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View Diary: Polygamy is where we draw the line. But why? (146 comments)

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  •  Just Guessing Here But Since Marriage is a Gov't (20+ / 0-)

    institution --which is why a preacher cannot pronounce you married except "by the authority vested in my by the state," and he cannot divorce you at all-- there are all sorts of government and private sector economic benefits, regulations, obligations and expectations that could be considerably stressed by marriages greater than 2. A marriage of 2 individuals affects the state and economy the same way no matter what the genders are.

    So that's one difference.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 07:12:20 PM PDT

    •  I think that's right... (5+ / 0-)

      ...and if there was a way to deal with that issue, I wouldn't have any problem with polygamous marriage.  Of course, in response to another of their favorite straw men, I also don't have a problem with incestuous marriage, as long as it's between consenting adults.  
      This is one of the many reasons I would be a bad spokesperson for the cause.

      •  Incestuous marriage issues are a strawman (5+ / 0-)

        only for those so disposed. If it's not a taboo, for some subsequent generations that practice it, it's a death sentence.

        •  Only if they don't practice birth control... (6+ / 0-)

          modern science now makes many of the things that religion used to police for other non-religious reasons, new again.  Or at least, it alters the circumstances in such a way that religious positions on these issues look very different with the interventions of science.

          A consenting incestuous marriage if both partners agreed to be voluntarily sterilized would present no harm to society or to future generations.

          Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

          by a gilas girl on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 07:44:53 PM PDT

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          •  Religion is irrelevant in this context. (0+ / 0-)

            It's pure microbiology. The harm to society is debatable. But over time, with folk involved in LGBTABCDWXYZ relationships, one will be long dead before the fruits of their equality are born. That's always been an implicit element in the "If it feels good, do it" mentality.

            And of course, we all know that birth control is infallible.

            •  Yes, I realize that today (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              VClib, Nattiq

              but some of the original religious and social taboos were because of the not-always clearly known or articulated but still somehow understood by those who observed well, precursors of today's microbiology.

              And while birth control is not infallible, several forms of voluntary sterilization are, or statistically close enough that we can call it that. A neatly performed vasectomy is all that is needed to defer the microbiological fate you correctly point to.  With modern science that danger can be avoided:  refuse to procreate, which today, human beings actually can control through several different means.

              For siblings who want to marry and be intimate, that would have to be a requisite.  If each took the steps required to ensure that they would never procreate, then there is no biological harm.

              Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

              by a gilas girl on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 08:14:04 PM PDT

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              •  They could still have kids like (1+ / 0-)
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                male - male or female - female married couples do .

                Drop the name-calling MB 2/4/11 + Please try to use ratings properly! Kos 9/9/11

                by indycam on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 08:38:22 PM PDT

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                •  yes, they could adopt. (1+ / 0-)
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                  or they could use surrogates.  good point.

                  the issue here is simply that some step would have to be taken to guarantee that biological procreation between siblings did not take place, and while forbidding marriage is one way to do that (and it's the way that our society has chosen to do it for a really long time), it's a far less effective way than others I've mentioned, like voluntary sterilization.

                  Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

                  by a gilas girl on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 08:46:55 PM PDT

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              •  But of course. Anything can be controlled if (1+ / 0-)
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                a gilas girl

                one is willing to cede the freedom. Problem is, how does cede the freedom just for one's self? I suppose it's doable if one also concedes that society doesn't have an interest.

                But that's hard to envision when government asserts they have an interest in what you eat.

                •  I think you have to cede the freedom just for your (0+ / 0-)

                  self, but in this case, precisely because society does have an interest (in terms of say, voluntary sterilization)

                  Or am I misunderstanding your point?  I'm not sure I follow completely.

                  But the assertion that the government has an interest in what you eat is in no way an absurd assertion, it seems to me, from any number of perspectives, including both the economic, the trade, the environmental, the public health or several others.

                  So, I think I'm not following you.  

                  Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

                  by a gilas girl on Fri Mar 29, 2013 at 07:38:22 AM PDT

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          •  "would present no harm to society" (1+ / 0-)
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            Strongly disagree, but really don't want to wade into the weeds on what I believe are extremely obvious and non-biological reasons for this.  

            Political compass: -8.75 / -4.72

            by Mark Mywurtz on Fri Mar 29, 2013 at 01:20:09 AM PDT

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          •  religion policed? I think not. (1+ / 0-)
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            Two of the grossest ideas in Torah are that the ideal marriage is between an uncle and niece (your older brother's daughter), and if you can't wait that long for your niece, then marry her to her first cousin (your son) instead.

            Why do you think the Jewish community has issues with Tay-Sachs now?  Because incestuous relationships were considered ideal and cousins and uncles and nieces married for generations.

            And we sail and we sail and we never see land, just the rum in the bottle and a pipe in my hand...

            by Mortifyd on Fri Mar 29, 2013 at 01:54:19 AM PDT

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            •  But the issues that they have are issues (1+ / 0-)
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              Batya the Toon

              not because they married, or had incestuous relations, but because those relationships led to procreation.

              Had the means to prevent that type of procreation taken place, the issues today wouldn't be present.  We prevent the relationships because of the logic stream relationship (or marriage) > procreation.  But it doesn't have to.  The problematic piece in those questionable alliances isn't the alliance itself (which was thought to be ideal for other reasons, obviously), but the procreation that followed out of it. So focus on the problematic part.

              All I'm talking about is separating the procreative function from the marriage function conceptually.  The religious right insists the two are one.  Even though the travel together, often forcefully so because of purposeful choices that societies and cultures make (like these taboos), they are not the same practice and they could, in alternate universes and arrangements, be made separate.

              Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

              by a gilas girl on Fri Mar 29, 2013 at 07:46:43 AM PDT

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              •  precreation was the POINT (0+ / 0-)

                there is a reason orthodox people have lots of kids - their sex lives are timed for peak fertility.

                Sex is good and the glue between spouses, but that doesn't mean they were ignorant of how and why it worked on a conception goal level.

                And we sail and we sail and we never see land, just the rum in the bottle and a pipe in my hand...

                by Mortifyd on Fri Mar 29, 2013 at 10:54:07 AM PDT

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                •  procreation WAS NOT the point (0+ / 0-)

                  of marriage originally, procreation can and did take place outside of marriage.  

                  The point of marriage was protecting property to keep it within the groups that were formed and continued thanks to procreation.

                  I understand that procreation is a serious point for many people who are orthodox in several religions, but the logic "marriage" of marriage and procreation is a completely cultural invention not a biological one.

                  Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

                  by a gilas girl on Fri Mar 29, 2013 at 11:09:30 AM PDT

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                  •  in a culture that tells you when you are allowed (0+ / 0-)

                    sex - and it's timed around fertility - and it's the first commandment - it certainly has a LOT to do with it that is not just culturally invented.  Religious Jews don't just have sex when they feel like it.  They have specific periods tied to biological fertility they are allowed to have sex.  

                    And as nomads- property really wasn't an issue until settlement - well after the laws about sex were created - you and your sons handled your own sheep and goats.


                    And we sail and we sail and we never see land, just the rum in the bottle and a pipe in my hand...

                    by Mortifyd on Fri Mar 29, 2013 at 05:10:37 PM PDT

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            •  It's probably also (more?) because of shtetl life (0+ / 0-)

              where even if you weren't marrying your first cousin, your family tree was pretty well guaranteed to cross your spouse's sixteen times in the last four generations.

              Note that Tay-Sachs is commoner among the Ashkenazi than among the Sephardi; that distinction didn't exist until well after we stopped uncle-niece marriages.  (Which were never considered ideal, just permissible.)

              •  listen to Lazer Brody and Sholom Arush (0+ / 0-)

                two rabbis who push them as ideal - one ashkenaz and one sephardic.  And they are FAR from alone.

                If it was good enough for the patriarchs, it should be good enough now - and keeping taharah mishpocha will protect you from genetic issues according to them.

                So I'm going to disagree with you.

                And we sail and we sail and we never see land, just the rum in the bottle and a pipe in my hand...

                by Mortifyd on Fri Mar 29, 2013 at 10:52:42 AM PDT

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                •  First I've heard of it. Good lord. (0+ / 0-)

                  ... also, as a wikipedia search reveals that Rabbi Brody is a baal tshuva and a student of Rabbi Arush, I don't think you can cite them as coming from two different traditions.

                  Another source does cite the Talmud as considering uncle-niece marriages particularly meritorious, so I must retract my assertion that they were never considered ideal.  They have, however, been increasingly discouraged by a lot of rabbinic authorities since the middle ages.

          •  I'd add to that... (1+ / 0-)
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            a gilas girl

            Modern genetic screening can reveal if a particular couple is more likely to pass along a birth defect to their child.  And yet we don't prohibit such couples from marrying.  Which suggests to me that the prohibition on incestuous marriage has more to do with cultural and religious taboos than it does with preventing birth defects.

        •  Yes. (0+ / 0-)

          I lived in an area surrounded by Amish and Mennonites. I got stuck in a snowstorm and knocked on the closest door to use their phone (pre cell phone era). It was a Mennonite family, very friendly and helpful. My husband and I stayed for a Long time chatting. Every male member of their extended family group had hemophilia.

          Cats are better than therapy, and I'm a therapist.

          by Smoh on Fri Mar 29, 2013 at 08:35:08 AM PDT

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    •  I don't disagree (5+ / 0-)

      but it's bigger than that. As the attorney representing the gay couple in the Prop. 8 oral arguments said : "in the cases decided by this Court that the polygamy issue, multiple marriages raises questions about exploitation, abuse, patriarchy, issues with respect to taxes, inheritance, child custody, it is an entirely different thing. "

      Exploitation, abuse, patriarchy are also reasons it isn't recognized, and in fact criminalized, as if those things are inherent to polygamy.

    •  A big complication is deciding when it's over (4+ / 0-)

      Two person marriages are over when the two people divorce or one of them dies. That kind of marriage has a limited existance in time. If three or more people are married, what happens when one of them dies or divorces the other two? Are the remaining people still married?

      If a same sex marriage is legal, the gender of the deceased shouldn't matter: John is married to Sue and Ann, Sue is married to Ann and John, Ann is married to John and Sue. Take any one of them out of the picture, and you still have a legal marriage.

      Let's suppose John dies. Sue and Ann live happilly for a while, then decide to marry Sam, a much younger man. Is it a new marriage, or a continuation of the old one? Suppose Ann divorces John and Sue, who later marry Elizabeth.

      A plural marriage could wind up being immortal, just like a corporation. When do we start?

      "The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government are incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

      by Orinoco on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 07:44:02 PM PDT

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    •  Of economic benifits... (3+ / 0-)

      Married people get extra goverment benefits then non married people; the only place these benefits can come from is via non married people. Non married people under the current law are subsidizing married people.
      Following the logic you used we should make it so that the state does not provide economic benefits just because one is married to another.

      We only think nothing goes without saying.

      by Hamtree on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 08:06:42 PM PDT

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    •  Constituitonally they are very different (8+ / 0-)

      I will play lawyer here and say the big difference between marriage equality and legalizing polygamy is that making gay marriage illegal denies equal protection of the law to a class of people, namely LGBT people who are that way because of deeply held/ingrained characteristics.  

      Polygamy on the other hand is denied to all members of society and polygamists do not appear to be  an identifiable class denied equal protection.

      So constitutionally the equal protection argument is very different between the two

      However, there is an argument that banning polygamy is an infringement of freedom of religion.  I have often wondered how US law treats a Moslem family of a man and multiple wives.  Admittedly, laws of general application generally do not fall to first amendment claims since they do not uniquely infringe.  This has always struck me as a strange rule born of an awkward compromise of two key principles

      So in the absence of strict or intermediate scrutiny, the law banning polygamy would be subject to rational basis, which still means there needs to be some demonstrable issue the law addresses and that it more or less does so.  Is there a rational basis for limiting marriages to two people?  I'm sure there are several along the lines that you outline.  

      Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescindibles.

      by Mindful Nature on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 08:35:54 PM PDT

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