I’m going to pick a fight with Jonathan Rauch. In a recent article on Politico, “No, Polygamy Isn’t the Next Gay Marriage” ( http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/06/polygamy-not-next-gay-marriage-119614.html#.Vb1CyNUViko ), he states the following:
“... gay marriage and polygamy are opposites, not equivalents. By allowing high-status men to hoard wives at the expense of lower-status men, polygamy withdraws the opportunity to marry from people who now have it; same-sex marriage, by contrast, extends the opportunity to marry to people who now lack it. One of these things, as they say on Sesame Street, is not like the other.”
True, one of these things isn’t like the other. First, Polygamy is defined as “the practice or custom of having more than one wife or husband at the same time.” It can be a mixed family. Three wives and two husbands, four husbands and two wives, or a woman with three husbands.
Rauch is as bigoted in his thinking as the conservatives that opposed gay marriage believing that it would cause people to marry dogs, or that it would encourage sodomy to be taught in schools.
Second, Rauch assumes that it allows one man to “hoard wives”. What kind of reckless bullshit is he spouting here? Under the definition of polygamy, every single one of those wives are free to marry as many husbands as they wish.
Plural marriage doesn’t mean triad or quad. John can be married to Cindy and Beth. But Cindy and Beth may or may not be married to one another. Cindy might have another husband named Charles. Beth may have another wife named Diana.
The idea of plural marriage is that you are free to enter a marriage contract without an exclusivity clause. That’s it, period. The exclusivity clause is removed. Just as you can enter 3 business contracts and own two cars, you can enter into as many marriage contracts as you feel comfortable with.
Listen, Rauch. I don’t need to hoard wives, I "hoard" boyfriends and girlfriends. I don’t need a contract to do that. But I also can’t prevent them from dating others, nor would I dream of it. There is no "hoarding".
It is the exclusivity clause that allows marriage to cause any type of hoarding. And that’s bullshit, too. I’ve dated many many married women in open marriages.
We fuck, we sleep over, we date, we share birthdays and anniversaries. We split the bill and share some bills (phone plans, for instance). We do everything a married couple would do, without being married. And being married is about rights. If a married woman is dating me for 10 years, I can’t go visit her in the hospital against the wishes of her doctor.
Sound familiar? These are the SAME ISSUES with gay marriage. Rights!
And if she’s a consenting adult, and wishes to have me as a husband as well, well… who the fuck are you to deny her that right to choose who has what status in her life?
I really beg the question, who are YOU to define MY relationships? Hypocrite much?
Here’s your fault in logic, as I’ll assume you are smart enough to get this. You say:
“Here's the problem with it: when a high-status man takes two wives (and one man taking many wives, or polygyny, is almost invariably the real-world pattern), a lower-status man gets no wife. If the high-status man takes three wives, two lower-status men get no wives. And so on. This competitive, zero-sum dynamic… “
Ok, stop right there. That’s your problem! It’s NOT a zero sum game! Polyamory is working just fine and dandy! We don’t operate on a zero-sum mentality, or what the authors of The Ethical Slut call, a starvation economy. In a starvation economy, resources are limited.
In the real world (because you want reality, not people marrying their pets bullshit), the “high-status” man, whoever the fuck that is, gets three wives. And the “low-status man” He marries a couple of the same wives too, and maybe his boyfriend as well.
Repeat after me. NOT ZERO-SUM. NOT ZERO-SUM!
How do I know? Because I have multiple relationships with people who have other multiple relationships. Reality is that it’s already the choice of millions, and we’re doing it without your little piece of paper.
I’ve been married twice. Marriage as it is now, IS a zero-sum game. Once a man and a woman is taken, the pool of available to marry shrinks.
The LGBT community made the issue, on purpose, to be about allowing someone to marry who they love. Who the fuck are LGBT advocates to tell me, now, who the fuck I can love?
As for your statistics of higher levels of rape and assault, what are you, a staffer for Donald Trump? You of all people should know the difference between correlation and causation.
And you want egalitarian? Let’s say you were right, and then still prove you wrong:
Tom, the high-status male, married Alice, Beth, and Cindy. Rick, the low-status male, has nobody left to marry. Tom “wins”, Rick loses, and society falls apart.
Except you forgot one thing. Alice, Beth, and Cindy could have married Rick, and chose not to. But according to you, you are saying, “Whatever bitches, Alice, you get Tom. The other two of you can fight over the man you didn’t want.”
So what you really want to do is force women to marry men they didn’t otherwise want to marry out of desperation?
What level of fucked up ethics are you running by, Jon?
And in case you haven’t noticed, monogamy is breaking down. It’s the very exclusivity agreements that generation after generation are growing to forgo. We’re not getting married anymore, and divorce is rampant. They’re marrying Rick as a starter marriage, and then Tom, and then Bill, and then nobody when they learn marriage is fucked up.
Even the crazy fundamentalists can’t stay married for life.
And that’s what marriage is now, for the misogynist strawmen that you are supposedly fighting against: A license to own and control a woman’s vagina. And yes, a license for women to own and control a man’s penis. I’ve been there, it’s real!
So, let’s stop the bullshit. Your argument rests on two pillars of faulty logic.
#1 - That plural marriage of the past is plural marriage of the future. Plural marriage of the future is removal of all exclusivity agreements, and simply confers rights of partners. We polyamorists already get around this by forming multi-partner LLC corporations.
#2 - That by forcing women into unwanted marriages through starvation economics, you are improving the world. Your view is that you can engineer society by engineering a woman’s right to choose her husband from an ever shrinking pool of resources of less desirable men.
I’m no senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, like you. But I don’t need a Ph.D. to blow a giant hole through your logic. What’s my proof? Reality. We’ve already rejected marriage as it is, and modified it to unrecognizable levels. Just ask the married women whom I’ve loved. And ask their husbands.
The world is already changing. We’re just asking you to catch the fuck up… just as it caught up with LGBT changes.
You also wonder about a template? Did you write the article drunk, or simply refuse to put any thought into this? What template is needed?
Parental rights are already sorted in courts. I divorced my son’s mother. I remarried another woman. The mother got child support. The step mom was a step mom. What about the married man who has a fling, and get’s his mistress pregnant? Does society grind to a halt not knowing what to do?
Fuck man, you have a brain, use it!
So what does a child look like in a plural marriage? The child has two natural parents. They have rights as parents. Anyone they are married to has the rights of a stepparent.
Damn, that was easy. I must be a genius! /sarcasm
I already answered your question about whether a marriage involves multiple people or each individual couple. Actually, it would marry each individual couple. If three people want to get married, Bill, Ted, and Mandy: Bill marries Ted, Ted marries Mandy, and Mandy marries Bill.
How is property handled in a divorce? Again, not rocket science. The law handles it like any business with multiple owners when one backs out.
You imagine that courts haven’t already dealt with these issues, and I find your naivety on this topic to be insincere.
You also say that it’s different for the LGBT community who wanted the right to marry someone, to rank someone, to place someone on a legal pedestal as opposed to none.
Well, let me point something out to you, jackass. That B in LGB-motherfucking-T is for BISEXUAL. Even at it’s minimum, that means we have relationships with both sexes, and implies at least two relationships. Kinda hard to be a practicing Bi, but then forced to rank the male higher or the female higher, more loved and deserving than the other partner.
Marriage forces the bisexual to make a choice. To either marry as a straight or as a gay. They’re not allowed to equally express their bisexuality. They most conform to one of the top two sexual orientations, straight or gay. And to be fair and ethical, they have two choices. Marry neither or form an LLC.
They could be forced into a strange triangle of marrying one, having a child with the other, and performing a third party adoption with their gay partner. And you think plural marriage is complicated?
What kills me most, though, is this:
“Allowing same-sex couples to marry requires only small institutional and legal adjustments (like revising gendered language on some documents). In sharp distinction, polygamy requires making a host of contentious social and legal decisions to rewire marital arrangements pretty much from scratch.”
Yeah, like giving women the right to vote and civil rights? Title VII was a bitch to implement. Should it have been scrapped because it was hard, sir? Since when is “it requires too much change in policy” been a valid excuse for discrimination?
Wasn’t that the military’s excuse for not changing the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy? Please, save it.
You say at the end:
“I think the public and the courts will have the sense to see as much—as will Chief Justice Roberts, when he gets around to thinking a little harder about it.”
Well, bud, you sure as fuck didn’t put too much thought into it. I think Roberts was far more thoughtful than you appear to be.