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Thread: Don't Legalize Polygamy! I'm keeping my fingers crossed on this one.

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    Don't Legalize Polygamy! I'm keeping my fingers crossed on this one.

    During the time when the FLDS Mormons in Texas had their compound raided a couple of years ago, there has been a long-running investigation of Mormon polygamists who set up the Bountiful Community in B.C. It appears that it's finally coming to a head, and a final decision will be made soon. If the B.C. Supreme Court strikes down the ban on polygamy as unconstitutional, it will confirm the impression that they would rather avoid having to explain why they would ban polygamy at a time when gay marriage is becoming accepted.

    I went all up and down this debate over polygamy a couple of years ago. Basically, many liberals and gay rights supporters turn moral relativists because they fear that the most ardent opponents -- religious right conservatives -- want it as a wedge issue to apply towards same-sex marriage also.

    Personally, I don't believe that liberals have to turn into anything-goes relativists to justify why polygamy is a cause of social harm, whereas harms of gay marriage have yet been demonstrated. The Canadian law goes further than necessary, since political correctness demands that it apply equally to women as well as men, even though we should all be aware that historically, it's been wealthier men who own many young women, who are the problem. If that looks sexist or something, so be it! Aside from Madonna or Cher, I'm not aware of too many women who own lots of young men.

    This article highlights some of the key reasons why modern democratic states should not open the door to plural marriage, whatever the excuse: Legalized polygamy would move Canada against international trends, hearing told

    ..........polygamy's harms including a decrease in political and civil liberties.

    Strachan said the inherent asymmetry of polygamy "offends the dignity and is premised on sex and sex role stereotypes that subordinate women."

    Other harms that she noted are psychological, physical and sexual and reproductive health harms," lower socio-economic and educational levels for children of those unions and early marriage and pregnancy of girls.

    And, Strachan said there is the destabilizing effect on society of surplus boys or men either being marginalized or turned out into the wider society
    .

    Earlier, Crown counsel Craig Jones said there are four categories of harm associated with polygamy that the B.C. attorney general argues are "significant and substantial" and are the reason the practice must remain illegal.

    Jones defined those Tuesday as harms to: the moral fabric and democratic essence of society; equality and protection of vulnerable groups; society generally through polygamy's impact on the sexualization of girls and increased anti-social behavior and crime; and individual harm to children and the participants in polygamous relationships.

    Jones argued in his opening statement that taken together all of those harms trump the various guaranteed rights and freedoms including religious freedom, freedom of association and expression.

    I'm hoping sanity prevails and they recognize that historic and present consequences of polygamy trump claims of civil rights by polygamy advocates.

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    anomaly
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    Re: Don't Legalize Polygamy! I'm keeping my fingers crossed on this one.

    I saw something about this. For some reason they predict it would lead to child brides. I predict it would legalize many illegitimate relationships that currently exist. lol

    Also, I'm assuming that it works both ways, that a woman can take more than one husband as well as men doing so with wives.

    I guess it comes down to whether or not one thinks that people are monogamous creatures by nature.

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    Re: Don't Legalize Polygamy! I'm keeping my fingers crossed on this one.

    Just wondering how that would affect divorces. If the guy has two wives, then each wife only has claim to half of half his stuff?

    Divorcee Barbie takes a hit to the pocketbook.

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    Senior Member Bryn Mawr's Avatar
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    Re: Don't Legalize Polygamy! I'm keeping my fingers crossed on this one.

    Quote Originally Posted by koan View Post
    Just wondering how that would affect divorces. If the guy has two wives, then each wife only has claim to half of half his stuff?

    Divorcee Barbie takes a hit to the pocketbook.
    Or would that be a third of the group's property?

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    Re: Don't Legalize Polygamy! I'm keeping my fingers crossed on this one.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bryn Mawr View Post
    Or would that be a third of the group's property?
    That's the reasonable way to look at it, Bryn. I'm kind of having a go at seeing the reverse prejudice. I think that the idea of polygamy brings to mind a bearded dude with a cult harem. The opposite, imo is the divorcee Barbie who married for half Ken's stuff.

    Ultimately, the decision shouldn't be made on what we envision happening in worst case scenarios, it should be made based on whether or not the state has the right to legislate our sex lives and choices of living arrangements.

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    Re: Don't Legalize Polygamy! I'm keeping my fingers crossed on this one.

    Quote Originally Posted by koan View Post
    I saw something about this. For some reason they predict it would lead to child brides. I predict it would legalize many illegitimate relationships that currently exist. lol
    Find me the polygamous community that doesn't have the most powerful old men buying young brides before they have a chance to mess around! And the illegitimate polygamous relationships should be prosecuted, since they are invariably defrauding the welfare system....just like Bountiful.

    I guess it comes down to whether or not one thinks that people are monogamous creatures by nature.
    Which is totally irrelevant to the issue of whether polygamy should or should not be legalized! Although studies on the sexual habits of men in plural marriage are too small to be more than anecdotal, circumstantial evidence indicates that men with three or more wives are just as likely to look outside of their marriages for new sexual opportunities, as the guys with only one wife! As for the women -- to keep wives from straying, old men with many wives have to use combinations of force, intimidation, religious blackmail...and in the FLDS example, expelling surplus teenage boys who might have illicit relationships with married and unmarried women.

    Ultimately, the decision shouldn't be made on what we envision happening in worst case scenarios, it should be made based on whether or not the state has the right to legislate our sex lives and choices of living arrangements.
    So, could you give me an example of a functioning best case scenario for polygamy, where there are no child brides or lost boys?

    Also, in October 2002, Canada ratified a UN treaty that obligated us to oppose polygamy. Canada is legally obligated to uphold this Convention.

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    Re: Don't Legalize Polygamy! I'm keeping my fingers crossed on this one.

    Prohibiting the polygamous relationships of consenting adults is nothing less than oppression based on an arbitrary moral construct. If Canada chooses to continue this oppression, fine. I would support the US practicing what we preach by allowing polygamy.

    It's important to note that Strachan and Jones aren't scientists presenting the findings of a study. They are lawyers arguing a case. As such, they're expected to present a completely one-sided argument.

    * Polygamy would be moving contrary to the international trend of prohibiting rather than tolerating the practice.
    > I don't understand the validity of this argument. Nations are sovereign and don't have to answer to other nations for allowing greater liberty.
    * Strachan said the inherent asymmetry of polygamy "offends the dignity and is premised on sex and sex role stereotypes that subordinate women."
    > Monogamous marriage, which traditionally has the woman take on the man's name, is also premised on sex and the same sex role stereotypes.
    * psychological, physical and sexual and reproductive health harms, lower socio-economic and educational levels for children of those unions and early marriage and pregnancy of girls.
    > While it can be argued that these dangers are present in the current practice of illegal polygamy, it can also be argued that legalizing the practice will expose and eliminate most of them. For example, legalizing polygamy is not legalizing pedophilia; forcing children into illegal marriage would still be illegal.
    * Strachan said there is the destabilizing effect on society of surplus boys or men either being marginalized or turned out into the wider society.
    > The proposal isn't to mandate polygamy. She seems to think it will become popular.
    * Polygamy harms the moral fabric and democratic essence of society.
    > Only immoral acts harm moral fabric. Consenting adults vowing to love and support one another doesn't fit that definition. I don't understand how "democratic essence" fits into conversation at all.
    * Polygamy harms equality and protection of vulnerable groups
    > Illegal polygamy may, but legalizing polygamy would expose such abuses
    * Polygamy harms society generally through polygamy's impact on the sexualization of girls and increased anti-social behavior and crime.
    > Again, legalizing polygamy is not legalizing pedophilia; forcing children into illegal marriage would still be illegal. Porn sexualizes girls. Bikinis sexualize girls. Committed relationships do not sexualize girls. As for anti-social behavior and crime, I can't think of what they may be referring to except polygamy itself. Legalizing it would eliminate that harm.
    * Polygamy causes individual harm to children and the participants in polygamous relationships.
    > Without support this statement has no merit. What harm does a committed adult relationship have on children? The participants would be consenting adults, which negates the argument that the participants are harmed by the act.

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    Re: Don't Legalize Polygamy! I'm keeping my fingers crossed on this one.

    And you complain about the way I set up my quotes!

    Quote Originally Posted by Accountable View Post
    Prohibiting the polygamous relationships of consenting adults is nothing less than oppression based on an arbitrary moral construct. If Canada chooses to continue this oppression, fine. I would support the US practicing what we preach by allowing polygamy.
    Arbitrary moral construct? Is prohibiting murder, rape or theft considered arbitrary moral constructs? If there is evidence of social harms caused by plural marriage, then it should be outlawed on the same basis as other crimes that affect the welfare of others. All moral constructs should be based on their impact on a society, rather than what is truly arbitrary -- religious or philosophical rules that are established as a priori principles that cannot be removed regardless of social impact.

    It's important to note that Strachan and Jones aren't scientists presenting the findings of a study. They are lawyers arguing a case. As such, they're expected to present a completely one-sided argument.
    And they use the findings of sociologists and statisticians who have studied the issue. One of the experts -- Joseph Heinrick, filed this report for the B.C. Supreme Court He begins with a brief rundown of the harms to others and society at large, when polygamy is allowed:

    Increased crime, prostitution and anti-social behaviour. Greater inequality between men and women. Less parental investment in children. And, a general driving down of the age of marriage for all women.

    Henrich is uniquely qualified to look at polygamy's harm. He's a member of the departments of economics, psychology and anthropology at the University of British Columbia and holds the Canada Research Chair in Culture, Cognition and Coevolution.

    To illustrate the harm, Henrich provides the court with an example of polygyny's cruel arithmetic.

    In a hypothetical society of 20 men and 20 women, 12 men with the highest status marry 12 women. (It's always only the highest-ranking men in polygynous societies that get multiple wives.)

    Then, the top five take a second wife and the top two men take a third. Finally, the top guy takes a fourth.

    The result is that 58 per cent of the marriages are monogamous.

    But — and this is the big deal —it means 40 per cent of the men remain unmarried.

    Yes, 40 per cent.

    And Henrich's example is conservative. Blackmore has more than 20 wives. FLDS prophet Warren Jeffs, who is in jail in Utah, has more than 80.

    And the studies Henrich cites -from historical, frontier-American research to contemporary work done in countries where polygamy is legal -indicate that groups of unmarried men create havoc.

    "For males, getting married (monogamously) is a prophylactic against engaging in crime, social disruption and other socially undesirable activities," he writes.

    And at some point, it needs to be mentioned that unlike the gay marriage issue, polygamy is a social construct that greatly expands birth rates and subsequent population. As one of the Vancouver Sun's articles noted -- the town of Bountiful was built by a rapidly breeding polygamous family group. If future results determine that gay marriages are harmful on balance, they will still not present the same threat of population growth, not to mention the increase in genetic diseases caused by dangerous inbreeding in these communities.

    Polygamy would be moving contrary to the international trend of prohibiting rather than tolerating the practice.
    > I don't understand the validity of this argument. Nations are sovereign and don't have to answer to other nations for allowing greater liberty.
    It's simple! On this and any other issues, there's no point to signing international treaties if you have no intentions of honouring them.

    * Strachan said the inherent asymmetry of polygamy "offends the dignity and is premised on sex and sex role stereotypes that subordinate women."
    > Monogamous marriage, which traditionally has the woman take on the man's name, is also premised on sex and the same sex role stereotypes.
    But, monogamous marriage has gone through a lot of changes just during my lifetime. Polygamous marriage is not going to be able to change the baseline that rich and powerful men will effectively be the only ones who get more than one wife, or the coercions needed to deal with the resulting imbalance among the remaining men and women. Polygamous family structures most likely have their origins in the world's warrior societies, where constant warfare, not to mention risky hunting techniques, kept the number of males much lower than the female population. In modern times, there are no sociological needs to justify this sort of family arrangement.

    * psychological, physical and sexual and reproductive health harms, lower socio-economic and educational levels for children of those unions and early marriage and pregnancy of girls.
    > While it can be argued that these dangers are present in the current practice of illegal polygamy, it can also be argued that legalizing the practice will expose and eliminate most of them. For example, legalizing polygamy is not legalizing pedophilia; forcing children into illegal marriage would still be illegal.
    * Strachan said there is the destabilizing effect on society of surplus boys or men either being marginalized or turned out into the wider society.
    > The proposal isn't to mandate polygamy. She seems to think it will become popular.
    * Polygamy harms the moral fabric and democratic essence of society.
    > Only immoral acts harm moral fabric. Consenting adults vowing to love and support one another doesn't fit that definition. I don't understand how "democratic essence" fits into conversation at all.
    * Polygamy harms equality and protection of vulnerable groups
    > Illegal polygamy may, but legalizing polygamy would expose such abuses
    * Polygamy harms society generally through polygamy's impact on the sexualization of girls and increased anti-social behavior and crime.
    > Again, legalizing polygamy is not legalizing pedophilia; forcing children into illegal marriage would still be illegal. Porn sexualizes girls. Bikinis sexualize girls. Committed relationships do not sexualize girls. As for anti-social behavior and crime, I can't think of what they may be referring to except polygamy itself. Legalizing it would eliminate that harm.
    Polygamy is not very easy to hide or disguise. The only reason the FLDS and other polygamous Mormon groups have survived out west, is because the majority Mormons have aided them and sheltered them from prosecution. The authorities have been aware of the community at Bountiful for decades -- there have been numerous cases of abuse investigations, women fleeing the compound, and this prosecution has been decades in the making, because past governments haven't had the cajones to take it on. This isn't like fighting the War on Drugs! These compounds are right out there in the open; but the prosecution has to be willing to deal with the wider support network that tries to protect them.

    And once this sort of family arrangement is allowed, outlawing the abuses, such as pedophilia, cousin-marriage, and

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    Re: Don't Legalize Polygamy! I'm keeping my fingers crossed on this one.

    The arguments against polygamy are filled with assumptions and obvious fears. At certain points it sounds as if the concern isn't for the women, some of whom I'm pretty sure have already been picturing themselves with more than one mate, it is a concern for the men who won't be able to compete with the men of huge gifts. Is there such little faith that women choose husbands for reasons other than their pocketbooks? I'm disgusted by women who marry for money. I'd be elated if they could all attach themselves to the Gateses and Trumps of the world and leave the rest of the people alone. Just think about how nice it would be to eliminate 20 golddiggers with one mogul!

    I'm kind of keen on the idea of folks not having to waste huge amounts of money on divorces anymore. Just go ahead and marry a second one. The only reason I'd object to striking down monogamy would be if it only allowed men to have multiple spouses.

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    Re: Don't Legalize Polygamy! I'm keeping my fingers crossed on this one.

    Register to remove this ad.
    Quote Originally Posted by recovering conservative View Post
    And you complain about the way I set up my quotes!
    Yeh, I hacked that one pretty bad, huh? I was going for paraphrase, but that would get me arrested for plagiarism at most universities. My bad.

    Quote Originally Posted by recovering conservative
    Arbitrary moral construct? Is prohibiting murder, rape or theft considered arbitrary moral constructs? If there is evidence of social harms caused by plural marriage, then it should be outlawed on the same basis as other crimes that affect the welfare of others. All moral constructs should be based on their impact on a society, rather than what is truly arbitrary -- religious or philosophical rules that are established as a priori principles that cannot be removed regardless of social impact.
    Murder, rape and theft are not moral constructs; neither is their probihition. They are crimes against victims, violations of natural rights all humans have and ought to enjoy. If you in Canada wish to protect people from themselves and prohibit consenting adults from forming their relationships with other consenting adults as they see fit, then oppress away. In the US, I would rather live in the de facto Land of the Free rather than the nanny state that carries the slogan. When lawyers and politicians become the arbitors of morality, you have no morality. I would estimate that oppression has a more detrimental impact on society than three people rooming together.


    Quote Originally Posted by recovering conservative
    And they use the findings of sociologists and statisticians who have studied the issue. One of the experts -- Joseph Heinrick, filed this report for the B.C. Supreme Court. He begins with a brief rundown of the harms to others and society at large, when polygamy is allowed
    Expert witnesses state what they are paid to state, and spin what they are paid to spin. But ignoring that, your previous cite pointed out that no developed nation yet allows polygamy (polygamy being the issue in question, not the very different polygyny). It's folly to claim that a developed society based on the rule of law, historically monogamous, and having a well educated and equality-conscious public will suddenly parallel a 3rd world country based on dictatorial fiat, culturally polygynous and traditionally oppressive to women, and having an illiterate public raised in a polygynous culture, simply by legally allowing two people to agree to allow a third person into their committed relationship. It's a preposterous argument.

    Quote Originally Posted by recovering conservative
    And at some point, it needs to be mentioned that unlike the gay marriage issue, polygamy is a social construct that greatly expands birth rates and subsequent population. As one of the Vancouver Sun's articles noted -- the town of Bountiful was built by a rapidly breeding polygamous family group. If future results determine that gay marriages are harmful on balance, they will still not present the same threat of population growth, not to mention the increase in genetic diseases caused by dangerous inbreeding in these communities.
    Ya gotta appreciate the irony that the very argument to prohibit gay marriage is being flipped to argue against polygamous marriage.

    Quote Originally Posted by recovering conservative
    It's simple! On this and any other issues, there's no point to signing international treaties if you have no intentions of honouring them.
    I don't get it. What international treaty would Canada have to sign to legalize polygamous marriage?

    Quote Originally Posted by recovering conservative
    But, monogamous marriage has gone through a lot of changes just during my lifetime. Polygamous marriage is not going to be able to change the baseline that rich and powerful men will effectively be the only ones who get more than one wife, or the coercions needed to deal with the resulting imbalance among the remaining men and women.
    You're bringing the income gap argument into this too??
    Don't pretend you'd support it if we could close that gap!

    Quote Originally Posted by recovering conservative
    Polygamous family structures most likely have their origins in the world's warrior societies, where constant warfare, not to mention risky hunting techniques, kept the number of males much lower than the female population. In modern times, there are no sociological needs to justify this sort of family arrangement.
    There are no sociological needs to justify gay marriage, either, but looky what we're doing about that!

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