What is So Wrong with Polygamy?

So, I've been watching HBO's Big Love recently -- really binge watching it, is more like it.  If you don't know, it's a story about a business man who has three wives, living in Sandy, Utah (a suburb of Salt Lake) with his eight children, trying to negotiate his wives' needs, the law that makes it illegal for them to be polygamous and the "old country" of Juniper Creek where 15 year old girls are 'sealed' to men more than twice their age.  To be sure, it's a drama fest - sometimes laying it on way too thick.  But I'm enjoying it.  I watched five episodes yesterday (they're hour long episodes)...so you know I'm hooked.

But it's got me thinking about polygamy or polygyny (one man, several wives) and polyandry (one woman several husbands) and for the life of me, I just can't understand why it's illegal.  Why the US Government made the Mormons running Utah ban the practice in exchange for becoming a state.  I've read some about the history of polygamy in our country and it seems so arbitrary.  

Don't get me wrong, I don't think polygyny is better than monogamy, but as long as all the parties are willing and consenting adults, what's the problem?  Is it just too complicated for tax purposes or for those people who create forms for enrolling children into school?  Hillary Clinton said (probably not first, of course) "It takes a village."  What about the idea of having a small village of people all related to one another, all co-married, co-committed to raising the children and serving the greater good of the family?  What is wrong with that?

Is it the sex part?  Is it having sex with multiple partners while married (to all of them)?  

(And just to get things clear here, I'm envisioning a poly situation that involves all women, of age, consenting and collaborating, with no centralized 'head'.) 

Monogamous people go outside their marriages all the time for sex, emotional support, love, even financial stability.  So, why not formalize it, legalize it and make it possible for people to pursue these types of relationships out in the open?  It is possible to love and dedicate yourself to more than one person at a time.  It is possible, in my experience, to be loved by someone who loves other people at the same time.  It may not be for everyone, but for some of us, it is natural, organic and just feels right.

What do you think?  Why do you think polygamy is illegal in the US?  

Leave a comment

Add comment