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Polygamy should the state of missouri legalize.
Polygamy Should the state of Missouri legalize polygamy? Comprising 114 counties, Missouri is a U.S. state located in mid-west of the country. The debate of whether or not legalize polygamy (i.e. one man marrying many women) is ethically evaluated here using ethical method and theories. Five-point analysis method for resolving ethical dilemmas Ethical questions are deep rooted in the emotions of individuals as well as the society. It is not easy to present and get accepted a solution to ethical dilemma. The five point analysis method for resolving ethical dilemmas has following steps: Develop a list of premises: This step is of finding options. Listing the solution alternatives. The method will evaluate if polygamy should be legalized, illegalized, banned with heavy punishment, or allowed under specific conditions where the wife has medical issues that require the husband to marry someone else. Step 2. Eliminate irrelevant or weak premises: After analyzing consequences, and evaluating all possible positive….
Bramhan, D., (2011), "Tradition of monogamous marriage traced in polygamy hearing,"
Retrieved from: http://www.vancouversun.com/life/Tradition+monogamous+marriage+traced+polygamy+hearing/4087361/story.html
Ethics and Virtue, (n.d.), Retrieved from:
Polygamy an Unwelcome Societal Practice in the United States
Polygamy, or the practice of having more than one spouse at a time, is a very controversial issue that provides many ethical, moral and practical questions that surround the idea and its implementation into society. The purpose of this essay is to describe the practice of polygamy and why this practice is unwise to participate in due to the many risks toward mental, physical and spiritual health. This essay will first examine the issues surrounding polygamy and how it has arrived in our society. The pros and cons of this practice will also be examined to demonstrate how polygamy is ultimately destroying our culture and freedom. The effects polygamy has on financial matters, legal issues, health and disease issues and biblical issues will all be addressed in this essay to highlight the true purpose of this disturbing and unwelcomed practice. Polygamy Basics Polygamy, simply understood means to be married to more than one….
Barber, N. (2009). The wide world of polygamy: We hate it, others love it. Psychology Today, 19 Feb 2009. Retrieved from http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-human-beast/200902/the-wide-world-polygamy-we-hate-it-others-love-it
Rauch, J. (2006). One Man, Many Wives, Big Problems. Reason, 3 April 2006. Retrieved from http://reason.com/archives/2006/04/03/one-man-many-wives-big-problem
Smith, M. (2013). The Dangers of Legalizing Polygamy. Ricochet, 25 June 2013. Retrieved from http://ricochet.com/main-feed/The-Dangers-of-Legalizing-Polygamy
Polygamy in Recent Years the Issue of
Polygamy In recent years the issue of Polygamy has received a great deal of attention. The purpose of this discussion is to examine the practice of polygamy. The research will uncover that although polygamy has some disadvantages including family division, there are also some very real advantages associated with the practice and a balanced view of the practice is often lacking in the western world. Polygamy is defined as "marriage in which a spouse of either sex may have more than one mate at the same time (polygamy)." In most cases polygamy occurs within the context of certain religions and/or social customs. In fact Al-Krenawi (2006) reports that In cultures covering more than 850 societies across the globe, including Africa, Asia, the Middle East, North America and Oceania, such expanded family structures are known to occur (Hartung, 1982; Valsiner, 1989). In some practicing societies, rates of polygamy may include up to 50% of….
About the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.. Retrieved March 9 from; http://www.religioustolerance.org/flds.htm
Al-Krenawi, A. (2006) Comparison of Family Functioning, Life and Marital Satisfaction, and Mental Health of Women in Polygamous and Monogamous Marriages.
International journal of social psychiatry.
Al-Krenawi, A., & Lightman, E. (2000). Learning achievements, social adjustment and family conflicts among Bedouin-Arab children from polygamous and monogamous families. Journal of Social Psychology, 140, 345-355.
Polygamy in Recent Months the
12 You did it in secret, but I will do this thing in broad daylight before all Israel." David then repented and ultimately he put away all of his wives and concubines. He took physical care of them but he no longer had sex with any of them. It is believed that his first wife had died and only athsheba was left and they bore another son named Solomon. It is obvious throughout the text that David understood that his various marriages and sexual relationships with women were detestable in the eyes of God. The punishment for polygamy exacted by God can also be seen in the life of Solomon. Solomon's heart was led astray because not only did he have multiple wives, but he took wives who worshipped other gods after he and the Israelites in general had be warned against intermarriage. They were from nations about which the LORD had….
Armstrong, Herbert W. (1963) "Here's the Plain Truth About Old Testament Polygamy. http://www.eternalcog.org/pdf/hwa/Old%20Testament%20Polygamy.pdf
The Bible. New King James Version
Thompson, John L. Writing the Wrongs: Women of the Old Testament among Biblical Commentators from Philo through the Reformation. New York: Oxford University Press, 2001.
A polygamy. (2008). In Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary.
Polygamy Began as a Practice in the
Polygamy began as a practice in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS), which was commonly known as the Mormon Church, between 1830s and 40s. The main reason why polygamy was common during the period was as a result of religion to multiply and replenish the earth. In 1890, plural marriages were prohibited by LDS, although the practice continued to exist in small subgroups. Polygamy is a relationship existing between either one husband and multiple wives or a woman and multiple husbands. In social anthropology, polygamy is defined as the practice of marriage to more than one spouse. Historically, polygamy was practiced as polygyny; one man or as polyandry; one woman having multiple husband. Studies showed that polygamy is one of the most contentious issues bearing on women and women's rights (Lyimo, 2001). Traditionally, polygamy was morally objectionable for various reasons, such as it fosters oppression of women. In….
Bailey, M., & Kaufman, A.J. (2010). Polygamy in the monogamous world multicultural challenges for Western law and policy. London: Praeger.
Bledsoe, C.H., & Pison, G. (2004). Nuptiality in Sub-Saharan Africa: contemporary anthropological and demographic perspectives. London: Clarendon Press; .
Fenske, J. (2006). African Polygamy: Past And Present. African Polygamy: Past And Present. Retrieved November 30, 2013, from https://editorialexpress.com/cgi-bin/conference/download.cgi-db_name=CSAE2012&paper_id=115
Hussein, B. (2002). Bedru Hussein is Rector of Meserete Kristos College, Addis Abeba, Ethiopia Mission Focus: Annual Review © 2002 Volume 10 Polygamy: An Ethical Case Study. The Polygamy Issue As Co Nfronted By Meserete Kristos Church. Retrieved December 30, 2013, from http://www.anabaptistwiki.org/mediawiki/images/5/5f/Vol._10_Hussein,_Polygamy-An_Ethical_Case_Study.pdf
Polygamy Family Systems
Polygamy On the surface, and with the most shallow of analyses, polygamy would seem to be protected by the First Amendment freedom of religion clause because polygamy in the United States is mainly a phenomenon among specific religious groups -- namely Mormons, fundamentalist Christians, and Muslims (Turley). In fact, even a polygamous marriage that was not rooted in religious tradition could be protected under the Due Process clause, which basically encompasses right to privacy (Hamilton). Indeed, the state of Utah's Supreme Court and the Supreme Court of the United States have heard numerous cases related to the constitutionality of polygamy. According to Turley, "Utah and eight other states make polygamy a crime, while 49 states have bigamy statutes that can be used to prosecute plural families." Yet as many as 50,000 cases of polygamy currently exist in the United States (Turley). The stigma against polygamy remains strong, and has been powerfully in….
Altman, Irwin and Ginat, Joseph. Polygamous Families in Contemporary Society. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996.
Carter, Joe. "Judge Walker's Rational Basis for Supporting Polygamy." First Things. Retrieved online: http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/firstthoughts/2010/08/05/judge-walkers-rational-basis-for-supporting-polygamy/
Hall, Katy. "Sister Wives': TLC's Polygamist Family Asks Us To 'Rethink Marriage'" Huffington Post.. 23 Sept 2010. Retrieved online: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/katy-hall/sister-wives-tlcs-polygam_b_736551.html
Hamilton, Marci A. "Utah cases challenge whether anti-polygamy laws are constitutional." CNN.com. July 29, 2004. Retrieved online: http://articles.cnn.com/2004-07-29/justice/hamilton.polygamy_1_polygamy-marriage-argument?_s=PM:LAW
Polygamy Religion and the Law
Opposition Argument: On the other hand, from the legal perspective, the argument that constitutional principles justify reconsidering the issue that polygamy (unlike human sacrifice) warrants First Amendment protections of the free exercise of religion. For one thing, the modern Supreme Court has recognized a right of privacy that emanates from the enumerated rights and privileges ever since the 1960s, that could play a role in a modern reanalysis of polygamy at law. Second, while the Equal Protection Clause was available prior to the 19th century decisions about polygamy, equal protection as a legal concept had not yet developed and only became potentially useful to support polygamy in the 20th century. From a legal perspective, it may be more difficult to uphold anti-polygamy laws today, precisely because, (unlike human sacrifice or the unauthorized consumption of controlled narcotics), the actual act of maintaining multiple sexual relationships is not legally prohibited. Unmarried individuals of both genders may legally….
Witte, J. (2008). "Can America Still Bar Polygamy? Much has changed since the late
1800s, and many arguments for keeping the ban aren't very compelling"
Christianity Today. Retrieved March 29, 2009, from:
Polygamy Real World Issues Under
What this practice really meant, though, was that the same amount of income was now expected to support two Nnaife, both of his wives, and all of their children, and especially when the household wasn't operating as a single unit, this caused a great deal of hardship, tension, and imbalance. In addition, it caused emotional and psychological grief for Nnu Ego, who had to listen to Nnaife consummating his new marriage only feet from where she lay trying to fall asleep. Truly nothing was hers after this marriage -- not even the love of her husband. The Women of Nigeria This is not actually the first time that Nnu Ego experiences the hardships of polygamy in the novel. She had previously been married to another man, and after a short time of her failing to become pregnant by him he took a new wife, and Nnu Ego had to work in….
Emecheta, B. (1980). The Joys of Motherhood. New York: George Braziller.
Mashour, a. (2005). Islamic Law and Gender Equality: Could There be a Common Ground?: A Study of Divorce and Polygamy in Sharia Law and Contemporary Legislation in Tunisia and Egypt. Human Rights Quarterly 27(2): 562-596.
Ogundipe-Leslie, M. (1994). Re-creating ourselves: African women & critical transformations. Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press.
Polygamy in Colorado City Arizona
polygamy with specific reference to its practice in the city of Colorado Arizona. Polygamy is defined as the practice of keeping one or more wives at one time, the history and studies regarding polygamy signifies the fact that early leaders used to keep one or more wives at one time, ordinary individuals also adopted this practice. Hence, polygamy became a custom and a rule in many countries of the world. The facts regarding polygamy practices state "Polygamy has been practiced by mankind for thousands of years. Many of the ancient Israelites were polygamous, some having hundreds of wives. King Solomon (peace be upon him) is said to have had seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines. David (Dawood) had ninety-nine and Jacob (Yacub, peace be upon them both) had four. Advice given by some Jewish wise men state that no man should marry more than four wives. No early….
As retrieved at http://www.arizonan.com/ColoradoCity/On April 17,2004
As retrieved from A polygamous Mormon group in Utah and Arizona is preparing for an apocalypz ex-members say By ROBERT GEHRKE http://www.mazeministry.com/mormonism/polygamy/sect/sect.htm . On April 17,2004
As retrieved fromPractical Aspects of Polygamy
The benefits polygamy has for women and the controls it places on men.
Polygamy Should the state of Missouri legalize polygamy? Health Management Associates (NYSE: HMA) HMA is a company established in 1977 that runs acute care health care facilities in America. The HMA offers facilities like internal medicine, surgery, emergency room care, oncology, diagnostic care, radiology, and pediatric services. It also offers x-ray, lab, respiratory therapy, and physical therapy. The company has total 71 hospitals having above eleven thousand beds. Conduct an internal financial analysis of Health Management Associates With annual revenues increased to $5.87 billion, the company is showing growth in many areas. The internal financial analysis of the company gave following figures: Year 2012 2011 2010 Liquidity atios Current atio Cash atio 21% 27% 36% Quick atio Profitability atios Operating Margin 10% 11% 11% Profit Margin 3% 4% 3% Pre-Tax OE 30% 41% 55% After Tax OE 16% 23% 29% Data Interpretation The company's ratio analysis shows that the current ratio has decreased over period (HMA Company Financials, 2013). The company has 151% or 1.51 current ratio. The decrease in current ration means the company has less cash to pay its debt hence the….
Financial Analysis, (2009), Retrieved from:
HMA Company Financials, (2013), Retrieved from:
Bill Against Polygamy I Wonder How Many
Bill Against Polygamy I wonder how many of us would like to be politicians in a world and a country where few groups can get themselves to agree on things. Think, for example, of something as seemingly simple as religious freedom. Of course, most of use agree with the Constitution, that people should be allowed to believe and worship as they want. But what about religious groups that are not "normal," according to most people's views? Polygamy is one such example. Many who practice this form of marriage have religious reasons for doing so. Most of us find his practice strange and disturbing. It is therefore difficult for us to believe that the Constitution should grant such people the right to marry more than one person legally and to provide any other benefits that come with this. So, the debate goes on. And for this reason I do not envy those….
Kaminer, W. (2013). Why is Polygamy Illegal? Council for Secular Humanism. Retrieved from: http://www.secularhumanism.org/index.php?section=library&page=kaminer_28_5
The New York Times (1860). The Bill Against Polygamy. Retrieved from: http://www.nytimes.com/1860/04/07/news/the-bill-against-polygamy.html
U.S. Marriage Laws. (2013). Retrieved from: http://usmarriagelaws.com/search/united_states/polygamy/index.shtml
Polygamous Marriage Polygamy Is the
Coolidge" in response to learning that the prodigious reproduction of the male roosters involved access to many hens and not just one (Gerrig & Zimbardo, 2007). Objective Evaluation of Criticism of the Polygamous Lifestyle: Aside from the arguments based solely on cultural beliefs and notions of the definition of marriage in Western society, there are also more objective criticisms to polygamous marriage. When such marriages involve the prospect of child rearing, there are issues of child welfare, at least in terms of how being raised in a polygamous family affects psychological development in the child (Gerrig & Zimbardo, 2007). The main concern is that it distorts the view of marriage and family in the minds of children. However, on closer examination, such criticisms may be less valid on any objective principle and relate more to deviation from establishes norms and biases in mainstream culture. If anything, children raised within polygamous families generally….
Dougherty, J., Johnson, K. (2007). "Sect Leader Is Convicted as an Accomplice to Rape"
New York Times, September 26, 2007. Retrieved May 14, 2009, from The New
York Times database, at:
Mormon Polygamy Past & Present
How could they take out an element that was supposed to aid in a person's salvation? A lot of church leaders continued a "sub rosa" promotion of polygamy, starting what is now called the post-Manifesto era (2011). President Wilford Woodruff, George Q. Cannon and Joseph F. Smith, sent Mormons to church colonies in Mexico to take part in plural marriages (2011). (Some of those people included Brigham Young Jr.) a great deal of these marriages were sealed in Mexico by Anthony Ivins, who later became a member of the First Presidency. Other post-Manifesto marriages were done in Canada, on ships on the Pacific Ocean, and in Utah as well as other neighboring states (2011). These marriages were not able to keep their secrecy, and when the news got out, there were many anti-polygamy activists who were incredibly angry. Apostle eed Smoot, a monogamist and member of the Church of Latter-day….
Abanes, R. (2003). One nation under Gods: A history of the Mormon church. Basic Books.
Compton, T.M. (2011). The four major periods of Mormon polygamy. The Signature Books
Library. Accessed on March 3, 2011:
Monogamy vs Polygamy in Different
Women also do not possess the same rights as men in this country, and therefore have to be subordinate to males. In the United States, cultural and personal value is often tied to a person's accomplishments. Social status is gained through hard work, social networking, and perhaps success in business or in society. Money helps to define a person's success. Polygamy is frowned upon in the United States largely because of the country's Judeo-Christian background but also because women are seen as equals to men (Embry, 1987). This creates a cultural and social value for women, and they are not to be subjugated or limited by the men in their lives. The Mormon sects that still embrace the practice of polygamy use women as status symbols or symbols of religious power and purity (Altman and Ginat, 1996). Much in the way the Saudi's use polygamy. But instead of changing with….
Aarts, Paul and Nonneman, Gerd. (2005). Saudi Arabia in the Balance: Political
Economy, Society, Foreign Affairs. New York University Press: New York.
Ahmed, Leila. (1982). "Western Ethnocentrism and Perceptions of the Harem." Feminist
Studies, Vol. 8, No. 3 (Autumn, 1982), pp. 521-534.
Brigham Young and the Expanding American Frontier
Brigham Young At first, Young was ambivalent towards the Methodist -- or any other -- Church. He "held back from joining the Methodists" like his brothers had because of an "independent, deliberate personality" that rejected belief under pressure (8). Methodist revival meetings also turned Young off because of their "loud, crowded, and hyperactive" qualities," (8). Yet while living in the Auburn-Port Byron area, during an economic depression, he was "swept up by religious enthusiasm" and joined the Methodist Church in 1824 (13). The conversion turned out to be integral to Young's "program of self-improvement," (14). The Church prompted Young to give up swearing, one of his self-admitted habits. He experimented with vegetarianism, too, in an attempt to live an overall cleaner and healthier lifestyle. The religion also helped him to overcome his shyness and fear of public speaking (14). In addition to helping him on his personal path, the Methodist Church….
5. The Gold Rush altered the course of westward expansion, driving increasing numbers of non-Mormons to western lands and especially to California. The Gold Rush was therefore instrumental in preventing Young from entertaining the idea of moving the Mormon camp to California. Young feared a "renewed Mormon/non-Mormon conflict," (94). Mormon Samuel Brannan struck gold and was later excommunicated because he refused to tithe on his huge fortune (94-95). A large number of fortune-seeking trailblazers had made the path to the Great Salt Lake basin easier, which solidified the decision to settle in what is now Salt Lake City (95). Therefore, the Gold Rush had a huge impact on the geography of Mormon settlement. The Gold Rush also directly benefitted the Mormons economically, as gold seekers would stop in Salt Lake City en route to California.
6. By the 1850s, Salt Lake City's Mormon businesses were prospering due to trade with gold seekers. Young encouraged economic self-sufficiency and diversification from what could have easily been an agriculture-dependent economy. Young and the Mormons had brought "to the Great Basin 75 to 100 black slaves," a fact that Young "tried to conceal from federal officials" due to the brewing controversy over slavery in the new territories (104). In spite of this, Young was ambivalent about the Civil War because it represented for him the spiritual end times. When it became apparent that the North was headed for victory, Young took an opportunistic stance of supporting the Union but for strategic reasons only. Young remained staunchly pro-slavery. In 1850 also, Young encouraged the development of an "Iron Mission" that would take advantage of the wealth of raw materials like iron in the region (108). By the end of the 1850s, Young was involved in three "broad categories" of business: first, deals involving partnership with the Mormon Church; second, those involving partnerships with other businessmen; and third, those in which Young was the sole investor (149).
7. Although the Transcontinental Railroad did not pass directly through Salt Lake City, it benefitted the Mormon economy. At the same time, Young feared the large numbers of non-Mormons it would bring to the territory (179). Young agreed with the prevailing patriarchal view that men have dominion over women; that women were inherently inferior to men; and were also less intelligent (192). Moreover, women represented sin, temptation, and spiritual corruption. The United Order was "a system of economic cooperation that called upon selected Mormon communities to pool their equipment, their property, and their energy and work together," (199). It was therefore a system of socialist cooperatives. Variations depended on different levels of economic commitment to the cooperative.
Family and Marriage
Polygamy Should the state of Missouri legalize polygamy? Comprising 114 counties, Missouri is a U.S. state located in mid-west of the country. The debate of whether or not legalize polygamy (i.e.…
Polygamy, or the practice of having more than one spouse at a time, is a very controversial issue that provides many ethical, moral and practical questions that surround the…
Polygamy In recent years the issue of Polygamy has received a great deal of attention. The purpose of this discussion is to examine the practice of polygamy. The research will…
Mythology - Religion
12 You did it in secret, but I will do this thing in broad daylight before all Israel." David then repented and ultimately he put away all of his…
Polygamy began as a practice in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS), which was commonly known as the Mormon Church, between 1830s and 40s. The main…
Polygamy On the surface, and with the most shallow of analyses, polygamy would seem to be protected by the First Amendment freedom of religion clause because polygamy in the United…
Opposition Argument: On the other hand, from the legal perspective, the argument that constitutional principles justify reconsidering the issue that polygamy (unlike human sacrifice) warrants First Amendment protections of the free…
What this practice really meant, though, was that the same amount of income was now expected to support two Nnaife, both of his wives, and all of their…
polygamy with specific reference to its practice in the city of Colorado Arizona. Polygamy is defined as the practice of keeping one or more wives at one time,…
Polygamy Should the state of Missouri legalize polygamy? Health Management Associates (NYSE: HMA) HMA is a company established in 1977 that runs acute care health care facilities in America. The HMA…
Bill Against Polygamy I wonder how many of us would like to be politicians in a world and a country where few groups can get themselves to agree on things.…
Coolidge" in response to learning that the prodigious reproduction of the male roosters involved access to many hens and not just one (Gerrig & Zimbardo, 2007). Objective Evaluation of…
How could they take out an element that was supposed to aid in a person's salvation? A lot of church leaders continued a "sub rosa" promotion of polygamy,…
Women also do not possess the same rights as men in this country, and therefore have to be subordinate to males. In the United States, cultural and personal value…
Brigham Young At first, Young was ambivalent towards the Methodist -- or any other -- Church. He "held back from joining the Methodists" like his brothers had because of an…
The Pros and Cons of Polygamy
Would legalizing polygamy increase people's freedom, or limit it.
Posted July 24, 2015
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With gay marriage now legal nationwide, many (like William Baude in the New York Times ) are now wondering if legalized polygamy may be next, and some (like Fredrik Deboer in Politico ) are suggesting that it should be.
As Baude points out in his op-ed , polygamy should remain illegal because it would increase gender inequality and social instability:
"Judge Richard A. Posner of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit rejected a right to plural marriage because it would lead to gender imbalances if ‘the five wealthiest men have a total of 50 wives.’ Similarly, the same-sex marriage advocate Jonathan Rauch has argued that polygamy allows ‘high-status men to hoard wives’ and destabilizes society."
Note that Posner and Rauch are assuming that the most common type of legal polygamous marriage would be one husband with multiple wives (polygyny), as opposed to one wife with multiple husbands ( polyandry ). They’re also not considering more complex types of plural marriage (e.g. multi-male multi-female), or homosexual plural marriage. (Nor will I consider these two latter types here; they're relevant but beyond the scope of this post.)
Is it safe to assume that most polygamous heterosexual marriage would indeed involve one husband with multiple wives? Probably, as this chimes with the evidence about how people tend to mate cross-culturally . Historically, polygamy was permitted in the vast majority of cultures; in these cultures, polygyny was far more common than polyandry. Still, even within cultures that permit polygyny, it is much less common than monogamous marriage, in part because it can be difficult to attract more than one spouse, even if you'd want to . (Note also that polyandry rates may be underestimated in the anthropological record .)
Why is polygyny more common than other forms of plural marriage? Because of how humans are psychologically adapted for mating . The evolutionary reproductive benefits of having more than one spouse were higher for men than women. In 1972 , biologist Robert Trivers outlined the foundational reason for this: For men more than women, reproductive success is limited by number of mates. A man with many wives can produce many children per nine months, whereas a woman can usually produce only one, whether she has one husband or 100. Females certainly may obtain other kinds of reproductive benefits (like resources for their own children) from mating with multiple males, but these benefits are less straightforward than actual additional offspring. Relatedly, the reproductive costs of having more than one spouse are lower for women than for men. If a man's wife becomes pregnant by his co-husband, he'll have to wait a long time—nine months plus an inter-birth interval that in hunter-gatherer societies averages 3.25 years —for his turn to reproduce. If a woman's husband impregnates her co-wife, he can immediately impregnate her, too. She may suffer other reproductive costs from having to share a husband (like receiving a smaller proportion of his resources for her own children), but these costs are less severe than not being able to reproduce at all for four years.
Because our minds were designed by these evolutionary environments, men—cross-culturally and on average—are more motivated to acquire multiple mates , and seem more averse to sharing a spouse, compared to women. That said, forms of polyandry are certainly observed anthropologically, and are quite common in some societies, so it would be misguided to suggest that it is "contrary to human nature." It would be more accurate to say that the evolved psychological mechanisms in men and women that lead to polygyny are activated under a wider range of environments than are the mechanisms that lead to polyandry.
So it seems reasonable to assume that if polygamy were legal, most polygamous marriage would indeed take the form of polygyny. We can also assume that given roughly equal sex ratios, polygyny could lead to the kinds of gender imbalances described above, with some men who were more attractive (in terms of overall mate value) having multiple wives, and some less-attractive males going wife-less or having to share a mate with other men.
Would such outcomes be a problem? Possibly. Many people would regard them as being unfair or exploitive of women in polygynous marriages, or to men unable to attract a wife of their own. Another convincing argument is that societies with too many unmated men tend to suffer from social instability due to intensified male-male mating competition . Given these potential problems, why would it be a good idea to legalize polygamy?
Maybe the simplest and most compelling argument in favor of legalization is that it would enhance people's freedom to choose their own mates. No one on either side of the debate suggests that it should be legal to coerce anyone into a polygamous marriage. Jonathan Rauch's comment (above) that polygyny allows "high-status men to hoard wives" suggests wives being collected like possessions, but this overlooks the fact that in many cultures, women in polygynous marriages actively choose to enter them—and the same goes for men in most polyandrous marriages. If the government prohibits people from choosing to marry polygamously, this is the equivalent of telling them that instead of marrying their preferred partner, they must instead marry someone they would otherwise not choose, or else not marry at all.
So it does seem that by prohibiting polygamy between consenting adults, we restrict people's ability to choose their own mate(s). However this doesn't mean making it legal is a good idea. Personal freedom is not the only value we should strive to maximize, of course, and there may be a greater social good served by keeping polygamy illegal. Would the potential costs of legalizing polygamy—such as reduced gender equality, increased numbers of low-status unmarried men, decreased social stability, or some other unmentioned problem—exceed the potential benefits?
Feel free to share your thoughts with a comment below.
Copyright Michael E. Price 2015. All rights reserved.
- Trivers, R. L. 1972. Parental investment and sexual selection. In B. Campbell, ed. Sexual Selection and the Descent of Man , 1871-1971, Aldine-Atherton, Chicago, pp. 136-179.
- Marlowe, F. W., & Berbesque, J. C. (2012). The human operational sex ratio: effects of marriage, concealed ovulation, and menopause on mate competition. Journal of Human Evolution , 63, 834-842.
- Schmitt, D. P. (2005). Sociosexuality from Argentina to Zimbabwe: A 48-nation study of sex, culture, and strategies of human mating. Behavioral and Brain Sciences , 28, 247-275.
Michael Price, Ph.D. is Senior Lecturer in Psychology at Brunel University London.
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Gay marriage argument essays: should it be legalized, should gay couples be able to marry argumentative essay, some moral minima argumentative essay, argumentative essay on relativism and morality.
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The Case Against Encouraging Polygamy
Why civil marriage should not encompass group unions
Now that same-sex marriage is legal in all 50 states, writer Freddie de Boer wants its proponents to adopt a new focus. “ Where does the next advance come?” he asks in an essay at Politico. “Now that we’ve defined that love and devotion and family isn’t driven by gender alone, why should it be limited to just two individuals? The most natural advance next for marriage lies in legalized polygamy.”
The time is ripe, he argues, in part because there’s no longer a strategic reason to hold off. “To advocate for polygamy during the marriage equality fight may have seemed to confirm the socially conservative narrative, that gay marriage augured a wholesale collapse in traditional values,” he observes. “But times have changed; while work remains to be done, the immediate danger to marriage equality has passed.”
He proceeds to argue that “the case against polygamy is incredibly flimsy, almost entirely lacking in rational basis and animated by purely irrational fears and prejudice.” And he goes further, insisting that even if there are pragmatic reasons to deny state-sanction to polygamous marriage, we must extend it anyway because it is a human right. “We must insist that rights cannot be dismissed out of short-term interests of logistics and political pragmatism,” he says in the essay, adding in a followup blog post that “logistics are never sufficient reason to deny human rights.”
All three of those arguments strike me as wrongheaded.
I suspect that there are still strategic reasons for gay-marriage advocates to refrain from pushing for plural marriage; there are numerous rational arguments against state endorsement of group marriages; and having a polygamous marriage recognized and incentivized by the state is not a human right.
The law should, I think, allow groups of people to sleep in the same house, engage in group sex, and enter into contracts or religious arrangements of their liking. If a polyamorous family lived next door to me, I’d welcome them to the neighborhood and champion treating them with love and respect. But I think it would be imprudent to include their arrangement in civil marriage, with its incentivizing benefits, because if group marriage were to become normalized and spread beyond a tiny fringe the consequences for society could be significant and negative.
The Politics of Gay Marriage
Gay marriage remains illegal in Australia, most of Asia, Africa, and Oceania, and parts of Europe and Mexico; the most liberal of those countries strike me as the most natural places for “the next advance” of marriage. I’d urge my fellow gay-marriage proponents to focus their efforts there––and legalizing group marriage in America right now would strengthen the hands of gay-marriage opponents abroad, confirming slippery-slope arguments that were raised and rejected here. If it ever made sense to avoid this fight as a matter of political strategy, it still does; if gay marriage was ever a more important priority than plural marriage, it remains so.
The Utilitarian Case Against Group Marriage
The strongest argument against state-sanctioned group marriage is how poorly it has worked out for women and low-status men in most times and places it has been tried.
Jonathan Rauch puts it succinctly :
There's an extensive literature on polygamy. Here’s a 2012 study, for example, that discovered “significantly higher levels of rape, kidnapping, murder, assault, robbery and fraud in polygynous cultures.” According to the research, “monogamy's main cultural evolutionary advantage over polygyny is the more egalitarian distribution of women, which reduces male competition and social problems.” ...monogamous marriage “results in significant improvements in child welfare, including lower rates of neglect, abuse, accidental death, homicide and intra-household conflict.” And: “by shifting male efforts from seeking wives to paternal investment, institutionalized monogamy increases long-term planning, economic productivity, savings and child investment.”
De Boer responds that “basic social science tells us that the very illegality and taboo that I’m trying to get rid of distorts the empirical picture. When a practice is illegal and taboo, that practice will necessarily be undertaken by people who tend towards extremist or outsider lifestyles. The fact that in America we associate polygamy with radical religious types is a function of that illegality and that taboo.”
But plural marriage is associated with those negative outcomes even in cultures where it is or was neither taboo nor illegal. Says De Boer, “The truth is that we don’t know what a wealthy Western society like America would look like with polygamous marriage because conservatism has prevented that society from existing.” He is right that we cannot be sure what the United States would look like if polygamy were legalized tomorrow, and perhaps America would be exceptional. It is also possible that the vast majority of plural marriages would occur within fundamentalist religious groups, as happened in the past; and that those plural marriages would be as coercive and destabilizing as has typically been true.
Either way, it is incomplete at best to assert that it is impossible to know what a polygamous society would look like “because conservatism has prevented that society from existing.” There are strong conservative arguments for risk-aversion and against experimenting with legalized group marriage, but there are equally strong technocratic, feminist, and progressive arguments against incentivizing polygamous marriage. If plural marriage is recognized by the state and practiced mostly in Berkeley and Williamsburg, those left-leaning arguments may well go unarticulated. I expect that they’ll be made forcefully, though, if the result of normalized plural marriage is, for example, a spike in the number of middle-aged religious conservatives who coerce their first wives into letting them marry teenagers summoned from fundamentalist Mormon sects or polygamous tribal societies abroad.
Numbers are the next-strongest argument against plural marriage. Here’s Rauch again:
...when a high-status man takes two wives (and one man taking many wives, or polygyny, is almost invariably the real-world pattern), a lower-status man gets no wife. If the high-status man takes three wives, two lower-status men get no wives... This competitive, zero-sum dynamic sets off a competition among high-status men to hoard marriage opportunities, which leaves lower-status men out in the cold. Those men, denied access to life's most stabilizing and civilizing institution, are unfairly disadvantaged and often turn to behaviors like crime and violence. The situation is not good for women, either, because it places them in competition with other wives and can reduce them all to satellites of the man.
Where plural marriage exists in America, this is already happening. As The New York Times reported in 2007, “ Over the last six years, hundreds of teenage boys have been expelled or felt compelled to leave the polygamous settlement that straddles Colorado City, Ariz., and Hildale, Utah. Disobedience is usually the reason given for expulsion, but former sect members and state legal officials say the exodus of males—the expulsion of girls is rarer—also remedies a huge imbalance in the marriage market. Members of the sect believe that to reach eternal salvation, men are supposed to have at least three wives.”
On his blog, De Boer responds to concerns about gender imbalance in the marriage market. My responses follow:
1. We already have lots of sad horny angry dudes.
That is not an argument recommending a policy that might create orders of magnitude more.
2. Government has no business trying to regulate the sexual or romantic “marketplace” so that men feel like they have an adequate number of partners to choose from. Society has no legitimate interest in ensuring that you feel like you have a good chance of getting laid.
Getting laid, which does not require marriage, is beside the point. And the point isn’t to ensure that men “feel like” they have an adequate number of partners to choose from––it is to ensure that both genders do have at least some realistic opportunity to participate in the institution of marriage, the same cause that drove so many impassioned proponents of gay marriage to broaden the institution. I’d further argue that the government does have an interest in regulating the sexual marketplace in this sense: Nature has given humanity a world with roughly equal numbers of men and women, a highly beneficial reality, and if that parity were threatened by large numbers of parents choosing the gender of their children, the government would, I think, have an interest in outlawing that practice to avoid the terrible consequences that could result from a significant imbalance.
3. Traditional marriage has traditionally invested men with superior power, too.
In practice, the power imbalance in polygamous unions has arguably been both greater and more resistant to egalitarian trends. And in any marriage that grows beyond two people, a new problem presents itself: the possibility of a majority ganging up on a minority.
4. That polygamy often functions to have one man who dominates the household and lots of subservient wives is a function of patriarchy. It’s our duty to destroy patriarchy. If we undertake that effort, the benefits will accrue to traditional marriage, to polygamous marriage, and to the unmarried.
By this logic, why not destroy patriarchy and then, only once you’ve succeeded, recognize group marriage?
5. That the idea of one wife with many husbands is just assumed away is itself reflective of ingrained sexism.
Ingrained sexism exists and will shape how polygamy plays out if it spreads! And even apart from ingrained sexism, men may turn out to be more averse to sharing a wife with other men than women are to sharing a husband with other women.
6. The notion that polygamy will necessarily and perpetually default to one husband, many wives because of inequality in social and economic capital between men and women seems to me to be a matter of declaring defeat in the battle against sexism.
Even if longstanding patterns reversed and women began to take multiple men as spouses in much higher numbers than the reverse, there would still be a category of losers––low status women, in this case––who would be denied the opportunity to marry by the inegalitarian structure of polygamous society.
7. While a huge amount of work remains to be done, we’ve seen remarkable progress in closing the gap in social and economic capital between men and women in recent decades. There are a lot of relationships out there, right now, where the woman is the partner with more social capital, more education, a better income, and better prospects. It’s one of the most obvious changes in educated, elite society. Under those conditions, I can easily imagine one wife taking multiple husbands. And while we should never presume progress, I think we have a clear duty to spread that changing condition in the relative social and economic value of men and women throughout society. If we do, you’ll find this problem goes away.
Among highly educated, high-income Americans in polyamorous relationships––not marriages, just relationships––a woman taking on multiple boyfriends is still, as best I can tell, the least common arrangement. There is every reason to think that the pattern would hold if polygamous marriages became common in secular society.
Apart from any of these other objections, polygamist unions seem likely to prove less stable than two-person unions, which aren’t particularly stable themselves these days. If each individual in a polygamous union is no more or less likely to seek a divorce than a person in a monogamous union, the failure rate would still be at least a third higher, assuming a three-person grouping, and higher still for larger plural marriages. That isn’t sufficient reason to punish people for attempting polyamorous unions, but seems like a good reason to avoid encouraging them.
The option of plural marriage might also destabilize some two-person unions, with one spouse regarding the existing arrangement as “till death do us part,” only to be confronted with a spouse who, while averse to divorce, is pushing for a new member of the marriage. “Either she joins us,” a husband might say, “or I’m out.” It’s hard to say if changing norms would make that scenario more likely than it is now.
Then there are the logistical problems that plural marriage presents, which would seem to require altering core features and benefits that presently make up civil marriage. Mary Anne Case, a law professor at the University of Chicago, has pointed out that the legal institution is largely concerned with the "designation, without elaborate contracting, of a single other person third parties can look to in a variety of legal contexts.” Three-, four-, or five-person unions would require abandoning that aspect of marriage.
Americans can presently marry a foreign citizen and bring them here, after jumping through bureaucratic hoops, eventually sponsoring them for U.S. citizenship. Would the advent of plural marriage require that this practice be ended? Or would group marriages include the right to confer unlimited citizenships?
When I got married I was eligible to add my wife to my employer-sponsored health insurance. In a world of plural marriage, would this benefit of the institution end, or could I add as many people as I liked to my employer’s insurance plan?
If the parties to a plural marriage disagree about a medical decision that needs to be made on behalf of an unconscious spouse, who would get to decide the matter? Who would receive the Social Security survivor benefits if the patient died? These logistical matters add real costs to recognizing plural marriages––and they lessen the simplifying benefits that marriage confers on society. They also suggest that expanding the definition of civil marriage to encompass more than two parties is a far more radical, fundamental change than was recognizing unions of same-sex couples.
Plural Marriage Is Not a Human Right
Is the state denying a human right when it declines to recognize polygamous marriages? De Boer answers affirmatively, but does not explain what makes something a human right that must be recognized irrespective of its consequences. I could surmise a rationale if someone put life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness––or food, shelter, and medicine––into a category called human rights.
I cannot surmise the rationale for putting “equal treatment for polygamous unions” in that category. If De Boer objected, as many libertarians do, to the state putting a thumb on the scale and incentivizing marriage with benefits that are denied to the unmarried, to business partners, to spouses, and to non-romantic friends, I’d grant the coherence of his complaint; but as best I can tell, he’s fine with unequal treatment for the married and unmarried so long as the married include polygamists.
The closest he comes to a rationale is arguing that “consenting adults who all knowingly and willfully decide to enter into a joint marriage contract, free of coercion, should be permitted to do so, according to basic principles of personal liberty,” adding “the preeminence of the principle of consent is a just and pragmatic way to approach adult relationships in a world of multivariate and complex human desires.”
I agree that consenting adults who decide to enter contracts while free of coercion should be permitted to do so, but I disagree that the state is obligated to call these contracts “marriages,” to extend to the parties all benefits of civil marriage, and to rewrite those attributes of civil marriage that are inseparable from two-person unions. In declining to do so, the state does not deny anyone equal protection under the law.
There could be benefits to recognizing polygamous relationships. Casey E. Faucon, a fellow at the University of Wisconsin Law School, asserts that there are 150,000 polygamists now living in the U.S., and that many second and third polygamous wives “are left without any legal recognition or protection,” a situation that might be remedied were they brought into some sort of regulatory framework. She claims to have a set of regulatory rules that “ensure consent, prevent unequal bargaining power between the parties, and protect individual rights, all while addressing and respecting the religious beliefs that lead polygamists into these otherwise taboo marital arrangements.” Perhaps some formal recognition short of marriage would be salutary.
But the assertion that “the case against polygamy is incredibly flimsy, almost entirely lacking in rational basis and animated by purely irrational fears and prejudice” could not be more wrong. Adherents of that position are blind to the many rational, good-faith concerns about the normalization of polygamous unions, and deaf to the conservative logic behind special benefits for unions between a man and a woman, a man and a man, or a woman and a woman. There are empirical, cultural, and pragmatic reasons to incentivize civil marriages of that sort.
And if civil marriage’s benefits are extended to a practice as historically and potentially destabilizing as polygamous marriage, it will undermine the conservative case for conserving civil marriage and strengthen the libertarian case that the state should get out of the business of incentivizing any particular relationship structure.
Polygamy in Islam Essay
Introduction, laws of islamic polygamy, disadvantages of polygamy, advantages of polygamy, works cited.
Marriage is one of the important aspects of the Islamic culture. The Islamic law allows Muslim men to practice polygamy, but it does not encourage it. The Islamic rules state that a Muslim man can marry a maximum of four women. Conversely, Muslim women do not have the right to marry several men. Muslim men in polygamous marriages should be kind to their women.
According to the Quran, a man should not marry many women if he cannot take care of them. Globally, majority of Muslim men are monogamous. The practice of Islamic polygamy is not homogeneous in all countries. For instance, many men in Saudi Arabia practice polygamy. However, Islamic polygamy is uncommon in Egypt. In Iran, polygamy is quite popular in the countryside.
Shia Muslims practice polygamy more than the Sunni Muslims. Polygamy has been a contentious issue among Muslim men and women because they have different views about it. This essay argues that polygamy should not be encouraged because of the following reasons.
A Muslim man can become polygamous under the following circumstances. First, “if a man has a high sex libido, he can marry more women to avoid committing sexual offenses”.
Second, he should have resources such as land and money. Third, he should be truthful and responsible. Fourth, he should be acquainted with Islamic laws. Last, he should possess good leadership skills because it is quite difficult to solve social disputes in polygamous marriages.
The aforementioned requirements are important because they ensure that men provide enough social and economic support to their families. Nonetheless, many Muslim men in polygamous marriages cannot fulfill all these requirements. Failure to fulfill the aforementioned requirements often leads to many challenges.
In the contemporary world, polygamy is increasingly becoming unpopular due to economic constraints. For example, food insecurity is endemic in most parts of the world. Hence, it is difficult for many men in polygamous marriages to provide enough food to their large families.
Inadequate food and shortage of basic needs often leads to many quarrels in polygamous marriages. Moreover, many rich men in polygamous marriages become poor because it is expensive to maintain a big family.
There are many social challenges in polygamous marriages. Thus, many Muslim women detest polygamy. First, a woman often develops a low self-esteem when her husband marries another woman. For example, a woman whose husband marries another woman without her consent and proper reasons is likely to be depressed.
Second, women always lack social support in polygamous marriages. For instance, majority of men often give their new wives much attention and abandon the old ones. This often leads to emotional problems and rivalry in polygamous marriages. Indeed, women in polygamous marriages often develop psychological problems such as depression because their husbands do not spend enough time with them.
Furthermore, children in polygamous families often become indiscipline due to lack of proper parental guidance. Cases of physical and emotional abuses are frequent in polygamous marriages than in monogamous ones. Men in polygamous marriages like abusing their wives because they have many women.
Many Muslim women criticize polygamy because it encourages patriarchy in the family. Usually, men become authoritative in polygamous marriages. They do not allow their women to participate in important decision-making processes in the family. For example, some men marry many women without consulting their wives.
Moreover, many women in polygamous marriages do not have power to control family resources such as land. Consequently, lack of proper decision-making often leads to bickering, violence, and jealousy in polygamous marriages. In addition, polygamy can lead to the spread of sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV/AIDS.
Despite the numerous shortcomings of polygamy, it has the following advantages. Polygamy can enable a man to have children if his first wife cannot give birth. In such a situation, a woman can allow her husband to marry another woman to enable them have children.
Polygamy can prevent men from engaging in sexual offenses. Polygamy can be encouraged if a woman cannot fulfill her family roles due to disability and ill health. For example, a married woman who is suffering from a chronic disease can encourage her husband to marry another woman to support her family.
This essay has discussed the practice of Islamic polygamy. It has revealed that a Muslim man can marry a maximum of four women, but he should be kind to all of them. Moreover, a Muslim man should be financially stable because a polygamous family requires many resources.
Nonetheless, many Muslim men are unable to comply with the rules of Islamic polygamy. This often leads to immense suffering of women and children in polygamous families. Therefore, the shortcomings of polygamy outweigh its advantages. Consequently, polygamy should only be encouraged if there are genuine reasons to practice it.
Ameenah, Abu and Bilal Philips. Polygamy in Islam. Riyadh: International Islamic Publishing House, 2005. Print.
Nurmila, Nina. Women, Islam and Everyday Life: Renegotiating Polygamy in Indonesia. London: Taylor & Francis, 2009. Print.
Youtube. Four Wives and One Husband – Polygamy in Iran . 2013. Web.
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IvyPanda . "Polygamy in Islam." November 1, 2023. https://ivypanda.com/essays/polygamy-in-islam/.
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