Here’s the thing: As women, we really can make our own choices. We just might choose things people don’t like. If a woman wants to marry a man, that’s great. If she wants to marry another woman, that’s great too. If she wants to marry a hipster, well — I suppose that’s the price of freedom. And if she wants to marry a man with three other wives, that’s her damn choice...I'm not endorsing this. Just anticipating that many readers will want to talk about it.
The definition of marriage is plastic. Just like heterosexual marriage is no better or worse than homosexual marriage, marriage between two consenting adults is not inherently more or less "correct" than marriage among three (or four, or six) consenting adults. Though polygamists are a minority — a tiny minority, in fact — freedom has no value unless it extends to even the smallest and most marginalized groups among us. So let’s fight for marriage equality until it extends to every same-sex couple in the United States — and then let’s keep fighting. We’re not done yet.
IN THE COMMENTS: Salamandyr said:
Am I right that her argument is that something is only bad if it hurts women?Leo said:
@Salamandyr wasn't feminist grounds the example used in the supreme court when Sotomayor asked about this?I'll answer that: Yes.
And for those who want to know my position: I note 2 completely different questions. 1. Should the state be able to criminalize the activities of more than 2 adults who engage in private rituals proclaiming that they are married and then claim to be married? and 2. Should the state recognize marriages with more than 2 adults for the purposes of tax laws and benefits programs? As to #1, I think this is a matter of individual autonomy, a combination of free speech, freedom of association, and freedom of religion, and the state must leave these people alone. As to #2, I think the state can limit marriage to couples. Here, I think there can be a limit across the board: Everyone can have one spouse. You can combine #1 and #2 and have one legal marriage and additional members of the household that you can call whatever you want. It's none of the government's business.
Mitch H. said:
Polygamy is everywhere a marker for poverty, instability, and edemic social disorder. It encourages social inequality, and generally results in the trade of women like cattle, such that big men collect and stockpile wives as status symbols, while surplus and marginal men turn to violence and crime in order to "get theirs."As a social ill, it's not worse than adultery and fornication. Some men get multiple women and some men are on the outs. Why should the people who believe in polygamy be denied their version of the same thing? If your answer has to do with how they think about what their relationships are — that they think in terms of "marriage" — that shows why there is a freedom of speech/association/religion problem.