Thursday, October 8, 2015

Is Monogamy Dead?

photo of polygamous Mormon family (Charles Roscoe Savage)
William Baude’s Times Op-Ed piece (“Is Polygamy Next," 7/21/15)   gives voice to a fear that legalizing same sex marriage has opened up a Pandora’s Box. If we allow people of the same sex to be married why should people who want to be married to more than one person be excluded from expressing their heart desire? Why should those who are genetically or culturally disposed to polygamy be prevented from expressing their true selves? Polygamy has been a part of the Mormon culture and since Mr. Baude believes Justice Kennedy’s line of reasoning in the same sex marriage decision (Obergefell v. Hodges) leads to the possibility that “future generations could read the language to include polyamory or plural marriage” it may be useful to look at some of the pluses and minuses. Says Baude, “To be sure, there are many potentially sound legal arguments against plural marriage. It might be administratively difficult to modify some of our marital laws, currently designed for pairs of people, to handle large numbers of spouses. And if one thinks the well-being of children can justify restricting marriage rights, it is possible that plural marriages could present difficulties. On the other hand, it may turn out that plural marriages are very good for children, because more adults are available to share the physical, financial and emotional demands of caring for them.” But let’s get down to the nitty gritty. Polyamory,  polygamy, or whatever you want to call it, increases the number of naked bodies you're legitimately going to be allowed to see and touch, whatever your sex or sexual orientation. The increased population of sexual partners is going to increase your chances for getting laid. It’s simple math. If you marry one person he or she can say no. But is it likely that all five of your husbands and wives will feel the same way by the time you’re ready for bed? Then there's the question of shopping. Depending on whether you live in a matriarchy, patriarchy or transarchy someone is going to have to play the role once part of the job description for the average American wife. But let’s say you’re a matriarch with five husbands. Despite the fact that all five of your husbands may be involved in Robert Bly’s "mythopoetic" male self-actualization seminars, you can still divide up the dirty work with husband A getting the milk, husband B, the head of lettuce etc. If you have a fight with one of your wives, you still can cry on the shoulders of the other four. The advantages go on and on. Everyone takes on a serious juridical expression when the question of polygamy comes up and few people want to say it. But once the court rules in favor of polygamy, hubba hubba, let the games begin.

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