SCOTUS ruling

TheWind

New member
I'm not sure how someone having sexual threesomes would have anything to do with poly marriage...

From what I've seen on these forums, a lot of poly folk cohabit with more than one of their partners. Some have had commitment ceremonies with the partners they can't legally marry. They're already essentially living as married groupings; it just isn't legal, and as such has no protection under the law.

I've also seen--even just this past week or so--people on here posting about being threatened with losing kids, homes, and jobs, or even actually losing them, because of being in polyamorous arrangements. Legalizing poly marriage would hopefully eliminate this type of discrimination, assuming that the legalization of the marriage included, or a separate law was passed, the illegalization of discrimination based on living arrangements.

It's interesting to see people's take on this here; a similar discussion is going on in a writer's forum I belong to, where I and two others are trying to explain what polyamory actually is and that yes, there is a lot of discrimination, while the majority, who aren't poly, either struggle to comprehend or tell us we're lying about the discrimination...
Sexual, but poly 3somes. We also if polygamy had been on the table 10 years ago, would have taken a wife. And I had shared sexual relations with her boyfriend and my girlfriend. what if you had triads becoming polygamous and then merging with another triad or single person. Just boggles my mind how complicated this whole thing could be. I used to go with the concept of three people entering into a marriage. That is the simplest of the perturbations.
 

River

Active member
I used to go with the concept of three people entering into a marriage. That is the simplest of the perturbations.

This would not eliminate discrimination, of course. Some triads would be happy enough, but many quads would be left out. What would be the legal argument for any given number of spouses (spice)?

_______________________________________________

Here's a paper (PDF) on the jurisprudence topic:

http://www.law.uchicago.edu/files/files/58-monogamy.pdf
 

LizziE

New member
If ever government has to decide how many spouses to legally allow, beyond one per person, ... boy, that's gonna prove very challenging. As soon as the door opens -- if ever it will -- it will be very challenging to bring a rational jurisprudence to any limiting of numbers at all.

If they can't moderate how many kids a person can have, how could do they do it in marriage?

Also, how would you "count" the marriages? If it's a W-type situation, then three people are married to two people, and two are married to just one. So is it always counted per each individual person, or per the chain/various permutations?

This is also, in a way, another reason to change the healthcare system in this country. If a worker has 3 spice and 6 kids and they're all entitled to his/her insurance...that's going to be interesting.
 

KC43

New member
To me, the way poly marriage would make the most sense would be that regardless of the permutation (V, W, triad, quad, whatever), each existing spouse would have to sign a document agreeing to each subsequent marriage.

So for example, I'm legally married to Hubby now. To legally marry S2 under the way I'm trying to explain, not only would S2 and I have to sign the documents for a marriage contract, but Hubby would have to sign as well to indicate that he is aware the marriage is taking place and approves of it. Even though he and S2 have nothing to do with each other.
 

central

Member
I suspect that poly marriage is a long way off. SSM should have been an easy, quicker decision since it's an equal protection issue, really. No-one has a right of poly marriage now, so there is no discrimination going on.

A first step would be to eliminate laws restricting or penalizing more than two adults living together or having a relationship. Then, I think the many complications that would result from plural marriage need to be addressed, as there are huge financial, legal, and social issues that simply aren't addressed by current laws. Tax law is certainly one area. And if I married several women who had a much lower earnings history, eventually they would each get social security retirement benefits at half my rate. If enough people did that, it would quickly bankrupt the social security system. Some kind of changes would be needed to a vast number of Federal and state laws to avoid negative consequences.
 
This would not eliminate discrimination, of course. Some triads would be happy enough, but many quads would be left out. What would be the legal argument for any given number of spouses (spice)?

_______________________________________________

Here's a paper (PDF) on the jurisprudence topic:

http://www.law.uchicago.edu/files/files/58-monogamy.pdf

There are always outliers who'd be left out of this type of legal arrangement. At some point there needs to be a cut off or else entire towns would be marrying each other to be part of a single individual's great dental plan. :)
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
Re (from River):
"But at what number would the law draw the line, in terms of numbers of allowable spouses? What principle could be called upon for setting this upper limit?"

Consent. It's all about consent. If 700 women consent to becoming one man's wife, then it should be legal for them to do so. The trick is, how to differentiate between authentic consent, and, say, brainwashing.

Re (from LizziE):
"Maybe it'll become reality in the next 20 years?"

Hmmm, maybe ... though I wouldn't bet on it. I'm thinking more like in the next century. But I hope I'm wrong.

Re (from TheWind):
"I am good with two. I guess a billionaire could have a lot more. Alex Joseph had 38 or 39 at once. *Do* we deny them welfare?"

I take it you mean that the "non-married wives" receive welfare for being "single" mothers. Legalizing polygamous marriage would change that, or would some fundamentalist Mormons keep doing things the same old way?

As demonstrated in this thread, legalizing poly marriage would mean a great many changes to marital law in general. Three people getting married, for example, could not gain more per-person advantages than two people getting married.

Yeah ... might take longer than 100 years.
 

PinkPig

Well-known member
The whole thing could be fixed by eliminating all the current protections marriages have (including tax advantages and disadvantages.) Treat everyone as an individual. Allow individuals to marry whomever they want (and as many as they want). Treat the marriages under contract law. Allow people to make 'contracts' with as many people as they want... more like business partnerships where one partner can be in an infinite number of partnerships that may or may not be otherwise affiliated. Each partnership can have however many partners they want (and can add partners, buy out partners, etc.)

Let the couples decide who claims which children for tax purposes (there are already protections in place for things like EIC preventing a lower earning parent from claiming EIC if the higher earning parent is also eligible to claim the child.)

Sometimes throwing out existing outdated laws and starting fresh is easiest in my opinion.

As for the SCOTUS ruling - it's about damn time :)
 

JaneQSmythe

Well-known member
The whole thing could be fixed by eliminating all the current protections marriages have (including tax advantages and disadvantages.) Treat everyone as an individual. Allow individuals to marry whomever they want (and as many as they want). Treat the marriages under contract law. Allow people to make 'contracts' with as many people as they want... more like business partnerships where one partner can be in an infinite number of partnerships that may or may not be otherwise affiliated. Each partnership can have however many partners they want (and can add partners, buy out partners, etc.)

Let the couples decide who claims which children for tax purposes (there are already protections in place for things like EIC preventing a lower earning parent from claiming EIC if the higher earning parent is also eligible to claim the child.)

Sometimes throwing out existing outdated laws and starting fresh is easiest in my opinion.

Yup - get the government out of the marriage business all together. Let each "family" draw up whatever financial agreements they want under contract law. (Their are plenty of very complex business contracts - no one bats an eye.) Each kid is worth "x" deduction which can be taken by one person or divided amongst however many parents the contract specifies.

As for the SCOTUS ruling - it's about damn time :)

Agreed. If we can't get the government out of the marriage business entirely then this is the least we can do!:p
 

nycindie

Active member
Yeah, I agree that the government needs to stay out of the marriage issue altogether. I think the ruling has it backwards. Let whoever wants to form a civil union be able to do so, gay or straight, two, or three or twenty, as long as they are of legal age. If anyone wants marriage, let that be under the jurisdiction of church or temple, but it would be a religious ceremony and not a legal process.
 

tenK

New member
I think the only way to do it, from a legal standpoint given how much other legislation is implicitly or explicitly linked to marriage being about two people, is to actually undo all the existing governmental 'benefits' associated with a marriage as we know it now, and start again. I actually wouldn't be opposed to that, as I sort of feel like marriage creates a situation whereby partnered folk have more value and privilege in society than individuals, and that's not right. In the US in particular, where the real issue is health insurance benefits, I can absolutely see why companies would baulk at the prospect of supporting their one employee and their chosen poly family of 15 other adults and 10 other kids or whatever. Such a change would leave the system wide open for scamming. The only solution is to take away that whole side of the equation altogether. In other words, I think the battle for polyamorous marriages needs to focus on creating a sustainable society where each individual doesn't need to be financially supported by their partners at all. In a properly egalitarian state, there would be no issues with having as many partners as one would like, because each individual could support him/herself, and their offspring. At the end of the day, that's all the legal side of marriage is trying to facilitate.

I don't think it'll ever happen to be honest, and I'm not disappointed by that. But then my attitudes to marriage are completely pragmatic - marriage IS a civil union - it doesn't have any symbolic value to me beyond that, nor do I feel a religious pull in any way. To me, private declarations of commitment trump ceremony any day. When the UK got same-sex marriage I was pleased, but only really because with it came a simple legal mechanism to get two same sex parents names on a child's birth certificate. To me, that was a greater watershed moment, and finally gave me a right I felt had long been denied me. Access to a marriage ceremony? Not so interesting.
 

YouAreHere

Well-known member
I thought this was an interesting article on the subject:
http://www.polyamorousmisanthrope.com/2015/06/29/it-aint-about-love/

It certainly jives with my concerns re. multiple marriage. How do you define it? As multiple contracts between two people? As any number of contracts among potentially multiple people? How in hell does inheritance law work in such a situation? Property law? To me, many of the legal "shortcuts" a married couple gets wouldn't be able to be shortcutted here, and just gets me in my "grumpy old lady" mode wondering why government needs to be in the business of marriage to begin with. If they try to tackle the definition and management of this, it has the potential to turn into a bloated nightmare, not unlike tax law.

As for health insurance, I have no doubt they'll define it in a way that makes the most monetary sense. Maybe the choice of "individual," "individual plus children," "individual plus one," and "individual plus one plus children" plans - similar to what exists now, but without the "spouse" term to complicate things. Hell, that would leave someone open to putting their elderly parent on their insurance, which could be a fantastic thing.
 

TheWind

New member
It is not about love, it is about responsibility. If my wife and I die in a crash, does wife #2 have a responsibility to our children? is she entitled to my pension/assets? What if both wife #1 and #2 have children by me? In the wake of a tragedy, children still have a parent, siblings are not split up. That to me is what is important. I may be gone, but my family is still taken care of. But that would be my case. My daughter is 13, I have other children that are in their 30s and 40s and choose to not have contact with their sister. Guess who gets everything? The one wh loves her daddy unconditionally. I would like to see her 'family' preserved if we take another wife.
If something happens to just me, I would like wife #1 and #2 to be able to carry on, And as my wife has stipulated any woman coming into our relationship, I am to treat equality. That was a poly moment, when I could tell two women I love, that I love them, in front of each other. No jealousy, no dirty looks, no drama.
 

LizziE

New member
I believe that some insurance companies do actually have policies that allow a blood relative other than children or a spouse (parents, maybe siblings) to be included. I remember seeing something about that at a job I used to work at, when they went over the insurance options with me. There was definitely a "your elderly parent can be added" option, at the least. It stuck with me as unique, and a good thing.

I like Kevin's idea of the former spice all signing off on a new spice. That at least implies that they do KNOW their spouse is taking on another spouse, which seems like a good protection for the original ones.

And if the former spouse/spice won't sign...I'm not entirely sure what that would indicate, other than some kind of problem somewhere in the relationship.

I also agree with the idea of taking the marriage benefit away and completely redoing taxing in terms of marriage. Each adult SHOULD be able to self-support, OR, if they're doing a reciprocal support thing (I stay home with the kids, deliberately not having a paying job because childcare is my job), there should be a way to outline that.

When I was part of a polycule, and we were talking through how we'd handle child-reading (two couples definitely wanted kids. Me, Jon, and Lora didn't), we talked about things like how Rachel really did want to be a stay home mom AND had nanny experience with multiple young ones, so would be a good choice. We were going to have a sort of "monthly spending stipend" for her for money, so that she wouldn't have to ask Rob every time she wanted to purchase something. And also, the child-rearing she was doing deserved monetary recognition.

Jessica and George both wanted to continue working, but wanted Rachel to care for their child/children, so they would pay into that monthly spending stipend. Jessica and George also talked about how they might, at some point, want to take time off to stay with the kids, so there was discussion about the possibilities of Rachel going back to work a few years, if someone else switched to the primary care-giver.

Rob (Rachel's partner) works from home, so though Rachel would primarily take care of the kids while he worked, he'd be on hand for emergencies and for if she ever needed extra help.

In addition to all the planning we were doing, it would have been great to have legal protections for everybody too, ones that acknowledged the extended-family situation that we were creating.

Even though that polycule fell through, I do live in hope of another one some day, and the conversations that we all had will definitely serve me well in navigating that again in the future, if I get the chance.
 

PinkPig

Well-known member
Honestly, marital laws, inheritance laws, etc are already very complicated. This is why divorce is such big business. And, every state has different laws. Therefore, if you marry in one state , move to another & divorce there, your rights may be very different at the time of your divorce than at the time of your marriage.

Legal, plural marriage would be a nearly impossible nightmare given the current framework. If we threw that out, we could easily accommodate multiple spouses. Of course, I don't see that happening in my lifetime. We're too attached to our current structures, no matter how flawed they are.

As for medical insurance, that may end up being a moot point. Many plans now have limited or no spousal coverage. A fair number of the employers around here (large & small, national/international, & local), won't cover spouses if they have coverage available through their own employer. Some, such as my ex's previous and current employers, extend that to all dependents. A few won't cover spouses period now that most people have access to coverage through the exchange. According to the agents I've discussed this with, they're expecting this to eventually become the norm rather than the exception (at least in my area.)
 
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Argonaut

New member
Yeah, I agree that the government needs to stay out of the marriage issue altogether. I think the ruling has it backwards. Let whoever wants to form a civil union be able to do so, gay or straight, two, or three or twenty, as long as they are of legal age. If anyone wants marriage, let that be under the jurisdiction of church or temple, but it would be a religious ceremony and not a legal process.
Interesting. I see this totally other way round.

Marriage is only a juridical and economical contract that has to be supported somehow by the jurisdiction. This is to protect a "weaker" partner (and children) mostly in the end-of-union (divorce or death). Family is the smallest economical sell in the society and marriage is needed to protect it. That is government business.

Marriage has "nothing" to do with religion or love.
("nothing")=>
= Religion is needed only if some believer wants to have "a blessing" for his/her union.
= Love does not need formal marriage but of course it better to love your spouse :)
 
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InsaneMystic

New member
Yeah, I agree that the government needs to stay out of the marriage issue altogether. I think the ruling has it backwards. Let whoever wants to form a civil union be able to do so, gay or straight, two, or three or twenty, as long as they are of legal age. If anyone wants marriage, let that be under the jurisdiction of church or temple, but it would be a religious ceremony and not a legal process.
Glad to see someone else see it that way, too. I've been saying that exact same thing for years, and have repeatedly gotten both "conservatives" and "liberals" going at my throat for it. :rolleyes:

IMO, the ideal sitch would be:

marriage = purely religious ceremony, and as such under the sole jurisdiction of churches/religions. No legal benefits whatsoever, state has no say in the matter who gets access to this religious privilege.

C.U. = purely secular legal contract, and as such under the sole jurisdiction of the state. Tons of legal benefits, available to anyone who wants them (the sole criterion, IMO, should be living in a shared household together; literally everything else should be up to the individual people in a CU), religions get no say in the matter who has access to this universally available civil right.

From a secularist view (and boy am I ever a radical secularist), no other solution really makes sense to me... and as the SCOTUS ruling brings a big danger of making C.U.s disappear altogether in America, I find the ruling terrible, and needlessly conservative.
 

Argonaut

New member

marriage = purely religious ceremony, and as such under the sole jurisdiction of churches/religions. No legal benefits whatsoever, state has no say in the matter who gets access to this religious privilege.
Why give marriage to religions? In it's different forms (monogamy, polygamy or whatevergamy) it has been the basis of the juridical family in the society for thousands of years, with or without religion.


C.U. = purely secular legal contract, and as such under the sole jurisdiction of the state. Tons of legal benefits, available to anyone who wants them (the sole criterion, IMO, should be living in a shared household together; literally everything else should be up to the individual people in a CU), religions get no say in the matter who has access to this universally available civil right.

From a secularist view (and boy am I ever a radical secularist), no other solution really makes sense to me... and as the SCOTUS ruling brings a big danger of making C.U.s disappear altogether in America, I find the ruling terrible, and needlessly conservative.
C.U. = ?

Basically, I think, we have quite the same idea. I just do not understand why "reprogram" the old word and idea of marriage and as a sole criterion common household is not enough. There might some time some where be some other reasons for people to have common households.

Well, if this whole conversation is about how it is, or should be, only in the USA then I step down. (SCOTUS = Supreme Court of the United States??)
 

InsaneMystic

New member
Why give marriage to religions? In it's different forms (monogamy, polygamy or whatevergamy) it has been the basis of the juridical family in the society for thousands of years, with or without religion.
Because you simply cannot legally remove the religious meaning of the word. No state can deny that marriage is, e.g., a holy sacrament for Roman Catholics.

If you want a clear separation of the words used, it must be the state who gives up use of the word. Everything else would violate freedom of religion and separation of church and state, and could thus not be had in a secular state - with legislation, you can quite easily make marriage purely religious; but you can never make it purely secular (and a state must never be allowed to do so).


Civil union. :)


Basically, I think, we have quite the same idea. I just do not understand why "reprogram" the old word and idea of marriage and as a sole criterion common household is not enough. There might some time some where be some other reasons for people to have common households.
Shared household is enough of a criterion. Noone would force roommates to get a civil union if they don't want/need it. Just like noone forces a couple to get married under the current jurisdiction.

Every additional criterion would be no less discriminatory than denying gay couples the legal benefits of marriage has been until now.


Well, if this whole conversation is about how it is, or should be, only in the USA then I step down. (SCOTUS = Supreme Court of the United States??)
Yup. Which is the topic of this thread, the US Supreme Court's ruling on last week's Friday.

(Of course you can still have an opinion about that. After all, I'm not American, either. ;))
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
Re (from InsaneMystic):
"As the SCOTUS ruling brings a big danger of making CU's disappear altogether in America, I find the ruling *terrible,* and needlessly conservative."

Interesting perspective.

Re: starting over on marital law ... will definitely take more than 100 years.
 
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