I have a new piece up on the Blowfish Blog, about the Texas polygamy case. At first I didn't think I was going to write about it, since I didn't think I had anything original to say about it. (Pretty much what I had to say about it was, "Oh, my god, that is so awful.") But then someone asked me what I thought of the question of legalizing multiple marriage -- in general, as well as in light of the polygamy cults -- and I decided to write this piece. It's called, somewhat unimaginatively, Multiple Marriage and the Texas Polygamy Case, and here's the teaser:
One of the main objections to legalizing multiple marriage is that, in the world as it is today, multiple marriages tend to be abusive. Groovy polyamorous triads aren't the norm, the argument goes. The norm for multiple marriage, in this country and around the world, is coercive and abusive religious cults that effectively imprison women and children. And if we don't have laws against multiple marriage, these abusive cults will be legitimized, and there will no protection for their victims.
I’m not sure whether that's true or not. I don't know if anyone has ever done a good, careful study on the frequency of multiple relationships, either in this country or around the world, to see if the coerced cult variety really does outnumber the consensual free-adult variety. If there has been such a study, I haven't seen it.
But here's the point I want to make.
When the Texas polygamy compound got raided and arrests were made, nobody was charged with bigamy.
The charges so far have all been related to child abuse. And the case seems to be largely in the hands of Child Protective Services.
So how does the illegality of multiple marriage help the victims of these situations?
To read more, read the rest of the piece. Enjoy!