Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Polygamy anyone?

As we broaden the traditional view of who can participate in a marriage, can legalized polygamy be on the horizon?

And you think divorces can be messy now!


Anonymous said...

Those wanting polygamy legalized have not thoroughly thought the ramifications of such an action. Below are the reasons why not to legalize polygamy/bigamy in America.

It would be impossible for those made victim by bigamists to bring the criminal to trial. Those who marry to con and defraud their victims could continue their crimes with impunity. The victims of these bigamists both male and female would have no legal recourse.
There are inherent human rights abuses in polygamy as it is practiced in America today.
a. The unending need for females for marriage and the small pool of willing participants from which to draw has led many polygamists to take part in incest, child marriages i.e. Elizabeth Smart, kidnapping, stepdaughter/father marriages, coerced marriages and trafficking or trading of teenaged girls. Most polygamous organizations grow their own victims, indoctrinate them from birth, home school or deny an education past the elementary years or both, and marry them at a young age. In order to spread the women around, the two major organizations the UEP and the FLDS trade women and their children among the men at the discretion of the all powerful leader.

b. Boy children are devalued in polygamous communities, denied or discouraged from receiving an education, worked as low paid often child labor, denied normal relationships with girls, and eventually many are forced out (except for the favored few) or leave in discouragement. The older males take the young females for their own wives. The young (better looking) males are driven off. It is more akin to the baboon social structure than human society as we know it. Without even a G.E.D. most are unable to join the military at 18 or go to college. They are often victimized on the streets.

c. The teaching in Mormon off-shoot polygamy is that if a woman abide not The Principle (polygamy) that she should be forever damned. Young girls denied or discouraged from receiving an education and taught that they must have sexual relations with a married man in order achieve salvation are victims of sexual abuse. The United States Code says that if you take part in sexual relations out of fear other than fear of physical harm or death that is sexual abuse. Other groups such as the so-called Christian polygamists also use the power of religion to coerce women into having relations with men with multiple sexual partners. Christ never advocated polygamy in fact he stated that “the two shall become one”.

A study of trafficking in Bangladesh by woman lawyers found one of the top ten reasons that women and girls are trafficked is for polygamy. Despite the fact a Supreme Court decision that taking girls over the border for polygamous marriage is a violation of the Mann Act, Cleveland vs. The United States, 1946, the very organization that decision was based on has continued to transport girls over state lines and into Canada and sometimes Mexico with impunity. The United States could easily become a center of polygamous trafficking for the Western, Middle Eastern, Southern Hemisphere, and the Far Eastern world if we declare bigamy and polygamy legal.
The United States receives requests from women for asylum to escape polygamy in other countries. At least one woman has been granted asylum in the United States to escape polygamy. The United States would no longer be a beacon of hope throughout the world for abused women but rather on par with those countries which are considered inferior from a human rights standpoint where women are concerned.
The United States is a signer on the International Human Rights Treaty which addresses coerced marriages, under-aged marriages and equality of relationships in marriage. When a man has many women as partners, there is no equality. Also the teachings of the polygamous groups in the American west is that only a man can achieve salvation from God, the woman has to achieve salvation through the man.
The civil rights of victims in American polygamous groups has long been violated as law enforcement has refused to protect victims from coerced marriages, under-aged marriages, trafficking to and from Canada and incest. Legalizing polygamy would be to the benefit of the wealthy leaders of polygamous organizations and to the detriment of the victims.
There are extremely wealthy and powerful interests and lobbies at work to legalize polygamy, for instance the Kingstons/Davis County Cooperative is estimated to have between $150 million and $15 billion, the FLDS/United Effort Plan is estimated to have $100 million. However, the victims are often penniless and even homeless if they escape these groups or are thrown out. The media often caters to the rich and powerful polygamous crime organizations and those who misrepresent polygamy on their behalf. One woman, Elizabeth Joseph, goes about speaking how polygamy is a woman’s choice, without ever mentioning that her husband married a nine year old girl. Hardly a woman. No one in the media ever questions that. Another man from the Kingstons speaks about how incest is their religious right, these groups can declare any crime their religious right and have. For instance non support of children they claim is a belief in self-sufficiency. Working children for no pay is a belief in volunteerism. These are the people the media caters to not the many victims who have no money, media access, or expensive attorneys behind them.
The marriageable age of girls depends on the state, for instance in Texas it is 14 with parental consent. Right now there are trials for middle-aged married men who had sex with girls of that age in polygamy. The marriages are often approved by the parents, the groom and the religious leader, she has no choice, parental permission would be a given and she would never have the right to bring charges against her abusers as the marriage of the child would be legal. In addition, step fathers often marry their daughters in polygamy while married to the mothers. It is easy to get parental permission when the groom and the parent are one and the same. The small amount of protection these girls have now, in which, married, polygamous men are held to the same standard of sexual abuse as other men would be lost.
If you legalize adult, married polygamous men having sexual relations with teenagers which is what would happen, then that would have to be true of all men. Discrimination in favor of polygamous men has long been occurring. For instance, one man in the FLDS found guilty of incestuous sexual abuse was sentenced to 3 days in jail, one man who impregnated his 16 year old stepdaughter was sentenced to 45 days in jail. For many years, the discrimination in polygamy has been against the victim and for the criminal. This would mean that all men could sexually abuse with no ramifications. Any man caught sexually abusing a teenager could claim to be a polygamist or claim religious discrimination if he did not have the same rights as polygamists.
What of girls forced into polygamy who don’t escape until they are in their twenties as is often the case, since they were an adult at the time they would have no legal recourse either civil or criminals for the crimes against them. What of young women in isolated communities forced into polygamy at 18-21? They would have no legal recourse. Even now one woman coerced into such a marriage at 20 could get no law enforcement to investigate. Legalization of polygamy will not end the abuses but compound them. Legalizing homicide would not end murders and legalizing abuse will not end abuse.
Decriminalization as is often suggested by polygamists is just a way for polygamists to engage in bigamy and father many children by their wives and still have the taxpayers support those children as children of unwed mothers as they are today. That is why many polygamists favor decriminalization over legalization because they can commit the crime and reap more benefits financially from the tax payer with no repercussions. Within certain groups nonsupport of children is a way of life. While the earnings of the father and/or mother go to the leaders of these groups children have worked for “brown money” i.e. food stamps or dumpster dived for food. Welfare checks have been turned over to leaders after being cashed.
The known polygamous groups function exactly as crime organizations and have been investigated or charged with hundreds of crimes such as incest of all kinds, father/daughter, uncle/niece, aunt/nephew (must older nephew), sister/brother, cousin/cousin, physical abuse, homicide (over 50 murders since 1970), bombings, child homicide, sexual abuse, rape, child labor violations, safety violations, fraud, selling stolen cars, gaming violations, transportation of a minor for sexual purposes, violations of the Mann Act, kidnapping, fraud involving purported mob money, insurance fraud, welfare fraud, stepfather/daughter marriage, nonsupport of children, witness tampering, threatening a judge, threatening an attorney, denial of basic education, and international trafficking of girls. The extort money from their followers for wives and for salvation. To support legalization of polygamy is to support the polygamous crime organizations of the American west.
Polygamy has been decriminalized for years. Kentucky has over 30 cases of bigamy charged each year; three times that of Utah in ten years. The only cases of polygamy/bigamy charges have come in conjunction with sexual abuse of minors, rape of a child and incest with a minor. So why are polygamists clamoring so for decriminalization or legalization when it is already decriminalized. It is not the polygamy they are concerned about, if polygamy is legal then girls from 14 to 18 depending on the state can legally be made sexual partners to older married men with many sexual partners with no ramifications whatsoever. It is the abuse they want legalized not polygamy.


Kendall said...

Is polygamy , in and of itself, the crime here? I agree that polygamy as it is now practiced in this country brings with it many criminal and abusive behaviors. Is that an inherent problem with multiple married partners or is it more a problem brought on by the idea that in marriage females are subservient to males? By listing all the crimes associated with polygamy you very ably show that the real problem is laws and enforcement of laws having to do with those specific crimes. Sensible minimum ages for marriage should be enacted. If a person is insufficiently mature to legally drink until age 21 perhaps the law should be the same for marriage. Marriage should at least pass the consenting-adult test in both aspects.

Human trafficking is a real problem that needs to be addressed with laws and enforcement that have real teeth. The same goes for coercion into relationships of non-consenting non-adults.

Outlawing polygamy because people do bad things with it would be like outlawing accounting because some people cook their books. Or even outlawing monogamous marriages because they can also be abusive.

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