This is part two of a two part series. To read part one, click here.
There aren’t many arguments against polygamy once gender is removed from the equation – the uneven nature of male-led polygamy goes away with the ability to marry the same sex. When a woman can marry a man as well as another woman, there should be significantly less concern about sexism or anti-feminism. Since America is a secular society and religion cannot be the guiding factor of our laws, we shouldn’t really have to worry about whether or not the local minister approves.
One part of polygamy, however, is harder to deliberate on: abuse of the law to acquire more and more benefits. It’s admittedly quite the problem. Monogamy is abused for the benefits somewhat frequently even today, and with the 1,138 provisions claimed by the Government Accountability Office, it’s easy to see why. Marriage in America (and, indeed, much of the world) comes with a great amount of rights and responsibilities, including many ways to game the system to one’s advantage.
In the name of solutions, the best bet is a system like we have with prospective immigrants slated to marry a US citizen. As all potential immigrants are screened to assure a marriage isn’t happening solely for citizenship, in potential polygamous situations the same should occur. Perhaps the second partner shouldn’t be viewed with increased scrutiny – a majority of poly groups consist of three persons – but each additional partner after the second should be screened with increased scrutiny.
An obvious solution would be to cap the number of available partners per person, and that may indeed be an answer. The problem here is, what number of parters do we use as the upper limit?
A better solution would be to allow the marriages but have a declining number of benefits per partner. Once a person is on their 5th or 6th partner, the decline should be considerable, and by the 10th partner, no solid benefits should be left. While this would doubtless be a controversial matter among people who felt they were being unfairly discriminated against for their apparently limitless love, at least it’s a start, and a fair start. This year, polygamy is illegal in all 50 states. Any start, even one with a lot of limits, would be a great start. Most poly groups would readily accept a two-partner limit, but the way poly groups often branch out makes this impractical.
Given as polygamy would likely be limited to a small percentage of the population, it wouldn’t be a ridiculously hard thing to propose some common sense limits. Even better for the conservatives in society, a specialized office to analyze and test polygamous relations wouldn’t be one that would require a large amount of federal funding. A minuscule amount of federal funding would go a very long way towards testing the legitimacy of polygamous relations.
And hey, what could be better than pairing the word cheap with the word freedom?