What is the nature of anti-polygamy laws?

Discussion in 'Law and Justice System' started by manifold, Apr 23, 2008.

  1. manifold
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    manifold Diamond Member

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    Is the practice of polygamy really illegal, or is it simply that you cannot have more than one legally recognized spouse?

    For example, if a guy keeps a harem of women and sires children with all of them, but is never legally married to more than one, is that against the law?

    If so, why?
     
  2. AllieBaba
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    AllieBaba BANNED

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    No, it's not against the law. Because people in this country have the freedom to live any lifestyle they choose, provided they aren't infringing upon the rights of others in doing so.

    I think it IS required to have birth certificates, however. THat's where the FLDS folks will end up getting into trouble, I think. Though it's still not something which would ordinarily result in the removal of children.

    http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/columnist/2004-10-03-turley_x.htm
    The difference between a polygamist and the follower of an "alternative lifestyle" is often religion. In addition to protecting privacy, the Constitution is supposed to protect the free exercise of religion unless the religious practice injures a third party or causes some public danger.

    However, in its 1878 opinion in Reynolds vs. United States, the court refused to recognize polygamy as a legitimate religious practice, dismissing it in racist and anti-Mormon terms as "almost exclusively a feature of the life of Asiatic and African people." In later decisions, the court declared polygamy to be "a blot on our civilization" and compared it to human sacrifice and "a return to barbarism." Most tellingly, the court found that the practice is "contrary to the spirit of Christianity and of the civilization which Christianity has produced in the Western World."

    Contrary to the court's statements, the practice of polygamy is actually one of the common threads between Christians, Jews and Muslims.....

    While the justifications have changed over the years, the most common argument today in favor of a criminal ban is that underage girls have been coerced into polygamist marriages. There are indeed such cases. However, banning polygamy is no more a solution to child abuse than banning marriage would be a solution to spousal abuse. The country has laws to punish pedophiles and there is no religious exception to those laws...
    While the justifications have changed over the years, the most common argument today in favor of a criminal ban is that underage girls have been coerced into polygamist marriages. There are indeed such cases. However, banning polygamy is no more a solution to child abuse than banning marriage would be a solution to spousal abuse. The country has laws to punish pedophiles and there is no religious exception to those laws.

    Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington Law School.

    And how old does a girl have to be to get married with her parents' consent in Texas? I don't think it's very old.
     
  3. Ravi
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    Ravi Diamond Member

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    I read somewhere the other day that the reason it is illegal is because it is committing a fraud against the state.

    You can marry one and then have as many others in the house as you please.
     
  4. Dogger
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    Dogger Active Member

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    Different states have different laws. What you have described would be a crime in Texas and Utah, and maybe other states.

    Utah defines Bigamy as "A person is guilty of bigamy when, knowing he has a husband or wife or knowing the other person has a husband or wife, the person purports to marry another person or cohabits with another person." They also have a law that prohibits Fornication: "Any unmarried person who shall voluntarily engage in sexual intercourse with another is guilty of fornication."

    The Bigamy law is similar in Texas, where Bigamy is defined as follows:

    An individual commits an offense if:

    (1) he is legally married and he:
    (A) purports to marry or does marry a person other than his spouse in this state, or any other state or foreign country, under circumstances that would, but for the actor's prior marriage, constitute a marriage; or
    (B) lives with a person other than his spouse in this state under the appearance of being married; or​
    (2) he knows that a married person other than his spouse is married and he:
    (A) purports to marry or does marry that person in this state, or any other state or foreign country, under circumstances that would, but for the person's prior marriage, constitute a marriage; or
    (B) lives with that person in this state under the appearance of being married.​
     
  5. Adam's Apple
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    Adam's Apple Senior Member

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  6. Dogger
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    Dogger Active Member

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    Huh? Read this part of your article - "All 50 states have statutes against bigamy (multiple licensed marriages). In most states, bigamy is a felony."

    What state do you live in? Denial? [​IMG]
     
  7. RetiredGySgt
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    RetiredGySgt Platinum Member

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    polygomy is not bigamy. You sure you are a lawyer?
     
  8. Dogger
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    Polygamy is the same as bigamy in the penal code. Reference the Texas and Utah statutes I posted above. They cover what is commonly understood as polygamy under the crime of bigamy.

    Please explain how you think bigamy differs from polygamy, and I will be happy to tell you why you are wrong. Again.
     
  9. RetiredGySgt
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    RetiredGySgt Platinum Member

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    There is no law against cohabitation with as many women as a man choses to do so. No law against out of marriage child birth. So long as a man does not seek State sanction on more than one marriage he is free to live with whom ever he pleases in any number he pleases and have sex with and support as many people as he is able and willing to do so.
     
  10. Dogger
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    I don't expect you to be bright enough to find these things for yourself, but when I direct your attention to the Texas and Utah statutes I've posted, you really ought to read them before weighing in.

    Both statutes will punish the conduct you desribed in your last sentence. Read them. Slowly. Move your lips if you need.
     

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