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Should Plural Marriage Be Legal?

In the December 17th edition of their “Room For Debate” section, The New York Times posed the question, “One Man, One Woman. Or More.”  The debate was prompted by a recent Utah court’s rejection of a law aimed at Mormon polygamists.  In commenting on that decision, law professor Adam Winkler asked whether “like so many other laws regulating sex and marriage,” polygamy base are “built on fear and misunderstanding of people who make different choices about their intimate relations.”  After citing this comment, The Times posed the question, “Should courts go further, recognizing a right to plural marriage among consenting adults?

Join us as we discuss this very controversial issue.

This is a reschedule.  The topic was originally scheduled for January 27th.  I hope all those who signed up for that meeting can attend this one.  It was clearly a topic that interested a lot of people.


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  • jeff s.

    Busy house hunting in Manitou. Have to back away at this time.

    March 9, 2014

  • Gned the G.

    I found a definition/article on Wiki at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polyamory that I think reasonably well defines the main concept.

    March 9, 2014

  • Vernon

    Richard's "belief" is very relevant in India and China where there are now significantly more "eligible" men than women. It would make sense for women to marry more than one husband. Among the elderly population in most countries, the reverse is true. There are more women than men. It would make sense for men to marry more than one wife.

    February 3, 2014

    • Gned the G.

      Richard, Vernon, very good points. Polyamory is the modern non-abusive and non-sexist version of polygamy - OK, that's an oversimplification but it gets the general idea across to those not familiar with the term. Marriage and similar relationships are about love, they shouldn't have to be about politics or legal hassles or taxes or holy wars. Consenting adults should be able to form any mutually desired relationships among them, regardless of sex or number. By the way most poly families I've met or heard of have 3-4 people, 5 at most. I could see 6 as a practical upper limit but not everyone would agree.

      March 9, 2014

  • Linda

    I won't be able to attend, but had to bring up one point. Legal plural marriage would make my job a nightmare!! Under Federal law, unless a legal spouse has signed off, survivor benefits are required to be paid to the legal spouse at death. Would that monthly benefit then have to be divided between 2-3 or more legal spouses? Or if a legal spouse now consented to paying someone else, would then 'several' legal spouses have to sign off? And would they ALL have to agree or just majority rule? Far too many legal ramifications. It would be better to just stay unmarried, live with as many inimate partners as you want and thereby be able to name whomever you want as beneficiary (ies). I sincerely hope plural marriage never becomes law--it's bad enough having to keep current with individual state laws regarding "common-law"

    February 3, 2014

    • Gned the G.

      Linda, good points. The problem (as you probably realize) is not whether plural marriage exists but the fact that the gov't gets involved in the first place via discriminatory laws etc. I read an interesting article somewhere (I wish I could remember where) that suggested that the word "marriage" (in laws and similar legal context only) be changed to "civil union", then marriage could mean just what it really means, which varies by individual, culture, religion, etc. and civil union would be what the gov't interacts with e.g. the legal, tax, and other similar ramifications.

      March 9, 2014

    • Gned the G.

      Ideally the gov't shouldn't be involved at all but at least this would make a clean break and would remove the "what's the definition of marriage" issue from the political stage entirely. Aside from that, polyamorous people and activists have suggested that poly groups form a family LLC to help secure their legal rights via contract to compensate for their rights not otherwise being recognized or protected. This is not an ideal solution but might be helpful in some cases.

      March 9, 2014

  • Richard S.

    I have believed for some time that women should be allowed to have several husbands at the same time.

    February 3, 2014

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