Polygamy Becomes Legal in Holland (sort of)
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Jeanine Ring - 10/3/2005
Oops... to Sudha Shenoy... apologies for the mispelling. I'm writing from a public internet terminal and rather rushed for time.
Jeanine Ring - 10/3/2005
I think this is wonderful!!
Here in the Free Republic of San Francisco, I've known people living in committed plural relationships, quite happily... and in other set-ups that make polygamy look unremarkable. I completely agree with Sudra that social change comes first; legal recognition of individual rights later. Legal liberalization is only the symptom and result of the social liberation from which Liberty springs- and social tolerance of dissidence is often more pratically important than legal recognition.
Sudha Shenoy - 10/3/2005
It's the other way about: people's practices change first, _then_ common law has to take this into account because disputes are taken to courts to be settled. 'Govt' -- legislation -- _then_ interferes. So the real issue is getting political legislatures _out_. 'Privatisation' cocedes the tyrant's view: it's all his doing. -- Australian courts have long since adjusted common law rules to recognise 'de facto' relationships -- they are treated as routine (granted, only heterosexual ones.)
Jason Kuznicki - 10/2/2005
I agree it's not a foregone conclusion. I also think that if western governments don't find a way to disentangle the rights that civil marriage offers from the religious idea of marriage, then things like this are inevitably going to cause conflict.
(Of course, to my mind another equitable solution would be to extend residency rights and the other civil benefits of marriage to married partners of all genders. I know that this is controversial, and I know that most libertarians would just privatize the whole thing and be done with it. Yet I'm not entirely convinced that it can or should be done. The decision to make a family is a private one, but it's also a decision that ought to be recognized in how government extends rights to individuals. It would be wrong for our protective agency to hinder us in making families as we see fit, and to that end, it seems it should still recognize marriage in some form. I find this line of thought particularly important considering how those who would just "privatize marriage" have seemingly not given any serious thought to how they would accomplish the quite complicated public policy task they propose.)
Jonathan Dresner - 10/2/2005
I disagree, only in the sense that "the world" is a big place. There are really two trends, opposites: one, epitomized (but not monopolized) by Islamic states, is towards increasingly legalistic and restrictive definitions of marriage and family. The other, the one we like to talk about as the future, is the trend towards broader definitions and greater personal freedom in arranging private affairs.
Now, it may be that the former trend is typical of increasingly organized societies, and is really the same thing as the "phase" through which the West went in the 19th and early 20th centuries, as family laws were codified and social "policy" became an issue. In which case, it's possible to argue that "history repeats itself" and those currently restrictive states will eventually "loosen up" but it's not, to my mind, a foregone conclusion.
David T. Beito - 10/1/2005
I think that you are right. These trends are overpowering.
Jason Kuznicki - 10/1/2005
As I recall it does not.
And if gay marriage does not convince the world that separating government from marriage is ultimately the way to go, then certainly epsiodes like these will do the trick.
Jonathan Dresner - 10/1/2005
...if the civil union law in Vermont has this loophole?
Aeon J. Skoble - 9/30/2005
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