Mathew Naismith


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Is polygamy wrong taking in consideration that we accept same sex marriages now?

G’day TED Freinds

I have seen so many couples break up because one or the other has fallen for another person but the married couple still love each other, I’m not talking about lust here either but love. I suppose jealousy plays a part here but should it?

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    Feb 6 2013: How do you see polygamy and same-sex marriage to be related or connected?
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      Feb 6 2013: G’day Fritzie

      The connection is if you allow same sex marriages how or would the authorities have the right to stop someone legally marrying more than one partner which would also go for same sex couples?

      • Feb 6 2013: If you allowed multiple female partners to a single male, multiple male partners to a single female or multiple males to multiple females I don't believe that the world will end, the family unit will wither and die and the sun will continue to rise (or appear to) in the east.

        I think my opinion is therefore "who cares".
        It will certainly give the lawyers lots of work in straightening out divorces and property settlements.

        The operative word here is "consenting". Many of the polygamy marriages now are based on religious orders where consent seems to be missing.
        For that, I have no patience and would not allow.
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    Feb 15 2013: Hello, I think that polygamy, s.s.m., or conventional marriage aren't wrong if they meet kind of rules:
    - Total agreement of the componet parts of marriage.
    - Total respect to all components of marriage.
    - Total equality to all components of marriage.
    ... and this must be rule about the heart or mind and legal contract of marriage.
  • Feb 14 2013: I have a primer on Polyamory here:

    on polygamy here:

    and a post written on jealousy too:


    When I see these romantic movies that involve relationships/families breaking me up because of our societal standard of enforced monogamy it makes me sad, since it does not have to be that way... at all. We are taught to be jealous, possessive, and territorial over our romantic partners, plus the myth of that one special person or relationship that will be a magical completion of our lives. This creates significant problems with our society and family because of unrealistic relationship expectations, like if we find that one special person a relationship will be no work at all - like magic.
  • Feb 13 2013: Look into polyamory (ethical and consensual non-monogamy) and privitizing marriage with customized marital contracts. Polygamy is such a loaded word that comes with a lot of assumptions that do not have to be true of all plural partner relationships.
  • Feb 8 2013: I remember the story I read in my Bible about Jacob/Israel I understand Rachael means ewe etc. So we have Goat's favorite son stole her husband's blessing He went to live with her relatives to get a wife He wanted a ewe but got a cow.
    Okay he had four wives ultimately, but really loved Rachael a.k.a. ewe Then the other kids didn't get along with his two favorites Joseph and Benjamin Want a problem name your favorite young boy son-at-the-right hand. Want a real problem have four(4) wives. Look at the tax problems,too.
  • Feb 7 2013: I had a Pakistani friend who had an uncle who had two wives. He said don't have two wives - They fight all the time.
  • Feb 6 2013: In my mind, "right" and "wrong" are directly related to harm.

    Polygamy is not wrong if no one is being harmed. Provided that all partners are willing, adult partners at all times, polygamy is a private matter among the partners. I do not think that I or anyone else should judge such people.

    Personally, I have imagined having multiple wives in my fantasies, but cannot imagine how it could work in reality. I strongly suspect that if we could figure out and master how to maintain our relationships that we would find one partner to be sufficient. It seems to me that multiple partners multiplies all the things that can go wrong with relationships. I know some people are happy in a polygamous relationship, but it is a mystery to me how they manage to do it. I am guessing that all of the partners must be very tolerant and forgiving.
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      Feb 10 2013: You're saying that so long as no one's personal autonomy is interrupted, nor that you are infringing upon someone in any way, then there is no harm. Are you a fan of JS Mill, Barry?

      These both reduce to the field of theology. Christianity is far more prevalent and a more difficult social institution to shake than Mormonism. Arguably the greatest harness on gay equality was religious opposition, and, derivates who hold that marriage is a, 'sacred tradition specific to the union of one male and one female.'

      Like gay marriage, polygamy is having trouble divorcing itself from its religion. Opponents to polygamy do not see social equality, but a taboo associated with extremist belief system--mormonism-- in the US. As I digress, for centuries, polygamy's practice has been barbaric in pre-modern cultures. We, as Americans, the alleged compass of reason and rightness, cannot at this time endorse such a globally unrefined familial organization.

      Once polygamy has reached the social frontier that gay equality did, it will never be "wrong." Polygamy has yet to mature as a lifestyle choice, and is rather still a theological taboo. Our society's moral and ethical systems have only begun to digest these issues, and increasingly in the realm of social debate.

      Your question is addressed to a mass of people, and based in the idea of love and jealousy rather than an ethical dilemma, so you are subject to everyone else's emotions, when really, an answer to your type of question does not come from debate, but from within. As you choose to follow the law, theology, personal autonomy, consequentialism, etc., you will rest upon an answer to a question that may not be ethically answerable, or at least, personally satisfactory.

  • Feb 15 2013: Here is an article on Polyamory from yesterday I found :
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    Feb 14 2013: G’day James

    Thanks for the links James, is polygamy worse than being married a number of times or having a mistress or two on the side but not only that having children as well within these relationships? The children suffer big time, fancy having half-brothers & sisters you don’t know about!!!.....Another problem here is the possibility of marrying your half brother or sister; you don’t have these problems within a polygamist relationship.

    Polygamist relationships have their own set of problems but they are no more or worse than in monogamist relationships.

    In monogamist based relationships you basically own your partner as they usually can’t do what makes themselves happy especially if that means the said partner falls for another, have we got the right to stop this plus if we really loved them wouldn’t their happiness come first? I didn’t buy my partner at a slave auction however if she’s going to take another partner I would like to know about it.

    I’m a carpenter/joiner & the stories I heard about other tradesmen having it off with married women it wasn’t funny, I didn’t do this myself as I found this not the right thing to do but I had numerous opportunities. There is something much more rampant, disturbing & destructive than polygamy it called adultery & it’s legal where’s polygamy isn’t, I don’t get it!!!!...One promotes dishonesty the other honesty, it’s funny we legalise dishonesty over honesty!!!!!!!

    • Feb 15 2013: With all of what you have said you have said it from the monogamist mindset, and the mindset on knowing only religious and patriarchal polygamy and the harms associated with it. Much of the harms present there are also present in monogamy too, if not more so since it is more prevalent. Within in those contexts much of what you said is correct, but once you pop into polyamory much of those issues do not really exist in partners and families that have really embraced its egalitarian and ethical nature. Spend some time reading about it so you can understand ethical plural partner relationships in polyamory. Two of the best books I have read on the topic are 'Polyamory Roadmaps' and 'Pagan Polyamory'. There is very, very, very little paganism in there. I was worried about that too.

      What matters in all cases is the quality of the relationships - openness, honesty, personal responsibility, and respect. Polygamy and cheating as you are talking about is generally not really consensual, nor ethical. When you engage in relationships based on domination, deception, and lack of choice, then yes much is going to go wrong and people are not going to be happy, that is just the nature of the beast - patriarchal polygamy and cheating. Having brothers and sisters you do not know about happen now within the confined constraints of monogamy, mostly brought on by monogamy being the only rather limited choice. If consensual plural partner relationships (polyamory) were accepted. There would be much less divorce and separated families -> less children who have long lost families since they will be more together.

      The key here is egalitarian, ethical, open and honest.
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    Feb 10 2013: I think marriage is a failed institution. As a social contract, I don't see why polygamy would be wrong as long as all parties in that contract agree. But wait a minute, you mean polygamy by women too, right?
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      Feb 10 2013: G’day Pabitra

      Yes this is including women as well in actual fact I discussed this with my wife taking on another partner as I would rather her take on a partner I know about than the one’s I don’t.

      There is a point here that we don’t own our partners & if we loved them like we should whatever makes them happy should also make us happy, polygamy is a good way to test how strong the love is within the relationship but I have a funny feeling most relationships would fail in this area but I could be wrong.

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        Feb 11 2013: There is a problem though. I mean it's not as easy as it may seem on the surface. Wills, distribution of property etc. are not insurmountable issues in a 'future/hypothetical' polygamist society - problem is heterosexual polygamy and same sex marriages differ in one area - the off-springs.
        We are also under an impression that children have no say in the whole matter of taking on another partner or as many partners as one likes. I think what children think in this matter has never been explored with sufficient care as we hardly cared if they have a right as a child, at all. Love also has a responsible side of it, and it is not practically possible to know if a child will prefer to be born in a relationship of multiple partnership.
        We just have not enough data on the mental and intellectual development of children of single parents or multiple parents to come to any conclusion. If love is the only basis of spousal relationship, and I will argue it is not, it cannot exclude the products of love, ie, children.
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          Feb 11 2013: G’day Pabitra

          There are huge dilemmas involved in such circumstances but of course polygamy has been practiced in other countries for centuries not without problems of course. I think modern day living would complicate a polygamist relationship somewhat.

          It has been pointed out by others that living in a monogamist relationship has it’s down sides as well as we can still have many partners & children by different partners through divorcing & remarrying. I think in this circumstance the kids are worse off than being born under a polygamist relationship I would presume.

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    Feb 8 2013: We ban polygamy, but we are serial monogamists. The results are that we do have more than one partner, we are just not married to them at the same time. Though in some cases we are unfaithful monogamists.
    Go figure.
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    Feb 7 2013: G’day Friends of TED

    In reading these replies we do seem to be in an agreement that it would be OK however as pointed out any divorce proceedings would be nightmarish, I’m surprised the legal constabulary hasn’t pushed for polygamist marriages to be made lawful in this case because boy wouldn’t they win out.

    There are a number of other implications as well like with wills, tax’s, social welfare & so on, however if works I suppose the nightmares are worth it. I could imagine what this would teach me if my wife took on another partner, tolerance, goodwill, devotion, sincerity & so on, I would be a totally different person than what I am now!!!

    I do agree with Gordon if women & men where forced or expected to enter into polygamist relationships through religious or other forms of ideologies against their will that this shouldn’t ever be accepted like it is in some other cultures in the world even today.

    I was brought up in a Christian community & if you mentioned polygamy you were put down & same sex marriages weren’t even discussed, I suppose we would have been burnt at the stake if we mentioned same sex marriages in my time growing up, isn’t it funny how tolerant & less conflictive we have become!!!

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    Feb 6 2013: Personally I dont why polygamy is an issue. Aslong as all parties agree to the situation and can leave if they choose to, then I don't see the problem (although the IRS will have a nightmare with marriage tax-reductions etc etc, but I think we can all live with them dreading opening their mail for once, ha ha).
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    Feb 6 2013: G’day Linda & Michael

    I’m not sure myself how I would handle another partner however I have discussed this with my wife, as I do of many things that enter my warped mind, & I said to her if I was going to lose her over someone else I would accept her having another partner however I too must get along with her other partner as well of course.

    I don’t suffer with jealousy too much so I suppose for me it would be accepted. I know of a bloke with two partners who are with him at the same time & I know of a few women with various partners as well of course these women are wrongly called sluts in my mind which is another discussion.

    Would these same authorities who allow same sex marriage have the right to jail you for polygamy? In Australia if something like this went to court the authorities would have a hard time of it because being prejudice in anyway is frowned upon in this country.

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    Feb 6 2013: It's a great question. A friend recently asked me, "Well, if you believe marriage can be between any two consenting adults, why not three or more consenting adults." I had to think on it for a while. Finally I responded that I thought, to be intellectually consistent, I'd have to agree that the operative phrase was "consenting adults," be it two or more. I may not personally think it's a great idea, but I am also one who believes consenting adults should be able to do what they want as long as they harm no one else.
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    Feb 6 2013: My mother had a saying, "One kitchen, one woman." I have noticed the same about garages. One garage, one man. Frankly, I put up with enough from one man, wouldn't want to have to deal with two. I certainly will not put up with another woman. So for me, it is not an option.

    But if there are people out there that can pull it off, have at it. But it had better be equitable. Women and men should be allowed to have as many marriage partners as they want no matter what their sexual orientation. Marriage is mostly a state institution that revolves around money. Imagine those divorce proceedings...

    You could have a woman who is married to two men who are not part of the same marriage who are married to other women or men and so on. Why bother?