The Polygamist's Daughter

Stories, Reflections and Conclusions of Life on the Inside


Equality for Women

The Polygamist lifestyle began at a time when women were owned and collected as little more than livestock. Women were used for bartering between men who were building their kingdoms with some kings owning hundreds of women. The marriage contract existed as a business document showing legal trade of stock ownership and for union between families and estates. Women were simply pawns in this process. The marriage contract only recently became associated with so-called morality with the ownership of people being justified by religion for centuries.

Polygamy is a classic case of spiritual abuse. We must stop the allowing atrocities against humanity being justified by religion. During the Civil War we fought to eliminate the twin relics of slavery and polygamy, both of which were justified by religion. Both were recognized as barbaric and inhumane and as a result of the fight toward freedom, both became illegal. America evolved into a new era that gave rise to greater equality for all. Sadly many of us have forgotten that the move away from polygamy was a move toward equality for women.

Over the centuries women have fought and died in numerous attempts to establish respect and equality with the male members of society. It has been a long and painful road as we become closer to achieving the equality that all people deserve. After hundreds of years battling to have our voices heard there is still the underlying belief that women are less valuable than men. That belief still permeates society as a whole. We see this in the way some men treat women and it the way some women treat themselves. We see this in women who are afraid to ask for a raise at work, or afraid to ask for time off. We see it in the girls that intentionally get pregnant hoping that someone will take care of them. We see this in women who are afraid to ask for money or help from their husbands. We still unconsciously believe that women do not deserve equal pay, equal respect and equal treatment.  

Many people have bought into the belief that polygamy is necessary. Some are sold on the fundamentalist belief that women cannot go to heaven without a man to take them there, and that women cannot survive this life or the next without servitude to a man. There are some men who still believe that women need to be taken care of because they are incapable of taking care of themselves. And there are women who choose to give up their equality and subject themselves to sharing their husband. Rather than asking their husband and partner for the help they deserve they bring other women into their marriage.  They choose to give up their equality and a balanced partnership for a relationship that requires submission and surrender.

Most polygamist relationships set the man up as the leader of the family with all women as subservient. I have seen this firsthand as the daughter of a polygamist and my personal experience with other polygamist households. Women’s opinions hold little value, even collectively, because the husband’s desires always supersede. In essence a polygamist family is not unlike a dictatorship which in itself is fundamentalist. With men at the head of the household polygamy further propagates the belief that women are not of equal worth and value.

The legalization of polygamy defeats any accomplishment that centuries of women have worked so hard to establish. If a woman chooses to enter a self-deprecating relationship, that is her choice, but we cannot legally reward this choice.  We cannot legally reward any man’s barbaric insistence that he is superior to the women.  We cannot legally award anyone who furthers the belief that women do not deserve a relationship based on balance, mutual respect and equality.

1 Comment

Legalizing Polygamy

The logistics of legalizing polygamy are far more complicated and far reaching than same-sex marriage. A marriage contract is written into between two partners as a binding business contract, although many fail to recognize the validity of the contract until they are faced with divorce. In a marriage contract in the United States the assets and liabilities of the partnership are shared equally unless amended with prenuptial or postnuptial agreements. One partnership must be settled and the division of assets agreed upon before each party is available to enter into a new contract with a new partner.  In the case of polygamy the marriage contract becomes much more convoluted and difficult to maintain the equality among all members. The contract will need to be redefined and amended each time a member joins the marriage or leaves the marriage with each partner willing to submit a portion of the assets and liabilities to the other members of the corporation so to speak. Does the husband maintain 50% for himself while his wives divvy up the remaining portion amongst themselves? Where is the equality and balance in that? Polygamy is more than just love and sex; it is a contract that affects the quality of life for every member involved. Before we jump on legalizing it we must consider the short term and long term effects on not only the families and society but the redefinition of the marriage contract.


Teen Brides

I am very concerned with the teenage brides that these fundamentalist cultures have been known to breed. I believe it is time for a reconsideration of what marriage is as a whole and our approach to its legality. As humans have begun to live longer and we are individually maturing emotionally at a slower rate. One hundred years ago it was appropriate for marriage at the age of eighteen (or in the case of some states like Montana, sixteen). However, I know from my own personal experience that I did not have the emotional or logical maturity at eighteen to make a lifetime bonding contract or understand the potential repercussions of breaking a contract.

My hypothesis is to allow unions between consenting adults over the age of twenty-one regardless of sexual preference or even number of partners. Marriage by clergy will no longer be recognized by government as a legal union. Marriage needs to  be recognized as a legal binding contract with written contractual obligations. The document should state all expectations and obligations in writing for both parties and stipulate the conditions of any breach of contract. As far as I am aware, marriage is the only agreement that doesn’t spell out what it in it for both parties, yet when it is breached or nullified the parties are held to substantial ramifications. I believe that people would be far less likely to jump into marriage if they were fully aware of what they were jumping into. Should we increase the marriage age to twenty-one that would hopefully allow many would be teen brides to mature to an age where they are able to logically make decisions for themselves. Sex with a minor crime would increase to twenty-one as well (granted this won’t stop teenagers from doing what they do, but that is not the issue at hand). This move to change the legal marrying age to twenty-one would need to become nationwide. Yes it will take some adjustment, but we all eventually accepted the drinking law when it changed to twenty-one.