In Legalize Polygamy: Marriage Equality for All, Jillian Keenan argues in favor of striking down laws banning polygamy in this country. She has some solid points, though I’m disappointed at the lack of acknowledgement of multi-partner families with different structures, i.e. polyandry.
If we were to legalize multiple-partner marriages of any kind, I would see it as a step backward rather than forward to isolate such rights to husbands with multiple wives. Despite this (admittedly rather large) oversight, her perspective is worth a quick read. Here’s a sample:
Legalizing consensual adult polygamy wouldn’t legalize rape or child abuse. In fact, it would make those crimes easier to combat.
Right now, all polygamous families, including the healthy, responsible ones, are driven into hiding (notwithstanding the openly polygamous Brown family on TLC’s Sister Wives, that is). In the resulting isolation, crime and abuse can flourish unimpeded. Children in polygamous communities are taught to fear the police and are not likely to report an abusive neighbor if they suspect their own parents might be caught up in a subsequent criminal investigation. In a United States with legalized polygamy, responsible plural families could emerge from the shadows—making it easier for authorities to zero in on the criminals who remain there.