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August 23, 2011


I support concurrent marriages personally.

oh ya


Considering the rate of divorce, many people can't even handle one. Why compound the problems with many at one time?

Why did God bless Jacob's foursome?

This is absolutely not how polygamy has functioned historically. Sure, the women aren't "married" to each other in the fact that they don't view each other as spouses.

But functionally, in the day-to-day life of the family, each is responsible to the whole and vice versa. Each woman is accountable to the other's children, for example, and all children are accountable to each mother.

The argument presented here is based on a terrible misunderstanding of the family dynamics of polygamy and ought to be discarded.

I think Amy is right (though my knee jerk reaction was initially to disagree on this point). Marriage was defined, even in the days of polygamy, as one-man-one-woman.

When a husband divorced one wife in his harem, he did not thereby dissolve a single arrangement between himself and all the women in the harem. He didn't divorce all of his wives. Their marriages remained intact...only the one woman's marriage was dissolved.

And a man didn't marry all the wives in his harem at the same time in a single transaction. Each marriage was its own transaction between husband and wife.

However, I think we are forced to say that marriage is defined, in our society, as a relationship that no person can hold may only be held successively.

So old-style polygamy would violate marriage as defined in our society for a different reason than the one-man-one-woman condition.

Sure, the women aren't "married" to each other in the fact that they don't view each other as spouses.

Well then, we agree, because that's my whole point.

WisdomLover, your point about divorcing one of the wives is an excellent one. I hadn't thought of that way of explaining it.

Hmm... if polygamy operates under the same definition of marriage as we have today, then what's wrong with polygamy?

(I think WL answered my question but it's still not entirely clear to me.)

I'd be fine with having the gov't cease to recognize marriage.

It would continue take the same interest in the same aspects of the welfare of children, of course.

Individuals could still make private contracts of domestic partnerships, of course.

How 'bout it? (It looks like this is the best deal you're likely to get.)


When making the definition case for marriage, one can use a marriage between multiple people to express the argument. In other words, simultaneously marrying more than one person is still a reasonable possibility worth pointing out using the ‘consenting adults should be able to do what they please’ concept.

Human beings are a crazy lot. It’s not beyond comprehension that 3 or 4 people might want to enter into a marriage together eventually.

Chapter 24 Section 1 of the WCF spoke directly to and answered this question over 300 years ago.

Interesting... I've never thought of it like this before, but you're right on! Jacob, for instance, got married to different women on different occasions, not to 2 women at the same time.

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