At the drug store yesterday I noticed the cover of People Magazine mentioning “Sister Wives”.  Because I had no idea that TLC had turned yet another unconventional family into a circus sideshow and because of how the headline was written, I had wrongly assumed some guy had married four sisters.  My thought, “That is one brave man.”

It took a Google search to clarify everything for me.  The guy in question is Kody Brown and he just married his fourth wife and TLC had their cameras there.  First, it makes me sick that TLC likes turning unconventional families into circus sideshows.  Case in point, Jon and Kate make 8 and 19 Kids and Counting.  Now we have Sister Wives.  I am also disappointed in these families as well for allowing their families to be reality entertainment for the rest of the world.  The justifications that the families make of just wanting to “promote understanding” doesn’t fly with me.  There is money to be had doing these TV shows and I think that is the motivation any of these families need.  After all, raising a large family is expensive.

So, Kody Brown is now under investigation for bigamy.  I am confused.  Very very confused.  Much like homosexuals, polygamists are discriminated against because of their sexuality and/or religion.  There are a number of people, who aren’t married, who are in what amounts to polygamist relationships.  I think the preferred term is “plural relationship”.  Many people are perfectly happy in these kinds of relationships and they have consented to be in them.  Personally, I don’t think I am the sort of person who would be happy in this kind of relationship.  Everyone thinks of a polyamory as being between two girls and one guy.  When I say that I don’t think I am the kids of person that could be in this kind of relationship I am not only looking at it from that perspective but also as a two guy one girl relationship.  Just because it’s not for me doesn’t mean that it doesn’t work for other people.  As long as everyone is happy, I don’t see a problem.

Honestly, I can see how these kind of relationships happen and work.  I can understand how someone can love more than one person.   One person can’t be everything to someone.  Every one of our friends fills a different spot in our lives.  Think about it, everyone has friends they go to when they have a problem and other friends you go to when you want to have a good time.  It just has to do with peoples personalities and their life experiences.     How many times have you heard someone try and pick between two people they are dating because things are getting serious and they *have* to choose.   Said person lists all the things they like about Date #1 and Date #2 and why they should pick that person and they expect their friends to help them choose.  A plural relationship just means that they don’t have to pick and everyone involved is okay with that.

Things get complicated when marriage is introduced.  Ask the Mormons.  Their religious belief is that they can have, and are expected, to have more than one wife.  After all, in Biblical times it was common.

The passing of the Morrill Anti-Bigamy Act on July 8, 1862 by President Abraham Lincoln made polygamous marriages illegal.  It was enacted to stop property dominance at the time of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  It was amended in the Edmund’s Act of 1882   This act made polygamy a felony and revoked polygamists rights to vote.  In fact, under this law you didn’t even have to be involved in a polygamist marriage, you just had to say that you believed in them to be convinced.  Under the Edmund’s Act, no one even had to prove that these marriages existed because the law also made “unlawful cohabitation”, whatever that was, illegal.  Polygamy was often compared to slavery at the time.  A later amendment to this in 1887 disincoperated the Church of Latter Day Saints, meaning the government no longer has to recognize said church.

In short form, the anti-polygamy laws were made because someone didn’t agree with it.  It raises questions about the constitutionality of the laws because The Constitution allows for freedom of religion and religious practices.  Since the 1887 amendment to the Edmund’s Act no one has made any further changes to the law.  This means that The Constitution really means freedom of religion as long as you aren’t a polygamist.  The irony of when the law was enacted people looked the other way when a man had an affair outside his marriage and fathered children to someone other than his wife.   In fact, it was common practice for men to have mistresses and concubines at the time.   To this day there is no punishable crime if someone has an affair or if a man has a child with someone other than the person he is married to.  It’s just illegal if he wants to marry both women and both women agree to it.

What I am taking away from this is that it’s okay to cheat on your spouse, causing that person great emotional and mental pain but it’s not okay to have more than one partner if all parties are in agreement.

Am I the only one who doesn’t understand this?

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