacher railing against immorality and social ills.

    2. Why the fuck would anyone want more than one wife? One shrill harpy telling how much I fuck up and can’t do anything right is enough, amiright?

      If that is the kind of wife you have, my condolences. Some are actually cool people, of which more than one might actually seem like a good idea.

    3. I’m not sure how you made it down the aisle (if you have).

      The second (or third) wife isn’t for you, it’s for her. I haven’t found a mother over 30 who isn’t agreeable to an extra set of hands around the house and/or another family member chipping in some additional income and under 30 I have a hard time finding any that would prefer to watch ‘Twilight’ with a man. Ask any woman 7+ mo. pregnant if they’d prefer that someone else carry their child for them, I bet the answer is in the majority. At the very least, if your wife has to be pregnant, it would be easier if she had a live in cook, right? How about a masseuse?

  4. I can think of no greater personal hell than having multiple wives.

    But some people are masochists, and if that’s their thing, have at it.

    1. YOU TOOK MY JOKE! I WAS ABOUT TO MAKE THE MASOCHIST JOKE! THATS MY JOKE!

    2. Get a less hellish wife and the plurality aspect becomes far more appealing. I happen to have an exquisitely beautiful wife of excellent temperament and a sound mind. Frankly, I’d like to clone her for a fucking FFFM. Yes, you three female libertarians in the whole world I’m perfectly fine with her having a MMMF.

      1. Like communism, that only works in theory. In reality, if you fuck one wife even slightly more than the others, they’re crying and angry and upset. It’s kind of like why I don’t play co-ed softball anymore. There are some girls out there that are great ball players. Better than I ever was. I just can’t find 5 to make a team with.

        1. Like communism, that only works in theory. In reality, if you fuck one wife even slightly more than the others, they’re crying and angry and upset.

          And you know this because of your extensive poly experience, of course.

  5. I think you guys are missing a larger point- the right to contract. Polygamy makes no sense, because if marriage is a legally biding contract (it is), creating a new contract usurps the original one, which breaks it.

    When you get to inheritance, alimony, kids, etc- adding a new wife inherently infringes on one person’s (the original wife’s) contractual rights. My $0.02

    1. except that a contract could have that in it, that is, the right to get a new wife

      it’s marriage laws that interfere with the right to contract, not mormonism

      1. Agreed, marriage law should be modeled more like corporate law. Majority shareholders and senior partners have certain property rights.

        As far as the government is concerned, stable cohabitation is probably the only conditional that makes sense.

        1. Also, agree. Seems pretty simple, really. Just make sure all parties are legal age and competent, and marriage is just like regular contract law.

          Another case where religious tradition violates individual rights. That crap is as old as the hills–literally.

      2. sure, it could have that. But when kids are added (post-contract, mind you), claims get really interesting. I don’t think it is as easy as washing your hands and everyone is cool. But I live in reality man, wtf do I know?

        1. That is their problem to sort out.

          I like how people give all sorts of excuses to be against plural marriage and yet “traditional” marriage has all the same flaws and issues.

          1. “that is their problem” – no, it would be a matter for the courts undoubtedly.

            “give all sorts of excuses” – again, I live in the real world. Don’t go full derp here, and argue for the sake of being contrarian. Learn a little about the law of contracts and then come see me boy. My points remain: when adding people (wives, kids) into a contract after it is written, and then upon the dissolving of the altered (broken) contract, you are going to have a serious shit-storm. Just think about it for more than half a second, and you won’t be so quick to derp.

            1. Be more clear: are you suggesting that because you feel polygamy is contractually impossible it should be illegal?

    2. Are you seriously saying that contracts can’t be written to deal with more than one spouse? Or that contracts can’t be revised with the consent of all the signers?

      The fuck?

      1. I’m saying if the original contract (a marriage) is exclusive between 2 partners, you cannot add another later without infringing on one partner’s legal claim to the contract.

        Sure, in your ideal world the contracts can be revised, but the original contract of marriage (and 50-50 split of property, like it is here in TX) would definitely be altered. If you add 2,3,15 wives- and then later one wishes to leave the contract altogether- you really face an issue of “what’s coming to me”, especially with children involved.

        1. Cause the law can never be changed and precedent must always be upheld?

          Yeah, it could be messy as all hell. But that’s something we could figure out and it shouldn’t preclude people from entering into a consensual relationship.

          1. “we would figure out” – great policy solutions there.

            I guess issues like this is where libertarians (small L) and libertines are separated. It is what it is.

        2. Of course, when a third person is brought in it would be with the consent of the two partners in the original contract, wherein the original contract can be amended or rewritten. If all parties consent what is the big deal. This isn’t the Constitution or something. PFFFT!

          1. Well I recall something in that constitution about non-interference of government in private contracts. But who cares what that dusty ole tome has to say these days…

      2. I’m saying if the original contract (a marriage) is exclusive between 2 partners, you cannot add another later without infringing on one partner’s legal claim to the contract.

        Sure, in your ideal world the contracts can be revised, but the original contract of marriage (and 50-50 split of property, like it is here in TX) would definitely be altered. If you add 2,3,15 wives- and then later one wishes to leave the contract altogether- you really face an issue of “what’s coming to me”, especially with children involved.

        1. What you call interference is really dissolution of old contract and recreation from ground up with 3 partners (1 being new).

          If its acceptable for a dissatisfied woman to unilaterally end a marriage, then it is ok for a man to withhold performance of same said contract, simply based on his own volition.

          If original wife wants no part in new contract thats her perogative, but to imply a contract (that’s written as no-fault dissolution) must be upheld for the sake of continuity is really insanity. As a society, we’ve not only agreed unwilling marriage contracts are unenforceable, but that breaking contract doesnt require returning nonoffending party to its original condition.

          Abused women need to get outof their marriages, but faith-based men are forced to stay. Sounds legit. Women’s reason for filing for divorce are sacrosanct also. They never bail on a marriage just cuz some other guy makes more money. Thus the moral justification to compel men to not seek new terms while allowing women that option.

          And if you wanna pretend this isnt a gender issue just look at all the posts of fuck-dolls and ‘horny guys’. The psychological objection is most def on gender grounds and of moral question. IOW legislating morality and gender inequality.

          1. guess I’m just not really a gender warrior *shrug*

    3. Where did you get the impression that a polygamous marriage wouldn’t involve the input of all of the people involved?

      Even if plural marriages were legal in this country, if I went out and married someone else without talking to my wife about it at first–despite the fact that we’ve been polyamorous for the entirety of our 17 year relationship–it wouldn’t be a plural marriage for long, because I’d probably get my ass divorced.

      On the other hand, there have been times when both S. and I have been dating the same person. And it is not impossible that if it were legal to do so, we might have married that third person.

  6. I too dislike the judges overturning laws like this though I agree with the policy

    I envision changes in the marriage law, where it’s more contractual, and then everyone could marry under their church/temple/whatever, with divorces, or the lack thereof, arbitrated by the authorities and rules of the church/temple, or of course none at all if you’re atheist. Libertarians would love this. Of course, you can bet your ass judges would overturn this on the basis of the right to choose your religion under the first amendment, when some wife or husband wants to divorce and just says they’re conscience is making them change religion, and then the church’s authority would be nullified and we’d be back to fuck- everyone- in- the- ass- form of divorce where you get it whenever you want even for no reason

    1. Pretty sure the judge ordered a change to laws regarding cohabitation and “common” marriage. Laws that can be selectively used to punish a guy who has two or three chicks as roommates and bangs them all, sometimes together.

  7. There is a difference between living and let live and stating that we should accept deviance in the form of marriage officially licensed.
    Marriage, by nature and design is between a man and a women. If they divorce then they find the same institution. It is not designed for deviant lifestyles such as gay marriage, leading to two fathers adopting, transgender marriage because they feel left out now or any other form of social deviance. If the above wish to practice this deviance it is their right and I would be more than happy to leave them alone. But don’t tell me we need to officially sanction it.
    Most Mormons I know are dedicated to one spouse. As was intended. Those who wish to propagate deviance and pretend it is normal when it isn’t in the end will find a fallen nation.

    Charles Hurst. Author of THE SECOND FALL. An offbeat story of Armageddon. And creator of THE RUNNINGWOLF EZINE

    1. Ha ha ha ha ha

    2. Fuck off slaver.

    3. There is a difference between living and let live and stating that we should accept deviance in the form of marriage officially licensed.
      Marriage, by nature and design is between a man and a women.

      You have no right to dictate the terms of private contracts in which you have no interest. But I find it interesting that you define marriage as a contract between “man and woman” and then unwittingly describe a scenario where marriage=man+state+woman

  8. Weeeee and the sliding begins. There is no self-consistent logic that can argue for gay marriage and against polygamy. And then we get to the fun cases like fathers and mothers marrying (adult) children to get around inheritance laws. Again, there’s no consistent logic that can argue against it. We’ll just set another arbitrary limit based on how we feel. And I’ll get fucked by taxes to pay for it. But that’s OK cause, like, equal protection and miscegenation laws and stuff. But we’ll get right on that whole fiscal thing. Honest. *sigh*

    1. Get rid of bad inheritance laws and you remove the incentive to do things like you suggest. Bad laws and taxes causing people to do strange things to avoid them is a separate issue.

      1. Which is why this isn’t just a simple issue of equal before the law. There are additional negative consequences of these changes. My priority is to fix those first and then people can do whatever the hell they want with their own lives.

  9. There is no self-consistent logic that can argue for gay marriage and against polygamy.

    That’s a mighty big helping of retarded. You sure you want to eat all that?

    1. Hi Warren, Yup, gotcha, according to SOME pepples, being married to ONE person of the same sex is as equally sinfully greedy as being married to 50,000 people of the opposite sex, PLUS five ephelumps, 12 weasels, and 20,000 Bactrian camels, GOTCHA! I guess I will go away and sulk and settle for my ONE person of the same sex, my ONE person of the opposite sex, my ONE ephelump, 1 weasel, and 1 Bactrian camel, and be content w/what I have married? Can I claim them all as dependents? IRS-wise? Can I appeal this to Government Almighty? If so, how?

      1. I’m not concerned with sinful or greedy. That’s between you and your guru.

        I care about how the state applies laws. Legal marriage is a package of rights, privileges, and responsibilities. Equal protection means that the state must confer that package on any pair of adults that apply.

        Non-humans, non-adults, and non-couples (two and only two) can not be granted married status as exists in the current RPR package.

        1. There is no difference between this statement and defining a couple as a man and woman. I think you just made his point for him.

          1. Yeah no. Adult human beings are allowed to enter into legally binding arrangements.

          2. How is that now?

            1. Contracts signed by chickens and children are not enforceable.

              1. Neither are perfectly reasonable contracts that the government deems ‘deviant’ or otherwise undesirable to their domination of society.

    2. I do. Show me the logic. Gay marriage is OK because it’s between consenting adults. Polygamy is bad because it’s, um, amongst consenting adults. Well that makes sense.

      Go for it, fucktard.

      1. Right-Toh Sir Deuchicus,
        Legal marriage, as I was just saying, is a package of rights, privileges, and responsibilities. Amongst these are things like; power of attorney, and spousal privilege. These simply can not, as currently defined under the law, be extended to groups.

        Say you’re driving home one night and you put it into the ditch. The rush you to the hospital and it’s looking bad. They want to take out your spleen. Let’s say this gives you double the odds of surviving the night, but then living having to live without a spleen. Your wife is called and she comes to the hospital she says “Give him the best chance. Take the spleen”. But right as the doc turns to fillet you, your second wife pipes in “NO! He wouldn’t want to live without a spleen.”

        Now if you had one partner gay or straight, the law is very clear on this. But with multiple partners, not so much. And it’s that way with a host of issues related to how the law deals with married people. Being someone’s spouse is something that only one person can be. As things currently stand.

        1. This polygamy thing will be great for practitioners of family law, eh?

        2. Really? That’s it? That’s your entire argument? You do understand that until recently under “current law” that same-sex partners could not exercise any of those rights either?

          To begin with there is nothing that prevents the law from changing to include senior partners which specifically deal with your situation. Or group voting rights. The laws would simply have to change just like they’ve had to change for same sex marriage.

          You still haven’t provided any justification for your position other than it would be inconvenient. That’s hardly a winning argument.

          1. I’m not sure what you think I’m arguing. I’m not against defining the legal status of polygamous spouses. I’m saying that it doesn’t currently exist. Further, it’s a long road to go down fought with much wrangling and gnashing of teeth. It’s not going to happen anytime soon.

            That makes if fundamentally different from gay marriage where all you have to do is stop violating the rights of gay couples and recognize their marriage equally to straight couples.

            1. The fact that polygamy may well be complicated in the contractual sense has zero bearing on the reality that many homes in some areas of the country are, in fact, polygamous. And, clearly, in spite of the issues that ALL arrangements have (including monogamy) people have been able to figure out how to move into and out of complicated relationships without the federal and state legal intervention.

              This means that there exists a lot of experience in the polygamy community in dealing with the foibles that come with relating in multiples. Legalizing polygamy would simply allow these people to surface and present a workable legal framework that is designed to protect complicated interests.

              One look at corporate law would inform anyone that contracts protecting complex arrangements are very much possible.

              1. Yes it’s possible. But it can’t be done tomorrow. Jesse is right, poly groups should not be prosecuted. They should be allowed to form whatever arrangements they want.

                Decriminalizing polygamy is a whole different kettle of herring from licensing it*.

                I’m not opposed to doing that, but there’s a whole lot of oats to roll before we get there.

                *Libertarian disclaimer #251, the sate should not be licensing marriage to begin with.

            2. That makes if fundamentally different from gay marriage where all you have to do is stop violating the rights of gay couples and recognize their marriage equally to straight couples.

              Strange, you view non-recognition as a violation of the rights of gay couples, but not of polygamists. That doesn’t follow. All you’ve argued here is that there would be large logistical problems with recognizing polygamy. But, that doesn’t seem a valid point. Either non-recognition of a consensually entered relationship is a violation of rights or it isn’t. Period. Unless your stance is “Yay Gay!” you’re arguing for rights for some, but not for others.

              1. Equal protection. Gay couples are similarly situated to straight couples and therefore constitutionally required to equal legal status.
                Whole new law must be hashed out for polygamous groups, are are fundamentally not similar to couples.

                Mind you, I’m in favor of going down the road to poly marriage. It’s just a long road.

                1. I get it. So, equal protection for gays, but not polygamists. Cause they’re just weird.

                  1. That’s not what he’s saying, fucknut.

                    Read his example, of the husband in the hospital and the two wives giving different orders to the ER doc. *Whose* rights does the law choose to respect in that situation, with the law written as it is now. The answer is: The law doesn’t address that situation.

                    The situation is fundamentally different from a legal perspective than the recognition of gay two-person marriage, because there is no conflict to be resolved there.

                    Jesus, I’m as pro-poly-marriage as anyone else I know, and even I can get that from his posts. Try actually reading sometime, instead of just shitting on your keyboard in response to what you’re making up in your head that someone else is saying.

                    1. the dillemna is very weak to say the least.

                      banning a lifestyle over an easily resolvable logistical consideration seems mendacious.

                      keep in mind, this is a very rare situation than very few ppl will ever encounter. The chance it will happen within the first 30 years is about as likely as getting hit by lightning.

                      That’s the kind of reason to ban it? I wouldnt call that a good-faith objection by a reasonably intelligent person.

        3. So, I can imagine this. But I can also imagine that the first person to show up is my dad. The second, my mom.

          Does that scenario play out differently than if my two wives or husbands show up?

  10. And no advocates for polyandry in the whole thread. No wonder there are so few female libertarian.

    1. Are you advocating for it or merely trying to get a rise because I’m all for polandry. It’s only common sense that most of the people arguing here in defense of polygamy will hold similar views.

      How this has impact on the numbers of female libertarians is beyond me.

  11. The court could not go all out because it was foreclosed by the Mormon anti-polygamy cases.

    But those cases did not mean that any manner of banning polygamy is beyond constitutional scrutiny. Surely, for example, the Mormon anti-polygamy cases do not prevent a court from applying strict scrutiny to a law that banned polygamy solely for black people. Similarly, the court in this case focused on the law that targeted bigamous cohabitation.

    The focus on appeal will likely be the level of scrutiny. Rational basis scrutiny is quite lenient, and this law easily satisfies it. The law’s far reach towards bigamous cohabitation means that it must fail strict scrutiny.

  12. It is a sufficient justification under rational basis, not strict scrutiny.

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  15. “You do realize the people in Utah who practice polygamy are often sick fucks who marry teenage girls and kick teenage boys out on the street to ensure that they don’t compete for the young brides?”

    This has nothing to do with whether or not plural marriage should be illegal. Each is a separate issue to be debated.

  16. “Because nothing says freedom like an unelected robed overlord telling the people of Utah to go fuck themselves they no longer have a right to make laws of their own.”

    Individual liberty should be imposed in any way that works. I would be fine with a theoretical libertarian dictator.

    1. Broadly, if “libertarian” is someone advocating the absence of force, then you are advocating a logical contradiction.

      But I apologize if I missed your irony.

      1. I think the miscommunication is in the dictator part. The dictator would be someone who rules outside a democratic process by decree. You could easily enough substitute “libertarian king”. As such, it wouldn’t necessarily be a logical contradiction. They would refrain from violating the rights of the subjects/citizens and enforce contracts and the ban on violations of rights.

        1. Brings to mind the old “Libertarians – Conspiring to take over the world and leave you the hell alone!”

  17. Any time in the future a libertarian makes fun of your slippery slope argument, here’s the game winner.

    THIS IS WHAT LIBERTARIANS ACTUALLY BELIEVE

    1. That people should be allowed to engage in mutually agreed upon social arrangements free of fascist busy bodies like yourself getting in the way, yeah I guess we do believe that.

  18. Didn’t read the entire thread, but does nobody (besides Jesse) get that the bad stuff that happens on compounds is a black market-due-to-prohibition issue directly analogous to drug or alcohol prohibition? Abuse victims don’t come forward to authorities for the same reason that drug dealers don’t report crimes associated with their business – because the police are going to arrest and charge everyone, not just the person who did the actual bad thing.

    This ruling is going to change a lot of the bad stuff we popularly associate with polygamy.

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