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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sexual Ethics and Politics » Polygamy and marriage and hypocrisy and...

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Author Topic: Polygamy and marriage and hypocrisy and...
Dzuunmod
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So there's this guy (and his families are included in these photos) in Utah who went on trial a few days ago for polygamy.

The trial is happening, basically because Tom Green (no, not that Tom Green - though I wouldn't put it past him...) has five wives, 29 children, and he likes to preach this type of life to others. The state of Utah generally tolerates quiet polygamists, but not ones like Green who speak up about it.
You can read an article here about the prosecution resting its case.

Yesterday, the guy took the stand at his trial.

In one of the newspapers I read this week, there was a photo of four of his wives on the front page, and on the front page of the second section, there was a photo of Hugh Hefner (of Playboy fame) arriving in Cannes, France, with seven bunnies, who were his 'dates' for the festival.

About that little layout quirk, an astute letter-writer pointed out the utter hypocrisy of the situations, where one man is brought to trial for polygamy, while another is celebrated as suave for taking seven women on his arm.

Seriously, where does the government get off telling us who we can and can't marry?

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When you get off work tonight, meet me at the construction site, and we'll write some notes to tape to the heavy machines, like "We hope they treat you well. Hope you don't work too hard. We hope you get to be happy sometimes."
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lemming
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am I the only one who thinks this is political absurdity: the man is only married to one woman. these other women are not his legal wives. so how can he be prosecuted for polygamy?

on the other hand, a few of his wives he married as young as 11 and 13. *that* is child abuse. there is no way that these young women could give informed consent, and he should be prosecuted for that, certainly.

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BruinDan
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What I find most amusing is that Mr. Green claims that he has the right to marry numerous women as part of his religious beliefs as a Mormon. The Mormon Church, however, renounced polygamy in 1896. So it would seem that Mr. Green is about 105 years too late.

Good try, though.

[This message has been edited by BruinDan (edited 09-25-2002).]


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Gumdrop Girl
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well, the Mormon splinter groups still practice polygamy.

i definitely don't agree with the taking of wives when they're 11 and 13, or even 15. especially since those marriages are mostly arranged by fathers and seem to me more like cattle trading than marriages.

and the fact that he's got almost 30 children, how can he properly provide for them? i hate hearing about dead-beat parents.

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Bobolink
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Actually, he can't provide for all of them plus his children. Since only the first marriage is legal, his other 4 wives have applied for welfare as single moms. This guy has been working the system.

I think he can be charged with polygamy because he went through a form of marriage ceremoney with each woman.


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bettie
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From what I read they are trying to prove polygamy based on being married to one woman and living with all the others at the same time.

In theory I think families come in all sorts of packages, but with this one it is tricky because you would hope that someone wouldn't purposefully have children they could not afford to have. He wants to have 50! Even if he had never had any of his legal troubles he'd have to be quite rich to afford even a reasonable standard of living for such a large family, not including those members with special needs and costly medical bills.

I suppose it would be reasonable to prosecute them for welfare fraud.

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Aquamarine
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I read about this in Time magazine--from any article you read about the case, it's easy to tell that whatever verdict the jury reaches, it will be hotly contested. Should a jury decide how families (families that aren't experiencing legal problems, I mean) should be arranged? That's a tough question. I agree with bettie--in theory, I think that there are numerous healthy kinds of family arrangements. However, Green's way of raising children on illegal welfare money seems to be neither healthy nor practical to me. So the welfare scheme and the child abuse charge--marrying a girl of 11, or one of 13, is child abuse regardless of what religion one might ascribe to, correct?--might be pretty well supported in this case.

[This message has been edited by Aquamarine (edited 05-19-2001).]


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Dzuunmod
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Where is the illegality in the welfare part of this case?

As my partner pointed out to me, these moms aren't doing anything technically illegal. They technically aren't his wives (either as the result of a formal ceremony or common-law relations), so really, it seems to me that they're in the clear.

What they're doing might be unethical, and it might be morally wrong, but I don't see the breach of the law, in this part of the case at least.

And, I'd disagree with you, Bobo, that anyone who's got 29 children to support and is picking up perhpas five welfare checks is 'working the system', in the way that that phrase implies. Five welfare checks, as someone already pointed out, is hardly enough to support that many people, so it's not like he's really benefitting from this, probably.

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When you get off work tonight, meet me at the construction site, and we'll write some notes to tape to the heavy machines, like "We hope they treat you well. Hope you don't work too hard. We hope you get to be happy sometimes."
-the Weakerthans


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Dzuunmod
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Oh, and by the way, the guy was found guilty of bigamy (four counts) and failing to pay child support (one count).

Check it out.

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When you get off work tonight, meet me at the construction site, and we'll write some notes to tape to the heavy machines, like "We hope they treat you well. Hope you don't work too hard. We hope you get to be happy sometimes."
-the Weakerthans


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Etch
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Perhaps the parents of the 11 and 13 year old girls should be prosecuted for child neglect. Any parent who would allow a child that young to "marry" a man shouldnt be a parent at all.

I dont think there is anything wrong with non monogomous relationships as long as everyone involved understands the implications from the beginning. Those two younger girls could not have understood it when they were put in that situation.

But you are right if you say he hasnt commited polygomy because he didnt technically marry them all. Nothing is legal. And the women who filed for welfare also didnt do anything unheard of. Many single parents live with their significant otheer but are still considered single parents.

And didnt the mormans get rid of the polygamy thing simple to avoid persecution?


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Bobolink
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You would have to check this with an LDS member but I believe that their president had a "revelation" to ban polygamy as a condition of statehood for Utah.

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The most exciting phrase in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not "Eureka!" ("I found it!") but rather "Hmmm... that's funny...."

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Bobolink
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Just in case anyone has any illusions about polygamy as it is practiced, they should read this. http://www.salon.com/mwt/hot/1998/07/28hot.html

Also, consider the demographics. A man who takes 30 wives (yes 30 see the link), removes 29 women from the potential marriage pool for the males of the community. Polygamy is not only abusive to women, it concentrates the marriagable women as the exclusive property of the religious leaders. The men outside that charmed circle are out of luck.

Please note women are NOT allowed multiple husbands.

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The most exciting phrase in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not "Eureka!" ("I found it!") but rather "Hmmm... that's funny...."

- Isaac Asimov

[This message has been edited by Bobolink (edited 05-19-2001).]


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bettie
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Correction: I mixed up welfare fraud and child support in my mind. Ooops!

I thought they might have a case on that issue (which was what he was tried for and not welfare fraud -my error).

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Louise Lalonde
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And glad to just be me"
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Dzuunmod
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Bobo, sorry if I'm misunderstanding here, but it seems like part of your argument against polygamy is that women are being scooped up by these men by the bunches. Are you saying that the other men in these communities are hard done by, simply because under the circumstances, they lack potential partners?

Well, if that's what you're arguing I have to point out that women aren't here just to be married by us!

Also, just as women aren't allowed multiple husbands, men aren't, by law at least. I'm arguing that all of this is dumb - people should be totally free to marry whoever they want without any laws telling them so.

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When you get off work tonight, meet me at the construction site, and we'll write some notes to tape to the heavy machines, like "We hope they treat you well. Hope you don't work too hard. We hope you get to be happy sometimes."
-the Weakerthans


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Bobolink
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I just wanted to point out the difference between the theory of polygamy and how it is practiced. And also to point out that the aim of polygamists is to exert control over the men by reserving the women for the leadership.

To illustrate assume two groups, one male the other female, 100 individuals in each group. men are allowed to have up to 4 wives, women may only have 1 husband. Sex outside of marriage is forbidden. If 25 men each take four wives that leaves 75 men without female companionship and 125 married persons.

This is to illustrate that polygamy is a method of restricting wives to the chosen few.

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The most exciting phrase in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not "Eureka!" ("I found it!") but rather "Hmmm... that's funny...."

- Isaac Asimov


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Rizzo
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Hey Bobolink, I see what you're saying, but I have to agree with Dzuun, that it's not a very convincing argument. Certainly there is a a difference between the theory and practice of polygamy. And certainly, if men are the only ones allowed to take more than one partner (a rule I disagree with), then there will be less women for the men out there.

But so what? Are men really that dependent on women? Will their lives be miserable without us? Not everyone is heterosexual, and even heterosexuals might not choose "finding a wife/husband" as their main goal in life.

Really, I think the women are just as badly off as the men, when it comes to polygamy. Sure, less men get to marry. But all those women who "get" to marry are often treated like property and work their butts off caring for the household and children.

Finally, Tom Green doesn't appear to be one of a "chosen few". He does not seem particularly well off, and now he is viewed as a criminal. Is he really a threat to all those lonely men in Utah? Nothing is stopping them from choosing polyamorous lifestyles also (except, well, the law).


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BruinDan
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quote:
Originally posted by Rizzo:
But all those women who "get" to marry are often treated like property and work their butts off caring for the household and children.

I don't know if I would go that far. My mom ruled the household when I was growing up, and all of my friends who are married treat their wives like royalty. I am sure that some women are not treated too well, but I guarantee there are many men (and many homosexual domestic partners who are not allowed to marry) who are treated like property as well. It's not exclusively a male-female equation, and victimization isn't relegated to the female gender only.

[This message has been edited by BruinDan (edited 09-25-2002).]


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Rizzo
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BruinDan, I was referring to the practice of polygamy as it has been practiced in the recent past, in North America. Generaly, I think the reality of it is somewhat detrimental to women, but in theory, it could go either way, yes. In Tom Green's case it's hard to say-- several of his wives were married off very young, and they certainly have to work their butts off with 30 children. I was not trying to make a generalization about traditional monogamous marriage or common-law relationaships.
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BruinDan
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Yeah, I see where you're coming from. Having 30 children would certainly be a lot of work, even though in television interviews each of Tom Green's wives stated that they wanted to have that many children and felt "blessed" to have so many.

I personally find the concept of polygamy hard to swallow, but I can't put my finger on exactly why I feel that way. This being said, I find this case difficult because his current wives are all happy to be with him and do not mind sharing.

All I know is that for this boy, one woman is enough. I had a hard enough time handling one woman, I think my poor heart would give out if I had 5!

[This message has been edited by BruinDan (edited 09-25-2002).]


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Dzuunmod
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I read this in the paper. It's an argument that monogamy and democracy are linked. Somehow, I doubt that, but he still makes some interesting points. Actually, I think the whole damn column is rubbish, but it's an argument I've not seen before.

I suppose my main beef with his argument is that he doesn't seem to want to allow women (or, perhaps, men) to make choices about who they want to be with. Government out of our relationships now!
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When you get off work tonight, meet me at the construction site, and we'll write some notes to tape to the heavy machines, like "We hope they treat you well. Hope you don't work too hard. We hope you get to be happy sometimes."
-the Weakerthans

[This message has been edited by Dzuunmod (edited 05-23-2001).]


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LILITH_01
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I find polygamy in some religions absurd because men can get married 20 times but the woman must be faithful and cannot marry more than once
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Dzuunmod
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That's quite true, Lilith, but the women are agreeing to it, so I don't see any reason for it to be illegal.

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When you get off work tonight, meet me at the construction site, and we'll write some notes to tape to the heavy machines, like "We hope they treat you well. Hope you don't work too hard. We hope you get to be happy sometimes."
-the Weakerthans


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LILITH_01
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I wasnt saying it should be made illegal. I dont care about polygamy at all , It's a personal private decision, making it illegal would be invading the citizen's privacy. I dont agree with polygamy however.
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