The thread to discuss polygamy

Apparently some people are so interested in the topic of polygamy that they want to fill every gay marriage thread with discussion of it. Despite this – and in obviously stark contrast to the issue of gay marriage, which has reached the legislation in parliament stage – I’m yet to see anyone put forward a specific proposal for polygamy that we can evaluate on its merits.

I personally have no strong view either way. If it could work without oppressing women or making a mess of consent – if there’s a solution to problems like how to manage adding or divorcing partners from some or all parts of the union when the different other participants don’t agree (and I haven’t seen one), and if there weren’t any other obvious problems of which I haven’t yet thought – then I probably wouldn’t oppose it. I’m open to persuasion, if a good case can be made. But I can’t support the vague notion in the absence of a workable proposal, obviously.

So – time for the determined polygamy-discussers to put up or shut up. Let’s see if anyone really is interested in seriously debating this issue, or if they’ve only raised it in order to divert meaningful discussion on other topics. This is the thread where we’ll thrash the subject out – at least enough to determine if it’s something presently worthy of discussion. All further mentions of polygamy on other, different topics will be moved back to here.

Here’s your chance, polygamy-obsessives. Have at it.

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59 responses to “The thread to discuss polygamy

  1. Polygamy is wrong. A real marriage can and only be between a man and a woman who love each other.

  2. If three or more people want to commit to each other then they should be able to have a civil union.

  3. Why only a civil union?

    Turtle, assertion isn’t argument.

    Of course, this is pointless because no-one’s put up a polygamy proposal to discuss yet.

  4. Of course, this is pointless because no-one’s put up a polygamy proposal to discuss yet.

    Oh you mean no one has yet put up a proposition despite it being Sunday night and the post has been up for 25 minutes?

    Jeremy you know that polygamy is wrong. You know that incest is wrong. And deep down you know that other barrow you push is wrong.

    Marriage is for men and women in love to the exclusion to all others.

  5. “Oh you mean no one has yet put up a proposition despite it being Sunday night and the post has been up for 25 minutes?”

    Funny. Based on how often you and other marriage equality opponents bring up the subject I thought you’d seen an actual proposal put somewhere. You mean you haven’t, and you’re fighting a phantom that doesn’t exist?

    “Marriage is for men and women in love to the exclusion to all others.”

    Well, we’ve exhausted the “because Turtle says so” part of the thread. Excellent. Now onto an actual debate and discussion of the issue.

  6. Turtle:

    And deep down you know that other barrow you push is wrong.

    Ranks up there with…

    “Deep down, you know there IS a God”

    Shorter Turtle:

    “I can’t be stuffed defending my position, so I’ll just assert that you really agree with me and that will be that.”

  7. confessions

    But *is* there a serious discussion happening (however “faintly”) about polygamy? All I’ve seen is an assertion from a marriage equality thread derailer, and a request to do a google search? Who in Australia is advocating for the Marriage Act to be changed to allow for polygamous marriages?

  8. Beats me. If no-one shows up to put forward a polygamy case, then there won’t be much justification for the anti-gay marriage campaigners wasting everyone’s time forcing us to discuss it, will there?

  9. Yeah good on you Sammy.

    Are you another one of these ‘lets turn societal norms upside down’ kinda dude are you?

    Full rights for the three gay brothers who want to get married to each other?

    You people amaze me.

  10. “Are you another one of these ‘lets turn societal norms upside down’ kinda dude are you?”

    Where did he say that?

    “Full rights for the three gay brothers who want to get married to each other?”

    Where did he say that?

    “You people amaze me.”

    Because you don’t actually read what we write?

    Anyway, no more from turtle unless she has an actual argument for or against polygamy. An argument, turtle, not a bald assertion of what you think is “wrong”.

  11. Let’s just do away with government registered marriage altogether. It’s pointless. The government doesn’t need to know who is in a (semi-)permanent cohabitation arrangement.

    Then let any organisation (churches, mosques, CWAs, fishing & shooting clubs, Linux user groups, etc) who wishes to preside over marriage ceremonies for those who request them, making it known to the participants that the marriage is recognised by that particular organisation and there’s no legal basis to it whatsoever.

    Problem solved. Churchy people are then married in the eyes of God and the government no longer cares if person A marries person B, C & D, or even if person D is a goat.

    And get rid of defacto status too. No-one should be considered to have a married-like legal status unless they explicitly sign up to it.

  12. Are you another one of these ‘lets turn societal norms upside down’ kinda dude are you?

    Full rights for the three gay brothers who want to get married to each other?

    ?!

  13. I think deregistering everyone’s relationships is a bit extreme, and I do think there’s something meaningful in a person committing to another for life.

    On the other hand, I’m yet to see an argument why that should entitle someone to special rights that are denied to anyone else – so in the long-term, maybe that’s something that should be considered. Why should we discriminate as a country between those who’ve committed to each other and those who haven’t? What difference does it make to the rest of us?

    But that’s an altogether different proposal to simply making marriage non-discriminatory. It’s also a much broader discussion, since it’s a debate about the fundamental role of government and family.

    Let’s continue this discussion on the basis that marriage is to continue to be regulated by government. How would that work with polygamy? How could that work? Can the critical problems be solved?

  14. “Are you another one of these ‘lets turn societal norms upside down’ kinda dude are you? ”
    Non Anglo-Saxon Christians being inferior was a societal norm.
    Women being inferior was also a societal norm.
    Societal norm does not mean societal good.
    @Paul-But what about legal unions? They decide how property is divided, next of kin, etc. Myabe that can be dealt with seperately to religious marriages.

  15. Paul, I agree with you to a certain extent, but I think all those heterosexually married people would object to having all the perks taken away from them (tax breaks etc).

    I wonder what would happen if we struck the word “marriage” from the law, and made everyone have civil unions (which would be identically in every way to the current institution called marriage)? Then we could give the word marriage back to the churches, and the government would take out any sexist language in the current marriage act… But somehow I don’t think that’d satisfy everyone either.

    As for polygamy. It would not be limited to one man with many wives, lets just make that clear, and no single person in the relationship would be considered the “primary person” or “head of the household” (unless that’s what the other partners all agree to in a private arrangement – whatever floats their boat and all that).

    Every party to the relationship would have to agree to the arrangement (ie: sign a marriage contract). Every party to the relationship would have to agree to the addition of any further partners. If just one partner said no, then the addition would be a no starter.

    With divorce, a single partner could start proceedings against the rest of the group. Property would be divided on the basis of what the partner brought to the partnership in the first place, and also what that partner contributed during their relationship with the other partners.

    Children would be a little more tricky to handle and I haven’t really thought of a good way to handle things, but I suspect the way we already handle custody could be made to work with more than two parents.

    I know people are going to ask about people being coerced into the relationship, and being bullied into staying – that sort of thing already happens within (some) monogamous marriages.

  16. Polygamy is a bad deal for men. Unless you’re an alpha-alpha, that is. And I guess lots of men would like to think that they are, but they’re (mostly) deluding themselves.

    I like Paul’s idea. It’s the LDP policy 🙂

    Zandilar, I think you’ve hit on something – people feel defensive about their government handouts (subconsciously sometimes). So politically, removing government from being the sanctifier of marriages is a non-starter, but there aren’t any logical arguments against it.

  17. Jeremy, as you know, when I wrote my comments on the gay marriage topic it was not to argue the pro polygamy case. Until I read the other thread I’ve actually never given the idea much thought.

    The recently defeated bill for amendment to the Marriage Act 1961 sponsored by Senator Hanson-Young reads like that:

    The objects of this Act are:
    (a) to remove from the Marriage Act 1961 discrimination against people on the basis of their sex, sexuality or gender identity; and
    (b) to recognise that freedom of sexuality and gender identity are fundamental human rights; and to promote acceptance and the celebration of diversity.

    The way I see it, paragraph (b) touches on the issue, what is needed is to revise the act to promote acceptance and the celebration of diversity, meaning polygamous relationships should be recognised as adding to our diversity.

    I am not a legal mind, so I could be terribly wrong here, but as far as I can tell the only part of the Marriage Act that would have to change is that SECT 23B (1)(a) is removed.

    Grounds on which marriages are void
    (1) A marriage to which this Division applies that takes place after the commencement of section 13 of the Marriage Amendment Act 1985 is void where:
    (a) either of the parties is, at the time of the marriage, lawfully married to some other person;

    In order to argue for polygamy to be allowed one actually doesn’t have to find pros, what’s important is that there is no cons. So, what could be the cons of three or more people forming a group to go through life together?

    Polygamy raises a number of problems mainly to do with consent. What happens when A+B are married and A wants to add C, but B doesn’t? How do you divide property in divorce?

    What about in case A+B are married and A has an affair, where is B’s consent there? In the case you cite, A+B are married and A wants to add C but B doesn’t, it ain’t gonna happen. Simple as that. It wouldn’t be consentual, and everyones signature is required, just as if there were only two. But should B be happy to include C in the relationship and at least be open about it, possibly become best mates, then who are we to stop them?

    In terms of property dispute settlements, how are the courts handling those of monogamous relationships? Decisions in polygamous marriages could be made along the same lines.

    What really causes people like Turtle and I guess the senators you listed in the gay marriage thread to reject the idea of multi-spouse partnerships is that it doesn’t sit well with the idea of the traditional family nucleus peddled by the fundamental Christian community.

  18. But *is* there a serious discussion happening (however “faintly”) about polygamy? All I’ve seen is an assertion from a marriage equality thread derailer, and a request to do a google search? Who in Australia is advocating for the Marriage Act to be changed to allow for polygamous marriages?

    Confessions, get with it. In many non-western countries polygamy is recognised, and the fact that immigrants from those countries rarely raise the issue has more to do with the taboo it represents in Australia than with there not being people who would love to have multi spouse relationships recognised. Here are a few links to help you realise it is not the total non-issue you make it out to be.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polygamy

    http://www.news.com.au/make-polygamy-legal-sheik/story-e6frfkp9-1111116724474

    http://www.abc.net.au/triplej/hack/notes/s2284795.htm

  19. To clarify, I meant ‘polygamy’ to be ‘polygyny’, which is the standard “societal norm” for polygamous cultures.

    On a sidenote, the incomparable Heinlein wrote about “line marriages” in The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, which is different to other conceptions of group marriage.

  20. There is no legitimate reason, in this day and with Australian society becoming more secular, to have religious overtones in any Government legislation.

    The use of the word marriage, which the religions (plural) have taken as thier own, should be removed from the “marriage” act, and said document re-written to encompass “couples” regardless of gender.

    NOTE: I do not believe in siblings marrying… That has been forbidden since before genetics was discovered… for obvious reasons eg. most Royal families in Europe.

    With regards to Homosexuality, I heard an interesting concept from a workmate recently.

    Homosexuality was banned in history because, as has been previously mentioned, it did not “continue” the tribe, ie. no children (Offspring being necessary to ensure that the rest of the tribe could survive… more hands make work easier, etc). However, as society progressed and made life easier, there was less imperative to breed, as we didn’t need to have such numbers of family around us… In societies where life was “easier”, eg. Roman and Greek cities, Homosexuality was an acceptable choice.

    Life is very easy in Australia these days, and we have a big enough population to continue this lifestyle. Homosexuality is going to become an increasing choice over the next few decades and I cannot for the life of me see how people can deny equality to a large segment of society who choose to live differently.

  21. Northern Exposure

    500 kilos of wife in the relationship is not an idea I relsih, but then others would probably really like wearing the pants but everyone else in the marriage picking what kind and what colour, the belt and the shoes.

    However bum buddies deserve the same rights I have.

    On a side note, homos in ancient rome/greece were actually considered more honourable than hetero relationships. Because bitches always want something and when a dude get’s laid he’s as happy as a pig in the proverbial.

  22. Is this discussion about just polygamy or also polyandry? I wonder why the conversation is always framed about men having multiple wives instead of women having multiple husbands.

    I’ve always been surprised at polygamy being the feared “slippery slope” outcome of marriage equality. Polygamy is sanctioned in the bible, after all. For those who proclaim biblical inerrancy and literalism I’d expect them to be aggressively advocating *for* polygamy on that basis.

    In Frank Herbert’s novel “The White Plague” a virus is released that kills just women. As a result, there are precious few women left on Earth. To survive, a new order emerges with the few remaining women having multiple long term relationships with men as a strategy for the continuation of the species.

    I think polygamy and polyandry can serve evolutionary (survival) purposes so deciding that it is “wrong” and cannot happen doesn’t make any sense to me.

  23. Northern Exposure

    I think humanity has more than enough people to ensure the continuation of the species.

    Even then, a world where I would get sloppy 35ths every six months, is not a world I would want to live in.

    Thats probably also why people don’t pay much mind to the wives wanting multiple husbands theory, blokes wouldnt be able to stand it.

  24. TGC, polygamy means any multiple marriage, polygyny and polyandry being the main kinds. And the conversation is framed around polygyny because there are very few instances of polyandry in history, so people tend to assume. But you’re right that there’s no reason we should limit ourselves to just polygyny.

  25. Northern Exposure

    Do we really have to be careful about the kinds of multiple marriage? Really?

  26. “Every party to the relationship would have to agree to the arrangement (ie: sign a marriage contract). Every party to the relationship would have to agree to the addition of any further partners. If just one partner said no, then the addition would be a no starter.

    With divorce, a single partner could start proceedings against the rest of the group. Property would be divided on the basis of what the partner brought to the partnership in the first place, and also what that partner contributed during their relationship with the other partners.

    Children would be a little more tricky to handle and I haven’t really thought of a good way to handle things, but I suspect the way we already handle custody could be made to work with more than two parents.

    I know people are going to ask about people being coerced into the relationship, and being bullied into staying – that sort of thing already happens within (some) monogamous marriages.”

    It’s a lot more complex when a dispute is one person against more than one person.

    How would you regulate divorce when someone wants to leave one partner but not another? And how do you divide property after many years’ contributions? In the event of a dispute, those staying in the relationship will be able to outweigh the evidence of the person leaving – courts would decide on the balance of probabilities, and one against many makes it nearly impossible for the person leaving to win. So they’d be stuck in the relationship.

    Your suggestion that everyone in a relationship would have to agree solves the consent issue with respect to the start of such a relationship, though.

    I think the main issue with polygamy is it raises more fundamental questions about marriage itself – as soon as it’s more than two people, government would have to adjust the way it deals financially with married couples – or simply withdraw from the area entirely. How does Centrelink consider contributions? How do the tax thresholds work when you’ve got many people in a polygamous marriage?

    Polygamy really requires a reorganisation of the practical fundamentals of how marriage works.

  27. “In order to argue for polygamy to be allowed one actually doesn’t have to find pros, what’s important is that there is no cons. So, what could be the cons of three or more people forming a group to go through life together?”

    It depends on the model being put forward, which is why for a meaningful discussion to proceed at least one has to be suggested.

    And I’ve raised several “cons” above, as have others.

    But rest assured, if the only “cons” that are left standing at the end are “religious people don’t like it” then that certainly wouldn’t be enough for me.

    “Here are a few links to help you realise it is not the total non-issue you make it out to be.”

    That’s muslim polygyny, and it raises the real issue of oppression of women – if you were going to legalise polygamy you’d need to find a way to protect vulnerable people from being completely overriden by this “marriage” arrangement.

  28. On 3aw – stream available from the Age website – they’re about to discuss why Tony Abbott “thinks homosexuals are threatening”.

    A podcast might be available on 3aw’s site later on.

  29. Recent examples of polygamy usually involve the oppression of the female partners. In these systems her word carries less weight than a man’s, she may be beaten, albeit lightly, she has a strict dress code and she can’t hang out with other men. this deranged arrangement has no place in civilised society.

    The essence of the relationship recognised as marriage is the exclusive commitment of the parties to each other. Most polygamous marriages involve exclusivity by the woman, but not the man.

    On the other hand, there is a crying need for the recognition of the bond between two individuals which is currently denied. Although not yet legally recognised, parties are seeking alternative ways to memorialise their love for each other. There are many, many examples of this phenomenon which demonstrate the need to recognise these relationships.

  30. No, SB, this thread is about polygamy, not bestiality.

    To start with, animals can’t consent to marriage. They do not have the brain capacity to understand what marriage is, and they can’t communicate with humans in enough detail to make any such kind of formal commitment.

    Different issue, raising completely different problems. Unless you’ve got some way of overcoming the above crippling concerns (which you don’t), it’s a complete non-starter.

    Pity you ruined your contribution with that, since your earlier points about polygamy were worth making.

  31. Nice work SB. Now you’ll have to create another thread for bestiality, Jeremy. And then maybe SB will suggest plant lovin’ in that thread, etc…

  32. Juan Moment

    There are different kinds of polygamy. From Wiki: polygyny (one man having more than one wife), polyandry (one woman having more than one husband), or, less commonly group marriage (a marriage which includes multiple husbands and wives). By advocating polygamy one is actually supporting all forms.

    The type practiced by some Muslims, polygyny, steeped in ancient traditions, can undeniably lead to oppression of the female partners, but if we are honest about it then we have to acknowledge that there are also plenty of women living oppressed lives in monogamous relationships. The issue is not the type of marriage, but the dominant role of men in the Muslim religion as a whole, which depending on whose interpretation you get, generally considers the wife as having to be obedient to her husband. I could imagine that in some situations Muslim women actually appreciate the fact that they have “soul sisters” in their polygamous relationships, might even be empowering for some.

    In these systems her word carries less weight than a man’s, she may be beaten, albeit lightly, she has a strict dress code and she can’t hang out with other men. this deranged arrangement has no place in civilised society.

    SB, proposing legalised polygamy does not imply we should accept discriminative and sexist behaviour towards women. And by disallowing multi-spouse relationships you are not stopping Muslim men from acting like fuckwits towards their partners, as the same treatment is in many cases the norm in monogamous relationships.

    The essence of the relationship recognised as marriage is the exclusive commitment of the parties to each other. Most polygamous marriages involve exclusivity by the woman, but not the man.

    Partners have affairs in regular marriages, should we therefore abolish regular marriage? What’s the problem with three people promising to be there for each other exclusively?

    It depends on the model being put forward, which is why for a meaningful discussion to proceed at least one has to be suggested.

    Jeremy, what would a model have to look like before it can be called that? Do all potential legal issues have to be addressed before it is accepted as a model worthwhile discussing?

    How would you regulate divorce when someone wants to leave one partner but not another? And how do you divide property after many years’ contributions? In the event of a dispute, those staying in the relationship will be able to outweigh the evidence of the person leaving – courts would decide on the balance of probabilities, and one against many makes it nearly impossible for the person leaving to win. So they’d be stuck in the relationship.

    I understand your reservations and concerns, but the same questions arise in the commercial world with multiple parties forming business partnerships, which from time to time change, partners are leaving or new ones added etc. The legal issues of allowing such partnerships did not stop Australian law from providing recognition for them. Some are based on fairly loose arrangements, and others are contractually very precisely defined. The possibility of two or more associates ganging up on another exists as well, and yet we have many thousands of businesses operating as partnerships.

  33. “Jeremy, what would a model have to look like before it can be called that? Do all potential legal issues have to be addressed before it is accepted as a model worthwhile discussing?”

    It should have a response to the most obvious and fatal problems, or it won’t get off the ground.

    ‘I understand your reservations and concerns, but the same questions arise in the commercial world with multiple parties forming business partnerships, which from time to time change, partners are leaving or new ones added etc.”

    And they’re usually resolved with voting etc. That’s not an adequate solution for marriages, which are a much deeper commitment.

  34. I think bringing up the business relationship is relevant.

    You would not commit to a relationship unless you are willing to follow the rules. We assume that the other parties are playing by the same rules that we are (and this is generally more likely if communication is free and open and often). If the other parties don’t play by our rules then we can choose to compromise or leave the situation. Monogamous relationships have just as many selfish/destructive partners as any other relationship.

  35. phyllis.stein

    re Thalesian:Homosexuality is going to become an increasing choice …. um this is an old one, but clearly hasn’t been understood. Homosexuality is not a “choice” (or lifestyle) it is a preference that a person can then choose to act upon or not. Think of it this way: let us say you are straight, but decide, for some family or social reasons, to have only homosexual sex. See, now that would be a “choice”. Homosexuality was banned in history … no, see, it was a structural part of ancient civilizations, and the JudaoChristianMuslim religion has something to say about it, but really, spouting this nonsense makes you as credible as a counting horse. As far as polygamy goes, why people would get married is beyond me, although I like the idea of renewable short term contracts.Whether there are 2 or more of them is just a lawyer’s picnic.

  36. Actually I find this whole thread extremely disingenuous.
    Jeremy knows that the people who discuss polygamy are only using it as an extension of his argument pro gay marriage. Incest is in the same basket. Nobody at this thread is in favour of polygamy and thus nobody will put the argument.
    However, if the gay marriage bill is passed then it is precedent for polygamous and incestuous unions to be favoured.
    This thread is in fact to divert attention from the flaw that is Jeremy’s gay marriage wish.

  37. “Actually I find this whole thread extremely disingenuous.”

    The irony, it burns.

    “Jeremy knows that the people who discuss polygamy are only using it as an extension of his argument pro gay marriage. Incest is in the same basket. Nobody at this thread is in favour of polygamy and thus nobody will put the argument.”

    Well, exactly. My point. Polygamy is not a real argument, because no-one is advocating for it, and so it can’t be evaluated on its merits. It’s a complete irrelevance.

    “However, if the gay marriage bill is passed then it is precedent for polygamous and incestuous unions to be favoured.”

    Why? No, it isn’t. When gay marriage is passed, it’ll be because there are inadequate arguments against it. Incest and polygamy raise entirely different issues, which might well result in them being refused.

    The thing about public debate is that it’s quite possible to legalise something whilst prohibiting something else. The act of legalising something doesn’t automatically mean that everything else must pass.

    Very simple questions for you:
    1. Are there problems with polygamy that aren’t also problems with gay marriage?
    2. If no – then why can’t you simply raise those problems in respect of gay marriage? Why can’t you elucidate what all those problems are?
    3. If yes – then that’s a basis on which the two things are different, and one could be implemented without the other – and a reason why polygamy is a separate issue to gay marriage.

    We all know that the answer to 1 is yes, and the reason you bring up polygamy is because you’re hoping that the arguments against polygamy that can’t logically be brought against gay marriage, will somehow help you taint gay marriage.

    It’s a transparent ruse, and you’ve been called on it.

    “This thread is in fact to divert attention from the flaw that is Jeremy’s gay marriage wish.”

    The only diversion is by you, trying to divert attention away from the fact you’ve got only embarrassingly flimsy “arguments” against gay marriage.

    Anyway, back to the topic of polygamy…

  38. Juan Moment

    Jeremy knows that the people who discuss polygamy are only using it as an extension of his argument pro gay marriage. Incest is in the same basket.

    Leo, incest is out of question as it increases the likelihood of birth defects. Polygamy does not, and neither does same-sex marriage.

    Polygamy is not a real argument, because no-one is advocating for it, and so it can’t be evaluated on its merits. It’s a complete irrelevance.

    Jeremy, repeating over and over that the issue of polygamy is irrelevant since in your mind nobody is advocating for it, doesn’t make it so. I reckon there would be quite a number of people who’d choose that type of marriage if it were available. The fact that our backward society treats it as a taboo not to be spoken of, just like same-sex marriage until not that long ago, is no reason for keeping it out of discussions on amendments to the marriage act.

    The only argument against polygamy you have come up with are reservations about possible complications when partners want a divorce or centrelink support. And in order to cement your notion of irrelevance you demand a proposal which takes care of every possible legal aspect that might arise, although as a barrister you should be aware that unless the first such cases hit the courts, and precedents are being set, it is impossible to predict how legal matters will unfold.

    By calling people “polygamy-obsessives”, coz they are open minded enough to see similarities between the discrimination of same-sex couples and people who wish to live in multi-spouse relationships, you are inviting them to refer to you as being “gay-marriage obsessed”. Totally besides the point. Instead we are all “equal rights obsessed”.

  39. Returned Man

    Can we stop the the talk about the group relationship thing for a moment? …. it’s kinda getting hot in here! Phew!

  40. phyllis.stein

    @ LEO: However, if the gay marriage bill is passed then it is precedent for polygamous and incestuous unions to be favoured. For it to be a precedent for incest there would have to be a similarity. If there is one you have neglected to describe it. Perhaps you meant “slippery slope”. OMG! Teh gays might win the right to legally group marry their same sex relatives; and goats: because, you haven’t mentioned animals yet but you’re thinking about it. If you’re going to argue precedent, marriage is the precedent for same sex marriage. As for polygamy, I watched an episode of Big Love, (so I know about this stuff) and it seems complicated, religious and not much fun.

  41. Jeremy I have to let you know that polygamy is alive and well in Australia. Many indigenous people have more then one wife. I know of one man that has 5 wives, 3 live with him and 2 live in other communities.

    Case against:

    1. The human population is evenly split so if some men have many wives then some men will inevitably have none.

    2. Jealousy could be difficult to deal with. Most people I know would expect anyone to love one person more then anyone else and supposing you do love one wife more then the others then of course they will be jealous. Also if you were the “first” wife you would wonder why he needed to marry anyone else.

    Case for:

    1. Families can work better with more women. This is because many families have the man in the position of providing financially for the family while the woman’s role is to care for the children and take care of the home. Well a man’s job in this case is fairly straight forward and he should be capable of providing for up to 15 people. On the other hand the woman’s role is far more demanding in both time and emotional energy. So it may make more sense to have more then one woman to take care of this part of the family.

    2. Men, as a general rule, are incapable of really emotionally supporting their women. Not because we are bad or stupid but just have different reactions to things and drives. If there was more then one woman in the family they would be able to provide each other with that support. This may also stop any unnecessary fighting as women wouldn’t have to be flabbergasted at their man’s inability to “read” them.

    I personally wouldn’t be into it as these days we chose to settle down for more reasons then just raising kids and hope that I can have more of “spiritual” connection with my partner. I also think that women can find emotional support, that their partner may be incapable of, with many women in the community.

    Just because I am not into though I would not judge anyone if that was what they wanted. Can you imagine being hen pecked in stereo?

  42. I should also add that the other reason that polygamy wouldn’t be needed these days is that the roles around the family are changing, and in many families changed, regards domestic duties and work. Also most people don’t see having children as their main purpose in life anymore.

  43. “The irony, it burns.”
    No Jeremy you don’t do irony at all well.
    I’m quite serious. You know that there is nobody here advocating polygamy and yet your thread asks them to put their case forward.

    “Polygamy is not a real argument, because no-one is advocating for it, and so it can’t be evaluated on its merits.”
    That’s just crap. If you take that attitude to all debate then you can’t ever say “What about if someone was to want to ………….?”
    That’s just stupid.

    “When gay marriage is passed, it’ll be because there are inadequate arguments against it.”
    No it’ll be because the 5 senators who now believe that have convinced the electorate that there are inadequate arguments and then that the electorate convinces the rest of the senate that their seats are at risk if they don’t change the vote. It’s politics Jeremy and it’s naive to think that the quality or perceived morality of any argument is relevent.
    And so as soon as the gay marriage bill is passed, some bright polygamist will say “Yata yata yata ……discrimination……….gays have the right and we should too….yata yata yata.” And when thay convince enough Greens, Reds or Pinks and they see that their seats are at risk……..

    “1. Are there problems with polygamy that aren’t also problems with gay marriage?”
    Yes
    Are there problems with gay marriage that aren’t also problems with hetero marriage?

    “2. If no – then why can’t you simply raise those problems in respect of gay marriage? Why can’t you elucidate what all those problems are?”
    The answere is yes, but if it were no, the reasons don’t need to be the same do they?

    “……you’re hoping that the arguments against polygamy that can’t logically be brought against gay marriage, will somehow help you taint gay marriage……”
    No.
    I’m saying that if your argument is true (that it is unfair do discriminate)for gay rights then it is equally true for polygamy. Or that could be the argument made by any loby on their behalf. It is therefore true that you need to be prepared to allow that extension of the act as well. Because your argument (not mine) is about oppression and discrimination. Polygamists are also oppressed and discriminated against if you employ your definitions of those things.

    Juan
    “…..incest is out of question as it increases the likelihood of birth defects. Polygamy does not, and neither does same-sex marriage.”
    Polygamy actually does increase the liklihood of birth defect as it reduses the number of fathers in the gene pool. If a man has 6 wives then the offspring of those 6 women are all siblings and they all exist in the same community. The offspring of any 6 different women in a monogomouse community are far more likely to also have 6 (or more) different fathers.
    With Gay marriage there is a different, but more sinister issue. Gay people can’t procreate and therefore need to “outsource” genetic material for procreation. If the source of that material is the community that they live in then the liklihood of genetic siblings mating in future, unknown to anyone, must be also greater.

  44. “I’m quite serious. You know that there is nobody here advocating polygamy and yet your thread asks them to put their case forward.”

    You know that there is nobody here advocating polygamy but you try to insist that every gay marriage thread should involve it. How is anything meaningful meant to be discussed regarding polygamy when no-one is advocating for it?

    “It’s politics Jeremy and it’s naive to think that the quality or perceived morality of any argument is relevent.”

    You think that a polygamy proposal that doesn’t solve the problems with polygamy will be persuasive to politicians. Really. When they’re having enough difficulty supporting gay marriage and there are NO sensible arguments against that.

    “I’m saying that if your argument is true (that it is unfair do discriminate)for gay rights then it is equally true for polygamy.”

    That’s not my argument – my argument is that it is wrong to discriminate if there isn’t a good reason to do so. There is no good reason in the case of gay marriage – there might be with polygamy.

    Are you equally opposed to gay marriage as polygamy, or does one bother you more than the other? If so, why? On what grounds?

    I am supportive of gay marriage because there’s a specific proposal out there, its opponents have had every opportunity to put their best cases against it, and they’ve failed to find anything compelling.

    I have no resolved view on polygamy because there’s no proposal on the table, and I haven’t heard how my concerns about how it would work in practice would be addressed.

    Polygamy is a separate issue. It may or may not follow gay marriage, depending on whether there are serious problems with it or not. It won’t “automatically” follow gay marriage, in the same way that gay marriage didn’t “automatically” follow marriage, but had to be considered on its own merits.

  45. “…my argument is that it is wrong to discriminate if there isn’t a good reason to do so.”
    What’s the definition of a “good reason” Jeremy?
    Surely any reason that will persuade any person or group of people is “good”. If it compells people to continue to vote a certain way or to change the way they vote, then it is a “good” reason. You thinking it isn’t “good” means little unless you have the support of the rest of the community, and as discussed, you don’t. Otherwise the “good” arguments or “good” reasons would be winning out. Otherwise you are simply spouting your own form of dogmatic hyperbole.

    “Are you equally opposed to gay marriage as polygamy, or does one bother you more than the other?”
    There is no yes or no to that question, but I would say that i am not in favour of the marriage act being changed from the idea that it is one only man and one only woman because if it is then advocates of the change need to allow for the probability that arguments for polygamist unions will be the result. In order to argue against those arguments, you will need to contradict some of the arguments you offered FOR the change in the first place. I.e that it discriminates against people for their sexual orientation etc etc etc.

    “…….they’ve failed to find anything compelling.”
    TO YOU! Apparently though only 5 senators agree that it is uncompelling. Argue all you like, but that it the reality.
    Now on the topic, if the arguments for gay marriage are persuasive and that 5 becomes 39 then a loby for polygamy can begin the process of working on those same 39 and getting their vote changed on the issue of numbers of spouses as well. “You voted for gay marriage, why not multiple?” And the cycle of “you’re a redneck bigot who vavours one lifestyle ofer another simply due to prejudice” is repeated.

  46. I’ve had enough of going back and forth with you on this, Leo. The central line on which you rely, that if you legalise one thing then you must legalise everything!11!! is just beyond stupid. If discrimination is unjustified in the case of gay marriage, it doesn’t follow that it’s unjustified in the case of polygamy. If there are no problems with the gay marriage proposal before parliament, it doesn’t follow that there are no problems with some hypothetical future polygamy proposal. Each can be discussed and evaluated on its merits.

    This thread is about polygamy, alone. It has been repeatedly demonstrated that polygamy has no place in the other debate, that the link you’re trying to draw is flat-out stupid: either all the problems that relate to polygamy also relate to gay marriage, and therefore you can raise them directly against gay marriage and polygamy is an irrelevant distraction; or polygamy raises different problems that distinguish between the two issues, and therefore polygamy is an irrelevant distraction.

    No third possibility exists. Either way, the vague and non-specific issue of polygamy is irrelevant to the discussion of a very specific proposal for marriage equality.

    If you want to discuss polygamy, here’s the thread. Your complaints about nobody apparently advocating for polygamy simply reinforce my point – that polygamy is a different issue that we can’t meaningfully evaluate at this time.

    QED.

  47. “…that if you legalise one thing then you must legalise everything!”
    No Jeremy I have never said that.
    What I’m saying is simply that that if you legalise one thing because some people thing the reason for not legalising it are not “good” then you must legalise everything where you can’t also come up with “good” reasons not to.
    You have not answered the question- I so pose it again – define “good reasons”.

    “If discrimination is unjustified in the case of gay marriage, it doesn’t follow that it’s unjustified in the case of polygamy.”
    In your mind! But not everyone, it might surprise you to know, will agree with you. And they might see your “justified” discrimination in the exact light you see the current act. YOU must therefore agree that THEY have a point and allow their argument to stand. After all. who are YOU to say who’s reasons are “good” and who’s are not.

    “Each can be discussed and evaluated on its merits.”
    But those merits are arbitrary. There’s no stake in the ground to pin them to anymore if you redefine what a propper marriage is.

    No third possibility exists?
    What about some of the problems that relate to polygamy also relate to gay marriage?

    Your dogmatic hyperbole is childish Jeremy.
    Other views exist. Clearly there are in the minds of many, many , many people very “good” reasons not to revise the marriage act. Either to allow polygamy or gay marriage. You don’t like em.. We get that. But that don’t make em bad reasons.
    That’s my point. If in the future we change the definition of a marriage from one only man and one only woman to allow for the perceived discrimination of gays, then why not in the future change it again to cater for the perceived discrimination against multiples or siblings?

    I remember there was a time when people were worried about IVF and the implications of allowing it. Would it have been reasonable at the time to argue that if we go down this path it will allow gay couples to procreate? Yes it would.
    Were there those advocating it at the time? I doubt that. Yet here we are. And at the time, were you to remain constant, (lol) you would have had to argue that it was not a matter for discussion because nobody was advocating it.

    Not withstanding that there are those in our society advocating polygamy anyway. Which you simply ignore.

  48. I suppose it doesn’t matter if you wreck this thread: polygamy is not a real debate in Australia today anyway. Your contributions above confirm it.

    “What I’m saying is simply that that if you legalise one thing because some people thing the reason for not legalising it are not “good” then you must legalise everything where you can’t also come up with “good” reasons not to.”

    That’s one of the stupidest things I’ve ever read. No law can be changed because any new argument is subjective and therefore all new arguments are of the same weight.

    Leo, there may be strong arguments against polygamy being legalised. They’ll be put when someone actually makes a specific polygamy proposal we can evaluate. If they’re strong and persuasive, then that proposal will fail. If they’re not, then it will succeed – and it will deserve to succeed.

    The contrast with gay marriage is clear: there’s a specific proposal, and the only reason you raise polygamy is that you can’t find any strong arguments against gay marriage.

    It’s the old switcheroo – the only reason to mention polygamy is that people haven’t considered the subject in any detail (how could we, no-one’s seriously proposing it) and therefore we’re wary of it. But it doesn’t logically follow. And if you can’t grasp why by now, then I’m not sure else how to explain it to you.

    “You have not answered the question- I so pose it again – define “good reasons”.”

    Reasons of substance that stand up to scrutiny.

    Obviously that’s a subjective test, but what isn’t? The benefits of the status quo are subjective, too.

    I mean, seriously, if you’re arguing that you can’t have an argument about anything because all argument is subjective, then we’ve entered bizarro world.

    “In your mind! But not everyone, it might surprise you to know, will agree with you. And they might see your “justified” discrimination in the exact light you see the current act. YOU must therefore agree that THEY have a point and allow their argument to stand. After all. who are YOU to say who’s reasons are “good” and who’s are not.”

    Someone who wants to argue that discrimination against gay marriage is justified has to put that argument. And everyone is then free to judge that argument for themselves.

    The fact that you can’t identify a single argument against gay marriage on which you rely for your opposition is a fairly significant blow against your ability to persuuade anyone to your case. All you can do is slither around with distractions like polygamy, which don’t address the issue of gay marriage at all.

    “What about some of the problems that relate to polygamy also relate to gay marriage?”

    Then polygamy is irrelevant – those problems can be raised directly against gay marriage without mentioning polygamy at all.

    “Clearly there are in the minds of many, many , many people very “good” reasons not to revise the marriage act. Either to allow polygamy or gay marriage. You don’t like em.. We get that. But that don’t make em bad reasons.”

    What are these reasons? Every single one of them has a devastating counter.

    Eg Gays can’t have children? So what, children aren’t a prerequisite for heterosexual marriage, either.

    Gay marriage is new? Well, it’s actually functioning in several places in the world, but even if it wasn’t – so what? Everything has to be done for a first time. Giving women the vote had to happen a first time.

    Religion doesn’t like gay marriage? Well, big deal. Religion doesn’t like me not believing in Jesus Christ – that’s no reason for the government to force me to do so.

    I mean, seriously, what do the anti-equality brigade have? You can’t list anything. All the anti-gay arguments are empty, or stupid, or ridiculous.

    “That’s my point. If in the future we change the definition of a marriage from one only man and one only woman to allow for the perceived discrimination of gays, then why not in the future change it again to cater for the perceived discrimination against multiples or siblings?”

    If there are problems with multiples or siblings that we would then discuss when such a proposal was made.

    “Not withstanding that there are those in our society advocating polygamy anyway. Which you simply ignore.”

    Link me to such a proposal, and we can evaluate it here.

  49. “…there may be strong arguments against polygamy being legalised.”
    As there are against gay marriage in some eyes.

    But why do we need strong argument AGAINST it? Surely, as with Gay marriage, we need to see strong argument FOR it if it is to be changed.

    “They’ll be put when someone actually makes a specific polygamy proposal we can evaluate.”
    And amoung them may be, “You 39 senators voted and changed the law to allow gay marriage.”

    “…you can’t find any strong arguments against gay marriage.”
    Actually the senate can’t find any strong arguments for gay marriage. Which is why they won’t change it currently. And why when you have a rally to support it there were millions of people doing something else.

    “Reasons of substance that stand up to scrutiny.”
    By whom?

    “The benefits of the status quo are subjective, too.”
    And could be argued in the case of polygamy.

    “…if you’re arguing that you can’t have an argument about anything because all argument is subjective, then we’ve entered bizarro world.”
    No but you are arguing that there’s an absolute in this Jeremy. “No Good Reason” sounds pretty absolute to me.

    “…..everyone is then free to judge that argument for themselves.”
    Not according to you Jeremy. Because you condemn them as bigots, cowards and homophobes once they don’t agree with you.

    “…..you can’t identify a single argument against gay marriage on which you rely for your opposition is a fairly significant blow against your ability to persuuade anyone to your case. ”
    Again I don’t need to make that case. There are only 5 votes for the change Jeremy. Those 71 people voting no have made the arguments for me, or at least nobody has convinced the other 71 members of the senate that their vote should change. So I would contend that you can’t identify a single argument for gay marriage on which you rely for your support and that is a fairly significant, and real, blow against your ability to persuuade anyone to your case.

    “What are these reasons? Every single one of them has a devastating counter.”
    Clearly not in the minds of 71 members of the upper house. It would appear that the devastation is on the other side of the argument.

    Gays can’t have children? So what, children aren’t a prerequisite for heterosexual marriage, either.
    That’s hardly a devastating counter, but OK you win on that point, I will vote for all sterile and old gay people to be able to marry. You want equality. There it is. Marriage allows sor sterile and old hetros so it should allow for sterile and old gays too.
    Now that’s true devastation.

    “Everything has to be done for a first time. Giving women the vote had to happen a first time.”
    Ahhhh! So does polygamy Jeremy. But that’s irrelevent as i recall you saying. So what has female suffrage got to do with gay marriage? At least polygamy deals with the same act.

    “Religion doesn’t like me not believing in Jesus Christ .”
    Religion’s not relevent to this discussion either Jeremy. This is secular marriage we are discussing. That reason would apply to polygamy.

    “All the anti-gay arguments are empty, or stupid, or ridiculous.”
    All the pro-gay arguments are empty, or stupid, or ridiculous.
    Gee! Name calling really is easy.

    “If there are problems with multiples or siblings that we would then discuss when such a proposal was made.”
    I made those points earlier to Juan and they are the same for gays.
    I’m not nailed to this argument Jeremy, but you have to “devastate” it. And you haven’t laid more than a glancing blow on anything yet.

    Gay people can’t procreate and therefore need to “outsource” genetic material for procreation. If the source of that material is the community that they live in then the liklihood of genetic siblings mating in future, unknown to anyone, must be also greater.
    In effect a good rason for not allowing gays to marry is because we can’t adequately track their progeny as either mum or dad or neither, will be the parent of their children. Ergo if my father is a sperm donor and a gay couple in my city have a child by his sperm and that child grows to be a hetero male and I’m a hetro female and he’s my childhood sweetheart then I’m in love with my brother.
    Either we have to allow me to marry that brother or at some point break a couple of young kids hearts.
    How do we prevent that?

  50. ““…there may be strong arguments against polygamy being legalised.”
    As there are against gay marriage in some eyes.”

    What are these strong arguments? I’m yet to see any.

    “But why do we need strong argument AGAINST it? Surely, as with Gay marriage, we need to see strong argument FOR it if it is to be changed.”

    Not discriminating against people is an argument for both propositions: and, in the absence of any decent anti-gay arguments, that’s why that proposition should succeed. In the case of polygamy, there may be strong arguments against it, notwithstanding the general proposition of non-discrimination.

    ““They’ll be put when someone actually makes a specific polygamy proposal we can evaluate.”
    And amoung them may be, “You 39 senators voted and changed the law to allow gay marriage.””

    That’s not an argument at all. They’d just say, as I would, these are two different issues.

    ““…you can’t find any strong arguments against gay marriage.”
    Actually the senate can’t find any strong arguments for gay marriage. Which is why they won’t change it currently.”

    No it isn’t. The reason they won’t change it is politics. The line that they kept citing was “traditional marriage is one man and one woman”, which isn’t an argument at all. They think there are more bigot votes at stake than decent people votes.

    ” And why when you have a rally to support it there were millions of people doing something else.”

    No, there are always millions of people doing something else. Australians are notoriously apathetic – even about issues that directly affect them, which for most of us gay marriage does not.

    ““Reasons of substance that stand up to scrutiny.”
    By whom?”

    Any independent observer of the debate who might be persuaded either way.

    ““The benefits of the status quo are subjective, too.”
    And could be argued in the case of polygamy.”

    You’re yet to tell me what’s wrong with polygamy other than the problems I’ve already cited and which nobody has solved. Go on, persuade me.

    ““…..everyone is then free to judge that argument for themselves.”
    Not according to you Jeremy. Because you condemn them as bigots, cowards and homophobes once they don’t agree with you.”

    No, I judge them as bigots, cowards and homophobes when they act not from reason, but from prejudice.

    ““…..you can’t identify a single argument against gay marriage on which you rely for your opposition is a fairly significant blow against your ability to persuuade anyone to your case. ”
    Again I don’t need to make that case. There are only 5 votes for the change Jeremy. Those 71 people voting no have made the arguments for me, or at least nobody has convinced the other 71 members of the senate that their vote should change. So I would contend that you can’t identify a single argument for gay marriage on which you rely for your support and that is a fairly significant, and real, blow against your ability to persuuade anyone to your case.”

    That doesn’t make any sense at all.

    ““What are these reasons? Every single one of them has a devastating counter.”
    Clearly not in the minds of 71 members of the upper house. It would appear that the devastation is on the other side of the argument.”

    The 71 members who didn’t vote for the legislation did so for reasons other than the persuasive power of any anti-gay argument. You can tell this in the fact that the only one they could cite was their definition, which is no argument at all.

    “Gays can’t have children? So what, children aren’t a prerequisite for heterosexual marriage, either.
    That’s hardly a devastating counter, but OK you win on that point, I will vote for all sterile and old gay people to be able to marry. You want equality. There it is. Marriage allows sor sterile and old hetros so it should allow for sterile and old gays too.
    Now that’s true devastation.”

    Um, no. The anti-gay argument is that children are a fundamental part of marriage. The many, many childless marriages are a clear contradiction of this argument. Thus, that argument collapses.

    ““Everything has to be done for a first time. Giving women the vote had to happen a first time.”
    Ahhhh! So does polygamy Jeremy. But that’s irrelevent as i recall you saying. So what has female suffrage got to do with gay marriage? At least polygamy deals with the same act.”

    Yeah, the fact that polygamy would be happening for the first time (it wouldn’t, but anyway), wouldn’t be a strong argument against it. The point of raising female suffrage is to illustrate that “it’s not traditional” isn’t a strong argument against anything – it’s what they would’ve argued when humanity was considering leaving the caves.

    That doesn’t mean there’s nothing wrong with polygamy that wouldn’t be raised in any polygamy debate. Like the questions I’ve raised in the thread above.

    ““Religion doesn’t like me not believing in Jesus Christ .”
    Religion’s not relevent to this discussion either Jeremy. This is secular marriage we are discussing. That reason would apply to polygamy.”

    Jesus, Leo, you are spectacularly thick. I’m quoting and criticising the only arguments against gay marriage your side has put. I entirely agree that religion is irrelevant to secular marriage – that’s exactly my point!

    Above are three “arguments” against gay marriage. You’ve just demonstrated why all three fail. Do you have any others? If not, why shouldn’t gays be allowed to marry?

    ““All the anti-gay arguments are empty, or stupid, or ridiculous.”
    All the pro-gay arguments are empty, or stupid, or ridiculous.
    Gee! Name calling really is easy.”

    Equality and non-discrimination is “empty, stupid, or ridiculous”? Why?

    I didn’t just condemn those anti-gay arguments without argument – I responded to each of them.

    ““If there are problems with multiples or siblings that we would then discuss when such a proposal was made.”
    I made those points earlier to Juan and they are the same for gays.
    I’m not nailed to this argument Jeremy, but you have to “devastate” it. And you haven’t laid more than a glancing blow on anything yet.”

    What? What of your anti-gay arguments still stand? All you’ve got are tired old aphorisms that either are contradicted by the evidence – childless people marry now – or (appeal to tradition or defining the status quo as how it “is”) would simply be an argument against any progress whatsoever. Or (religion) you concede are irrelevant.

    “Gay people can’t procreate and therefore need to “outsource” genetic material for procreation. If the source of that material is the community that they live in then the liklihood of genetic siblings mating in future, unknown to anyone, must be also greater.
    In effect a good rason for not allowing gays to marry is because we can’t adequately track their progeny as either mum or dad or neither, will be the parent of their children. Ergo if my father is a sperm donor and a gay couple in my city have a child by his sperm and that child grows to be a hetero male and I’m a hetro female and he’s my childhood sweetheart then I’m in love with my brother.”

    That’s an argument against assisted reproductive technologies. It has no bearing on gay marriage, because there’s no evidence that married gay couples would be any more likely than any other registered form of gay couple to seek such technology.

    “Either we have to allow me to marry that brother or at some point break a couple of young kids hearts.
    How do we prevent that?”

    We maintain our ban on incest for the reason your describe.

  51. “What are these strong arguments? I’m yet to see any.”
    No you’re yet to see any as strong. It’s subjective remember. I said that they were strong in some eyes. Clearly I’m not talking about your’s. Are there any issues where you think that the opposite argument to your’s is a compelling one Jeremy?

    “Not discriminating against people is an argument for both propositions: ”
    Not a strong one. We acceptably discriminate against people all the time, so not discriminating is no reason to make any change.

    “That’s not an argument at all.”
    It is if discrimination is a reason to change the law. You can’t be in favour of discrimination on one hand and against it on the other.

    “…even about issues that directly affect them, which for most of us gay marriage does not.”
    Another strong reason not to change the law.

    “Any independent observer of the debate who might be persuaded either way.”
    Oh yeah! Like independant observers exist to this issue. LOL!

    “Go on, persuade me.”
    No. I don’t need to. The law stands. You need to persuade me to vote for those who will change it.

    “The 71 members who didn’t vote for the legislation did so for reasons other than the persuasive power of any anti-gay argument. ”
    Cite the documentation for that assertion.

    “The many, many childless marriages are a clear contradiction of this argument.”
    Most childless marriages are not by choice. Most are not realised at the time of marriage.
    Its no argued that they are fundamental to marriage anyway, mearly that the acceptance of them is.

    “Equality and non-discrimination is “empty, stupid, or ridiculous”? Why?”
    There’s no such thing as absolute equality and non discrimination. As i stated we accept certain levels of inequality and discrimination in every day life. Are our lives empty, stupid and ridiculous?

    “That’s an argument against assisted reproductive technologies. It has no bearing on gay marriage, because there’s no evidence that married gay couples would be any more likely than any other registered form of gay couple to seek such technology.”

    Ok now you are being silly.
    Gay couples, by their very nature are infertile.
    Their only recourses to procreate are IVF, surrogacy or infidelity. Or mixtures of all three.

    Once we make marrige between gay couples legal we are bound to allow them into IVF programs in greater numbers than we do now. (Another reason not to allow gay marriage).
    Or we have to accept that they will manage it by turkey basting, which we can’t keep track of, or infidelity. Are you suggesting that we sanction infidelity as an acceptible part of marriage?
    How do you know who the father or mother of the children of gay couple conceived in this manner are? How do I know my sweetheart with the two mommies isn’t my sister or brother?
    It becomes far more difficult than it is now. I agree that it’s still possible now, but far less so than if we open the market to a whole new classification of couples.
    I’m open to suggestions here Jeremy, but how do we overcome this without creating a second class of family who’s parentage we need to check before we begin relationships?
    Do we simply have some rule where we don’t allow people to marry unless we know for sure who their mum and day are?
    It’s an issue when we start to have massive numbers of married gay couples wanting access to procreation.

    And what about the children? They are condemned to grow up with at least one or probably both “parents” not being their biological ancesstors. How do you suggest we manage the miriad issues surrounding that?

  52. Polygamy actually does increase the liklihood of birth defect as it reduses the number of fathers in the gene pool. If a man has 6 wives then the offspring of those 6 women are all siblings and they all exist in the same community. The offspring of any 6 different women in a monogamous community are far more likely to also have 6 (or more) different fathers.

    Leo, think that through and you’ll notice that

    1, polygamy would allow also for one woman to have multiple husbands, hence statistically balancing the equation.

    2, the section within our population taking up this form of marriage would presumably be fairly small. If after taking point 1 into account there really should be more kids with the same father, seen in its proportion within the total Australian gene pool the issue becomes insignificant.

    3, when taking a cross section of Australian society, even though polygamy is officially not practiced and marriages are purely monogamous, it is common for men to have kids with multiple women. Sometimes a fling is enough, sometimes its one marriage after another, but still it happens. I have a daughter with my first wife, and now a son with my current partner. And I am not a polygamist. Monogamous only marriages don’t prevent that from happening.

    4, one man having six kids with the same woman produces a more narrow gene pool than one man mixing dna with six different women. Seen in that light, polygamy is actually to be encouraged.

    With Gay marriage there is a different, but more sinister issue. Gay people can’t procreate and therefore need to “outsource” genetic material for procreation. If the source of that material is the community that they live in then the liklihood of genetic siblings mating in future, unknown to anyone, must be also greater.

    You using the term ‘sinister’ indicates you share Tony Abbot’s phobia of same-sex people. Tragic, as it hints at other prejudiced views you might hold of your fellow humans, but as you point out correctly, that’s reality, we better get used to it.

    Re the actual point you raised.

    1, As Jeremy made clear, the status of marriage is a non-factor in assessing suitability for IVF.

    2, Married hetero couples also have kids through IVF, as in anonymous sperm donors, meaning that the scenario you painted of brother falling unbeknownst in love with his own sister, applies also to hetero couples and their IVF off-spring.

    3, Any idea how many men have children they have no idea exist? By the time many blokes reach 30 they would have had any number of one-night stands, possibly impregnating women and never knowing they did. No one knows the precise numbers but there most certainly are plenty of kids who don’t know who their real father is. Should they not be allowed to have sex as potentially the person they met in the pub is his or her half-brother or sister? The likelihood of that happening is so minute that society doesn’t worry about it.

    Accept it, society will not be any worse off by allowing same-sex marriage, quite the opposite, by shaking off another instituted discrimination between equal people it will advance in its evolution from the bigoted dark ages to a civilised and open-minded society.

  53. That doesn’t mean there’s nothing wrong with polygamy that wouldn’t be raised in any polygamy debate. Like the questions I’ve raised in the thread above.

    Jeremy, the questions you raised revolve around administrative matters like calculating centrelink payments and managing divorces, all issues that can be resolved. Look at family law at the moment, volumes and volumes of case law and rulings. Nobody argues that with all the complications monogamous marriages bring with them monogamous marriage should be abolished. Why then make the potential legal strings attached to polygamy an entry on the list of reasons against it?

    You always claim there is no proposal for polygamy, could you provide a link to the gay marriage proposal, just want to see what elements such a proposition contains, eg legal opinions on any aspects raised by critics, administrative or otherwise. Also, how many people would have to have the desire or secretly already be living in multi-spouse relationships before you acknowledge that it is an issue worth addressing?

    Polygamy is a separate issue. It may or may not follow gay marriage, depending on whether there are serious problems with it or not. It won’t “automatically” follow gay marriage, in the same way that gay marriage didn’t “automatically” follow marriage, but had to be considered on its own merits.

    I find it sad that gay marriage had to be considered separate from hetero marriage, it shouldn’t have since as you rightly state, its one and the same. And so are multi-spouse relationships. I would have thought that as victims of this lame “its not the same” argument themselves, gay marriage proponents would be more sensitive to the fact that by stamping polygamy as ‘separate’ issue they repeat the very mistake that caused them to be in the position they are in.

  54. So many words, Leo, to avoid making a single coherent argument in support of your opposition to marriage equality. I’m bored going round in circles with you.

    Juan – it’s the Marriage Equality Amendment Bill 2009. Knowing that it was a piece of legislation just put before parliament, were you seriously unable to find it on Google?

    And there’s no reason why gay people should wait for the issues with polygamy to be ironed out, if that’s even possible, before they get equality.

  55. Juan – it’s the Marriage Equality Amendment Bill 2009. Knowing that it was a piece of legislation just put before parliament, were you seriously unable to find it on Google?

    Hey man, I quoted from Senator Hanson-Young’s suggested bill in my first post in this thread. I had no idea though that this is what you consider a proposal for gay marriage, the short paragraphs contained in a private members bill. Well, here then is what the Green’s proposal should have looked like:

    The objects of this amendment act are:
    (a) to remove from the Marriage Act 1961 discrimination against people on the basis of their sex, sexuality or gender identity; and
    (b) to remove from the Marriage Act 1961 discrimination against people who prefer to live in multi-spouse relationships
    (c) to recognise that freedom of sexuality and gender identity are fundamental human rights; and
    (d) to promote acceptance and the celebration of diversity.

    There you go, a proposal for multi-spouse marriage. Can we now tick off your argument that there is nothing concrete to discuss?

    And there’s no reason why gay people should wait for the issues with polygamy to be ironed out, if that’s even possible, before they get equality.

    And why should polygamists have to wait with lodging a request for equal rights until gay people have achieved theirs? When proposing amendments to the marriage act to remove discrimination, why not take a more comprehensive approach and deal with all unfair aspects found in the act? As something tangible to work from, I propose that SECT 23B (1)(a) is removed.

    I don’t expect the gay community to wait with their push for equal rights until society is warming to the idea that polygamy is also just another form of human relationship with no compelling reasons against it. But whenever polygamy is raised by opponents to gay marriage, instead of dismissing it as irrelevant, the argument ‘that by allowing one we might as well allow the other’ should be taken as a valid point, and then muted by outlining that both types of marriage are no different to monogamous hetero marriages, its people who declare their love for each other and want to register their relationships, families.

  56. “There you go, a proposal for multi-spouse marriage. Can we now tick off your argument that there is nothing concrete to discuss?”

    I think there are some fundamental problems with that proposal, particularly in that it doesn’t in any way demonstrate how such relationships would be regulated and is immediately incompatible with all other legislation relating to married couples. At the very least, such a Bill would need to include amendments to all the other acts it directly affects – but you haven’t done that yet.

    Still, if you think that’s your proposal, then get a single MP to put it forward as a private member’s bill. And then there can be a public inquiry into it, as there was with the Greens’ amendment, and both sides can put their strongest arguments and it can be decided on that basis.

    Has that happened yet? No? Well, it’s not ready to be law then.

    “And why should polygamists have to wait with lodging a request for equal rights until gay people have achieved theirs?”

    First step for polygamists: form an organisation advocating for what you believe are your rights, and then put forward those arguments.

    “why not take a more comprehensive approach and deal with all unfair aspects found in the act? “

    Because it’s impractical to deal with everything all at once. Gay marriage has successfully navigated all the steps above – it’s ready to be passed as law. Polygamy hasn’t and isn’t.

    “But whenever polygamy is raised by opponents to gay marriage, instead of dismissing it as irrelevant, the argument ‘that by allowing one we might as well allow the other’ should be taken as a valid point, and then muted by outlining that both types of marriage are no different to monogamous hetero marriages, its people who declare their love for each other and want to register their relationships, families.”

    Insofar as the marriage equality opponents suggest that the argument for equality and fairness applies equally to polygamy as gay marriage, I do not disagree. I certainly don’t oppose polygamy on the basis of something as stupid as “marriage is between one man and one woman”.

    But there are problems with and arguments against polygamy that do not exist in the case of gay marriage, and that I have not seen in any way adequately addressed. Perhaps they will be – perhaps they won’t. Perhaps polygamy is workable; perhaps it isn’t. We won’t know until advocates stand up and make their case, and opponents stand up and make theirs. That hasn’t happened yet, and deliberately muddling the issue in with gay marriage is nothing more than a delaying tactic for the latter.

  57. Juan
    “polygamy would allow also for one woman to have multiple husbands, hence statistically balancing the equation.”
    In what universe is the such instance of polygamy?

    “the section within our population taking up this form of marriage would presumably be fairly small. ”
    Agreed. But it would be available to anyone and you need to take that into account. The result is still an increased liklihood.

    “If after taking point 1 into account there really should be more kids with the same father, seen in its proportion within the total Australian gene pool the issue becomes insignificant.”
    In reality the percentage of conflict resolved by homocide if tiny too. Murder is still illegal.

    “Monogamous only marriages don’t prevent that from happening.”
    No but in a monogamouse relationship they are far less likely. Infidelity is almost universally frowned upon in those kinds of relationships and procreation also generally actively avoided.

    “one man having six kids with the same woman produces a more narrow gene pool than one man mixing dna with six different women. Seen in that light, polygamy is actually to be encouraged.”
    No the argument is that we want a broad gene pool Juan not a narrow one. A narrow gene pool increases the liklihood of birth defect. But thanks for making my argument for me.

    “You using the term ‘sinister’ indicates you share Tony Abbot’s phobia of same-sex people.”
    No I meant it was sinister because it is hidden.

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