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The term polygamy (literally many marriages in late Greek) is used in related ways in social anthropology and sociobiology and sociology. A good definition of "polygamy" is: having many wives or many husbands.

In social anthropology, polygamy is the practice of marriage to more than one spouse simultaneously. Historically, polygamy has been practiced as polygyny (one man having more than one wife), or as polyandry (one woman having more than one husband), or, less commonly as "polygamy" (having many wives and many husbands at one time). (See "Forms of Polygamy" below.) In contrast monogamy is the practice each person having only one spouse at a time. Like monogamy, the term is often used in a de facto sense, applying regardless of whether the relationships are recognized by the state (see marriage for a discussion on the extent to which states can and do recognize potentially and actually polygamous forms as valid).

In sociobiology, polygamy is used in a broad sense to mean any form of multiple mating. In a narrower sense, used by zoologists, polygamy includes a pair bond, perhaps temporary.


[edit] Forms of polygamy

Polygamy exists in three specific forms, including polygyny (one man having multiple wives), polyandry (one woman having multiple husbands), or group marriage (some combination of polygyny and polyandry). Historically, all three practices have been found, but polygyny is by far the most common.

[edit] Polygyny

Polygyny is described as when a man is either married to or involved in sexual relationship with a number of different females at one time. This is the most common form of polygamy. Polygyny is practiced in a traditional sense in many African cultures and countries even today, including South Africa and most of Southern and Central Africa. [citation needed]

[edit] Polyandry

Polyandry is a mating practice where a woman has more than one male sexual partner simultaneously. Polyandry was traditionally practiced among nomadic Tibetans including Nepal and parts of China, where it meant that two or more brothers share the same wife. <ref>The Center for Research on Tibet Papers on Tibetan Marriage and Polyandry. Accessed: October 1, 2006</ref> It was widespread not just among the poor families, but also within the elite. <ref>Goldstein, Pahari and Tibetan Polyandry Revisited, Ethnology. 17(3): 325-327, 1978, from The Center for Research on Tibet. Accessed: October 1, 2006</ref>

[edit] Group marriage

Group marriage, or circle marriage, may exist in a number of forms, such as where more than one man and more than one woman form a single family unit, and all members of the marriage share parental responsibility for any children arising from the marriage. Another possible arrangement not thought to exist in reality, although occurring in science fiction (notably in Robert Heinlein's The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress), is the long-lived line marriage, in which deceased or departing spouses in the group are continually replaced by others, so that family property never becomes dispersed through inheritance.

Strictly speaking, cohabitation involving three or more sexually-involved people does not count as polygamy unless the participants at least claim to be married.

[edit] Bigamy

Bigamy is when one individual is married to two people at the same time; a person doubly married is a bigamist. Many countries have specific statutes outlawing bigamy, making any secondary marriage a crime.

Note that these laws aren't limited to cases of traditional polygamy, where the spouses know about each other. They also cover cases such as a man who breaks up with his wife, and without divorcing her, marries another woman. It even covers the occasional case of a man who sets up a second family with a second wife, keeping his dual marriage a secret from one or both of them. In both of these cases, the effect of these laws is to protect people from being married under false pretenses. One example of such a case might be convicted New Zealand nineteenth century bigamist Arthur Worthington.

[edit] Trigamy

In 17th to 19th century England, Trigamy referred to someone who had three spouses at the same time.

The term is typically used for comic reference as is alluded to in the Edward Lear limerick poem:

There was an old fellow of Lyme
Who lived with three wives at one time.
When asked, 'Why the third?'
He replied, 'One’s absurd,
And bigamy, sir, is a crime.'

From the modern legal perspective, this is just seen as two counts of bigamy.

[edit] Polyamory

Main article: Polyamory.

The term polyamory refers to romantic or sexual relationships involving multiple partners at once, regardless of whether they involve marriage. Any polygamous relationship is polyamorous, and some polyamorous relationships involve multiple spouses. "Polygamy" is usually used to refer to multiple marriage, while "polyamory" implies a relationship defined by negotiation between its members rather than cultural norms.

[edit] Serial monogamy

Main article: Serial monogamy

The phrase serial monogamy has been used to describe the lifestyle of persons who have repeatedly married and divorced multiple partners.

[edit] Other forms of nonmonogamy

Main article: Forms of nonmonogamy.

Other forms of nonmonogamous relationships are discussed at Forms of nonmonogamy.

[edit] Polygamy worldwide

Image:Polygamy world map.png
Countries where polygamy is accepted (green)

According to the Ethnographic Atlas Codebook derived from George P. Murdock’s Ethnographic Atlas recorded the marital composition of 1231 societies, from 1960-1980. Of these societies, 186 societies were monogamous. 453 had occasional polygyny, 588 had more frequent polygyny, and 4 had polyandry.

[edit] Patterns of occurrence

At the same time, even within societies which allow polygyny, the actual practice of polygyny occurs only rarely. To take on more than one wife often requires considerable resources: this may put polygamy beyond the means of the vast majority of people within those societies. Such appears the case in many traditional Islamic societies, and in Imperial China.

Within polygynous societies, multiple wives often become a status symbol denoting wealth and power. Similarly, within societies which formally prohibit polygamy, social opinion may look favorably on persons maintaining mistresses or engaging in serial monogamy.

Some observers detect a social preference for polygyny in disease-prone (especially tropical) climates, and speculate that (from a potential mother's viewpoint) perceived quality of paternal genes may favour the practice there[citation needed]. The countervailing situation allegedly prevails in harsher climates, where (once again from a potential mother's viewpoint) reliable paternal care as exhibited in monogamous pair-bonding outweighs the importance of paternal genes[citation needed].

[edit] Polygamy in Chinese culture

Since the Han Dynasty, technically, Chinese men could have only one wife. However throughout the thousands of years of Chinese history, it was common for rich Chinese men to have a wife and various concubines. Polygyny is a by-product of the tradition of emphasis on procreation and the continuity of the father's family name. [1] Before the establishment of the People's Republic of China, it was lawful to have a wife and multiple concubines within Chinese marriage. Emperors, government officials and rich merchants had up to hundreds of concubines after marrying their first wives. [2]

In Confucianism, the ability of a man to manage a family, which usually meant more than one wife and set of children, was emphasised as part of the steps of learning for personal growth in Daxue (Great Learning) [3].
Quoting Professor Xu who explained the Confucianism (大學之道)Quoting 徐醒民教授《儒學簡說》: 格物、致知、誠意、正心、修身、齊家、治國、平天下 which Zhu Xi had summarized from the book of Great Learning(Daxue). The 8 learning steps & use
Text quote in Chinese with pronunciation Original text Daxue I. 4 & 5

The Chinese culture of Confucianism and thus the practice of polygyny spread from China to the areas that are now Korea and Japan. Before the establishment of the modern democratic mode, Eastern countries permitted a similar practice of polygyny. [4]

[edit] Situation in Greater China Region

After the fall of Imperial China, polygamy was banned. However, it is not unusual for a married man to take a mistress, who later becomes his next wife[citation needed].

In Mongolia, there has been discussion about legalising polygamy to reduce the imbalance of the male and female population. [5]

In Hong Kong, polygamy was banned in October 1971. [6][7] [8] However, it is still practised in Hong Kong and Macau. One example of this is Stanley Ho. Another is Lim Por Yen [9]. Some Hong Kong businessmen have concubines across the border in mainland China.<ref name="lang-smart">Template:Cite journal</ref>

Man-Lun Ng, M.D.of Humboldt University of Berlin reported the situation in Hong Kong: it was estimated that out of the approximately two million married couples in Hong Kong, about three hundred thousand husbands had mistresses in China (1996). In 1995, 40% of extramarital affairs involved an enduring long-term relationship with a stable partner. [10]
International Herald Tribune Kevin Murphy had reported the cross-border polygyny phenomenon in Hong Kong in 1995. [11]

The traditional attitude toward mistresses is reflected in the saying: "wife is not as good as concubine, concubine is not as good as prostitute, prostitute is not as good as secret affair..." (妻不如妾, 妾不如妓, 妓不如偷, 偷不如偷不到)[12]

The number of women becoming the secret second wife is ever increasing in Greater China region. The terms 二奶(er nai/ yi nai) & 包二奶(er nai cun / yi nai tsuen) refer to the second woman and the act of having the second woman respectively.[13] Mansions and villages are now nicknamed 二奶村(village of second woman) when a number of secret second wives live. [14]

[edit] Polygamy and religion

[edit] Hinduism

Both polygamy and polyandry were practiced in ancient times among certain sections of Hindu society. Hinduism during the vedic period seems to have neither prohibited polygamy, nor encouraged it. Historically, Kings occasionally took concubines. For example, the Vijaynagara emperor, Krishnadevaraya had multiple "wives". Under Hindu Marriage Law, as understood by the constitution of India, polygamy is forbidden for Hindu, Jains, and Sikhs. However, Muslims in India are allowed to have multiple wives. As of October, 2006, marriage laws in India are dependent upon the religion of the subject in question.[15] There have been efforts to propose a uniform marital law that would treat all Indians the same, irrespective of religion, but this has not occurred as of yet.

Note: Manu Samhita (Manu Smriti), also referred to as the Laws of Manu, or the Law Book of Mankind, is the ancient Vedic scripture upon which later Hindu laws (under the British rule) were formulated. It is clearly outlined in the Laws of Manu that all classes, including the Brahmin class, were allowed to take more than one wife. In delineating the laws of both inter-class mariages and inheritance laws Manu first specifies the laws as pertaining to the Brahmin class. A Brahmin's first wife is to come from a Brahmin family, yet his second wife can be from either Brahmin family or Ksatriya. His third wife can be from either Brahmin, Ksatriya or Vaishya. His fourth wife can be from any class, including that of Sudra. Although some speculate that the Brahmin class were never allowed more than one wife, this is not at all supported in the Manu Samhita or in various Vedic scriptures where there are stories of many Brahmin sages who are said to have more than one wife.

Also, 500 years ago in India was the advent of Caitanya Mahaprabhu (also known as the Golden Avatar and Lord Chaitanya). Together with Nityananda Prabhu, he inaugurated the Sankirtan Movement, (the congregational chanting of the Hare Krishna mantra) throughout India. ISKCON (the International Society for Krishna Consciousness) originates from the teachings of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

Lord Chaitanya gave higher knowledge as follows: "When He (Lord Chaitanya) met Sri Ramananda Raya on the banks of the Godavari, the varnashrama-dharma followed by Hindus was mentioned by the Lord. Sri Ramananda Raya said that by following the principles of varnashrama-dharma and four orders of human life, everyone could realize transcendence. In the opinion of the Lord, the system of varnashrama-dharma is superficial only and it has very little to do with the highest realization of spiritual values." Srimad Bhagavatam, Introduction.

"This modern caste system is now condemned in India also, and it should be condemned for the classification of different types of men according to birth is not the Vedic or Divine caste system." Srimad Bhagavatam, 3.6.13

In more recent history, the Founder-Acharya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, who, in the 1970's was popularily known as the religious ambassador from India, considered polygamy for the purpose of protecting women via proper religious marriage. His expectation, which he made clear, was for all his disciples to rise to the platform of pure devotee. When this did not happen, he revoked such an idea; also for the protection of women, that they would not be exploited in the name of God or Veda by unqualified men.

While he had thought that not all men were fit for married life (brahmacarya), and all women must be married for their religious and social protection, he also stated the majority of men will marry anyway, and unmarried woman could move into a brahmacarini ashrama and live like a nun if they desire. Add the numbers of woman who joined as less than those of men, the need for polygamy in this age called Kali Yuga, obviously diminished from that of previous ages.

There are countless quotes and letters from Prabhupada against Polygamy. In 1976 he stated: "Tapasya begins with brahmacarya, life of celibacy, or accepting one wife only. That's all."

Prabhupada gave his final instruction shortly before he left this world in 1977: "Eka-patni-vrata, accepting only one wife, was the glorious example set by Lord Ramacandra. One should not accept more than one wife." Srimad Bhagavatam, 9th canto, ch 10, verse 54. For this current age Prabhupada instructed: "So if you try to follow the Manu-samhita then you will become a mleccha and yauvana and your career is finished." SPL May 19, 1977

Additionally: "Manu Samhita is not a religion. It is moral principles for conducting society. Religion is how to become devotee of Krishna. That is religion." (April 20, 1974 Hyderabad)

Prabhupada clarifies his teachings are not Hinduism: "No. Hinduism practically we do not recognize because this word 'Hinduism' is not mentioned in any Vedic literature. It is a foreign term. The Muhammadans, they called the inhabitants of India as 'Hindus.' From that word, it is has come to 'Hinduism.' Otherwise, we don't find that word in any Vedic literature. 'Hinduism' is a foreign term, it is not a Vedic term." Prabhupada Interview w/L.A. Times Reporter, Dec 26, 68, Ca.

[edit] Judaism

Scriptural evidence indicates that polygamy, though not extremely common, was not particularly unusual among the ancient Hebrews, and certainly not prohibited or discouraged. The Hebrew scriptures tell of approximately 40 polygamists, including prominent figures such as Abraham, Moses, Jacob, Esau, and David, with little or no further remark on their polygamy as such.[16] The Torah (the first 5 books of what Christians call the Old Testament) includes a few specific regulations on the practice of polygamy, such as Exodus 21:10, which states that multiple marriages are not to diminish the status of the first wife; Deuteronomy 21:15-17, which states that a man must award the inheritance due to a first-born son to the son who was actually born first, even if he hates that son's mother and likes another wife more;[17] and Deuteronomy 17:17, which states that the king shall not have too many wives.[18]

The Kohen Gadol (high priest) was permitted to take only one wife.[citation needed] One source of polygamy was the practice of levirate marriage, wherein a man was required to marry and support his deceased brother's widow.

In the modern day, rabbinic Judaism has outlawed polygamy. Ashkenazi Jews have followed Rabbenu Gershom's ban since the 11th century. Some Sephardi and Mizrahi Jews (particularly those from Yemen and Iran, where polygamy is a social norm) discontinued polygamy much more recently, and the State of Israel had to make provisions for polygamous families immigrating after its 1948 creation, though new polygamous marriages are forbidden in Israel.

[edit] Buddhism

Marriage is considered a secular issue in Buddhism. As such, the religion is silent on issues of polygamy and monogamy. However, the third percept aimed at lay followers of basic Theravada buddhist philosophy, suggests refraining from extra-marital affairs which would harm the existing relationship between two, in some forms of interpretations. In Tibetan Buddhism, namely Tibetan Vajrayana Buddhism, it is not uncommon to take a consort in addition to a spouse, though it is namely for certain spiritual practices that the spouse may not be able/ready to participate in--or if the husband/wife are at different levels on their spiritual path. A consort is appropriate in such cases. Within this context, either the husband or wife, occasionally both, might take a spiritual consort. This is known as Consort Practice, and there are specific teachings and medidations that go along with it. Consort Practice is often very private, however, and not openly discussed outside of followers of Tibetan Vajrayana--which tends to be a very private form of Buddhism to begin with--hence it is not very well known. (Husbands and wives also engage in Consort Practice together, monogomously.)

[edit] Christianity

Saint Augustine saw a conflict with Old Testament polygamy, and wrote about it in The Good of Marriage (chapter 15, paragraph 17), where he stated that though it "was lawful among the ancient fathers: whether it be lawful now also, I would not hastily pronounce. For there is not now necessity of begetting children, as there then was, when, even when wives bear children, it was allowed, in order to a more numerous posterity, to marry other wives in addition, which now is certainly not lawful." He declined to judge the patriarchs, but did not deduce from their practice the ongoing acceptability of polygamy. In another place, he wrote, "Now indeed in our time, and in keeping with Roman custom, it is no longer allowed to take another wife, so as to have more than one wife living [emphasis added]."

Periodically, Christian reform movements that have aimed at rebuilding Christian doctrine based on the Bible alone (sola scriptura) have at least temporarily accepted polygamy as a Biblical practice. For example, during the Protestant Reformation, in a document referred to simply as "Der Beichtrat" ( or "The Confessional Advice" ), <ref>Letter to Philip of Hesse, Dec. 10, 1539, De Wette-Seidemann, 6:238-244[19]</ref> Martin Luther granted the Landgrave Philip of Hesse, who, for many years, had been living "constantly in a state of adultery and fornication,"<ref>The Life of Luther Written by Himself, p.251 [20]</ref> a dispensation to take a second wife. The double marriage was to be done in secret however, to avoid public scandal.<ref>James Bowling Mozley Essays, Historical and Theological. 1:403-404 Excerpts from Der Beichtrat.[21]</ref> . Some fifteen years earlier, in a letter to the Saxon Chancellor Gregor Brück, Luther stated that he could not "forbid a person to marry several wives, for it does not contradict Scripture." "Ego sane fateor, me non posse prohibere, si quis plures velit uxores ducere, nec repugnat sacris literis." <ref>Letter to the Chancellor Gregor Brück,[22] Jan. 13, 1524, De Wette 2:459. [23]</ref> The radical Anabaptists of Münster also practiced polygamy, but they had little influence after the defeat of the Münster Rebellion in 1535. Other Protestant leaders including John Calvin condemned polygamy, and sanctioned polygamy did not survive long within Protestantism. Modern Protestants including Reformed Baptists believe all forms of polygamy are condemned by the Bible in verses such as 1 Timothy 3:2.

"On February 14, 1650, the parliament at Nürnberg decreed that because so many men were killed during the Thirty Years’ War, the churches for the following ten years could not admit any man under the age of 60 into a monastery. Priests and ministers not bound by any monastery were allowed to marry. Lastly, the decree stated that every man was allowed to marry up to ten women. The men were admonished to behave honorably, provide for their wives properly, and prevent animosity among them." Larry O. Jensen, A Genealogical Handbook of German Research (Rev. Ed., 1980) p. 59 [24].

The modern trend towards frequent divorce and remarriage is sometimes referred to by conservative Christians as 'serial polygamy'. In contrast, sociologists and anthropologists refer to this as 'serial monogamy', since it is a series of monogamous (e.g. not polygamous) relationships. <ref name= "Helen Fisher ">Fisher, Helen. The First Sex. Ballantine Books, 271-72, 276. ISBN 0-449-91260-4.</ref>. [25]

[edit] Mormonism

See main articles: Plural marriage, Polygamous Mormon fundamentalists.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the largest Mormon denomination, expressly forbids polygamy and excommunicates members found to be practicing polygamy.<ref>“Mormon Fundamentalists”. Newsroom - The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints</ref> Early in its history, however, the Church practiced polygamy in the United States and referred to it as "plural marriage". As early as 1831, Joseph Smith Jr., the founder of the Church, stated he had received a revelation on Celestial marriage as practiced by Abraham, David and Moses, although it was not recorded until 1843 and remained a secret practice until 1852.

The public revelation of the Church's practice of polygamy led to persecution. Many novelists began to write books and pamphlets condemning polygamy, portraying it as a legalized form of slavery. The outcry against polygamy eventually led to the federal government's involvement and the enacting of anti-polygamy laws. The U.S. Congress made the practice illegal in U.S. Territories in 1862 through the Morrill Anti-Bigamy Act. Many members of the Church were sent to Canada and Mexico to set up communities free from prosecution; for example, Cyril Ogston founded Seven Persons, Alberta.

Although Latter-day Saints believed that their religiously-based practice of plural marriage was protected by the United States Constitution, the U.S. Supreme Court had already specifically held in 1878 that LDS polygamy was not protected by the Constitution, in the case of Reynolds v. U.S., 98 U.S. 145 (1878), under the longstanding legal principle that "Laws are made for the government of actions, and while they cannot interfere with mere religious belief and opinions, they may with practices." (Id. at 166.) [26] Opponents used polygamy to delay Utah statehood until 1896. Increasingly harsh anti-polygamy legislation penalized Church members, disincorporated the Church, and permitted the seizure of Church property until the Church ordered the discontinuance of the practice in 1890.

National attention in the United States again focused on potential polygamy among the Church in the early 20th century during the House hearings on Representative-elect B. H. Roberts and Senate hearings on Senator-elect Reed Smoot (the Smoot Hearings). This caused Church president Joseph F. Smith to issue his Second Manifesto against polygamy in 1904. This manifesto clarified that all members of the LDS Church were prohibited from performing or entering into polygamous marriages, no matter what the legal status of such unions was in their respective countries of residence. Despite this, it is documented [citation needed] that many Mormon leaders continued to secretly practice post-manifesto polygamy for many years, because the ban on new plural marriage did not nullify existing marriages. Eventually, those involved in such marriages died, but some Latter-day Saints today can remember grandparents and even parents who had married more than one wife during the period prior to the Manifesto.

Since that time, it has been Church policy to excommunicate any member either practicing or openly advocating the practice of polygamy. It was considered a divine revelation from God through the prophet and president of the church Joseph F. Smith.

Although most Mormons accepted the ban on plural marriage, various splinter groups left the Church to continue the practice of polygamy. Polygamy among these groups persists today in Utah, neighboring states, and the spin-off colonies, as well as among isolated individuals with no organized church affiliation. Polygamist churches of Mormon origin are called Mormon fundamentalist. The Salt Lake Tribune states there are as many as 37,000 Mormon fundamentalists, with less than half of them living in polygamous households [27]. Most of the polygamy is believed to be restricted to about a dozen extended groups of polygamous Mormon fundamentalists.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe that it is improper to call any of these splinter polygamous groups "Mormon." The Associated Press style guide for journalists states: "The term Mormon is not properly applied to the other ... churches that resulted from the split...".[28]

The practice of informal polygamy among these groups presents itself with interesting legal issues. It has been considered difficult to prosecute polygamists partly because they are not formally married under state laws. Without evidence that suspected offenders have multiple formal or common-law marriages, these groups are merely subject to the laws against adultery or unlawful cohabitation. These laws are not commonly enforced because they also criminalize other behavior that is otherwise socially sanctioned.

However, some "Fundamentalist" polygamists marry women prior to the age of consent or commit fraud to obtain welfare and other public assistance. In 2005, the state attorneys-general of Utah and Arizona issued a primer on helping victims of domestic violence and child abuse in polygamous communities. Enforcement of other crimes such as child abuse, domestic violence, and fraud were emphasized over the enforcement of anti-polygamy laws.

[edit] Islam

In Islam a man is allowed to be married to four women at one time, given that he can support them equally. Muslim polygamy, in practice and law, differs greatly throughout the Islamic world. In many Muslim countries, particularly across Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia, polygamy is relatively common, while in others, it is often rare or non-existent[citation needed] . Tunisia is the only Arab country where polygamy is not allowed.

Some conclude that polygamy is only sanctioned in exceptional circumstances - e.g. when there is a shortage of male adults after a war - and that monogamy is generally preferable. Others believe polygamy is desirable[citation needed] , provided a man can afford to support multiple wives, as it follows the example of the prophet Muhammed[citation needed] .

At this moment Islamic polygamy is mostly found with the traditional part of society. Many people whose parents have brought them up in a modern (not particularly secular or western)way of life don't believe in polygamy.

In Islamic world, the polygamous marriages constitute only 1–3 % of all marriages.<ref name="enc">The New Encyclopedia of Islam(2002), AltaMira Press. ISBN 0-7591-0189-2 . p.477 </ref>

Jared Diamond described Ismail Ibn Sharif of Morocco as an extreme example polygyny. <ref>Jared Diamond, Why Sex is Fun, ISBN 0-465-03126-9 </ref>

[edit] Legal situation

Secular law in most western countries with large Jewish and Christian populations does not recognize polygamous marriages. However, few such countries have any laws against living a polygamous lifestyle: they simply refuse to give it any official recognition. Parts of the United States, however, criminalize even the polygamous lifestyle; these laws originated as anti-Mormon legislation, although they are rarely enforced. Polygamists may find it harder to obtain legal immigrant status.

[edit] Multiple divorce and marriage for polygamy

Some polygamous families use a system of multiple divorce and legal marriage as a loophole in order to avoid committing a criminal act. In such cases the husband marries the first wife, she takes his last name, he divorces her and then marries the next wife, who takes his name. This is repeated until he has married and divorced all his wives, except possibly the last one. This way the wives feel justified in calling themselves Mrs. [husband's last name] and, while legally they're divorced from the husband, they still act as if married to him and expect those around them to acknowledge and respect this.

Since only one wife is married to the husband at any one time, no law is being broken and so this type of polygamous family unit can be overt about their relationship.

The conviction of Thomas Arthur Green in 2001 may have made the legal status of such relationships more precarious in Utah, although Green's bigamy convictions were made possible only by his own public statements.

[edit] Recent polygamy cases

In 2001, the state of Utah in the United States convicted Thomas Green of criminal non-support and four counts of bigamy for having 5 serially monogamous marriages, while living with previous legally divorced wives. His cohabitation was considered evidence of a common-law marriage to the wives he had divorced while still living with them. That premise was subsequently affirmed by the Utah Supreme Court in State v. Green, as applicable only in the State of Utah. Green was also convicted of child rape and criminal non-support.

In 2005, the state attorneys-general of Utah and Arizona issued a primer on helping victims of domestic violence and child abuse in polygamous communities. These states are emphasizing enforcement of crimes of child abuse, domestic violence, and fraud over the enforcement of the crime of bigamy. The priorities of local prosecutors are not covered by this statement.

Edith Barlow, a mother of five in the polygamous community of Bountiful, B.C., was denied permanent residence and has been asked to leave the country after ten years in Canada.

Salt Lake Tribune article about Edith Barlow

[edit] Current proponents and opponents

David Friedman and Steve Sailer have argued that polygamy tends to benefit most women and disadvantage most men. Friedman uses this viewpoint to argue in favor of legalizing polygamy, while Sailer uses it to argue against legalizing it. The idea is firstly that many women would prefer half or one third of someone especially appealing to being the single spouse of someone that doesn't provide as much economic utility to them. Secondly, that the remaining women have a better market for finding a spouse themselves. Say that 20% of women are married to 10% of men, that leaves 90% of men to compete over the remaining 80% of women.

The Libertarian Party supports complete decriminalization of polygamy as part of a general belief that the government should not regulate marriages.

Individualist feminism and advocates such as Wendy McElroy also support the freedom for adults to voluntarily enter polygamous marriages.

The illegality of polygamy in certain areas creates, according to certain Bible passages, additional arguments against it. Paul of Tarsus writes "submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience" (Romans 13:5), for "the authorities that exist have been established by God." (Romans 13:1) St Peter concurs when he says to "submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right." (1 Peter 2:13,14) Pro-polygamists argue that, as long as polygamists currently do not obtain legal marriage licenses for additional spouses, no enforced laws are being broken any more than when monogamous couples who similarly co-habitate without a marriage license. The "Law of the Land" page at BiblicalPolygamy.com provides and addresses more details on that specific issue.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints supports enforcing laws against polygamy. The church will excommunicate any member found to be practicing polygamy.

The Roman Catholic Church clearly condemns polygamy; the Catechism of the Catholic Church lists it in paragraph 2387 under the head "Other offenses against the dignity of marriage" and states that it "is not in accord with the moral law." Also in paragraph 1645 under the head "The Goods and Requirements of Conjugal Love" states "The unity of marriage, distinctly recognized by our Lord, is made clear in the equal personal dignity which must be accorded to man and wife in mutual and unreserved affection. Polygamy is contrary to conjugal love which is undivided and exclusive."

On January 13, 1524, Luther had written to Chancellor Gregor Brück (1483-1557) [29], saying that he could not "forbid a person to marry several wives, for it does not contradict Scripture." "Ego sane fateor, me non posse prohibere, si quis plures velit uxores ducere, nec repugnat sacris literis." (De Wette, vol. 2, p.459. # DLXXII - 572. Latin text). Polygamy was practiced in Christianity well into the 17th century, namely in Nürnberg. Currently the vast majority of Protestant congregations take the Catholic view on Polygamy.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Utah is opposed to Utah's law against bigamy.

Those who advocate a Federal Marriage Amendment to prohibit same-sex marriage generally word their proposed laws to also prohibit polygamy.

Robert A. Heinlein was a science fiction writer who discussed polygyny, polyandry, group marriage, and line marriage in his works.

Controversial Christian vegetarian activist and leader Nathan Braun implies a positive stance towards polygamy in his fourth edition of The History and Philosophy of Marriage ("A Christian Polygamy Sourcebook" originally published, anonymously, by James Campbell in 1869).

[edit] Polygamy today

Those who live in their own communities tend to find their additional spouses from within their own communities or networks of like communities. In many cases, this involves daughters of polygamous families entering into arranged marriages with much older men who already have a number of wives. In some cases, a man marries a woman who has children from a previous marriage, then marries the children.

Marriage age is often young and sometimes below the legal minimum. It is also not uncommon for fairly close relatives to marry, leading to inbreeding if not incest, though part of this comes from the difficulty of keeping track of the complex net of familial relations. As there will always be an excess of male children, a significant percentage of young men are compelled to leave their home towns, and sometimes become homeless. This is only within specific religious communities.

Those who are geographically separated from other polygamists in their culture use other means to find additional spouses. Some polygamists use the Internet. Some join together with a friend.

Many polygamist families exist today that consist of only consenting adults. These families are egalatarian in nature. Many of these families live within the US also. In these families, women as well as the men hold careers and attend school.

[edit] In Mormon fundamentalism

Some Mormon sects that practice or at least sanction polygamy are the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the Apostolic United Brethren and the Strangites [30]. These sects tend to aggregate in communities where they all commonly share their own specific religion and thus basis for polygamy. These small groups ranging from a few hundred to about 10,000 are reported to be located in various communities of the Western United States, Canada, and Mexico including:

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[edit] Muslims & traditionalist cultures

Polygamy, and laws concerning polygamy, differ greatly throughout the Islamic world and form a very complex and diverse background from nation to nation. Whereas in some Muslim countries it may be fairly common, in most others it is often rare or non-existent. However, there are certain core fundamentals which are found in most Muslim countries where the practice occurs. According to traditional Islamic law, a man may take up to four wives, and each of those wives must have her own property, assets, and dowry. Usually the wives have little to no contact with each other and lead separate, individual lives in their own houses, and sometimes in different cities, though they all share the same husband. Thus, polygamy is traditionally restricted to men who can manage things, and in some countries it is illegal for a man to marry multiple wives if he is unable to afford to take care of each of them properly.

In the modern Islamic world, polygamy is mainly found in traditionalist Arab cultures, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates for instance, whereas in secular Arab states like Lebanon and non-Arab Muslim countries, Turkey for example, it is banned or rare, respectively. However, polygamy is still practiced in Malaysia, a non-Arab Muslim country, but there're restrictions as to how it can be practiced<ref>Women's Aid Organisation: Know Your Rights, Polygamy</ref>. In traditionalist cultures where polygamy is still commonplace and legal, Muslim polygamists do not separate themselves from the society at large, since there would be no need as each spouse leads a separate life from the others.

[edit] On the Internet - polygamy personals

When it comes to seeking polygamous family situations via the internet, the options are very limited.

For polyandrists, there are no web-sites dedicated to providing ads for single men seeking polyandry or even for polyandrous families seeking such single men. The only online opportunities for such ads would likely be found on polyamory sites such as PolyMatchMaker.com.

However, the very different kinds of relationship-seekers who would advertise on such polyamory sites involve additional issues with which most polygynists would never be interested in nor comfortable with being associated. Mormon, Muslim, and Christian polygamorists are all exclusively polygyny-based, and all typically do not involve bisexual issues. Even most secular polygamorists tend to be polygynists too, although bisexuality is accepted.

A handful of polygamy web-sites have attempted to offer such "polygamy personals" for polygynists. But such sites accomplish very little because they always lack the most sought-after individuals: single women who are actually and currently interested in marrying polygynously.

[edit] Polygamy in fiction

A popular joke with Mark Twain has Twain asked to cite a Scripture reference that forbids polygamy, and he responds with, "No man can serve two masters."

A number of writers have expressed their views on polygamy by writing about a fictional world in which it is the most common type of relationship. These worlds tend to be utopian or dystopian in nature. For instance, Robert A. Heinlein uses this theme in a number of novels, such as Stranger in a Strange Land.

Polygamy is practiced by the Fremen in Frank Herbert's Dune as a means to pinpoint male infertility. It is socially accepted as long as the man provides for all wives equally. Cultures described within the Dune novel series have intentional similarities to Islamic, Arabic, and other cultures.

Similarly, the Aiel society in Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series practice a form of polygamy, in which multiple women may marry the same man; in that fictional culture, women are the ones who propose marriage. Among Aiel, sisters or very close friends who have adopted each other as sisters, will often marry the same man, so that he will not come between them.

Dan Simmons describes a culture of three-person marriages (any gender ratio) in his book Endymion.

Noted libertarian author L. Neil Smith included a character married to two sisters in his book The American Zone. The dominant culture in the novel sees one's religion and personal living accommodations as no one else's business, and "acts of capitalism between consenting adults" as the norm instead of something immoral.

A Home at the End of the World is a novel and film about a polyandrous family. It explores issues of homosexuality and families.

In the Sci-Fi Star Trek television series Enterprise, the ship's physician, Dr. Phlox (who is a Denobulan) has three wives, and each of his three wives have three husbands (including Dr. Phlox) of their own. One of Phlox's wives seemed to be interested in having extramarital relations with a Human, which Phlox himself did not oppose, and even encouraged. It has also been established on multiple occasions that the Andorian species enter into group marriages.

In the Sci-Fi television series Babylon 5 the Centauris allow for men to have more than one wife.

In Star Wars Expanded Universe, it is explained that Cereans (like Ki-Adi-Mundi) have a much higher birth-rate of girls than boys. Thus, every male Cerean must have one wife and multiple "honor wives", to increase the chance of giving birth to another male. Jedi Cerean Ki-Adi-Mundi was allowed to marry multiple times, although Jedis were not supposed to marry at his time; but Ki-Adi-Mundi got a dispense of that norm.

Big Love is an HBO series about a polygamous family in Utah in the first decade of the 21st century. In the series, Bill Henrickson has three wives and seven children, who belong to a fundamentalist Mormon splinter group. Big Love explores the complex legal, moral, and religious issues associated with polygamy in Utah. Henrickson's three wives each have separate houses beside one another, with a shared backyard. By outward appearances, he lives with his primary wife, and has two "friends" living close by, while in reality taking turns sleeping at a different house each night. Henrickson effectively balances his work, the continuing demands of his wives, and his wives' relatives.

In the Chakat universe, Chakats often take multiple mates, Also, the chakat universe's Foxtaur population has a sexual diffence ratio of 3 females to every male foxtaur; It is not uncommon for males to have more than one mate, althrough the need for Polygamy is lessened because of the somewhat high level of Homosexual Female Foxtaurs and the Obligation (see Tales of the Foxtaur Clans #5) of male foxtaurs.

Duke of the Mount Deer /The Deer and the Cauldron by Hong Kong famous writer Louis Cha (Jin Yung): he assigned 7 willing wives of different characters for the very capable leading role Wai-Siu-Bo (Wei-Shao-Bao).
The politics, office-politics, romance & kung-fu survival story was based in early Ching(Qing) Dynasty (of Kangxi reign 1654--1722).
The saga has been made into films & TV series several times since 1960s.
Famous idol actors like Tony Leung(Leung Chiu Wai), Steven Chow(Chow Sing Chi) & Dicky Cheung(Cheung-Wai-Kin) have played the role acquiring 7 wives along his various adventures.

Random House will publish award-winning author David Ebershoff's next novel The 19th Wife in 2008. It is about Ann Eliza Young and the legacy of Mormon polygamy in the United States today. Ebershoff is the author of the international bestseller The Danish Girl.

[edit] See also

[edit] References

<references />

[edit] Bibliography

[edit] External links

[edit] General

[edit] Christian polygamy



[edit] Mormon polygamy



  • MormonPolygamy.com - Group of Fundamentalist Mormon women in Utah, called "Principle Voices of Polygamy", who advocate consensual, adult Mormon polygamy.


[edit] Jewish polygamy

[edit] Greater China Region

bg:Полигамия da:Polygami de:Polygamie et:Polügaamia es:Poligamia eo:Poligamio fr:Polygamie hr:Poligamija it:Poligamia he:פוליגמיה nl:Polygamie ja:一夫多妻制 no:Polygami pl:Poligamia pt:Poligamia ru:Полигамия sk:Mnohoženstvo fi:Polygamia sv:Polygami ur:تعدد ازدواج zh:一夫多妻制


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