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Religion, Immigration, and Polygamy

RichyRichy Registered User regular
edited May 2011 in Debate and/or Discourse
This thread is to debate and/or discourse on what I perceive to be the confluence of three trends in modern society, at least two of which are mutually exclusive with the other one.

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.

Religion. We value freedom of religion as one of our fundamental liberal values. Moreover, we oppose the government stepping in and limiting the religious freedoms of individuals, due to the massive amount of harm that has historically been done whenever governments have tried to do just that. However, some religions support polygamy. I will point to some sects of Mormons and of Islam as two relevant examples of this in my discussion. These two religions of course differ on a great many points, and an important one, again for this thread, is that Mormons are born and raised in the Western World while polygamist Muslims are born and raised in certain Middle-Eastern regions. Which leads to my third point...

Immigration. People are moving from the Middle-East to the Western World. And many countries, like Canada, have a policy of allowing families to immigrate together. After all, keeping families united is the humane thing to do.

So we now have an obvious problem: how to deal with polygamist Muslim families trying to immigrate into our anti-polygamy Western countries?

1. We know Muslim men are moving in with multiple wives, passing them off as their sisters for example. We've caught some. Lying to immigration is bad. And if we turn a blind eye to this situation, we are effectively creating a back door to polygamy establishing itself in our countries.

2. But what to do when we catch them? If we force the men to pick one wife and turn the others away, we're breaking up families and marriages. Moreover, we're condemning the other wives to pretty bad lives as single mothers with kids in strongly paternalistic and misogynistic countries. However, if we allow the women in as single mothers, naturally after they're in they'll return to their husband and we'll again have created a back door to polygamy.

3. And how is that fair to Mormons? We do not allow them to be polygamists and we break them up when we find them... yet we'll allow Muslim immigrants to be polygamists! So it's forbidden to become polygamist here, but if you're from another country where it's ok you can bring in your wives and continue being a polygamist here. We're creating an unfair system where certain citizens have more rights than others depending on where they were born.

4. The last option is to not allow them in at all. Which means we're denying immigration based on a social and religious definition of marriage. Government-endorsed religious discrimination FTW! And don't forget the slippery slope. Should we also deny immigration from countries that support arrange marriages? Countries with dowries? Countries that do or do not allow gay marriage?

It's quite the mess of a situation, and I don't see an easy way out of it. So I thought I'd open it up to discussion here, to see what our glorious liberal echo chamber thinks of it. I'm curious to get some alternative perspectives on it, to maybe find another option to deal with it.

Richy on
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Posts

  • ArkadyArkady Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    I think that allowing the women in but not as wives is the best of a bunch of bad choices. In this scenario it might be worth to return the man (or woman on the off-chance) to his original country should he be found to still be practicing polygamy.

    And I don't feel that a polygamy ban particularly violates the general freedom of religion we've come to demand. Polygamy ends up being a shitty deal for the vast majority of people involved and it's banning isn't to spit in the eye of any particular religion, so I don't think it's really in violation.

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  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    I'd say allow them in as wives. I don't know about Canada, but in the U.S. at least this isn't exactly an isolated phenomena; I can think of at least one other similar legal situation and perhaps there are more. A couple can get married in one state, and move to another state where not only could they not legally marry (due to the age of one or both partners), but even a sexual relationship between the two would be illegal...yet the marriage is still recognized, and the relationship condoned.

    That we recognize a legal relationship begun in another society that we do not control does not mean we need to allow those in our society to do the same. Polygamy still causes all the same ills there as it does here, obviously...but bringing one's family directly into our society does not. Just don't allow them to begin any new polygamous relationships, and it's all good.

    Is it moderately unfair to local Mormons and Muslims (as well as any other polygamous citizens)? Sure. But if you don't like it, emigrate. Apparently there are places where you can have multiple wives, so see ya later.

  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    I guess the issue is that most of the harm from polygamy happens prior to the marriage(s). There is no harm from an existing polygamous marriage, at least not significant harm...it's the "getting there" that leads to all the really nasty societal effects.

    So we have no real incentive to break up existing relationships, yet we still have every incentive to prevent new ones.

  • DrukDruk Registered User
    edited May 2011
    We live in a society where polygamy only means one man with multiple wives.

    I disagree with your use of "only", because I know of at least a few polygamous um...multiples? who are usually anarchists and not especially religious, and they have more of an open multiple-husbands or multiple-wives thing going on. But yeah, a vast majority of polygamy is likely how you define it.

  • Evil MultifariousEvil Multifarious Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    the mainstream mormon church does not support polygamy, as far as i know - it's a fundamentalist sect of mormonism that does so

    Inquisitor wrote: »
    I fucking hate you Canadians.
  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    the mainstream mormon church does not support polygamy, as far as i know - it's a fundamentalist sect of mormonism that does so

    This is true, but it's largely because we made it illegal.

  • oldsakoldsak Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Arkady wrote: »
    I think that allowing the women in but not as wives is the best of a bunch of bad choices.

    This is probably the best solution.

    Recognize the familial relationship exists for immigration purposes, but do not legally recognize it for any other purposes.

    Also, only allow this kind of exception if the plural marriage is legally recognized in the country of emigration.

    It also wouldn't be unfair to Mormon sects that practice polygamy. After all we don't actively break up polygamous groups unless there is child abuse or something else going on.

  • Xenogears of BoreXenogears of Bore Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    mcdermott wrote: »
    the mainstream mormon church does not support polygamy, as far as i know - it's a fundamentalist sect of mormonism that does so

    This is true, but it's largely because we made it illegal.

    Just like when they suddenly decided that black people weren't devil spawn a bit after the rest of the country came upon the same decision.

    3DS CODE: 3093-7068-3576
  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    oldsak wrote: »
    Arkady wrote: »
    I think that allowing the women in but not as wives is the best of a bunch of bad choices.

    This is probably the best solution.

    Recognize the familial relationship exists for immigration purposes, but do not legally recognize it for any other purposes.

    Also, only allow this kind of exception if the plural marriage is legally recognized in the country of emigration.

    It also wouldn't be unfair to Mormon sects that practice polygamy. After all we don't actively break up polygamous groups unless there is child abuse or something else going on.

    The laws are there, though; it's just a matter of not wasting resources on it. In Utah at least cohabitating with multiple "wives" is still a felony, even if you are only legally married to one.

  • oldsakoldsak Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    mcdermott wrote: »
    oldsak wrote: »
    Arkady wrote: »
    I think that allowing the women in but not as wives is the best of a bunch of bad choices.

    This is probably the best solution.

    Recognize the familial relationship exists for immigration purposes, but do not legally recognize it for any other purposes.

    Also, only allow this kind of exception if the plural marriage is legally recognized in the country of emigration.

    It also wouldn't be unfair to Mormon sects that practice polygamy. After all we don't actively break up polygamous groups unless there is child abuse or something else going on.

    The laws are there, though; it's just a matter of not wasting resources on it. In Utah at least cohabitating with multiple "wives" is still a felony, even if you are only legally married to one.

    Well, if these families tried to immigrate to a state with a law like that on the books, then I'd say they're doing so at the risk they will be prosecuted by state law enforcement.

  • RobmanRobman Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    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.

  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    oldsak wrote: »
    mcdermott wrote: »
    oldsak wrote: »
    Arkady wrote: »
    I think that allowing the women in but not as wives is the best of a bunch of bad choices.

    This is probably the best solution.

    Recognize the familial relationship exists for immigration purposes, but do not legally recognize it for any other purposes.

    Also, only allow this kind of exception if the plural marriage is legally recognized in the country of emigration.

    It also wouldn't be unfair to Mormon sects that practice polygamy. After all we don't actively break up polygamous groups unless there is child abuse or something else going on.

    The laws are there, though; it's just a matter of not wasting resources on it. In Utah at least cohabitating with multiple "wives" is still a felony, even if you are only legally married to one.

    Well, if these families tried to immigrate to a state with a law like that on the books, then I'd say they're doing so at the risk they will be prosecuted by state law enforcement.

    Except that somebody that manages to legally marry a fourteen-year-old won't face that same (risk of) prosecution when he moves to a state where banging fourteen-year-olds is a crime. So...yeah.

    Again, the harm in polygamy comes from the formation of the marriages and the society they're formed in...an existing marriage causes no harm.

    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.

    Bolded for the reason those shouldn't be lumped together.

  • ShanadeusShanadeus Registered User
    edited May 2011
    mcdermott wrote: »
    I guess the issue is that most of the harm from polygamy happens prior to the marriage(s). There is no harm from an existing polygamous marriage, at least not significant harm...it's the "getting there" that leads to all the really nasty societal effects.

    So we have no real incentive to break up existing relationships, yet we still have every incentive to prevent new ones.

    I generally agree with you but I would like to add that it's only certain particular polygamous marriages/relationships that we have an incentive to prevent.
    Civilized people who do not follow ideologies with great gender imbalances and who live in a society with as little as possible gender inequality are the sort of people that I'd love to see in legally recognized N-marriages.

  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Shanadeus wrote: »
    mcdermott wrote: »
    I guess the issue is that most of the harm from polygamy happens prior to the marriage(s). There is no harm from an existing polygamous marriage, at least not significant harm...it's the "getting there" that leads to all the really nasty societal effects.

    So we have no real incentive to break up existing relationships, yet we still have every incentive to prevent new ones.

    I generally agree with you but I would like to add that it's only certain particular polygamous marriages/relationships that we have an incentive to prevent.
    Civilized people who do not follow ideologies with great gender imbalances and who live in a society with as little as possible gender inequality are the sort of people that I'd love to see in legally recognized N-marriages.

    Except that, at least on the U.S. side of the house, it's really impossible to ban only the "harmful" polygamy.

    Also, there simply isn't enough desire for (relatively) gender-balanced and non-abusive plural marriage in our society to balance out the harm it would cause in the insular communities that want to form good ol' fashioned harems.

  • ShanadeusShanadeus Registered User
    edited May 2011
    mcdermott wrote: »
    Shanadeus wrote: »
    mcdermott wrote: »
    I guess the issue is that most of the harm from polygamy happens prior to the marriage(s). There is no harm from an existing polygamous marriage, at least not significant harm...it's the "getting there" that leads to all the really nasty societal effects.

    So we have no real incentive to break up existing relationships, yet we still have every incentive to prevent new ones.

    I generally agree with you but I would like to add that it's only certain particular polygamous marriages/relationships that we have an incentive to prevent.
    Civilized people who do not follow ideologies with great gender imbalances and who live in a society with as little as possible gender inequality are the sort of people that I'd love to see in legally recognized N-marriages.

    Except that, at least on the U.S. side of the house, it's really impossible to ban only the "harmful" polygamy.

    Also, there simply isn't enough desire for (relatively) gender-balanced and non-abusive plural marriage in our society to balance out the harm it would cause in the insular communities that want to form good ol' fashioned harems.

    Those are good points, I would just like to draw focus on why these polygamous marriages are bad in order to avoid painting polygamous marriages as a concept as an ugly thing.

    Basically, "No, they shouldn't be allowed to maintain multiple wife status as the situation in which their relationship was created was because of gender imbalances and female independant-hostile ideologies in their nation of origin"

    instead of:

    "No, they shouldn't be allowed to maintain multiple wife status as polygamy is very, very bad and lead to abusive situations"

    That's kinda what people have been saying anyway I realized.

  • oldsakoldsak Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    mcdermott wrote: »
    oldsak wrote: »
    mcdermott wrote: »
    oldsak wrote: »
    Arkady wrote: »
    I think that allowing the women in but not as wives is the best of a bunch of bad choices.

    This is probably the best solution.

    Recognize the familial relationship exists for immigration purposes, but do not legally recognize it for any other purposes.

    Also, only allow this kind of exception if the plural marriage is legally recognized in the country of emigration.

    It also wouldn't be unfair to Mormon sects that practice polygamy. After all we don't actively break up polygamous groups unless there is child abuse or something else going on.

    The laws are there, though; it's just a matter of not wasting resources on it. In Utah at least cohabitating with multiple "wives" is still a felony, even if you are only legally married to one.

    Well, if these families tried to immigrate to a state with a law like that on the books, then I'd say they're doing so at the risk they will be prosecuted by state law enforcement.

    Except that somebody that manages to legally marry a fourteen-year-old won't face that same (risk of) prosecution when he moves to a state where banging fourteen-year-olds is a crime. So...yeah.

    Again, the harm in polygamy comes from the formation of the marriages and the society they're formed in...an existing marriage causes no harm.

    So you're saying that if a man marries multiple 14 year old girls in a country where that is allowed, then at some point they attempt to immigrate to the US, we should recognize their plural marriage because the "harm" was done somewhere else?

  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    oldsak wrote: »
    mcdermott wrote: »
    Again, the harm in polygamy comes from the formation of the marriages and the society they're formed in...an existing marriage causes no harm.

    So you're saying that if a man marries multiple 14 year old girls in a country where that is allowed, then at some point they attempt to immigrate to the US, we should recognize their plural marriage because the "harm" was done somewhere else?

    Yes.

    If a man marries a single fourteen-year-old girl in a state where this is allowed, then at some point moves to another state where it is not, the receiving state recognizes that underage marriage. Underage in the local jurisdiction, that is.

    Also, ideally we'd work to improve women's rights and general societal freedoms in the society these polygamous immigrants are coming from, through whatever means are available to us, to prevent future harm. But one of the means available to us shouldn't be breaking up existing family units that seek to immigrate, nor depriving any members (wives, generally) of that family unit the legal rights that their existing marriage should grant them.


    EDIT: The ridiculously low marriage ages in some states are, to my knowledge, part of the reason that (again to my knowledge) every statutory rape law in the U.S. includes a "not a spouse" clause.

  • CalixtusCalixtus Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    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?

    Second, I'm not clear on why the state should regulate family constellations in the first place, outside of environments that are directly harmful to, say, children. To my knowledge, we don't regulate infidelity by making it a felony, and there's pretty clearly someone being harmed there.

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  • MrMisterMrMister Valuing scholarship above all elseRegistered User regular
    edited May 2011
    mcdermott wrote: »
    If a man marries a single fourteen-year-old girl in a state where this is allowed, then at some point moves to another state where it is not, the receiving state recognizes that underage marriage. Underage in the local jurisdiction, that is.

    States recognize each other's contracts, but there's no reason to generalize that to the contracts made in foreign countries. After all, even if slavery is a legal contractual institution in some foreign country, that does not mean that states are under the obligation to recognize said contracts when slaveholders attempt to bring their slaves into the United States. Or, in a more topical example relating to marriage itself: the INS has not, traditionally, recognized gay marriages granted by foreign states for the purposes of immigration and deportation--although that may change soon. So, if anything, it seems like consistency would point towards the INS not recognizing polygamous marriages (let alone the rest of the government continuing to honor them once they enter the USA).

  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    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.

  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    MrMister wrote: »
    mcdermott wrote: »
    If a man marries a single fourteen-year-old girl in a state where this is allowed, then at some point moves to another state where it is not, the receiving state recognizes that underage marriage. Underage in the local jurisdiction, that is.

    States recognize each other's contracts, but there's no reason to generalize that to the contracts of foreign countries. After all, even if slavery is a legal contractual institution in some foreign country, that does not mean that states are under the obligation to recognize said contracts when slaveholders attempt to bring their slaves into the United States. Or, in a more topical example relating to marriage itself: the INS has not, traditionally, recognized gay marriages granted by foreign states for the purposes of immigration and deportation--although that may change soon. So, if anything, it seems like consistency would point towards the INS not recognizing polygamous marriages (let alone the rest of the government continuing to honor them once they enter the USA).

    The INS doesn't (IIRC) even recognize gay marriages performed in the U.S. for the purposes of immigration and deportation. And yes, this is absurd.

    I'd also hesitate to characterize a wife brought over as a full citizen, with the full ability to leave the marriage at any time, as a slave. The comparison isn't really fair.

  • DoctorArchDoctorArch Curmudgeon Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    I agree with McDermott. If someone has married fifteen underage women in a foreign country, while I find that abhorrent, we can't very well break up their family unit when they immigrate, because that would create more damage. Probably the best solution would be a statutory, one-time exception to the laws for a first generation immigrant from a country which has traditionally allowed such unions to exist (an exception written this narrowly would probably pass muster and would bar the polygamist crazies from British Columbia from immigrating to the U.S. and claiming the same exception).

    After the fact, however, it is made clear that our marriage laws apply, thus the only way they could marry another individual would be to divorce all fifteen of their previous spouses. Obviously, they would also be unable to facilitate the marriage of an underage daughter.

    steam_sig.png
  • MrMisterMrMister Valuing scholarship above all elseRegistered User regular
    edited May 2011
    mcdermott wrote: »
    I'd also hesitate to characterize a wife brought over as a full citizen, with the full ability to leave the marriage at any time, as a slave. The comparison isn't really fair.

    I'm not saying that she is: I'm saying that we are clearly not bound, as a rule, to respect contracts made under foreign law. The point of equivalence here is not that polygamy and slavery have an equal effect on the participants, the point of equivalence is that both represent legal arrangements that we can choose to honor or not regardless of what foreign countries say.

  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    DoctorArch wrote: »
    I agree with McDermott. If someone has married fifteen underage women in a foreign country, while I find that abhorrent, we can't very well break up their family unit when they immigrate, because that would create more damage. Probably the best solution would be a statutory, one-time exception to the laws for a first generation immigrant from a country which has traditionally allowed such unions to exist (an exception written this narrowly would probably pass muster and would bar the polygamist crazies from British Columbia from immigrating to the U.S. and claiming the same exception).

    After the fact, however, it is made clear that our marriage laws apply, thus the only way they could marry another individual would be to divorce all fifteen of their previous spouses. Obviously, they would also be unable to facilitate the marriage of an underage daughter.

    It really is a "least harm" situation. Not allowing the other wives in is obviously unacceptable (what the fuck will they do back home?). Not allowing them the full legal rights of a spouse is...better, I guess, but still pretty terrible. Spousal rights are pretty important, which is a large part of why gay marriage is such a huge issue.

    The only other really viable option would be to simply not allow any of them to immigrate. But then that leads to either the man divorcing the other wives back home before immigration (so same effect as the first option above) or we have to have some kind of crazy "are you now or have you ever" clause on the immigration paperwork...with follow-up, to prevent fraud. Wheeeeeee!

  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    MrMister wrote: »
    mcdermott wrote: »
    I'd also hesitate to characterize a wife brought over as a full citizen, with the full ability to leave the marriage at any time, as a slave. The comparison isn't really fair.

    I'm not saying that she is: I'm saying that we are clearly not bound, as a rule, to respect contracts made under foreign law. The point of equivalence here is not that polygamy and slavery have an equal effect on the participants, the point of equivalence is that both represent legal arrangements that we can choose to honor or not regardless of what foreign countries say.

    Oh, obviously we aren't bound. To my knowledge, we currently don't do so. I'm saying we should, and why.

    Also, in general we should nearly always respect foreign contracts between immigrants when feasible. Slavery, as an example, is explicitly forbidden in our actual Constitution. So yeah, that's a no-go. But polygamy? Again, aside from a few tricky legal complications, there's no reason whatsoever not to (and several reasons to).

  • DoctorArchDoctorArch Curmudgeon Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    mcdermott wrote: »
    DoctorArch wrote: »
    I agree with McDermott. If someone has married fifteen underage women in a foreign country, while I find that abhorrent, we can't very well break up their family unit when they immigrate, because that would create more damage. Probably the best solution would be a statutory, one-time exception to the laws for a first generation immigrant from a country which has traditionally allowed such unions to exist (an exception written this narrowly would probably pass muster and would bar the polygamist crazies from British Columbia from immigrating to the U.S. and claiming the same exception).

    After the fact, however, it is made clear that our marriage laws apply, thus the only way they could marry another individual would be to divorce all fifteen of their previous spouses. Obviously, they would also be unable to facilitate the marriage of an underage daughter.

    It really is a "least harm" situation. Not allowing the other wives in is obviously unacceptable (what the fuck will they do back home?). Not allowing them the full legal rights of a spouse is...better, I guess, but still pretty terrible. Spousal rights are pretty important, which is a large part of why gay marriage is such a huge issue.

    The only other really viable option would be to simply not allow any of them to immigrate. But then that leads to either the man divorcing the other wives back home before immigration (so same effect as the first option above) or we have to have some kind of crazy "are you now or have you ever" clause on the immigration paperwork...with follow-up, to prevent fraud. Wheeeeeee!

    Sorry if I wasn't clear. I do mean that our marriage laws should apply, across every spouse, thus ensuring that each one has the full rights of being a spouse. Possibly, due to the immigration exception, the property should be split proportionally. Thus if one spouse wants to get a divorce, well, to divorce court you go, and at the end the guy is left with only 14 underage wives and 15/16 of the marital property.

    steam_sig.png
  • MrMisterMrMister Valuing scholarship above all elseRegistered User regular
    edited May 2011
    mcdermott wrote: »
    Oh, obviously we aren't bound. To my knowledge, we currently don't do so. I'm saying we should, and why.

    Also, in general we should nearly always respect foreign contracts between immigrants when feasible. Slavery, as an example, is explicitly forbidden in our actual Constitution. So yeah, that's a no-go. But polygamy? Again, aside from a few tricky legal complications, there's no reason whatsoever not to (and several reasons to).

    I wouldn't exactly describe "being flat-out against the law" as "a tricky legal complication." Furthermore, just because a law is not spelled out in the constitution does not make it any less of a law--the point of the constitution is that it empowers the state to pass further laws which are just as binding.

    Marriages in many other countries include the unlimited right of the husband to have sex with the wife; until recently, this was also a recognized part of marriage in our own country. Should we also give immigrants from those countries a free pass on spousal rape?

  • oldsakoldsak Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    mcdermott wrote: »
    oldsak wrote: »
    mcdermott wrote: »
    oldsak wrote: »
    mcdermott wrote: »
    oldsak wrote: »
    Arkady wrote: »
    I think that allowing the women in but not as wives is the best of a bunch of bad choices.

    This is probably the best solution.

    Recognize the familial relationship exists for immigration purposes, but do not legally recognize it for any other purposes.

    Also, only allow this kind of exception if the plural marriage is legally recognized in the country of emigration.

    It also wouldn't be unfair to Mormon sects that practice polygamy. After all we don't actively break up polygamous groups unless there is child abuse or something else going on.

    The laws are there, though; it's just a matter of not wasting resources on it. In Utah at least cohabitating with multiple "wives" is still a felony, even if you are only legally married to one.

    Well, if these families tried to immigrate to a state with a law like that on the books, then I'd say they're doing so at the risk they will be prosecuted by state law enforcement.

    Except that somebody that manages to legally marry a fourteen-year-old won't face that same (risk of) prosecution when he moves to a state where banging fourteen-year-olds is a crime. So...yeah.

    Again, the harm in polygamy comes from the formation of the marriages and the society they're formed in...an existing marriage causes no harm.

    So you're saying that if a man marries multiple 14 year old girls in a country where that is allowed, then at some point they attempt to immigrate to the US, we should recognize their plural marriage because the "harm" was done somewhere else?

    Yes.

    If a man marries a single fourteen-year-old girl in a state where this is allowed, then at some point moves to another state where it is not, the receiving state recognizes that underage marriage. Underage in the local jurisdiction, that is.

    Also, ideally we'd work to improve women's rights and general societal freedoms in the society these polygamous immigrants are coming from, through whatever means are available to us, to prevent future harm. But one of the means available to us shouldn't be breaking up existing family units that seek to immigrate, nor depriving any members (wives, generally) of that family unit the legal rights that their existing marriage should grant them.

    We're talking about recognizing marriages from other nations, not other states. The whole point of full faith and credit between states is to create legal consistency across the country. We don't owe any full faith and credit to other nations. Just because we're willing to recognize certain types of relationships at state borders, does not mean we have to or should recognize those relationships at national borders. We do not recognize plural marriages in the U.S. so it would be unreasonable for immigrants to expect their plural marriages to be recognized when they arrive.

    It seems to me that legally recognizing the marriage would condone the practice on some level whereas recognizing the relationship for immigration status without legally recognizing marital status for other purposes accepts that the practice happens without condoning it.

    I appreciate the concern that stripping wives of spousal rights could cause more harm than good. After all the husband might try to abandon one or several of his wives without giving them financial support. However, I feel like that's a risk the spouses took by immigrating to a country that does not recognize plural marriages. If the marriage is not an abusive one and the spouses have independent decision making power, then they can choose to remain in a country where they have legal recourse if they are abandoned. If the marriage is an abusive one and the spouses had no real choice in immigrating to the U.S., I don't see why dissolution of the marriage shouldn't be a solution. Abusive relationships negatively impact the community around them, thus producing the harm you said does not exist in an already formed marriage.

  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    oldsak wrote: »
    It seems to me that legally recognizing the marriage would condone the practice on some level whereas recognizing the relationship for immigration status without legally recognizing marital status for other purposes accepts that the practice happens without condoning it.

    No more than we "condone" fucking thirteen-year-olds when California recognizes marriages from a state where it's legal.
    I appreciate the concern that stripping wives of spousal rights could cause more harm than good. After all the husband might try to abandon one or several of his wives without giving them financial support.

    Which is why it's doubly important that if they are allowed to immigrate, it's with all the rights and protections of a spouse...because we as a society generally protect spouses from treatment like this (you have heard of alimony, right?).
    However, I feel like that's a risk the spouses took by immigrating to a country that does not recognize plural marriages. If the marriage is not an abusive one and the spouses have independent decision making power, then they can choose to remain in a country where they have legal recourse if they are abandoned. If the marriage is an abusive one and the spouses had no real choice in immigrating to the U.S., I don't see why dissolution of the marriage shouldn't be a solution. Abusive relationships negatively impact the community around them, thus producing the harm you said does not exist in an already formed marriage.

    Yes, I'm sure that in many of the countries these families come from, ex-wives have plenty of power and are treated well by society.
    I wouldn't exactly describe "being flat-out against the law" as "a tricky legal complication." Furthermore, just because a law is not spelled out in the constitution does not make it any less of a law--the point of the constitution is that it empowers the state to pass further laws which are just as binding.

    Fucking children is illegal in most states, yet we have "not your spouse" provisions in those laws because hey, some states let you fuck children as long as you marry them first.

    So yes, I'm suggesting that we need to change the law to allow for previously existing plural marriages from other countries. While still not allowing new ones to form (just as California is free not to let you fuck kids, or marry them, within their borders).
    Marriages in many other countries include the unlimited right of the husband to have sex with the wife; until recently, this was also a recognized part of marriage in our own country. Should we also give immigrants from those countries a free pass on spousal rape?

    Obviously not. Any other silly questions?

  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    We're talking about recognizing marriages from other nations, not other states. The whole point of full faith and credit between states is to create legal consistency across the country. We don't owe any full faith and credit to other nations.

    Nowhere here, by the way, have I said we "owe" anything to other nations. We are not legally bound to do any of this. But we should. That's what I'm saying. I'm not making a Constitutional argument, or a legal argument, as to why we must.

    And it's not the patriarch of the family that we should do it for. All we're doing is minimizing harm to the wives.

    EDIT: I mean, you guys don't really think that not allowing polygamous immigration will stop the practice overseas, do you? So really, you're just all about fucking over the wives.

  • skyknytskyknyt Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited May 2011
    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?

    Second, I'm not clear on why the state should regulate family constellations in the first place, outside of environments that are directly harmful to, say, children. To my knowledge, we don't regulate infidelity by making it a felony, and there's pretty clearly someone being harmed there.

    Well, one, polygamy is bad because it's way way way more valuable to females, economically, to be the third marriage to a well off male than it is to be the first marriage to a poor male (see: pre-revolution China). We already live in a society with a huge income disparity, and this would just add to it.

    Two, marriages are civil contracts that do a lot more than just define family groups (see: gay marriage). Polygamy gets a lot more contentious if you think of end of life decisions like distribution of estates and the like - who gets the home? Who gets the assets? Are we throwing all those other mothers (and their children) out onto the street?

    This isn't even getting into the abuse of the wives, throwing male children out onto the streets to fend for themselves, etc.

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  • oldsakoldsak Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    mcdermott wrote: »
    oldsak wrote: »
    It seems to me that legally recognizing the marriage would condone the practice on some level whereas recognizing the relationship for immigration status without legally recognizing marital status for other purposes accepts that the practice happens without condoning it.

    No more than we "condone" fucking thirteen-year-olds when California recognizes marriages from a state where it's legal.

    As I've said, different issue. California doesn't have a choice whether or not to recognize the marriage so they aren't condoning anything.
    mcdermott wrote: »
    I appreciate the concern that stripping wives of spousal rights could cause more harm than good. After all the husband might try to abandon one or several of his wives without giving them financial support.

    Which is why it's doubly important that if they are allowed to immigrate, it's with all the rights and protections of a spouse...because we as a society generally protect spouses from treatment like this (you have heard of alimony, right?).
    However, I feel like that's a risk the spouses took by immigrating to a country that does not recognize plural marriages. If the marriage is not an abusive one and the spouses have independent decision making power, then they can choose to remain in a country where they have legal recourse if they are abandoned. If the marriage is an abusive one and the spouses had no real choice in immigrating to the U.S., I don't see why dissolution of the marriage shouldn't be a solution. Abusive relationships negatively impact the community around them, thus producing the harm you said does not exist in an already formed marriage.

    Yes, I'm sure that in many of the countries these families come from, ex-wives have plenty of power and are treated well by society.

    I believe in some countries when a new wife marries into a polygamous marriage they must demonstrate that it is consensual, so it's not unreasonable to think they would have some legal recourse.

    In any case, we would have to rewrite laws dealing with spousal rights as they are designed to go two ways instead of multiple ways. I can't say how easy or difficult this might be, but it seems it would be just as easy to require maintenance payments between spouses who had a legal marriage in their country of emmigration that is not recognized here.

  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    oldsak wrote: »
    mcdermott wrote: »
    oldsak wrote: »
    It seems to me that legally recognizing the marriage would condone the practice on some level whereas recognizing the relationship for immigration status without legally recognizing marital status for other purposes accepts that the practice happens without condoning it.

    No more than we "condone" fucking thirteen-year-olds when California recognizes marriages from a state where it's legal.

    As I've said, different issue. California doesn't have a choice whether or not to recognize the marriage so they aren't condoning anything.

    But Congress had the legal power to determine how the FF&C clause applies in this situation. They could absolutely pass a law allowing California (or any other state) not to recognize that marriage.

  • oldsakoldsak Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    mcdermott wrote: »
    oldsak wrote: »
    mcdermott wrote: »
    oldsak wrote: »
    It seems to me that legally recognizing the marriage would condone the practice on some level whereas recognizing the relationship for immigration status without legally recognizing marital status for other purposes accepts that the practice happens without condoning it.

    No more than we "condone" fucking thirteen-year-olds when California recognizes marriages from a state where it's legal.

    As I've said, different issue. California doesn't have a choice whether or not to recognize the marriage so they aren't condoning anything.

    But Congress had the legal power to determine how the FF&C clause applies in this situation. They could absolutely pass a law allowing California (or any other state) not to recognize that marriage.

    It would probably require an amendment to the Constitution. And in any case, like I said, the motive is national cohesion, not protecting any specific type of marriage, contract, or judgment.

  • CasedOutCasedOut Registered User
    edited May 2011
    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?

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  • Torso BoyTorso Boy Registered User
    edited May 2011
    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?

    Rent wrote: »
    So that's what having no idea what you are talking about looks like
  • RichyRichy Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    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?

    RichyFlag.gifsig.gif
  • redxredx Bow Down! Before the power of Santa!Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    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.

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  • MrMisterMrMister Valuing scholarship above all elseRegistered User regular
    edited May 2011
    mcdermott wrote: »
    Fucking children is illegal in most states, yet we have "not your spouse" provisions in those laws because hey, some states let you fuck children as long as you marry them first.

    You keep bringing this up, but it's not analogous. State and national boundaries do not (and should not) get the same treatment.
    mcdermott wrote:
    MrMister wrote:
    Marriages in many other countries include the unlimited right of the husband to have sex with the wife; until recently, this was also a recognized part of marriage in our own country. Should we also give immigrants from those countries a free pass on spousal rape?

    Obviously not. Any other silly questions?

    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?

  • MrMisterMrMister Valuing scholarship above all elseRegistered User regular
    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.

    Do we actually have any evidence that this happens regularly?

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