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After MarriageRethinking Marital Relationships$
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Elizabeth Brake

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190205072

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190205072.001.0001

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Liberty and Polygamy

Liberty and Polygamy

Chapter:
(p.125) 6 Liberty and Polygamy
Source:
After Marriage
Author(s):

Peter de Marneffe

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190205072.003.0007

Laws that prohibit polygamous cohabitation violate the rights of individuals to sexual freedom. Polygamous cohabitation should therefore be decriminalized. It does not follow that polygamy should be legalized, or that it should be possible to be legally married to more than one person at a time. Moreover, it is not arbitrary for the government to recognize monogamous marriage and not polygamous marriage as a legal status. This is because, given the available evidence, it is reasonable to believe that monogamous families provide a better environment for raising children than polygamous families do. The government would also not violate a valid principle of state neutrality if it were to recognize monogamous marriage as a legal status and not polygamy on the assumption that exclusive life partnerships of two people have distinctive value and that monogamous marriage as a legal status promotes these partnerships in a way that legalized polygamy would not.

Keywords:   polygamy, sexual freedom, individual rights, Mormon polygamy, FLDS, state neutrality, liberalism

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