What I am about to say may or may not be completely absurd: I think polygamy, or group marriages, should be legalized. I know, I know, the first thing that comes to mind are all those crazy religious cults that practice polygamy and have a bad reputation for child abuse and brainwashing. However, there are a few reasons as to why polygamy should be legalized in the United States.
First, let’s get the basic argument out of the way. I am supposed to have freedom in this country. I do not see any reason as to why the government should be allowed to limit a person in how many spouses he or she has at a given time. There are more than 50 countries in the world that recognize polygamy, so why not the United States, too? If I want to have eight husbands, why does my government have the right to stop me? Is it not possible to love more than one person at a time?
I believe that polygamy is illegal solely for religious reasons. If this is in fact the case, then doesn’t that whole separation of church and state concept come into play here?
Next, I argue that polygamy actually promotes healthy relationships. In many polygamist marriages, there is a discussion about taking on a new husband or wife. This discussion is frequently open and honest. Open and honest discussions are becoming hard to come by in many monogamous marriages today.
Divorce is also far less frequent in polygamist families. We all have heard about the awful baggage that comes along with divorce; from legal fees, child custody battles, separating property, and not to mention the emotional trauma. Can you imagine what kind of world we would live in if there was less divorce? Just think of the toll it has on children. If children can grow up in a loving, divorce-free environment, is that not better for their future?
I know what you’re thinking right now, “But polygamists abuse their children and force them into marriages with gross old men.” I understand your thought. However, one out of eight children are abused in polygamist households, whereas one out of six children are abused in monogamous households. There is a national problem with abuse. It isn’t just a polygamist thing.
I also argue that religious “brainwashing” polygamist groups are a minority among polygamist groups. These few bad eggs give the practice a bad name, and I think that is unfair.
Lastly, I argue that polygamy tends to benefit women the most and disadvantage men. According to David Friedman, anarcho-capitalist and author of “The Machinery of Freedom,” the idea is that many women would prefer half or one-third of someone especially appealing to being the single spouse of someone who doesn’t provide as much economic utility to them. Secondly, that the remaining women have a better market for finding a spouse themselves. Say that 20 percent of women are married to 10 percent of men, so that leaves 90 percent of men to compete over the remaining 80 percent of women. Friedman uses this viewpoint to argue in favor of legalizing polygamy.
I guess I am just gung-ho for freedom. If I am not hurting anyone, why should the government stop me? Polygamist relationships can be just as healthy as monogamous relationships, for the spouses and children alike. This practice has a pretty bad reputation from media frenzies surrounding a few isolated cases.
I challenge everyone to think about why polygamy should be illegal. If you find yourself resting on some moral basis taught to you by any religious organization, then it violates the separation of church and state concept. In the divorce-happy, depressing world we live in, why can’t we just celebrate love in all forms? I say, the more love the better!