As a former tour-guide at Mormon historic sites, I have encountered more than one fundamentalist Mormon family in which the strutting husband seems to regard his flock of servile wives like glorified property. We’re not wrong to want to discourage this. Moreover, those remote compounds in which exile fundamentalist communities brainwash their girls and discard their surplus boys are intolerable horrors. But this is all the more reason to bring polygamy out from the margins of our society. As with sex work, the horrors here have little to do with anything inherent in the practice and almost everything to do with the fact that we’ve made it illegal and dishonourable.

. . . Conservatives have worried that same-sex marriage would somehow entail the ruination of the family as the foundation of society, but we have seen only the flowering of family values among same-sex households, the domestication of the gays. Whatever our fears about polyamorous marriage, I suspect we’ll find them similarly ill-founded. For one thing, what could be more family-friendly than four moms and six dads?


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