Sound Choices Coalition

Thank you to Kristyn Decker, Author of Fifty Years in Polygamy and Founder of Sound Choices Coalition for providing this information.

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Why Not Polygamy?

No practice that results in such ill effects should be a “right” under the US Constitution.

“The harms flowing from polygamy are too evident to ignore and too serious to allow to occur under the guise of fundamental rights.” (Lawyer, Thomas Buck.)

“Good” polygamy versus “bad” polygamy? Canada’s ruling on polygamy found that “The harms associated with the practice are endemic; they are inherent.” This means that the harms of polygamy are not just the result of abusive individuals. Social, physical, or emotional harms are inevitable where polygamy exists.

Consenting adults? Many adult women enter polygamy under psychological and emotional pressure, believing that their eternal souls are in danger of destruction if they refuse to participate. Women from fundamentalist, Muslim, and other backgrounds face cultural pressures to conform to this practice.

Child marriage. With the decriminalization of polygamy in Utah, together with current child marriage laws, a polygamist man cohabiting with multiple women but with no legal spouse, may legally marry a child as young as 15 as long as her parents give their consent. This essentially means that polygamist parents may sign over their little girls to much older men.

Equal rights. Polygamy violates a woman’s right to equality and emotional health. Polygamy is “anathema to women’s economic, social and emotional well-being.” (Dr. Shoshona Grossbard.)

Women as a commodity. Polygamist males frequently seek to control the lives of females, who become commodities to be trafficked and traded between families and communities.

Is the polygamy issue “just like gay marriage?” Gay marriage and polygamy are vastly different in their effects. We do not see the same abuses in monogamous, same-sex relationships. Gay marriages potentially offer equal power sharing and a stable unit that is not constantly changing with the addition of new partners.

Disrupted family stability. In polygamy, men compete for women while attempting to maintain multiple relationships. This forces women to compete for love, attention, and resources. It also restricts time available for parenting and diminishes the economic resources needed for children’s well being. Living in a family where the dynamics may change at any time as the father adds multiple partners, creates insecurity for children and family instability.

Increased sexual abuse. Holding out HELP (a Utah-based nonprofit) reports that at least 75% of its clients leaving polygamy are victims of sexual abuse (of which incest forms a part). Illegal underage sexual relations occur more frequently because competition for females drives down the age for “marriage.”

Legislating morality? The US has always “legislated morality” independent of any religious rationale. Murder, rape, theft, etc., are illegal because they are morally wrong—i.e., they cause significant harms to individuals and society. The same applies to polygamy. Its results extend far beyond the bedroom.

Polygamy, an antisocial and unsustainable practice. With a global 1:1 ratio of men to women, polygamy permits some men exclusive rights to multiple women, while denying other men a partner. One example of this antisocial behavior is the “Lost Boys” phenomenon. In nations where the gender ratio has been disrupted, sexual violence follows. (See India, where selective abortion of females means some men cannot find a partner.)

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Can you simply prosecute the “other abuses?” associated with polygamy?

One claim being made is that polygamy should be legal because there are “enough other laws in place to prosecute abuses.”

We challenge that false premise.

How do you prosecute for the inherently abusive situation that allows some men to “collect” multiple women, thus leading to other men having no partner? This is inevitable with a one-to-one male to female ratio in the world. We all know the terrible price that the “lost boys” have paid when older, dominant males have done this in polygamous communities.

How do you prosecute for the risky behaviors indulged in by the young men who are marginalized in this way?

How do you prosecute for the fact that the age of “marriage” is forced downwards in polygamous communities, because there are never enough females in a generation to supply the needs of polygamous males, so that they have to look to younger and younger women to supply their demands? Even if underage girls are not enlisted, child marriages under the age of 18 have associated risks.

How do you prosecute for the depression that women experience, because they are put in competition for the affections of their “husband?”

How do you prosecute for the poverty that is so often the price paid by families in polygamy?

How do you prosecute for children denied a strong relationship with their fathers, because those fathers’ time and resources are spread so thin?

When we say that polygamy is an unsustainable and anti-social practice, we are talking about the consequences of living that way–for its participants and for society.

For more information read A Cruel Arithmetic – Inside the Case Against Polygamy, by Craig Jones

The Above Information Written and Provided by Sound Choices Coaltion
Posted only by Maggie Rayner

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