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Religion, Immigration, and Polygamy

24

Posts

  • DoctorArchDoctorArch Curmudgeon Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    MrMister wrote: »
    So we should modify immigrants' marriages to prohibit spousal rape, but not to prohibit polygamy. Presumably, the difference you see is that spousal rape is bad whereas polygamy is not. But in that case, why not just make polygamy legal?

    But the important point is that we are not allowing the formation of polygamous relations in the United States. We cannot govern how another society operates, but when they seek to enter the U.S. they are expected to adhere to our laws. The problem here isn't as simple as a "Don't do this activity in the U.S., because it's illegal." It's "to enter the U.S. you need to leave all but one of your wives in a foreign country" which will lead to an even greater harm.

    In this case, the far, far lesser harm imposed on our society is to allow them to remain in their polygamous unit, while affording them all of the rights of spouses. Ironically, that alone will probably discourage some polygamous units from immigrating.

    MrMister wrote: »

    Do we actually have any evidence that this happens regularly?

    Based on this list of countries recognizing polygamy from wiki:
    Afghanistan
    Algeria
    Bahrain
    Bangladesh
    Brunei
    Burkina Faso
    Cameroon
    Chad
    CAR
    Comoros
    Congo
    Djibouti
    Egypt
    Ethiopia
    Gabon
    The Gambia
    India1
    Indonesia
    Iran
    Iraq
    Jordan
    Kuwait
    Libya
    Malaysia

    Maldives
    Mali
    Mauritania
    Morocco
    Myanmar
    Niger
    Oman
    Pakistan
    Palestine
    Qatar
    Saudi Arabia
    Senegal
    Singapore1
    Somalia
    South Africa
    Sri Lanka1
    Sudan
    Syria
    Tanzania
    Togo
    Uganda
    UAE
    Western Sahara
    Yemen
    Zambia

    I think we can reasonably assume that yes, women will probably be left to fend for themselves.

    steam_sig.png
  • MrMisterMrMister Valuing scholarship above all elseRegistered User regular
    edited May 2011
    DoctorArch wrote:
    I think we can reasonably assume that yes, women will probably be left to fend for themselves.

    That is not, in fact, evidence. You can't just say: "surely these people in these repressive countries would pick a favorite wife and then emigrate with her to the US." But how do you know that the people who are normally immigrating here are actually the polygamous ones? How do you know that it is allowed by those societies' norms to abandon a wife? How do you know that said wife doesn't have access to other social networks of support? These are just some of the assumptions that go into painting this as a problem; I'm sure there are others. Social science is complicated, and commonsense intuition isn't a very good guide.

    Immigrant workers very often leave family members behind when coming to the USA. Typically, however, they send money home; being able to do that is one of the motivations for coming here. All the time non-polygamous wives are being left in the home country; why do we expect that polygamous wives left in the home country are going to fare any worse?

    So again, before doing something as radical as coining a special code of law for immigrants, I would want some actual evidence that we are dealing with a serious problem that such a re-write would be well-tailored to fix.

  • CalixtusCalixtus Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    mcdermott wrote: »
    Calixtus wrote: »
    First, I'm not clear on why polygamy is bad. Forced marriages are bad. Underage marriages are bad. Both of these have nothing to do with the number of people involved. But what adverse effect does voluntary polygamy have?

    Underage marriages and forced marriage are pretty much the bread and butter of polygamous societies, though. They are not, by definition, a feature of polygamy...but they are nearly always the result.

    It also leads to some ugly effects across the male population, too, as the remaining men compete for a reduced number of partners.

    In a truly gender-equal society truly gender-neutral plural marriage is no problemo. But that's basically never ever ever what we're talking about.
    By what mechanism does polygamy increase the occurance of this?

    I'm not disputing that socities that practice polygamy are also practicing other maritial customs which we find downright unacceptable because there is a proven harmful effect and/or it goes directly against out beliefs with regard to individual freedoms, but how are these caused by the presence of polygamy?


    And I'd like to make sure we examine the philosopical ramifications of arguing "leftover males" makes polygamy bad for society; Is a woman who refuses to marry not doing her civic duty of keeping a male occupied? By taking a mistress am I actively harming society by romantically occupying a woman some other chap would find pleasing, yet that is not illegal (is it?).

    I'm not disputing the societal effects*, but is it logically consistent to regulate this practice, when compared to other, related, practices we don't let the state regulate?

    *(though, well, I think they're more worth discussing in relation to biological differences in birth distribution or targetted alterations of the same via abortions of a foetus of the unwanted sex)

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  • BagginsesBagginses __BANNED USERS regular
    edited May 2011
    Calixtus wrote: »
    mcdermott wrote: »
    Calixtus wrote: »
    First, I'm not clear on why polygamy is bad. Forced marriages are bad. Underage marriages are bad. Both of these have nothing to do with the number of people involved. But what adverse effect does voluntary polygamy have?

    Underage marriages and forced marriage are pretty much the bread and butter of polygamous societies, though. They are not, by definition, a feature of polygamy...but they are nearly always the result.

    It also leads to some ugly effects across the male population, too, as the remaining men compete for a reduced number of partners.

    In a truly gender-equal society truly gender-neutral plural marriage is no problemo. But that's basically never ever ever what we're talking about.
    By what mechanism does polygamy increase the occurance of this?

    I'm not disputing that socities that practice polygamy are also practicing other maritial customs which we find downright unacceptable because there is a proven harmful effect and/or it goes directly against out beliefs with regard to individual freedoms, but how are these caused by the presence of polygamy?


    And I'd like to make sure we examine the philosopical ramifications of arguing "leftover males" makes polygamy bad for society; Is a woman who refuses to marry not doing her civic duty of keeping a male occupied? By taking a mistress am I actively harming society by romantically occupying a woman some other chap would find pleasing, yet that is not illegal (is it?).

    I'm not disputing the societal effects*, but is it logically consistent to regulate this practice, when compared to other, related, practices we don't let the state regulate?

    *(though, well, I think they're more worth discussing in relation to biological differences in birth distribution or targetted alterations of the same via abortions of a foetus of the unwanted sex)

    I think the big issue is that it's pretty much impossible to have gender equality and codified systems of law in the economic union that marriage represents without exclusivity.

  • CasedOutCasedOut Registered User
    edited May 2011
    Torso Boy wrote: »
    CasedOut wrote: »
    I mean to me the people in polygamist marriages clearly do not value equality. Should we really let people into our country who don't value equality?

    I wasn't really going to get into this thread, but I have to poke my head out to say, what?

    How do polygamists not value equality, and why would we preclude immigration based on the immigrant's values?

    Are you really going to try and argue that the majority of polygamists in other countries think of women as their equals? We know this to not be the case.

    And why would we not preclude immigrants based on their values? I mean we wouldn't let a known terrorist become a citizen, thats excluding someone based on their values.

    I mean you say we shouldn't allow discrimination, but then you would turn around and willfully let people in who believe in discrimination. Isn't that kind of self defeating? I am all for tolerance to the extent that we only tolerate those who dont practice intolerance of some variety, not including intolerance of discrimination/intolerance of course.

    452773-1.png
  • CasedOutCasedOut Registered User
    edited May 2011
    redx wrote: »
    CasedOut wrote: »
    I don't see why we can't just tell them they aren't allowed in our country. I mean I know you say its government enforced religious discrimination, but we do that all the time. For example, we don't allow animal sacrifices. I mean to me the people in polygamist marriages clearly do not value equality. Should we really let people into our country who don't value equality?

    Because if they wanted to come here under that situation, they would just leave all but one of their wives back in their homeland. Their ex's would almost certainly end up totally destitute and socially ostracized with no financial or social support.

    Which is kind of a bad thing.

    Yes but we are not even remotely responsible for that bad thing. If that immigrant chooses to abandon his other wives and leave them poor and destitute that is his choice. I mean by your logic we should let literally anyone who wants to come to our country come, because their situation back home is worse off than their situation here would be.

    452773-1.png
  • RichyRichy Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    CasedOut wrote: »
    And why would we not preclude immigrants based on their values? I mean we wouldn't let a known terrorist become a citizen, thats excluding someone based on their values.

    No, that's excluding someone based on having committed crimes in the past and being very likely to commit crimes again.

    RichyFlag.gifsig.gif
  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Richy wrote: »
    mcdermott:

    One argument you brought up a few times to allow polygamy here is "the harm of polygamy has already been done in their home countries, and allowing them in won't cause further harm to us". I'm curious - how do you stand on other harmful things that are crimes for us but not in the home country? Should we allow slavers and drug-dealers from countries where those acts are legal into ours so long as they do not commit the same crimes here? If not, where do you draw the line between the people we allow in and those we don't?

    Tough call, really. If the activities aren't illegal in the home country, I think there are very few things that should really be a significant impediment to immigration.

    Probably some of the really grievous (and more or less universal) crimes against persons...rape and murder for instance. Aside from that? Not much. Dealing drugs in a country in which drugs are legal? Who gives a shit?

    And "having multiple wives in a culture in which that is not uncommon and in a country in which this is legal?" Nope. Not at all. I mean, I think only one person has even suggested that this should be a bar to immigration, the main question seems to be "what the hell do we do with all these wives?" So it doesn't seem to be a real issue of "this person is so terrible they cannot be allowed to come here."

    Also, you mention slavers. Is there a country in which this is still legal?

  • Torso BoyTorso Boy Registered User
    edited May 2011
    CasedOut wrote: »
    Torso Boy wrote: »
    CasedOut wrote: »
    I mean to me the people in polygamist marriages clearly do not value equality. Should we really let people into our country who don't value equality?

    I wasn't really going to get into this thread, but I have to poke my head out to say, what?

    How do polygamists not value equality, and why would we preclude immigration based on the immigrant's values?

    Are you really going to try and argue that the majority of polygamists in other countries think of women as their equals? We know this to not be the case.
    I haven't argued that. You said that "people in polygamist marriages clearly do not value equality," and I'm just asking, how? I'm aware of the implications of polygyny as it is practiced on womens' rights, but you're making a categorical statement about all of polygamy. I'm not saying you're wrong, but a statement that strong kind of begs to be elaborated upon. You appear to be asserting that there are beliefs about equality necessarily inherent to polygamy. I'm not certain polygamy is incompatible with the idea of equality. It has all sorts of other problems, but that may not be one of them.
    And why would we not preclude immigrants based on their values? I mean we wouldn't let a known terrorist become a citizen, thats excluding someone based on their values.

    I mean you say we shouldn't allow discrimination, but then you would turn around and willfully let people in who believe in discrimination. Isn't that kind of self defeating? I am all for tolerance to the extent that we only tolerate those who dont practice intolerance of some variety, not including intolerance of discrimination/intolerance of course.

    I'm talking about values. The act of discrimination is largely not tolerated in society, and rightfully so. You're suggesting that we shouldn't allow people into the country because of their values. Is that really desirable? Is it possible? What about the people who hold intolerant views who already live here?

    Rent wrote: »
    So that's what having no idea what you are talking about looks like
  • VishNubVishNub Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    I don't really see why we're obligated to take polygamous families at all. It avoids the whole issue of breaking up families/sanctioning polygamy/etc..

    I lack evidence for this, but I don't think these families fall under the umbrella of "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses."

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    Dota2 = Glitchmo
  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    VishNub wrote: »
    I don't really see why we're obligated to take polygamous families at all. It avoids the whole issue of breaking up families/sanctioning polygamy/etc..

    I lack evidence for this, but I don't think these families fall under the umbrella of "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses."

    Meh. That shit ended long ago. Now it's "give me your decently educated English-speaking middle class workers, and fuck all those assholes from Mexico."

  • [Tycho?][Tycho?] Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Robman wrote: »
    In societies where women are heavily disadvantaged for wealth ownership/acquisition, polygamy is the sensible route. It's not just a "me big important man, many wives/vaginas" thing. It really is the sensible economic decision.

    In our society, it doesn't make economic sense. Polygamy in the western world is a 99% cult, 1% choice thing. There really are some MMF or MFF or MMFF relationships that want a large, Heinlein-esque group family, but they're such an inconsequential minority that I lump them in with people who want to collect dangerous goods for their collectible value.

    ahahah, I like it.

    ragesig.jpg

  • JuliusJulius Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Richy wrote: »
    CasedOut wrote: »
    And why would we not preclude immigrants based on their values? I mean we wouldn't let a known terrorist become a citizen, thats excluding someone based on their values.

    No, that's excluding someone based on having committed crimes in the past and being very likely to commit crimes again.

    If you use crimes to mean "things that would be a crime in the US" then obviously there is nothing wrong with banning polygamous folks from immigrating, right?

  • Skoal CatSkoal Cat Registered User
    edited May 2011
    VishNub wrote: »
    I don't really see why we're obligated to take polygamous families at all. It avoids the whole issue of breaking up families/sanctioning polygamy/etc..

    I lack evidence for this, but I don't think these families fall under the umbrella of "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses."

    I'm split here. I agree with the above, but only because out country does not recognize polygamist marriages. I see no reason why we should accept an immigrant living in violation of our laws. This has nothing to do with selling drugs in a drug friendly land, because guess what, the assumption is that when they get over here... they won't sell drugs! So why should a polygamist be allowed to continue to practice polygamy?
    Change the laws, then let them over. Not the other way around.

    And as much as I care about the general well being of humanity, I don't see how it is up to our society to shoulder this specific international burden of wives left behind. We aren't leaving them behind, their husbands are.

    ceres wrote: »
    Skoal Cat is correct.
  • soxboxsoxbox Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Richy wrote: »
    Polygamy. In a vacuum, there's nothing wrong with multiple people loving multiple people if they're all open and honest with each other. But we don't live in a vacuum. We live in a society where polygamy only means one man with multiple wives. The women are given limited rights and freedoms, and younger men are kicked out of the community so that older polygamist men do not face competition to add younger women to their harems. Given the social woes associated with it, we in the Western World have banned polygamy.

    The only countries in the 'Western World' that I know of with laws against polygamy is the United States (and maybe Canada?) which were made in response to Mormons. In pretty much any other western country, there is just laws against Bigamy - you can have as many 'wives' as you want, as long as you are only legally married to at most one of the wives. Britain and Australia recognize foreign polygamist marriage, though you cannot enter into a second marriage.

    You cannot claim legal benefits for the other partners, but there's nothing stopping you from drawing up contracts and wills to provide a legal framework for your family. There are all the same gaps that are faced by gay couples due to the union not being legally protected, but nobody is going to go to jail for it.

    Due to the association that people have to thing of polygyny when they think of polygamy most people outside of religious polygamy refer to it as polyamory.

    In Australia, while no legal benefits of healthcare, insurance, welfare (well, welfare is granted for foreign polygamist marriages), may be afforded to your secondary partners, they ARE afforded protection under the law. After two years, if a partner desires a separation, they may do so with the full weight of the law to grant them assets and alimony.

  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Skoal Cat wrote: »
    VishNub wrote: »
    I don't really see why we're obligated to take polygamous families at all. It avoids the whole issue of breaking up families/sanctioning polygamy/etc..

    I lack evidence for this, but I don't think these families fall under the umbrella of "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses."

    I'm split here. I agree with the above, but only because out country does not recognize polygamist marriages. I see no reason why we should accept an immigrant living in violation of our laws. This has nothing to do with selling drugs in a drug friendly land, because guess what, the assumption is that when they get over here... they won't sell drugs! So why should a polygamist be allowed to continue to practice polygamy?
    Change the laws, then let them over. Not the other way around.

    And as much as I care about the general well being of humanity, I don't see how it is up to our society to shoulder this specific international burden of wives left behind. We aren't leaving them behind, their husbands are.

    But again, this comes back to a question of where the harm is. Does the practice of currently having multiple wives, in and of itself, cause the harm? Or is it the the general societal effects stemming from the creation of those marriages that are the problem? Why was the law enacted?

    I don't think you can just look at "in violation of the law" without looking at the purpose of that law.

    Though yes, obviously, the law must be changed either way to allow this. Too easy, though; simply make entering into a polygamous marriage the crime, not the state of polygamy itself. You can even have it apply to citizens who travel, if that's a concern.

  • GaddezGaddez Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    I would be fine with polygamy under two conditions

    1. All members of the marriage are consenting adults.
    2. The wives are able to have multiple husbands.

    Spoiler:
  • RichyRichy Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Gaddez wrote: »
    I would be fine with polygamy under two conditions

    1. All members of the marriage are consenting adults.
    2. The wives are able to have multiple husbands.
    But if you look at the list of polygamist countries on the previous page, most of them are not exactly renowned for their stellar women right records. Those two conditions will seldom if ever be respected in practice.

    RichyFlag.gifsig.gif
  • Modern ManModern Man Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Recognizing and allowing polygamous marriages in the case of immigrants (and not American citizens) creates a serious equal protection problem. You are, in essence, granting more rights to one group of people than another.

    Polygamy is illegal in the US. We can always change that law if we decide, as a society, to do so. But, until such time, I don't see any legitimate argument for allowing immigrants to ignore the law. If you want to immigrate to a society, you should expect to follow that society's laws. If those laws are incompatible with your religion, then you should stay home.

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  • FeralFeral Who needs a medical license when you've got style? Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    I don't see the value in breaking up the families. This just leads to an impoverished, disenfranchised class of immigrant women who will almost certainly become reliant on social services.

    Not letting them in in the first place might be a viable option, but I'm not sure about that route. I'd want to look more closely at the social & economic trends among polygynist Islamic immigrants.

    In an ideal world, I generally feel that the government shouldn't be so directly concerned with the romantic entanglements of adults. IMO, by default, marriage should be a private affair between a person, his or her partner(s), and their families, and the government should only step in for specific cases of abuse or assault. But that's pie-in-the-sky thinking and isn't going to happen in my lifetime, if ever.

    It feels like the best compromise right now is to advise these families that they can habitate in whatever arrangements they desire, but the law is only going to recognize one wife. If they want any spouses beyond the first to be legally recognized, they have to do that with the assistance of a lawyer with specific legal documentation (wills, contracts, incorporation, etc.).

    Given that there is an existant network of Islamic immigrants willing to help each other with no-riba finance, it wouldn't surprise me if that compromise would lead to an analogous network of Islamic immigrants willing to help each other work out the legal ambiguities of polygynous marriage.

    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch, man" fallacy.
  • RichyRichy Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    mcdermott wrote: »
    Skoal Cat wrote: »
    VishNub wrote: »
    I don't really see why we're obligated to take polygamous families at all. It avoids the whole issue of breaking up families/sanctioning polygamy/etc..

    I lack evidence for this, but I don't think these families fall under the umbrella of "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses."

    I'm split here. I agree with the above, but only because out country does not recognize polygamist marriages. I see no reason why we should accept an immigrant living in violation of our laws. This has nothing to do with selling drugs in a drug friendly land, because guess what, the assumption is that when they get over here... they won't sell drugs! So why should a polygamist be allowed to continue to practice polygamy?
    Change the laws, then let them over. Not the other way around.

    And as much as I care about the general well being of humanity, I don't see how it is up to our society to shoulder this specific international burden of wives left behind. We aren't leaving them behind, their husbands are.

    But again, this comes back to a question of where the harm is. Does the practice of currently having multiple wives, in and of itself, cause the harm? Or is it the the general societal effects stemming from the creation of those marriages that are the problem? Why was the law enacted?

    I don't think you can just look at "in violation of the law" without looking at the purpose of that law.

    Though yes, obviously, the law must be changed either way to allow this. Too easy, though; simply make entering into a polygamous marriage the crime, not the state of polygamy itself. You can even have it apply to citizens who travel, if that's a concern.

    How about the more fundamental harm that we are allowing in immigrants that we expect will violate our laws, while still demanding that our own native citizens obey the law? We're creating two classes of citizens with different rights.

    As for changing our laws, I can see your rationale for wanting to do it. But again the question arises, where do we draw the line? Some religious groups want to carry daggers in school as part of their religious freedoms. Several religions practice animal sacrifices. Sikh cannot wear helmets on top of their turbans, and want to be exempt of biking helmet laws. These are just three examples off the top of my head of illegal activities where you can argue "there's no real immediate harm, so it should be allowed". Do we really want to begin rewriting our laws whenever an ethnic or religious group wants to carry over a tradition that we deemed illegal? Is it fair to do so even though we do not listen to our own citizens on the same issues (for example I know a lot of people were upset at mandatory helmets when biking, and were ignored because it's for the greater benefit of society)?

    RichyFlag.gifsig.gif
  • Skoal CatSkoal Cat Registered User
    edited May 2011
    Didn't Socrartes drink the hemlock and refuse a chance to escape since he lived in society and it was his responsibility to follow the law, something something social contract?
    I'm a fairly big fan of this and maintaining social stability. I just don't see these examples as enough of a civil rights issue.

    ceres wrote: »
    Skoal Cat is correct.
  • FeralFeral Who needs a medical license when you've got style? Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Modern Man wrote: »
    Recognizing and allowing polygamous marriages in the case of immigrants (and not American citizens) creates a serious equal protection problem. You are, in essence, granting more rights to one group of people than another.

    Polygamy is illegal in the US. We can always change that law if we decide, as a society, to do so. But, until such time, I don't see any legitimate argument for allowing immigrants to ignore the law. If you want to immigrate to a society, you should expect to follow that society's laws. If those laws are incompatible with your religion, then you should stay home.

    In the long run, it may be more advantageous (though expensive) to combat the ill effects of polygyny with a velvet glove rather than an iron fist; social work and community outreach might be better weapons than the rule of law. But that's more pie-in-the-sky thinking on my part. You're right, it does create an equal protection issue, but I'm not seeing an easy answer.

    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch, man" fallacy.
  • GaddezGaddez Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Richy wrote: »
    Gaddez wrote: »
    I would be fine with polygamy under two conditions

    1. All members of the marriage are consenting adults.
    2. The wives are able to have multiple husbands.
    But if you look at the list of polygamist countries on the previous page, most of them are not exactly renowned for their stellar women right records. Those two conditions will seldom if ever be respected in practice.

    Correct me If I'm wrong on this, but isn't the basis of this thread on people emigrating to North america and how polygamy functions over here? In which case the women would be subject to the law of the land. If the husband doesn't care for the idea of his harem getting husbands of their own then he is welcome to sit and spin in his home country while she builds a life of her own elsewhere.

    Spoiler:
  • Skoal CatSkoal Cat Registered User
    edited May 2011
    Why is it our responsibility to make sure that families that don't fit within our social construct aren't left behind in precarious situations? This country has a pretty long standing history of immigrants leaving family behind.

    ceres wrote: »
    Skoal Cat is correct.
  • DarkewolfeDarkewolfe Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Allowing polygamist immigrants also increases the voting bloc in favor of allowing polygamy, which runs contrary to our societal values. We could see something like we saw in California, where a conservative immigrant population ran counter to our American values and harmed an existing citizen group.

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  • BagginsesBagginses __BANNED USERS regular
    edited May 2011
    Gaddez wrote: »
    Richy wrote: »
    Gaddez wrote: »
    I would be fine with polygamy under two conditions

    1. All members of the marriage are consenting adults.
    2. The wives are able to have multiple husbands.
    But if you look at the list of polygamist countries on the previous page, most of them are not exactly renowned for their stellar women right records. Those two conditions will seldom if ever be respected in practice.

    Correct me If I'm wrong on this, but isn't the basis of this thread on people emigrating to North america and how polygamy functions over here? In which case the women would be subject to the law of the land. If the husband doesn't care for the idea of his harem getting husbands of their own then he is welcome to sit and spin in his home country while she builds a life of her own elsewhere.

    Also, a lot of countries would get really, really pissed at us if we stopped recognizing foreign contracts, to say nothing of how polygamous countries might retaliate against our marriages in their immigration systems (especially the ones that are already looking to exclude gays).

  • RichyRichy Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Gaddez wrote: »
    Richy wrote: »
    Gaddez wrote: »
    I would be fine with polygamy under two conditions

    1. All members of the marriage are consenting adults.
    2. The wives are able to have multiple husbands.
    But if you look at the list of polygamist countries on the previous page, most of them are not exactly renowned for their stellar women right records. Those two conditions will seldom if ever be respected in practice.

    Correct me If I'm wrong on this, but isn't the basis of this thread on people emigrating to North america and how polygamy functions over here? In which case the women would be subject to the law of the land. If the husband doesn't care for the idea of his harem getting husbands of their own then he is welcome to sit and spin in his home country while she builds a life of her own elsewhere.

    Well, you're right that the thread is about polygamy in our country. But even in the USA, if you look at polygamist Mormon sects, polygamy is not implemented in a way that respects women rights or your two conditions.

    Bagginses wrote:
    Also, a lot of countries would get really, really pissed at us if we stopped recognizing foreign contracts, to say nothing of how polygamous countries might retaliate against our marriages in their immigration systems (especially the ones that are already looking to exclude gays).

    Since you brought up the point: do Middle-Eastern countries recognize Western gay marriages?

    I mean I don't think that we should base our recognition of their polygamous marriages based on a quid-pro-quo of them recognizing our gay marriages, and I disagree that we should recognize their polygamous marriages out of concern for retaliation. But you made me curious.

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  • soxboxsoxbox Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    To anybody arguing that it would be impractical for the U.S. to recognise foreign polygamist marriages, note that both Australia and Britain do this.

    Immigration law specifically excludes polygamist marriage on a spousal visa, but if your family gets into the country through another mechanism (most commonly through refugee visas), the marriage will be recognized. Any further marriage would however not be permitted under local law.

    Not recognising polygamy to stop people bringing in dozens of wives through immigration is a completely different thing that not recognising the marriage once they're here.

  • RichyRichy Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    soxbox wrote: »
    To anybody arguing that it would be impractical for the U.S. to recognise foreign polygamist marriages, note that both Australia and Britain do this.

    Immigration law specifically excludes polygamist marriage on a spousal visa, but if your family gets into the country through another mechanism (most commonly through refugee visas), the marriage will be recognized. Any further marriage would however not be permitted under local law.

    Not recognising polygamy to stop people bringing in dozens of wives through immigration is a completely different thing that not recognising the marriage once they're here.

    I see your location is Australia. Please tell us a bit more about how it works out in your country.

    Has there been cases of divorce in polygamist marriages? How did they work out?

    Has there been polygamists who tried to marry more wives once in Australia? How about "covertly" marrying more wives by having them join the group without being legally married?

    Has there been an increase in pressure on your government to legalize polygamy?

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  • oldsakoldsak Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Modern Man wrote: »
    Recognizing and allowing polygamous marriages in the case of immigrants (and not American citizens) creates a serious equal protection problem. You are, in essence, granting more rights to one group of people than another.

    Polygamy is illegal in the US. We can always change that law if we decide, as a society, to do so. But, until such time, I don't see any legitimate argument for allowing immigrants to ignore the law. If you want to immigrate to a society, you should expect to follow that society's laws. If those laws are incompatible with your religion, then you should stay home.

    I dunno. Immigrant is a protected class, but is citizen? It might not actually create equal protection issues to give immigrants rights that citizens do not have.

  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    oldsak wrote: »
    Modern Man wrote: »
    Recognizing and allowing polygamous marriages in the case of immigrants (and not American citizens) creates a serious equal protection problem. You are, in essence, granting more rights to one group of people than another.

    Polygamy is illegal in the US. We can always change that law if we decide, as a society, to do so. But, until such time, I don't see any legitimate argument for allowing immigrants to ignore the law. If you want to immigrate to a society, you should expect to follow that society's laws. If those laws are incompatible with your religion, then you should stay home.

    I dunno. Immigrant is a protected class, but is citizen? It might not actually create equal protection issues to give immigrants rights that citizens do not have.

    It's not necessary even giving them any extra rights. As I said before, you can easily make it so it's legal to be married to more than one person, but not legal to get married to more than one person. There's really not necessarily any equal protection issue there...I mean, yes it (arguably*) has to be so because of FF&C, but we already do this with "underage" marriages across state lines. I can be married to a 13-year-old in California, but I can't get married to one.

    You could almost argue that there's a first amendment issue here...after all, any infringement on religious exercise must meet strict scrutiny. Even if we accept that there's a compelling interest in preventing the harm done from polygamy, I still argue that there is no harm done by existing marriages. So a blanket ban on immigrants from maintaining their family units (once they become citizens) may fall into the overly inclusive category; since it's not required to address the compelling interest. It's a stretch, and I doubt the Court would buy it...but I don't think it's absurd on its face.


    * - This is not, to my knowledge, settled law.

  • soxboxsoxbox Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Richy wrote: »
    I see your location is Australia. Please tell us a bit more about how it works out in your country.

    Has there been cases of divorce in polygamist marriages? How did they work out?

    Has there been polygamists who tried to marry more wives once in Australia? How about "covertly" marrying more wives by having them join the group without being legally married?

    Has there been an increase in pressure on your government to legalize polygamy?

    Divorce in a polygamist relationship is covered under these laws here: Defacto Property Regime - they are relatively new laws, but they are not focused so much on polygamy as they are any extra-marital relationship. Basically, any rights you would have in divorce under marriage is extended to anybody living in a genuine domestic relationship of two years or more. The law is relatively new, and the frequency of polygamy so low that I doubt that a polygamist divorce has gone through that law yet.

    Incidentally, these changes to defacto laws are designed to make things more equitable for gay relationships without the government having to explicitly support 'gay marriage'... so the crazy people that oppose gay marriage with the excuse that it will lead to polygamy and dogs and cats living together actually made us pass laws that help support polygamy.

    There's really no issue of people marrying multiple wives - if they try to legally marry more wives, then that's Bigamy, but if you don't register a marriage with the office of births/deaths/marriages, the government doesn't care - there's no reason to be covert at all in a legal sense.

    There's been occasional discussion of allowing polygamy, but never really seriously floated, as there's no real support for it in the wider community, and our compulsory voting scheme makes catering to minorities even worse that it would normally be.

    I'm making a guess here that the reason why your laws are so anti-polygamy is because marriage is left to states to legislate, so federal lawmakers stepped in to make sure the Utah couldn't do it's own thing? Our marriage law (and I believe the UK law) is at a national level, so it's a lot harder for something as fringe as polygamy to make any real headway. Just speculation - I don't know enough about the history of American polygamy.

  • DizzenDizzen Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    mcdermott wrote: »
    But again, this comes back to a question of where the harm is. Does the practice of currently having multiple wives, in and of itself, cause the harm? Or is it the the general societal effects stemming from the creation of those marriages that are the problem? Why was the law enacted?

    I don't think you can just look at "in violation of the law" without looking at the purpose of that law.

    Though yes, obviously, the law must be changed either way to allow this. Too easy, though; simply make entering into a polygamous marriage the crime, not the state of polygamy itself. You can even have it apply to citizens who travel, if that's a concern.

    How would you apply it to those citizens who travel abroad, though? I mean, if a citizen expatriates, then tries coming back five years later with three spouses and a couple of kids, how do you believe that should be handled?

    And regarding your latest post that I'm too lazy to quote, I'm not sure a first amendment case would have much weight. I believe that the religious implications are irrelevant as long as they are not the reason for such marriages being illegal. To make an exaggerated analogy (using a recipe that calls for more than a dash of hyperbole), the laws that prohibit murder do not exist for the purpose of suppressing or promoting religion, so one cannot obtain an exemption in order to stone their boss to death for being a heretic or sinner or whatnot, regardless of what one's preferred religious text might say on the matter.

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  • acidlacedpenguinacidlacedpenguin Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    It seems like most of the people in this thread who are against polygamy are against it because polygamists are by and large terrible people whose idea of "women's rights" is: women have the right to keep their mouths shut and have dinner ready on the table for me as soon as I get home from a long hard day of lynching blacks and homosexuals, and if they don't exercise that right then they need some good old-fashioned belt-learning.
    I don't dispute that statistic (in fact, I agree with it, most polygamists are racist, sexist assholes who would be better off 6 feet under ground) but I contest the idea that there is some inherent problem with polygamy. I think a good analogy would be hating trucks because most truck drivers are inconsiderate assholes-- the problem is the inconsiderate assholes, not the vehicle which seems to attract the most inconsiderable assholes.
    In my opinion there really isn't anything wrong with consenting adults wanting to incorporate into a single entity-- I'm not the judge of what works for them and what doesn't. With that said, The reason I am against allowing polygamy is because there's no easy (actually implementable at least) way to allow for consenting adults to polygamize while disallowing the obviously problematic demographic from abusing the same laws/regulations.

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  • AtomikaAtomika YOU ARE COMPLETELY DISREGARDING THE LABOR THEORY OF VALUE YOU ARE A BARNACLERegistered User regular
    edited May 2011
    It seems like most of the people in this thread who are against polygamy are against it because polygamists are by and large terrible people whose idea of "women's rights" is: women have the right to keep their mouths shut and have dinner ready on the table for me as soon as I get home from a long hard day of lynching blacks and homosexuals, and if they don't exercise that right then they need some good old-fashioned belt-learning.

    I don't dispute that statistic (in fact, I agree with it, most polygamists are racist, sexist assholes who would be better off 6 feet under ground) but I contest the idea that there is some inherent problem with polygamy. I think a good analogy would be hating trucks because most truck drivers are inconsiderate assholes-- the problem is the inconsiderate assholes, not the vehicle which seems to attract the most inconsiderable assholes.

    In my opinion there really isn't anything wrong with consenting adults wanting to incorporate into a single entity-- I'm not the judge of what works for them and what doesn't. With that said, The reason I am against allowing polygamy is because there's no easy (actually implementable at least) way to allow for consenting adults to polygamize while disallowing the obviously problematic demographic from abusing the same laws/regulations.

    Basically this.

    There's nothing inherent to the act of polygamy that should be all that immoral or unsettling, but the overwhelming majority of those involved in the practice are not actually polyamorous, they're generally just "families" made up of one gigantic douchebag guy subjugating a half-dozen women or so. And so much to that end, I think polygamy should probably still be illegal.

    It's kind of like someone buying a litter of pitbulls or a motorcycle that runs on nitrous oxide; sure, there are safe and legitimate ways and motivations for the usage of such a thing, but let's be serious - no one is employing them.


    As for the quandaries established in the OP, the best solution I can reason off the top of my head is allow the immigration of secondary wives if they are parents of the father's children, and mandate that those women (and possibly their children) live in separate domiciles away from the father. Then mandate that the father pay child support.

  • RichyRichy Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    As for the quandaries established in the OP, the best solution I can reason off the top of my head is allow the immigration of secondary wives if they are parents of the father's children, and mandate that those women (and possibly their children) live in separate domiciles away from the father. Then mandate that the father pay child support.

    Mandatory divorce and restraining order? Kinda harsh. Besides, how would you enforce it? Unless you have officers in charge of very closely observing these families, the only way this can work is if the women voluntarily complies and reports her ex-husband if he doesn't. If on the other hand she decides she wants to stay married, moves back in with him (while keeping the second apartment for official purposes) and pays him back his child support each month, you'd never know.

    And if your system does work, we'd end up with the man immigrating with one wife and abandoning the others and their children behind, which is not a nice situation.

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  • Modern ManModern Man Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    mcdermott wrote: »
    oldsak wrote: »
    Modern Man wrote: »
    Recognizing and allowing polygamous marriages in the case of immigrants (and not American citizens) creates a serious equal protection problem. You are, in essence, granting more rights to one group of people than another.

    Polygamy is illegal in the US. We can always change that law if we decide, as a society, to do so. But, until such time, I don't see any legitimate argument for allowing immigrants to ignore the law. If you want to immigrate to a society, you should expect to follow that society's laws. If those laws are incompatible with your religion, then you should stay home.

    I dunno. Immigrant is a protected class, but is citizen? It might not actually create equal protection issues to give immigrants rights that citizens do not have.

    It's not necessary even giving them any extra rights. As I said before, you can easily make it so it's legal to be married to more than one person, but not legal to get married to more than one person. There's really not necessarily any equal protection issue there...I mean, yes it (arguably*) has to be so because of FF&C, but we already do this with "underage" marriages across state lines. I can be married to a 13-year-old in California, but I can't get married to one.

    You could almost argue that there's a first amendment issue here...after all, any infringement on religious exercise must meet strict scrutiny. Even if we accept that there's a compelling interest in preventing the harm done from polygamy, I still argue that there is no harm done by existing marriages. So a blanket ban on immigrants from maintaining their family units (once they become citizens) may fall into the overly inclusive category; since it's not required to address the compelling interest. It's a stretch, and I doubt the Court would buy it...but I don't think it's absurd on its face.


    * - This is not, to my knowledge, settled law.
    People seeking to immigrate to the United States have no Constititional rights. The Constitution does not apply to foreigners living beyond our shores. Congress has the sole power to set the conditions of who can immigrate here. They could, for example, ban any non-white immigrants and potential immigrants fron Ghana or China would have no legal recourse.

    You're correct that we could make being in a polygamous marriage legal, but we have declined to do so. And any such change in the law would have to be on a state-by-state basis. The Federal government can't legalize polygamous marriage, any more than it can make gay marriage legal in Utah or California. The Feds could say that people in polygamous marriages can legally immigrate to the US, but those people would still be in violation of the laws of whatever state they lived in. So, even if polygamy was no bar when it came to being allowed to immigrate to the United States, your polygamous status could still make you a criminal under the law of your state of residence.

    The thing is, the government isn't all that interested in people living in polygamous/polyamorous situations. If 3, or 4, or 10 people want to consider themselves as part of a group marriage, the chances of them getting in trouble with the law for that are pretty low. The problem is that a lot of the polygamous groups engage in a welfare fraud and various form of child abuse and neglect. In the US today, if you're living like the plural family in "Big Love" and have the financial means to do so, the authorities don't have any real interest in going after you.

    But, as has been mentioned upthread, the countries where most of your potential polygamous families are going to come from tend to be on the bad end of the human rights/women's rights scales and they tend to be poor. Polygamous families from such places are going to be highly likely to require public assistance (since the women are unlikely to work) and to engage in behaviors that are incompatible with American values. There is simply no benefit to us as a country in allowing polygamists to immigrate here.

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  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Dizzen wrote: »
    mcdermott wrote: »
    But again, this comes back to a question of where the harm is. Does the practice of currently having multiple wives, in and of itself, cause the harm? Or is it the the general societal effects stemming from the creation of those marriages that are the problem? Why was the law enacted?

    I don't think you can just look at "in violation of the law" without looking at the purpose of that law.

    Though yes, obviously, the law must be changed either way to allow this. Too easy, though; simply make entering into a polygamous marriage the crime, not the state of polygamy itself. You can even have it apply to citizens who travel, if that's a concern.

    How would you apply it to those citizens who travel abroad, though? I mean, if a citizen expatriates, then tries coming back five years later with three spouses and a couple of kids, how do you believe that should be handled?

    The only plural marriages that would (if I had my way) be recognized under U.S. law are those that began prior to ever obtaining U.S. citizenship.
    And regarding your latest post that I'm too lazy to quote, I'm not sure a first amendment case would have much weight. I believe that the religious implications are irrelevant as long as they are not the reason for such marriages being illegal. To make an exaggerated analogy (using a recipe that calls for more than a dash of hyperbole), the laws that prohibit murder do not exist for the purpose of suppressing or promoting religion, so one cannot obtain an exemption in order to stone their boss to death for being a heretic or sinner or whatnot, regardless of what one's preferred religious text might say on the matter.

    I'm pretty sure a law need not have the "intent" of suppressing a religious practice, if that winds up being the realistic effect. I could be wrong there, though.

    Also, any comparisons to murder, human sacrifice, whatever fail because at that point it's a matter of one party's right to life outweighing the other party's right to religion. No such concern in polygamy. That's not a matter of hyperbole, it's a matter of a completely invalid comparison.

    I believe Scalia made that same comparison when he decided that there was just no possible way we could somehow allow Native Americans to use peyote without allowing its wider use. He was wrong, too.

    I'd guess that the reason a first amendment argument would fall flat at the Supreme Court is either because they'd use the various government and employer benefits as the "compelling interest" (rather than the greater societal ills, and thus it would apply to existing marriages), or alternately because they'd just completely ignore the first amendment and do what they please (as they did with the peyote case above).

  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Modern Man wrote: »
    But, as has been mentioned upthread, the countries where most of your potential polygamous families are going to come from tend to be on the bad end of the human rights/women's rights scales and they tend to be poor. Polygamous families from such places are going to be highly likely to require public assistance (since the women are unlikely to work) and to engage in behaviors that are incompatible with American values. There is simply no benefit to us as a country in allowing polygamists to immigrate here.

    Agreed. Which is why I suggested that simply banning the immigration of anybody who has ever had multiple simultaneous wives would be a viable alternative. It's just that enforcement would be a bitch.

    I just think that barring the "extra" wives from immigration, or denying them the legal protections that a spouse has, are unacceptable options.

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