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People can marry however many people they want to

Religious Reflections

Published: Thursday, November 8, 2012

Updated: Friday, November 9, 2012 18:11

The Browns shocked the world in 2010 when their show “Sister Wives” aired on TLC, showing off their polygamist lifestyle. In the United States, polygamy is banned, making it illegal to have more than one lawful spouse. However, polygamists today are avoiding this law by legally marrying one spouse and holding a “binding ceremony” and having the wives live in separate but close homes.

I do not see the problem with polygamy. If people want to have multiple spouses, then let them.

While I am not necessarily about that lifestyle choice, I do not care what people are doing with their private lives. You can make your own decisions and choose to be involved in plural marriage.

Continually, we talk about the ideas of traditional marriage; yet even in the Bible, there are times when men would take in their brother’s wife when he died.

Does polygamy fall in line with the ideas of traditional marriage? Not in the sense that we have become accustomed to in the United States; however it was honorable in the Bible to take multiple wives.

I do not think Kody Brown, the husband Sister Wives, is being noble by taking in multiple wives, and his wives do not seem to mind very much that they have to share him.

Kaitlyn O’Connor can be reached at kfoconno@loyno.edu 

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11 comments Log in to Comment

Nate Straight
Fri Nov 16 2012 10:02
The social, financial, emotional, and even psychological costs [or benefits?] of polygamy that commenters thus far have discussed are largely irrelevant to the question of whether the practice should be legal. If the three [or more] people in question are consensually living under a polygamous, polyamorous, or whatever other poly- relationship, I think Ms. O'Connor is right on target. People make all manner of legal decisions that have terrible social, financial, emotional, and psychological costs. There is very little in the way of substantive difference between polygamy, if it indeed carries such costs, and [for example] alcohol addiction, cheating on your wife, or divorce.

The sticky point is not whether the consensual relationship between the adults is harmful to any or all of them, but the questions that arise when children become involved in their parents' polygamous relationships, since the State rightfully has the responsibility to ensure that these comparatively helpless and defenseless individuals do not have their rights impinged upon. If there is evidence that polygamy is sufficiently harmful to any children of so-married persons that it falls under the category of abuse or neglect or otherwise endangerment of the children, then the question of whether and how polygamy should be legal becomes more difficult.

However, that itself is not even sufficient. Adults have the legal right to be terrible, deadbeat parents who are emotionally and psychologically abuse, to a certain point.

This is not admirable, but it is legal except in cases where the abuse becomes a severe enough endangerment to the wellbeing of the child that intervention is needed.

Obviously the practice of marrying off children and forced polygamy is not covered by the above.

Robin Ford
Wed Nov 14 2012 18:24
If we allow gay marriage then a straight guy should be allowed to marry multiple women. Friggin' BS! We're letting the damn feminazis run this world because everyone is too cowardly to stand up against lest they be labeled "women haters." Marissa Gentner is proof of what these radicals are doing to the world.
Edward Maumbauer/Utah Polygamist
Mon Nov 12 2012 23:04
Too many of you are confusing properly practiced polygamy with slavery and child abuse. TRUE polygamy is NOT what Warren Jeffs practiced, it is a relationship that is mutually consensual between all adult parties. In the form that it is meant to be practiced it is the MAN that is at the beck and call of the women.
Marissa Gentner
Sun Nov 11 2012 19:48
Putting a ring on a woman's finger is a sign of slavery! We should abolish rings in marriage. What's wrong with this world where a woman cannot progress due to men?! I support women taking custody of a man's children, taking child support payments and never letting him see his children.
Anonymous
Fri Nov 9 2012 23:02
After reading the above articles, it seemed to me, that Ms. O'Connor's readers are willing to judge the question of "Polygamy" -(being not beneficial to our modern society) more than Ms. O'Connor. Too many people today feel having an opinion, and making judgements based on those opinion, is bad and unjust thing. This is not true. We are the teachers of the next generation of children. It is our duty.

The genesis of polygamy was during times of war, when many men died and children were needed for the agrarian culture (farming/subsistence) of history. To justify this behaviour the Elders had to sanctify these union or the communities would die out and the land swallowed yet again. This is not our modern world; but the old, uneducated societies that dwell in books outdated, if not loved, have not felt the necessity of changing the system that makes them KINGS in their own land. Why should they change? Change comes from pressure from above, not from those below them - unless their is an upheaval or revolution. So until the wives and children of these Polygamous families say - NO MORE; and the government announces NO MORE FUNDING for families with more than one female partner, then these archaic institution where children are not educated and families reside in poverty and oppression will continue.

As I watch 'Sister Wives' - sitting in my rural home in Central Ontario, I have a visceral response to the pressures the women face - with Kody being the family cheerleader - I wonder at his personal wisdom of bringing Robin, and her family, into a highly stressed situation where they are being forced from their home. He sprouts his concern for his family - yet, when they are the most vulnerable, he adds much more stress and disruption to this very delicate mix. Shame on him for his lack of awareness; shame on Robin for being so needy - apparently fully understanding the effects she brought to the overworked existing home - and SHAME ON THE 3 WIVES for not being heard or understood in their need for solidarity/security for their fragile family units. Time passing would have been much better.
I'm not lecturing only stating that taking the position of "everything is OK" is not a position at all - its an evasion. Decide and support your position - for everyone to understand WHY!!!!!

Cabo Cara
Fri Nov 9 2012 11:30
People need to understand that polygamy is NOT "sister wives" and "big love". UT, AZ, TX and other states "turn a blind eye" to true polygamy where children (girls as young as 12) are married off to much older men and then live off of welfare, food stamps and Medicaid (known as "bleeding the beast")... as discussed in new book "plygs", a fact based journalistic view at the REAL world of polygamy ... Warren Jeffs, the leader of this group (serving a life sentence for child rape) has recently ordered that only 15 men in the group can procreate with ANY of the women of their choice within the group... it is a SAD, SICK way to live. this group in UT / AZ / TX are nothing but pedophiles and welfare cheats...
k.Dee ignatin
Thu Nov 8 2012 21:50
I would also suggest that Ms. O'Connor visit Christopher Kaczor, who is a Professor of Philosophy at Loyola Marymount University, to discuss his recent piece this year titled The Perils of Polygamy, which points out, "Recent empirical research suggests that, in virtually every respect, polygamy is socially detrimental-to society in general, to men, to women, and to children."
k.Dee Ignatin
Thu Nov 8 2012 21:39
Jancis is correct and has actually researched this subject, unlike Ms. O'Connor. Polygamy is a recognized human rights abuse of women and children by the UN. I can document scores of empirical medical research studies, conducted in over 170 countries, which prove the demonstrable harms of the polygamy on women children and society. While Ms. O'Connor may think her opinion is enlightened, progressive or tolerant, it is actually incredibly ignorant, especially if it based on a TV so-called "reality show." Polygamy first and foremost pushes women and children into poverty. Perhaps Ms. O'Connor should ask the Browns why every single adult in the relationship has previously filed for bankruptcy, and Christine Brown listed her sole source of income on hers as "FOOD STAMPS." Is this one man [Kody Brown] really providing for his family if his children are dependent on the government for food? He is not alone. Almost every polygamous family in Utah and Arizona is on public assistance. we have found polygamous "families," which collect more than $30,000 a month in food stamp benefits a month---a month! This is how they survive, by milking the system. A real feminist says "NO" to the concubinage of women.
Anonymous
Thu Nov 8 2012 15:04
How do you manage to come up with this stuff every week?
Jancis M. Andrews
Thu Nov 8 2012 13:18
I should also add that it is ridiculous to suggest that polygamy is acceptable because it was practised by the kings and elders mentioned in the Old Testament. Yes, polygamy was acceptable 2000 years ago -- and so was slavery, and the denial of rights to women, as well as the stoning of women taken in adultery, and the putting to death of any son or daughter unfortunate enough to see their parent naked, or the death sentence carried out on those who did not give their priest the best cut of meat or the best oil for the temple lamps. Altogether, there are 30 "crimes" mentioned in the Old Testament which draw the death penalty. Having a certain practice Okayed in the Old Testament is no recommendation for its continuation in this more enlightened day and age. Let polygamy be kicked into the garbage can of history, where it belongs.
Jancis M. Andrews
Thu Nov 8 2012 13:05
So Kailyn O'Connor "sees no problem with polygamy?" Has she researched it or is this just her shallow opinion? Had she done her research she would have discovered that only the first (therefore legal) wife and her children can benefit from the man's medical insurance, dental insurance, life insurance, pensions including spousal pensions, and--unless the man has made special provision for his extra "wives" in his will--they cannot claim an equal share of his property on his death. The extra "wives" who are basically nothing more than concubines in the man's harem, face poverty, and so do their children. Polygamy is at its root an unequal relationship, where one man holds the power, and all the women are rivals for his care and attention ....not to mention their having to be rationed for sex and take their turn, while the man enjoys a different sex partner every night--something denied the women, who are supposed to keep faithful to him. (If it were group sex it would be polyamory, not polygamy) This is why Chief Justice Robert Bauman of BC Supreme Court, Canada, after listening to briefs from 13 groups, both pro and con polygamy, ruled on Nov. 23, 2011, that laws against polygamy are constitutional in that the practice harms ALL society, not just women and their children. After all, Nature has not made even two women for every one man, and those men who collect women as concubines are robbing their brothers of a chance to have a wife and family of their own, which, the judge wrote, leads to social unrest, as indeed it already has in China, where there are now more men than women owing to the practice of female infanticide. Canadians have made it clear that they consider men and women to be equals, and they do not want the shame of having concubines and harems in their country. The year is 2012 AD, not 2012 BC.

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