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Today, however, simply living together doesn’t amount to being "married"
December 16, 2013 10:17 AM   Subscribe

On Friday, federal court judge Judge Clark Waddoups issued a ruling stating that parts of Utah’s polygamy laws, including the statute that criminalizes cohabitation, is unconstitutional.

NYTimes: The challenge to the law was brought by Kody Brown, who, along with his four wives and 17 children, stars in “Sister Wives,” the reality television show. The family argued that the state’s prohibition on cohabitation violated its rights to privacy and religious freedom. The Browns are members of the Apostolic United Brethren Church, a fundamentalist offshoot of the Mormon Church, which gave up polygamy around 1890 as Utah was seeking statehood.

Salt Lake Tribune: The problem, Decker said, is that polygamy fosters abuse, particularly against women and children. Decker said she saw the abuse first-hand during her years in the AUB and now continues to talk to scores of women who are too afraid to go public with their experiences. People who see polygamy as a matter of choice between consenting adults — and who equate the issue with gay marriage — miss that point.

Commentary Magazine: But by saying that the Utah law violated the plaintiffs’ right to free exercise of religion guaranteed by the First Amendment as well as infringing on their right to privacy—the legal principle that served to take down state laws prohibiting contraception and homosexuality—Waddoups has merely taken the next logical step toward legalized polygamy that will, sooner or later, allow polygamists the same rights as other married people.

Fox13Now reports that Utah may appeal.
posted by roomthreeseventeen (153 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

 
i completely understand (and agree) that (generally religiously motivated) polygamous relationships can foster abuse - but it's my opinion that it's because the family unit is a secret. abuse grows in big dark secrets. if children grow up feeling like if they honestly answer "who is your mommy and daddy" that their entire family will be torn asunder, they're going to be less likely to say "daddy frank snuck in my room" or "mama june makes me kneel on rice when i'm bad." you don't help the abused by criminalizing the relationships, you give their abusers more cover for the story that you have to lie to people about what happens in the home.

also, can we just say how fucked up the cohabitation law is? it's casting a far wider net than just polygamous families. i don't know how you ban the kind of polygamy that's being discussed here anyway - they aren't asking for legal rights of partnership, they're asking for the right to live with the people they chose and make whatever non-legally binding agreements between them that they see fit. they aren't seeking multiple marriage licenses or monetary spousal benefits.
posted by nadawi at 10:27 AM on December 16, 2013 [53 favorites]


Just gonna leave a link to a certain MeTa thread and wonder when the migration begins.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:27 AM on December 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


I really don't see how you can justify banning polygamy whilst allowing other less traditional forms of marriage, such as gay marriage. Either adults have free agency to form their own relationships, or they don't. And yes, I believe that fundamentalist Mormon communities probably do foster sexism and abuse, but so do traditional marriages in many parts of the world, but banning marriage is not something that would be considered a reasonable abuse prevention procedure in those places, even by western standards. We need to admit that the reason polygamy is illegal is not because of abuse concerns, but because we think it's weird and gross, just like gay marriage until recently.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 10:28 AM on December 16, 2013 [20 favorites]


I agree with Turly.

The government should have zero say on who you decide to marry.
posted by cjorgensen at 10:28 AM on December 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


I thought the fact that it was a Speech issue was particularly interesting to me, non-lawyer. I understand a bit of WHY it's free speech, but still seems so counter-intuitive at first.
posted by Carillon at 10:30 AM on December 16, 2013


We need to admit that the reason polygamy is illegal is not because of abuse concerns, but because we think it's weird and gross, just like gay marriage until recently.

Well, one of the only reasons why everyone is clamoring for marriage rights is for the health insurance and tax benefits. Which is incredibly depressing, actually.
posted by Melismata at 10:30 AM on December 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


So from the SLT link:
The problem, Decker said, is that polygamy fosters abuse, particularly against women and children. Decker said she saw the abuse first-hand during her years in the AUB and now continues to talk to scores of women who are too afraid to go public with their experiences. People who see polygamy as a matter of choice between consenting adults — and who equate the issue with gay marriage — miss that point.

"It’s not about choice," she argued. "It’s about coercion."

Decker said women in polygamous communities are coerced by being told that their salvation depends on defending "the principle," a fundamentalist term for plural marriage. Dissenters face retaliation, as well as expulsion from their families and social circles, Decker said.
Considering that many polygamous families are, necessarily, concealing their status as such in order to remain families, how do you make an explicit link between "the concept of polygamy" and "rampant abuse" when your entire sample comes from people stepping forward because of abuse? Honestly, that entire scenario sounds like there should be more oversight of religious institutions like the AUB rather than social ones like the general concept of 'marriage'.
posted by griphus at 10:31 AM on December 16, 2013 [9 favorites]


Marriage as recognized by the state is largely a financial matter, and it makes practical sense to me that it should be limited to two individuals. Otherwise you might end up with entire towns getting married for the associated financial benefits.

There's clearly no such justification for limiting cohabitation. It's a basic human right.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 10:32 AM on December 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


i also want to say that i've known quite a few non-religious polygamous families and i've always noticed an abundance of love for their family and any children involved. there might be break ups or dramas - but you can't pretend that's a poly family issue. most of us have a story about our parent's divorce and how it fucked us up. i think people tend to compare "alternative families" to the greeting card ideal of a "normal family" instead of realizing that human relationships are complicated and no one is doing the exact right thing all the time.
posted by nadawi at 10:34 AM on December 16, 2013 [17 favorites]


tylerkaraszewski: I don't find polygamy weird and gross at all, aside from the fact that it is done involving young/underage women who have next to zero choice in the matter and that, yes, that fosters abuse. That is the issue here.

Aside from that, yes, people should marry who they want to. If that choice can be considered consensual. Which it generally can't be the way it is currently practiced. That might be itself a reason to legalize it so that the state can exercise more control over it, but I doubt that will actually solve anything (i.e. the people who are taking about bunch of child wives aren't likely to start multiple-marrying adults simply because polygamy is now allowed, but rather just keep secretly marrying underage women because the social pressure from an isolationist fundamentalist religious group is going to be stronger than any legal pressure from state-recognized marriage would be anyway.)
posted by Navelgazer at 10:35 AM on December 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also, I have to say that Sister Wives is probably the most wholesome show I have seen on television. I understand wholly that it is a reality show and, therefore, does not reflect reality, but unless there's some sort of hideous abuse going on in there, I can't really see the circumstances under which a family dynamic like that should be criminalized. I don't agree with the choices they make for their lives, but I also have zero desire to see them prosecuted.
posted by griphus at 10:35 AM on December 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


Here is a non-Scribd link to the ruling: Case No. 2:11-cv-0652-CW (PDF, from Pacer).

Also, analysis from Volokh Conspiracy:
Utah’s anti-bigamy ordinance has a normal provision, and an unusual provision: “A person is guilty of bigamy when, knowing he has a husband or wife or knowing the other person has a husband or wife, the person purports to marry another person or cohabits with another person.” Utah Code Ann. § 76-7-101(1) (2013).

Judge Waddoups upholds the first part, about marrying a second person, as a straightforward application of Reynolds. If X has a marriage license to A, then X can’t obtain a marriage license to B. If X tricks a county clerk into issuing him a marriage license for B, then X are guilty of bigamy. This is the same in Utah as everywhere else in the United States. Thus, the State of Utah has no obligation to treat X+A+B as all being married. The plaintiffs in Brown sought no legal recognition for plural marriage.

Rather, the case involved the unique part of the Utah statute, which defined “bigamy” to also include when X “cohabits with another person.” This criminalizes quite a lot of conduct which, these days, is pretty common. [...]

By policy, Utah rarely prosecutes persons who cohabitate for religious reasons, but Utah does reserve the discretion to do so when it wants. The Court finds a 14th Amendment Due Process violation here, based on a application of Lawrence v. Texas (states cannot criminalize oral or anal sex between consenting adults), the rational basis test, and other modern 14th Amendment doctrine. [...]

It is important to remember Brown v. Burnham in no way establishes a constitutional right to plural marriage. Nor does the Brown decision challenge ordinary state laws against adultery. Rather, the decision simply strikes down an unique state law which defined cohabitation as “bigamy.”
Religious polygamy as practiced in ultraconservative circles is creepy as fuck, but on first blush the ruling doesn't seem at all unreasonable. Utah was using an overly broad law in order to selectively prosecute certain individuals' (admittedly creepy) conduct, and the combination of the overbreadth and selective use is definitely problematic.
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:39 AM on December 16, 2013 [16 favorites]


Otherwise you might end up with entire towns getting married for the associated financial benefits.

I have seen first-hand (well, technically second-hand but I was sitting there in the office) the sort of scrutiny the USCIS puts on marriages between U.S. citizens and non-citizens. It's basically a relationship audit. Why not just throw in there if "spouses > 1" then you have to prove to a similar standard of evidence that the relationship is legitimate and not strictly for financial (or any other sort of) gain.
posted by griphus at 10:39 AM on December 16, 2013 [7 favorites]


Navelgazer - marrying very young women is not unique to polygamy, especially among very religious groups. as a conservative mormon i had reached old maid status by 24. most of my female cousins were working on their second and third children by then. the reason to legalize isn't to get the child bride marrying jerks to stop, it's to open up the entire thing so it's a lot easier to see the ones who are hiding for fucked up reasons.
posted by nadawi at 10:40 AM on December 16, 2013 [14 favorites]


There are some great parts of the decision, including citation to some of the most interesting scholars of Mormon history and culture.

But what I'm most happy to see is a federal court decision with a table of contents!
posted by The World Famous at 10:40 AM on December 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


I think Utah's money will be firmly placed on its mouth once you have a suit involving a woman who wants multiple husbands.
posted by tafetta, darling! at 10:42 AM on December 16, 2013 [5 favorites]


nadawi: thanks for the info.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:42 AM on December 16, 2013


oh, and none of my cousins married child bride marrying jerks - they seem mostly nice except for the one who shows up to family gatherings with a gun. just that a younger marrying age is something seen outside of polygamous families too.
posted by nadawi at 10:43 AM on December 16, 2013


Otherwise you might end up with entire towns getting married for the associated financial benefits.

That's a reason to fix benefit discrimination, the health system, and tax policy, not to ban what consenting adults choose.
posted by spaltavian at 10:44 AM on December 16, 2013 [18 favorites]


I think Utah's money will be firmly placed on its mouth once you have a suit involving a woman who wants multiple husbands.

As long as this decision is on the books and is not overturned or replaced by some new statute attempting a ban, I'm not sure why any woman in Utah would need to bring such a suit, since her arrangement with multiple husbands would not be illegal.
posted by The World Famous at 10:45 AM on December 16, 2013


Saying polygamy is inherently linked to child brides is like saying gay marriage will lead to man-turtle marriage.
posted by spaltavian at 10:45 AM on December 16, 2013 [13 favorites]


Why not just throw in there if "spouses > 1" then you have to prove to a similar standard of evidence that the relationship is legitimate and not strictly for financial (or any other sort of) gain.

I'm not sure what you are proposing (if I understand it) is nearly as simple as you make it out to be. This decision is about whether a group of people can act as if they are married without receiving official government recognition, and I think it's good that they can. To actually extend government recognition (with its costs and benefits) is a much thornier issue. I mean, just to take an incredibly simple example, if two women are married to one man and medical decisions need to be made about the man, who decides? It seems like a massively more complex problem than extending current marriage laws to gay couples.
posted by dsfan at 10:46 AM on December 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


Saying polygamy is inherently linked to child brides is like saying gay marriage will lead to man-turtle marriage.

What? I thought once gay people got marriage I thought I'd soon be able to marry Michelle!
posted by Talez at 10:48 AM on December 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


Saying polygamy is inherently linked to child brides is like saying gay marriage will lead to man-turtle marriage.

I don't think that's true. I think that marriages in the Mormon/LDS church DO tend to have very young brides (depending on how you define child.) There has never been a man-turtle marriage.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:48 AM on December 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


spaltavian - agreed. except, more like gays can't be faithful than turtle marriage- acting like that's a gay problem instead of a people problem. same with child brides or familial abuse or tax/benefit fraud. all polygamous families aren't guilty of that and many one man/one woman families are.
posted by nadawi at 10:49 AM on December 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


Laws allowing actual polygamy would have to be structured in a unique way; you couldn't just make a simple change to existing marriage laws, like you can with gay marriage.

If there are multiple spouses and children, do you take non-biological parents into account? Presumably the child bonds with/is raised by a non-bio parent at least some of the time. How does divorce work? Is there an upper limit on how many can be married at a time? Does a woman plus two husbands mean the husbands are married to each other as well as to her? When divorce happens, how does property get divided?

It will be very profitable for lawyers, if it ever comes about.

And if we want to fight abusive underage marriages, a simple way is to raise the legal age for marriage to at least 18 (I'm personally ok with making it 21) and enforcing that law along with domestic violence laws, in a serious way. We have the tools to fight abuse and also have legal polygamy, if we want to.
posted by emjaybee at 10:49 AM on December 16, 2013 [13 favorites]


I don't care how many people want to live together or have sex together. Men and women should be free to have as many partners as they want and to live and children with whoever they want. Our laws need to address responsibilities to the children and between the parents, though. Legal recognition of only monogamy is one way to keep the lines of responsibility straight, to prevent abuse of marital privilege, and to minimize inevitable conflict in parental and property rights.
posted by Mental Wimp at 10:50 AM on December 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


the mormon/lds church (the main church, the one ruled from salt lake - not discussing the offshoots) hasn't practiced polygamy in a very long time and yet their marriage ages are still low. other conservative religions who have never had a history of polygamy also have lower than average marriage ages. the mormons aren't marrying young in this day and age because of polygamy and it's pretty ridiculous to suggest it.
posted by nadawi at 10:51 AM on December 16, 2013 [9 favorites]


Thank you Kadin2048. It sounds like the actual statute in question is a bad law that, among other things, could criminalize cohabitation by people during separation or divorce.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 10:52 AM on December 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


I agree that probably the best solution is to get rid of the legal concept of marriage, but that might take a few centuries. For the moment there are practical difficulties in extending marriage benefits to multiple spicespouses.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 10:53 AM on December 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


Legal recognition of only monogamy is one way to keep the lines of responsibility straight and to prevent abuse of marital privilege and to minimize inevitable conflict in parental and property rights.

Administrative convenience is not a compelling argument when the other side of the issue is human rights.

I don't think that's true. I think that marriages in the Mormon/LDS church DO tend to have very young brides (depending on how you define child.)

Well, the major Mormon church banned the practice some time ago, so you're drawing a conclusion based upon a minority of a minority in very specific circumstances.
posted by spaltavian at 10:54 AM on December 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


I really don't see how you can justify banning polygamy whilst allowing other less traditional forms of marriage, such as gay marriage.

The two aren't really comparable. If we're talking about marriage as a legal entity, marriage is more or less unchanged by allowing same-sex couples to marry. Some forms would need to be altered, sure, but that's about it. Other than that, in a legal sense there aren't any differences between a same-sex marriage and a hetero one (excluding places where it's banned, but that's not relevant here). You swap pronouns or make them irrelevant and you're done.

Whereas multiple marriage, again in a legal sense, would require a ground-up overhaul of the entire process. I'm not saying it can't be done, just that there are too many unknowns that would need to be hammered out and society can't really flip from where we are now to issuing group marriage licenses without putting in a lot of work. And I get the sense that the interest in doing so is limited enough that it's unlikely to happen anytime soon.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 10:55 AM on December 16, 2013 [5 favorites]


i completely understand (and agree) that (generally religiously motivated) polygamous relationships can foster abuse - but it's my opinion that it's because the family unit is a secret

It's mine that polygyny -- which is what's in question here, not some heinlein-style group marriage where everyone's like totally equal -- is universally a large cog in various machines for the oppression of women. And that it needs to die at least as thorough a death as chattel slavery.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:55 AM on December 16, 2013 [10 favorites]


I'm not sure what you are proposing (if I understand it) is nearly as simple as you make it out to be

I was just countering the idea that you could easily defraud for financial a hypothetical marriage system that includes polygamy (or any other sort of plural marriage.) We already have laws and procedure on the books for making sure a relationship is legitimate to a certain standard of evidence.
posted by griphus at 10:55 AM on December 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


I worry that this might be another step on the road to feudalism, where the rich will have everything and the poor will have nothing. I fear poor economic and health care policies may compel poor women to seek out marriages to affluent men with large numbers of wives out of necessity, while poor men will simply be discarded.
posted by Mitrovarr at 10:56 AM on December 16, 2013


Administrative convenience is not a compelling argument when the other side of the issue is human rights.

True, but I don't see what human right is in opposition here. Everyone is free to marry someone who isn't already married.

And I noted not just administrative convenience. There are actual conflicts of marital rights that would arise; medical care decisions, for example.
posted by Mental Wimp at 10:57 AM on December 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Seriously, the Historical Background section that begins on page 9 is really brilliant if anyone actually cares to learn a little instead of just running off on (for the most part) ill-informed tangents.
posted by The World Famous at 10:57 AM on December 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


True, but I don't see what human right is in opposition here. Everyone is free to marry someone who isn't already married.

I remember people saying that gay people are perfectly free to marry someone of the opposite sex.
posted by spaltavian at 10:58 AM on December 16, 2013 [9 favorites]


Call it karma or divine retribution, perhaps.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:58 AM on December 16, 2013


One vector of abuse in polygamist sects is the tendency for it to lead to child marriage. One upside to legalizing polygamy would be to throw those types of relationships into the light. When you're getting a legal marriage, there are laws about how old you have to be.

While, yes, it's very possible that girls' parents will sign consent forms to allow this sort of thing to go forward, when the local clerk of court notices such an unusually high number of thirteen and fourteen year old girls marrying much older men with parental consent happening in these families, that's got to be a red flag for child services, social workers, mandated reporting, and the like, right?
posted by Sara C. at 10:59 AM on December 16, 2013 [9 favorites]


I remember people saying that gay people are perfectly free to marry someone of the opposite sex.

I don't see how that is equivalent.
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:00 AM on December 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


ROU_Xenophobe - that doesn't describe the polygamous families i actually know so it's not at all universal. beside, my comment that you quoted discussed the type of polygamy that you're discussing and i still maintain that the way to help eradicate abuse in those situations is to shine light on them, not force them into secrets on top of secrets.
posted by nadawi at 11:01 AM on December 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


I don't see how that is equivalent.

Because you are saying it's fine to have freedom, as long as it's the freedom I agree with.
posted by cjorgensen at 11:02 AM on December 16, 2013 [5 favorites]


As a developer, the main gripe I have here is that it's going to fuck with everyone's database schemas. I mean, same-sex marriage was complicated enough. Now I've got to have a "marriages" table that does nothing but reference foreign keys? Now a simple "who is married to X" query is gonna do like eleven crazy table joins? How do I explain that to my kids?

A change like this would fundamentally alter the definition of marriage — from a "has-one" institution to a "has-and-belongs-to-many" social experiment. I oppose it, and urge everyone else to oppose it, mainly because I really don't want to write the necessary regression tests.
posted by savetheclocktower at 11:05 AM on December 16, 2013 [74 favorites]


Call it karma or divine retribution, perhaps.

Or, if you're not into the whole supernatural thing, maybe call it "a bitter irony of the history at issue here," as Judge Waddoups does at page 14, referring to the LDS Church as "playing the role of both victim and violator" in that it both championed and was the victim of morals-based legislation.

(Seriously, is anyone actually reading this thing? It's brilliant.)
posted by The World Famous at 11:05 AM on December 16, 2013 [5 favorites]


The multipage discussion of Edward Said's Orientalism is pretty awesome. Y'all should read the decision.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 11:06 AM on December 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


A change like this would fundamentally alter the definition of marriage

No, it does nothing at all to alter the nature of state-recognized marriage. It's still illegal to have more than one legally-recognized spouse.

(Seriously, isn't anyone actually reading this thing?)
posted by The World Famous at 11:07 AM on December 16, 2013 [6 favorites]


Seriously, is anyone actually reading this thing?

How dare you infringe upon our freedom to not bother RingTFA.
posted by elizardbits at 11:07 AM on December 16, 2013 [11 favorites]


i've known quite a few non-religious polygamous families

I've known people who've managed to get out of creepy LDS/AUB-style polygamy and it has very little in common with the modern non-religious polygamous/polyamorous situations that I've also seen.

The best parallel I can draw is with people who compare Ancient Greek pederasty (or maybe more modern customs like Afghan Bacha bazi) and modern Western homosexuality. The only way they seem similar is if you're concentrating only on the sex part, and ignoring everything else.

The creepy part of LDS/AUB polygamy isn't the polygamy per se, it's the way that it allows one creepy dude (and it's always dudes; there isn't really a problem with aggressive religious polyandry), who in other conservative religious circles would be limited to sexually possessing one woman, to instead possess several. It's basically a force multiplier for antediluvian sexual attitudes. And then on top of that, it almost always creates a Lost Boy problem in those communities which they tend to externalize on everyone else.

Regulating it is difficult, though, because there's traditionally been a much higher bar to actually regulating religion — however creepy — than to regulating domestic arrangements like cohabitation and marriage. Utah was using cohabitation as a backdoor way to try and get at the creepy religious stuff, and the court basically said they can't do that. For better or worse (and I think it's better, as I suspect most people do), we've decided that having the state regulate cohabitation and private sexual behavior is a Bad Idea; cf. Griswold, Powell, etc. This means that Utah will need to find another way to try and stop the creepy shit.
posted by Kadin2048 at 11:07 AM on December 16, 2013 [10 favorites]


Have there been any systems that allowed for... geez, I can't even think of a name, but... like, multiple non-contingent marriages? Like, John is married to Jane and Sue, and Jane is married to Ted, but Ted isn't married to Sue?

Just wondering, not trying to make a point here.
posted by Etrigan at 11:08 AM on December 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Have there been any systems that allowed for... geez, I can't even think of a name, but... like, multiple non-contingent marriages? Like, John is married to Jane and Sue, and Jane is married to Ted, but Ted isn't married to Sue?

There is substantial evidence to suggest that some of LDS Church founder Joseph Smith's plural marriages were like that - where he was married (or at least sealed) to women who were still married to other men.
posted by The World Famous at 11:10 AM on December 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


I don't think the comparison between gay marriage and polygamy is as simple as people assume. Allowing gay marriage is removing something -- instead of checking to confirm the two adults have opposite genders, allow any two non-married consenting adults to get married. Existing laws about inheritance, taxes, benefits, etc. are generally fairly simple to extend to cover gay couples.

Polygamy is more complicated. Say we allow multiple marrages (not in the "decriminalization" sense, which is what this decision does, but in the "you can get legally married as many times as you like" sense). Are Kody, Robyn, Meri, Janelle, and Christine all married to one another? If Kody passes away, are Robyn, Meri, Janelle, and Christine still married to one another? Or does Kody have four separate marriages, one with each wife, which do not have bearing on one another?

In the event of divorce, what happens to marital assets? What rights to Robyn, Janelle, and Christine have to Meri and Kody's marital assets (this is an interesting question already, as Kody and Meri are the only legally married couple)? If Kody separated from one wife, his children by that wife would have rights to his support and his time, but would his children by that wife also have rights to their other mothers' support and time? If Kody is incapacitated and in the hospital, who has the right to make decisions on his behalf?

On the balance, I support decriminalizing polygamy -- it seems like the best way to encourage people to bring forward abuses. (The FLDS largely radicalized and separated from the mainstream in response to the Short Creek raid.) But creating a legal framework for legally recognized polygamy is a really, really different thing from decriminalization. (I'm not saying I'd be against it, just that it would be insanely complex.)

Also, one of the things I'd add is that during the period when the LDS practiced polygamy openly (and yes, it did include documented cases of polyandry, although they were rare), rates were still below 50% -- around 20-25% of adults according to Wikipedia, and I've seen lower estimates. The ratio was also likely skewed by the relatively higher number of female converts. (Even modern groups like the AUB don't have 100% of their members living in polygamy.)

Based on what we've seen in the past, many people would not be happy in a plural marriage; it's not likely to become a mainstream thing. Rich men already can and do have multiple mistresses. I see no reason to anticipate a demographic breakdown from decriminalization of polygamy.

Our laws need to address responsibilities to the children and between the parents, though. Legal recognition of only monogamy is one way to keep the lines of responsibility straight, to prevent abuse of marital privilege, and to minimize inevitable conflict in parental and property rights.

Except that realistically, we aren't going to get to a point where married people don't have kids out of wedlock. Kids born out of wedlock have rights to their parents' resources and time, regardless of whether one of those kids is in a "monogamous" marriage to a non-parent.
posted by pie ninja at 11:11 AM on December 16, 2013 [11 favorites]


Well pie ninja, the same thing can be said for polygamy too thought. You're just removing something there too, instead of checking to confirm the two adults have other marriages, you're allowing any two consenting adults to get married.
posted by Carillon at 11:12 AM on December 16, 2013


Why not just throw in there if "spouses > 1" then you have to prove to a similar standard of evidence that the relationship is legitimate and not strictly for financial (or any other sort of) gain.

But people do marry for financial gain, and they're allowed to. With same-sex marriage, two people are denied the right to do the same thing everyone else can do, purely based on their characteristics — gender and sexual orientation. With polygamy, you're allowing a small number of people to get more financial benefits then everyone else can.

So, polygamy is starkly different from same-sex marriage. Supporting the latter doesn't entail supporting the former. People should be free to do whatever they want in their private lives, but polygamy shouldn't be legally recognized.
posted by John Cohen at 11:14 AM on December 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


I remember people saying in the gay marriage debates about how marriage is important because, if someone is sick, their spouse is entitled to visiting rights. Hard to see how that would work if there are, say, 20 people involved.

Marriage between multiple people is fundamentally different that marriage between two people.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 11:15 AM on December 16, 2013


Saying polygamy is inherently linked to child brides is like saying gay marriage will lead to man-turtle marriage.

I thought I warned you against listening to talk radio.
posted by corb at 11:16 AM on December 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


One vector of abuse in polygamist sects is the tendency for it to lead to child marriage. One upside to legalizing polygamy would be to throw those types of relationships into the light. When you're getting a legal marriage, there are laws about how old you have to be.

While, yes, it's very possible that girls' parents will sign consent forms to allow this sort of thing to go forward, when the local clerk of court notices such an unusually high number of thirteen and fourteen year old girls marrying much older men with parental consent happening in these families, that's got to be a red flag for child services, social workers, mandated reporting, and the like, right?


If they are not following the old law, why would they follow the new one? Besides in Utah, "If you are 15 years of age, you will need not only parental consent, but also the consent from the Juvenile Court." so yeah, those 13 and 14 year old girls are still screwed, cause you know the skeevy old dudes ain't doing that.
posted by nooneyouknow at 11:16 AM on December 16, 2013


Can you have two people have power of attorney?

Can you have more than one person have equal say regarding when to 'pull the plug' on someone?
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 11:18 AM on December 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


I remember people saying in the gay marriage debates about how marriage is important because, if someone is sick, their spouse is entitled to visiting rights. Hard to see how that would work if there are, say, 20 people involved.

This court decision does not make it legal to have more than one legally-recognized spouse. So how it would work here is that one spouse gets the legal rights associated with legally-recognized marriage and all the rest are wives or husbands only in whatever non-legal sense the parties wish to give them (in the present case, that's a religious marriage, as opposed to a civil one).
posted by The World Famous at 11:18 AM on December 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


In the event of divorce, what happens to marital assets? What rights to Robyn, Janelle, and Christine have to Meri and Kody's marital assets (this is an interesting question already, as Kody and Meri are the only legally married couple)? If Kody separated from one wife, his children by that wife would have rights to his support and his time, but would his children by that wife also have rights to their other mothers' support and time? If Kody is incapacitated and in the hospital, who has the right to make decisions on his behalf?

This is actually a question, but wouldn't the easiest way to handle this problem to be to make the marriage the primary legal entity? Kind of like a corporation or a trust of sorts?

All the 'members' of the marriage, legally get married TO the marriage, not to each other. They form the equivalent of a cooperative of sorts and hold everything in common. Each marriage can legally decide how it wants to make decisions, but it could easily have the equivalent of an 'officer' to be able to make emergency decisions without the 'board' as it were. If someone leaves, it's treated as a divorce between the marriage and that person. Child-custody would act much the same.

It sounds cold in this context, but with a reference to Heinlein, this is (i believe, it has been a while since i've read TMIAHM) kind of how its approached in his novels.
posted by furnace.heart at 11:24 AM on December 16, 2013 [9 favorites]


It's really striking how thoroughly and boldly he rejects the very notion of Reynolds and Late Corp. as viable Supreme Court opinions, not only dedicating several pages to explaining how odious their reasoning and motivation was, but even citing the 1990 Smith opinion's invocation of Reynolds and calling it "unfortunate and unnecessary" for the Supremes' Smith holding.

When he writes: "That reference (and other similar citations to Reynolds by the Supreme Court and the Tenth Circuit) can mistakenly give the impression of endorsing the morally repugnant reasoning in Reynolds," he's absolutely right. But to see a District Court judge using such strong language to call out the opinions of a Supreme Court whose justices are still on the Court is really pretty amazing.
posted by The World Famous at 11:25 AM on December 16, 2013 [5 favorites]


But people do marry for financial gain, and they're allowed to.

Certain people are allowed to, certain are not. Right now "citizenship status" is what determines whether a marriage will fall under review and be disallowed if not meeting the standard. Marriage fraud between a US citizen and non-citizen is a federal crime (Ctrl+F "Q6").

I'm not arguing that plural marriage should or should not be legally recognized, but there are restrictions on regular two-straight-people marriages depending on circumstance.
posted by griphus at 11:25 AM on December 16, 2013


Have there been any systems that allowed for... geez, I can't even think of a name, but... like, multiple non-contingent marriages? Like, John is married to Jane and Sue, and Jane is married to Ted, but Ted isn't married to Sue?

This is a thorough, entertaining look at how one might set up a database schema to deal with such complexities.
posted by 4th number at 11:26 AM on December 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


Well pie ninja, the same thing can be said for polygamy too thought. You're just removing something there too, instead of checking to confirm the two adults have other marriages, you're allowing any two consenting adults to get married.

I think I covered that pretty well in my original comment, as have other commenters. There are a lot of follow-on questions that arise if you allow multiple partners in a marriage, or allow one person to have multiple marriages. (This doesn't mean there aren't solutions. It just means those solutions are much more complicated than they were in the case of extending marriage rights to same-sex couples.)
posted by pie ninja at 11:26 AM on December 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


(Er, "regular" meaning "the type of marriage the law was written around" not "normal" or whatever.)
posted by griphus at 11:27 AM on December 16, 2013


No, it does nothing at all to alter the nature of state-recognized marriage. It's still illegal to have more than one legally-recognized spouse.

I do understand the distinction you are making, but I think it's a false distinction. What is on paper and what happens in the bedroom are two different things. I'm saying they shouldn't have to be. What consenting adults do should be between them and their god(s) or lack of them.
posted by cjorgensen at 11:29 AM on December 16, 2013


In the relational-database world no constraint can stop someone from being married to themselves.
posted by blue_beetle at 11:30 AM on December 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, it's all great for the consenting adults. Are they required to leave eight out of ten baby boys out for the coyotes, or are they allowed to basically inflict a bunch of unmarriageable, alienated, socially disruptive teenage boys on the rest of us?
posted by Naberius at 11:33 AM on December 16, 2013


I do understand the distinction you are making, but I think it's a false distinction. What is on paper and what happens in the bedroom are two different things. I'm saying they shouldn't have to be. What consenting adults do should be between them and their god(s) or lack of them.

The post at the top of the page is about a federal District Court decision ruling that the cohabitation prong of Utah's anti-polygamy statute is unconstitutional. The case is about just that: That the state of Utah cannot make it illegal for people who are not in state-recognized marriages to call themselves "married" in another sense and then cohabitate.

Utah's statute did not only make it illegal to have more than one state-recognized spouse, but even to just cohabitate with more than one partner. It is that aspect of the statute that Judge Waddoups ruled unconstitutional.
posted by The World Famous at 11:33 AM on December 16, 2013 [5 favorites]


I don't care to belong to any marriage that would have me as a member.

Don't tell my wife.
posted by tonycpsu at 11:33 AM on December 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


Two thoughts on this:

1) From looking at it, the cohabitation language was overly broad to accomplish the state's goals. That's kind of easy to see if you realize that you could be a "bigamist" if you were a couple that had a roommate. That the state used discretion in enforcement is laudable, but insufficient.

2) Polygamy really is further from the established legal regime than marriage for same-sex couples. In MfSSC, statutory changes are basically just a couple of pronouns and boom, you're done. We're still doing a little mop-up here in California, including things like adjusting legal definitions of parenthood, but that's nothing compared to, say, the nightmare of multi-party probate court and polygamous divorce sans prenuptial agreements or custody fights. It really is a huge disruption in legal language to move to full legal polygamy.

So, from that, describing this as opening the door to polygamy seems like a pretty broad overstatement, and it's kind of a shame that it was challenged within a polygamous context. I will say that this is exactly the worry I heard from some Mormons when they were opposing Prop. 8 — the LDS folks I've talked to are pretty explicitly against legalized polygamy and saw opposing marriage for same-sex couples as part of that, despite how often they're caricatured as pro-polygamy.
posted by klangklangston at 11:35 AM on December 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


> (Seriously, isn't anyone actually reading this thing?)

every time i think i've sprinkled enough parody on a comment i end up being wrong
posted by savetheclocktower at 11:37 AM on December 16, 2013 [5 favorites]


This decision is fascinating, and quite well written.
posted by zarq at 11:38 AM on December 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


If they are not following the old law, why would they follow the new one? Besides in Utah, "If you are 15 years of age, you will need not only parental consent, but also the consent from the Juvenile Court." so yeah, those 13 and 14 year old girls are still screwed, cause you know the skeevy old dudes ain't doing that.

It seems silly to be against new laws because some people don't follow the ones we already have. I'm not sure there's a formal name for this sort of logical fallacy, but it doesn't really seem relevant.

Of course some people will continue to have religious-only marriages and live in secret compounds in remote areas where they're able to control the local governmental infrastructure.

But liberalizing laws about polygamy still does a few things:

1. It enables people who are on the up and up to be officially legitimate, thus drawing a sharp line between creepy pedophiles who want to sex up 13 year old girls and consenting adults who are making a free choice.

2. It gives girls who are forced into extralegal child marriages a little bit of ground. If you know plenty of people who are just normal legally married legit above board folks, you can start asking questions about why you aren't getting that. "Where's our marriage license?" "Don't I need my parents' permission for this?" "Why is it such a big secret that you're married to me when it's not a secret that you're married to Karen and Denise and Sue?"

3. If a girl forced into an illegal religious marriage runs away, calls the police, etc. she now suddenly has legal standing. It becomes a lot harder for the authorities -- again, especially mandated reporters -- to look the other way.
posted by Sara C. at 11:49 AM on December 16, 2013 [5 favorites]


Finally, my father would be disappointed if I didn't reply to this thread with: "Biga-you? I'm the one with two wives!"
posted by klangklangston at 11:51 AM on December 16, 2013 [6 favorites]


Kids born out of wedlock have rights to their parents' resources and time, regardless of whether one of those kids is in a "monogamous" marriage to a non-parent.

Everyone should keep in mind that this is the result of a long, convoluted process of legal evolution. In the UK, "bastards" weren't allowed to legally inherit until 1926, although the injustice was certainly recognized much earlier.

instead of checking to confirm the two adults have other marriages, you're allowing any two consenting adults to get married.

And then ... do what, exactly? Allowing the second marriage would have serious side-effects on the first one. E.g., if A marries B, and then B marries C, and then A divorces B, what assets of B's does A have a legitimate claim on? What if ten years pass between the first marriage and the second, or the second one and the divorce? There could be a lot at stake. Do you say that the marital assets are split 50/50 between A and B when they were married exclusively, but then 33/33/33 between A, B, and C when both marriages existed? What if A married B in part for the claim on B's income — which is admittedly not very romantic, but not at all illegal — but now it's being split up with a third person; is that grounds for divorce? Is the resulting divorce B's fault or A's (or C's?) in states that still require fault-based divorce?

None of these are intractable problems but I'm not sure that our legal system is necessarily up to the task of gracefully working them all out overnight, and doing so with the background of underage marriage and sexual abuse that LDS/AUB polygamy carries with it.

In an ideal world, I'd imagine Congress would come up with some "design patterns" for plural marriage. E.g., there's traditional bipartite marriage, between two people. If either of those two people decide to get married to a third person, the first person gets a notification and an opportunity to immediately end the marriage and initiate divorce proceedings to split up assets, custody, etc., or consent and end up in a plural marriage. But then you could also opt for a triad or quad or n-member marriage at the outset, and then either partner could marry someone, with the consent of the other person or the majority of other members or whatever, because the framework would have been preapproved.

Or you just eliminate the concept of "marriage" as it exists from Common Law altogether and replace it with tax-advantaged "domestic joint stock company" or something, where all the details are spelled out in the articles of incorporation for that particular company, including the rules on admitting new members and tolerating membership in other Companies and who gets to have sex with who on what nights of the week. (Everyone could get married just like rich WASPs do, with lawyers haggling over the details of the prenup.)

But that's probably a lot to ask out of a Congress that can't even pass a budget, and many of the members of which can't even deal with the idea of a very traditional bipartite marriage where both of the members are the same sex. I'm not holding my breath.
posted by Kadin2048 at 11:55 AM on December 16, 2013 [5 favorites]


tylerkaraszewski: I really don't see how you can justify banning polygamy whilst allowing other less traditional forms of marriage, such as gay marriage.

Huh. I've heard this idea before, that if you allow gay marriage, you have to allow everything else too. But I've only heard it used before as an argument against gay marriage.
posted by baf at 11:57 AM on December 16, 2013 [5 favorites]


Naberious: or are they allowed to basically inflict a bunch of unmarriageable, alienated, socially disruptive teenage boys on the rest of us?

There's plenty of room on 4Chan!
posted by dr_dank at 12:00 PM on December 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


I really don't see how you can justify banning polygamy whilst allowing other less traditional forms of marriage, such as gay marriage.

The thing is, same-sex marriage is not actually a different form of marriage than opposite-sex marriage. It's exactly the same thing, just as a mixed-race marriage is no different from a same-race marriage. In fact, I'm not sure it's fair to characterize polygamy as a different form of marriage than those currently recognized in the U.S.
posted by The World Famous at 12:01 PM on December 16, 2013


It's funny, but I don't think we can really know the level of non-religious interest in plural marriages because they are so thoroughly scorned in our society. A few professional women friends in their 30s have confided in me that they'd be willing to try this, for whatever that's worth.
posted by 1adam12 at 12:02 PM on December 16, 2013


Uhh, yay, I guess?
posted by Mister_A at 12:03 PM on December 16, 2013


Caprica had plural as well as gay marriages, so we may need to get this legalized before we can be properly nuked by Cylons.
posted by localroger at 12:04 PM on December 16, 2013 [5 favorites]


And then ... do what, exactly? Allowing the second marriage would have serious side-effects on the first one. E.g., if A marries B, and then B marries C, and then A divorces B, what assets of B's does A have a legitimate claim on? What if ten years pass between the first marriage and the second, or the second one and the divorce? There could be a lot at stake. Do you say that the marital assets are split 50/50 between A and B when they were married exclusively, but then 33/33/33 between A, B, and C when both marriages existed? What if A married B in part for the claim on B's income — which is admittedly not very romantic, but not at all illegal — but now it's being split up with a third person; is that grounds for divorce? Is the resulting divorce B's fault or A's (or C's?) in states that still require fault-based divorce?

Yeah, I think there really needs to be room in the courts for different kinds of marriage. If I got married to A tomorrow, and then he decided to get married to B without my consent, I would absolutely view it more in the lines of bigamy, and would like to have the ability to divorce and come out with half of the assets. However, some people may want to get married with multiple marriages and incomes divided fairly.

I think legalizing it is the equitable thing to do, but I'd never deny it will be messy as hell.
posted by corb at 12:05 PM on December 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


It seems silly to be against new laws because some people don't follow the ones we already have. I'm not sure there's a formal name for this sort of logical fallacy, but it doesn't really seem relevant.

I don't see is as a fallacy provided that the new law is aimed exclusively at people who are already breaking the old law, which they frequently are.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:06 PM on December 16, 2013


Huh. I've heard this idea before, that if you allow gay marriage, you have to allow everything else too. But I've only heard it used before as an argument against gay marriage.

I'm pretty solidly on the record as a gay marriage supporter and I use this argument. My argument has nothing to do with gender or sexual inclination. it has everything to do with I don't want someone else defining my relationships and responsibilities.

And then ... do what, exactly?

Up to you and the people you are marrying.
posted by cjorgensen at 12:09 PM on December 16, 2013


Ending the ban on cohabitation is definitely the right decision. Even if modern polygamy is a social ill in some ways that wasn't a good way of enforcing a ban on it.

I don't know that I would agree with opening up the marriage definition to include multiple partners without spending a lot of time fleshing out the details. My guess is that some sort of civil asset incorporation would be the minimum but I don't know how you would work out stuff like child custody in situations of divorce.

Needless to say it's a thorny issue but overall it seems like a positive decision. Utah needs to go back to drawing board on how to fight the abuses of polygamy.
posted by vuron at 12:10 PM on December 16, 2013


Kids born out of wedlock have rights to their parents' resources and time, regardless of whether one of those kids is in a "monogamous" marriage to a non-parent.

Argh, this should of course have been "whether one of those PARENTS is in a "monogamous" marriage", not "one of those kids".

And Kadin2048 makes an excellent point regarding the fact that is a relatively new development in family law. So are no-fault divorces. Family law evolves, and that's a good thing.

It's funny, but I don't think we can really know the level of non-religious interest in plural marriages because they are so thoroughly scorned in our society. A few professional women friends in their 30s have confided in me that they'd be willing to try this, for whatever that's worth.

I've wondered about this myself. When my parents were my age, they had a few good gay friends in long-term relationships. I have a few friends in long-term poly relationships and (non-legal) multiple marriages. The idea of my poly/plural friends being able to get legally married when I'm my parents' age seems pretty implausible to me right now, but then I'd imagine my parents thought the same thing about their gay friends back in the day.
posted by pie ninja at 12:15 PM on December 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


It becomes a lot harder for the authorities -- again, especially mandated reporters -- to look the other way.

I'd like to believe that this is true, but I'm not sure it is. It seems like it's a lot easier to look the other way at a "domestic dispute" between two married people, than to ignore someone who claims they were assaulted, even if it comes out that the person they were assaulted by was a sex partner.

The most aggressively investigated and prosecuted sex crimes, at least so far as I've ever seen or heard of, are stranger-initiated. The further you get away from the stranger-in-a-dark-alley scenario, the more weakly the authorities will go after the assailant and the more "grey" the situation tends to be perceived.

It's only in the last few decades — a blink of an eye, in legal timescales — that marital rape has become illegal, and the centuries-old idea that marriage carried with it an implicit right to on-demand sex with your spouse has been shelved. But attitudes change more slowly and less uniformly than the law.

I'd be very, very careful of inadvertently giving abusers a legal shield to hide their activities behind, believing we're doing the abused a favor in the process.
posted by Kadin2048 at 12:15 PM on December 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


griphus: Certain people are allowed to, certain are not. Right now "citizenship status" is what determines whether a marriage will fall under review and be disallowed if not meeting the standard. Marriage fraud between a US citizen and non-citizen is a federal crime (Ctrl+F "Q6").

Citizens and non-citizens can marry for whatever reasons they want, the non-citizen just can't immigrate if the USCIS considers their reasons "fraudulent." The denial of a green card or other visa doesn't annul their marriage.

I find it hard to believe anyone who has had experience dealing with USCIS would argue that we should use their treatment of immigrants as a model for dealing with the private lives of citizens.
posted by bradf at 12:16 PM on December 16, 2013 [5 favorites]


I've yet to see a set of rules for polygamy that doesn't disadvantage one sex or class. Two person marriage can deal with the complexity, but n+1 crashes the system.
posted by blue_beetle at 12:25 PM on December 16, 2013


I find it hard to believe anyone who has had experience dealing with USCIS would argue that we should use their treatment of immigrants as a model for dealing with the private lives of citizens.

Hand to god, I have no idea how I could have made the distinction between "here is a thing that exists" and "here is a thing I support" any clearer.
posted by griphus at 12:28 PM on December 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


Two words: Consenting. Adults.

The rest is someone trying to rules lawyer someone else (in my opinion, of course).
posted by Mooski at 12:32 PM on December 16, 2013


Are there any studies that have projected the potential number of plural families that would emerge from legalization? I'm curious as to what kind of numbers we're talking about here.
posted by zooropa at 12:32 PM on December 16, 2013


Two words: Consenting. Adults.

This is true, however, children brought into these relationships are not consenting adults, and that complicates matters.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:33 PM on December 16, 2013 [5 favorites]


How does this ruling jibe with anti-roominghouse laws and zoning regulations which limit the number of unrelated adults who can share a house or apartment unit? For instance, New York City sets that limit at three, and in the state of Virginia it's four. For the purposes of regulating single-family housing units, the City of Provo defines a "family" as containing "not more than two (2) additional related or unrelated persons, including but not limited to, personal care or personal service providers" (14.06.020)
posted by RonButNotStupid at 12:34 PM on December 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Hand to god, I have no idea how I could have made the distinction between "here is a thing that exists" and "here is a thing I support" any clearer.

Perhaps by not including the line:
Why not just throw in there if "spouses > 1" then you have to prove to a similar standard of evidence that the relationship is legitimate and not strictly for financial (or any other sort of) gain.
posted by Etrigan at 12:35 PM on December 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is true, however, children brought into these relationships are not consenting adults, and that complicates matters.

Love, feed, clothe, shelter, educate, just as you would if they were, say, your kids.

I think the complications are largely cultural.
posted by Mooski at 12:37 PM on December 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


Mooski: " Love, feed, clothe, shelter, educate, just as you would if they were, say, your kids. I think the complications are largely cultural."

With all due respect, many commenters in this thread have pointed out a number of very thorny legal issues that would continue to be thorny even if we let consenting adults do what they want to in terms of romance and cohabitation, and even if everyone involved followed the golden rule to the best of their ability.
posted by tonycpsu at 12:39 PM on December 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


Love, feed, clothe, shelter, educate, just as you would if they were, say, your kids.

And when the group of four people, with some biological ties to a child but maybe no adoption and multiple marriages breaks up, and nobody wants to care for the child, what then?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:40 PM on December 16, 2013 [6 favorites]


Caprica had plural as well as gay marriages, so we may need to get this legalized before we can be properly nuked by Cylons.

I'll have six of one and half a dozen of the other.
posted by biffa at 12:46 PM on December 16, 2013


And when the group of four people, with some biological ties to a child but maybe no adoption and multiple marriages breaks up, and nobody wants to care for the child, what then?

What do you do now if a marriage breaks up and no one wants to care for the child?

I'm honestly not trying to be obtuse about it - the problems that exist when people stop being able to get along don't go away when you go from 3 to 2, and I'm not sure going from 2 to 3 makes them more complicated than they would otherwise be.
posted by Mooski at 12:50 PM on December 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


Yeah, it's easy to say what people should do, but what can people be made to do? Also, how would this affect inheritance? Again, I think it's important that we figure this out, but to pretend this isn't a nightmarish morass is naive.

Other points I can think of:

1) How to determine parental responsibility. Are all male partners in a relationship, say, responsible for the child of one of the female partners? Is only the one who is paternity-tested to be the biological father?

2) How to determine income for the purposes of various programs that may not align with the marriage-at-large's purposes. Ie, A wants to go to college. Should her income for financial aid be her own, or A+B+C+D? What if C+D don't want to subsidize her?
posted by corb at 12:51 PM on December 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


What do you do now if a marriage breaks up and no one wants to care for the child?

In most cases, I think, the biological parent is responsible. But if you have four people in a marriage, do they all go on the birth certificate, if the state has presumption of parentage?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:53 PM on December 16, 2013


In most cases the biological parent is responsible, except for if people are married and have been living as a married couple, with both parents taking responsibility. So, for example, if A and B are married, and A had an affair, with the child not being biologically B's, B is still on the hook for support if he raises the child, as far as I know.
posted by corb at 12:55 PM on December 16, 2013


And when the group of four people, with some biological ties to a child but maybe no adoption and multiple marriages breaks up, and nobody wants to care for the child, what then?

Same thing that happens now when no one wants to take care of the kid. No one is contesting this would require some changes to current custody laws and policies. It's just not the impossible task you think it is.

But if you have four people in a marriage, do they all go on the birth certificate, if the state has presumption of parentage?

Someone will have custody of a child at birth. Who is ultimately responsible for this kid years on, just the original people with custody? Everyone in the marriage? Those are mildly thorny issues. I won't pretend it's easy, but it is simple.

Family courts have been making simple if imperfect decisions for years and years. Poly relationships are real things that have been around for thousands of things, and these issues have been dealt with. This is not some radical challenge to everything we've ever done before.

Kids are born out of wedlock now. We can do it.
posted by spaltavian at 12:56 PM on December 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


NYTimes: The challenge to the law was brought by Kody Brown, who, along with his four wives and 17 children, stars in “Sister Wives,” the reality television show.

I've just spent the last two decades being told that I'm not and cannot be married to my same-sex partner because my state forbids it, so why are these women being described as his wives when they can't legally be married either?
posted by LastOfHisKind at 12:56 PM on December 16, 2013 [6 favorites]


You know, I'm sort of betting that the people who are actually in poly* marriages (of whatever stripe) have probably thought through and solved a lot of these hypotheticals we're throwing around. If it gets to the point of legalizing them (instead of just decriminalizing them), I bet we could get some really sound advice about what works and what doesn't. Just a thought.
posted by stoneweaver at 12:56 PM on December 16, 2013 [10 favorites]


If it gets to the point of legalizing them (instead of just decriminalizing them), I bet we could get some really sound advice about what works and what doesn't.

They have, but it also kind of assumes better behavior than is often discovered in two-person marriages:
I suggest hauling things out in the open and settling them before a court case poisons everyone.
If I had a nickel for every pair of friends who did something like this and then threw it right the fuck out the window at the actual end of their comparatively simple marriage, I'd have a lot more pocket change than I do now.
posted by Etrigan at 1:01 PM on December 16, 2013 [5 favorites]


With inheritance at least contemporary American society has dealt with issue by making sure most of us don't have any. Polygamy wouldn't change this much at all.
posted by srboisvert at 1:02 PM on December 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


Also, how would this affect inheritance?

For centuries, we had a simple answer about inheritance: Salic law. It was the obvious, straightfoward answer and it was nothing if not legally clear. Then, we didn't do that. The Earth still spins.
posted by spaltavian at 1:02 PM on December 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


It is funny to read discussions of poly relationships. When discussing specific people, generally people are accepting but a little weirded out; which is fine. But talk about it in the abstract and we suddenly have 20 person marriages or entire towns marrying to screw Uncle Sam.

I am willing to bet this would be a very different discussion if the suit was brought by a secular throuple from Brooklyn, rather than those zomg bizzaro Mormons.
posted by munchingzombie at 1:09 PM on December 16, 2013 [5 favorites]


srboisvert: With inheritance at least contemporary American society has dealt with issue by making sure most of us don't have any. Polygamy wouldn't change this much at all.

Hah, that's a good point. Where does the estate go when someone in a polygamist marriage dies? Same place it always goes, the hospital.

Hell, in modern society, it'd make way more sense to worry about how debt could be passed on than money.
posted by Mitrovarr at 1:14 PM on December 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't know why plural marriage should affect things like who makes medical decisions for a person -- people can already draft a living will and the other legal documents (power of attorney, etc) that designate a particular person to take on those responsibilities. Those documents are necessary for unmarried people anyway.

I also don't know why plural marriage should affect custody and parental rights, considering we already have family law to deal with custody and parental rights in cases of unmarried parents, divorce and remarriage. For example, what are a stepparent's rights and responsibilities to a child now? There are already limits in place, that's why being adopted by a stepparent is a big deal. Things would have to be tweaked to take co-spouses into account, but it's not as though it's not already complicated now or there's no family law to tweak.

I also don't know why plural marriage would be incompatible with inheritance law considering we've already got ways of dividing up property among a person's children. Why would it be so much harder to divide up property between multiple spouses as beneficiaries than between multiple children as beneficiaries? We even have ways of figuring out how to distribute social security payments from a deceased parents to multiple children while distributing other payments to the widow/widower as well. The law and entitlements would require changes but that's not an impossible task.

The only problem I think hasn't already had to be tackled fairly significantly by some aspect of our legal system already is probably divorce, but even concerning that circumstance -- why not just require every marriage to include a prenup?

I also don't necessarily agree that taxes, health insurance, and other benefits that have a strong relationship with the public good and the government should linked to marriage anyway. Why should my connection with the state (by way of taxes, for example) be different depending whether I'm in a romantic relationship or not or with whom?
posted by rue72 at 1:24 PM on December 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


Can you have two people have power of attorney?

Can you have more than one person have equal say regarding when to 'pull the plug' on someone?
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 1:18 PM on December 16


I believe so. For example, don't parents both have equal say regarding when to "pull the plug" on their minor children?
posted by joannemerriam at 1:24 PM on December 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Somebody out there must be writing about how the law might look if states decided to recognize some form of plural marriage. I'd try googling it up if I wasn't at the office.
posted by jepler at 1:25 PM on December 16, 2013


Metafilter: we are all married.
posted by rosswald at 1:25 PM on December 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


I've just spent the last two decades being told that I'm not and cannot be married to my same-sex partner because my state forbids it, so why are these women being described as his wives when they can't legally be married either?

If a non-legally recognized marriage is something you genuinely desire, seek out one of these when the time is right.
posted by Winnemac at 1:27 PM on December 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Since various forms of group marriage are being discussed, I'll leave these definitions here. The A+B, B+C, C+D marriages are called "line marriage". Robert A. Heinlein's The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress describes line families in detail, including a divorcing partner buying out of the 'family corporation' which, in essence, provides funds for the children's future.
posted by _paegan_ at 1:30 PM on December 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


I am all in favor of legalizing poly marriages and divorces, mainly because it would open tons of well paid job opportunities for my topologist and graph theorist friends.
posted by Doroteo Arango II at 1:38 PM on December 16, 2013 [5 favorites]


I am all in favor of legalizing poly marriages and divorces, mainly because it would open tons of well paid job opportunities for my topologist and graph theorist friends.

Sweet, sweet marriage-license fees....
posted by mikelieman at 1:40 PM on December 16, 2013


The only problem I think hasn't already had to be tackled fairly significantly by some aspect of our legal system already is probably divorce, but even concerning that circumstance -- why not just require every marriage to include a prenup?

For one thing, every marriage kind of does include a prenup -- it's just that those prenups are codifed by the state (e.g., community property) because the vast majority of people are okay with having that "default" provision. But that default provision is based on a societal understanding of a single bond between two people. The laws would have to be significantly rewritten to allow for multiple bonds and the potential creation of new ones and the dissolution of old ones.

For another thing, prenups aren't the be-all and end-all of divorce proceedings, especially when there's a lot of money and/or a lot of acrimony on the line.

But mainly, very few people (in this thread, at least) are saying that we can't do polygamy just because of the legal issues (and in the greater world, frankly, anyone who is saying that is just looking for an excuse and at the base of it just doesn't like the idea at all). We're just saying that the legal issues need to be considered before allowing polygamy. It's not going to be nearly as simple or easy as legalizing same-sex marriage from an effects standpoint.
posted by Etrigan at 1:42 PM on December 16, 2013 [7 favorites]


I don't know why plural marriage should affect things like who makes medical decisions for a person -- people can already draft a living will and the other legal documents (power of attorney, etc) that designate a particular person to take on those responsibilities. Those documents are necessary for unmarried people anyway.

And those documents are frequently successfully challenged by next of kin. That’s the most important thing marriage does – it provides automatic kinship. Upon marriage, your spouse automatically becomes your next of kin, and you become his or hers. Once the number becomes more than two, there’s no more automatic about it, and things get more complicated. I’m not saying it CAN’T be worked out, but our courts are already full of tangled-up cases under the simple binary kinship rule, so there’s some work needed to smooth the way.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 1:54 PM on December 16, 2013 [6 favorites]


"You know, I'm sort of betting that the people who are actually in poly* marriages (of whatever stripe) have probably thought through and solved a lot of these hypotheticals we're throwing around. If it gets to the point of legalizing them (instead of just decriminalizing them), I bet we could get some really sound advice about what works and what doesn't. Just a thought."

You know, since polygamy isn't recognized in any Western country, let alone a common law one, I'm betting that their solutions are not actually all that well tested and probably not based on an accurate understanding of family law. So no, we probably can't get really sound advice about what works and what doesn't, because there haven't been any people actually testing these within the stricture of civil law. It's a nice thought, but it's like saying that because we have lots of people who have thought through the problems of robot sentience, we know what works and what doesn't with sentient robot labor law.

"For centuries, we had a simple answer about inheritance: Salic law. It was the obvious, straightfoward answer and it was nothing if not legally clear. Then, we didn't do that. The Earth still spins."

What? "The Earth still spins" is a totally empty answer — if we abolished laws against murder or rape, the Earth would still spin. It would not deal with the fallout from abolishing those laws.

"a very different discussion if the suit was brought by a secular throuple from Brooklyn, "

Fucking hipsters and their polygamy.
posted by klangklangston at 1:56 PM on December 16, 2013 [10 favorites]


The word "throuple" is so horrible. It sounds like a bird mite or a toenail fungus.
posted by elizardbits at 2:01 PM on December 16, 2013 [10 favorites]


Or a device designed for mangling peasants.
posted by klangklangston at 2:02 PM on December 16, 2013 [7 favorites]


well yes but how else am i supposed to make gravy
posted by elizardbits at 2:02 PM on December 16, 2013 [6 favorites]


Become a lawyer.
posted by jfuller at 2:34 PM on December 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


We do have delicious gravy.
posted by The World Famous at 2:40 PM on December 16, 2013 [7 favorites]


if we abolished laws against murder or rape, the Earth would still spin.

The argument has been made. Yet antother effort, mefites, if we would become polygamists!
posted by localroger at 3:13 PM on December 16, 2013


tylerkaraszewski: "We need to admit that the reason polygamy is illegal is not because of abuse concerns, but because we think it's weird and gross, just like gay marriage until recently."

There's quite a lot of situations in which abuse flourishes in polygamous situations - child brides, teen brides essentially sold to older men, etc. I don't think society's objection to polygamy is entirely Yuck!-based.

OTOH, banning polygamy outright is overkill, and therefore limits freedom to love and pursue happiness. Let's address the actual problems (human sexual bondage, a BIG one), not the harmless but similar-sounding other possibilities (like the scads of polyamorous people I know).
posted by IAmBroom at 3:35 PM on December 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


There's quite a lot of situations in which abuse flourishes in polygamous situations - child brides, teen brides essentially sold to older men, etc.

Abuse flourishes in monogamous marriages, too. How many AskMes have there been about abusive relationships, for example? I would hope that the authorities would vigorously pursue allegations of abuse and coercion, especially involving minors, not because of possible polygamy but because of the abuse.

I'm with nadawi on this one -- open the curtains and let in the sunshine, expose abuses if they are there, and then just let consenting adults do their thing in peace.
posted by Dip Flash at 4:30 PM on December 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


The only things that squick me out about multiple-spouse marriages involve the likely lack of agency of some spouses in cult environments, and potential shielding of abuse, not to mention the vanity, hubris and fuck-the-planet aspects of having umpteen kids. But if you're going to make it legal, the only clear way forward I could see would be to disentangle the various automatic assumptions the law makes about married people and make them things that have to be actively enabled, and if you do that, you begin to wonder why the state has an interest in marriage as a thing, at all.

About the only compelling interest the state has is making sure children have the support of their biological parents (which doesn't require marriage), powers of attorney for important decisions (which doesn't require marriage), and things which are jointly owned (which should just require a charter and other legal vehicles, not marriage).

I think banks and mortgage companies would be all for multiple-party legal marriages--more people they can sue when someone in the union stops paying.

Just to show how un-hip I am, I don't know anyone who is in a mutually-agreed-upon plural relationship. I cannot even begin to imagine how you'd find the bandwidth, personally, but that's me.
posted by maxwelton at 6:44 PM on December 16, 2013


emjaybee: "And if we want to fight abusive underage marriages, a simple way is to raise the legal age for marriage to at least 18 (I'm personally ok with making it 21) and enforcing that law along with domestic violence laws, in a serious way. We have the tools to fight abuse and also have legal polygamy, if we want to."

It's a simple approach that wouldn't work. We know that because it already isn't working which is why Utah had this anti-cohabitation law in the first place as an attempt to shore up polygamy laws that weren't working.

furnace.heart: "It sounds cold in this context, but with a reference to Heinlein, this is (i believe, it has been a while since i've read TMIAHM) kind of how its approached in his novels."

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress mostly dwelled on (Manual's) line marriage (which even he states isn't necessarily typical) and the more "normal" two guys married to one woman marriage. The former straddles a line between a group of married couples living together sharing property and and a dozen people all married to each other. The 2M1W marriages work because in Luna the woman holds all the cards. There aren't any disputes about property, child support, etc. because the woman is the defacto final arbitrator. It's never really laid out how a line marriage works legally in TMIAHM if only because their is no law in Luna at the time only tradition. But in any event it is explicit that the protagonist's marriage works because of strong female leadership. Mimi runs the marriage even though Grandpa is nominally the head of the family and Manual fully intends to let Sirius run things in exactly the same way once he is "head of household". Some what disturbingly Wyoming Knott at one point mentions that it's the husbands who decide who sleeps with whom and that there is a semi strict hierarchy at least in regards to new brides. There is also the practice of "opting" mixed into the marriage which can be an weird combination of adoption, apprenticeship and trial engagement. All cooking under the environmental pressure of 2:1 male to female ratio. (why yes it's one of my very favourite books, how can you tell?)

His book Friday deals at length with a S-Group, which is nominally short for synthetic family but actually stands for the paper work code the group is incorporated under, and S-Groups are much closer to what you proposed. Friday's group required members to buy in (it was going to take Friday years to pay off her share even at the very good wages she made as a combat courier) and her group turns out to be fairly brittle when an actual crisis erupts in the group. It would be interesting to see that experiment unfold to wide spread success in real life but I'm not sure how desirable it would be. It certainly isn't an arrangement that I would want and it would seem to be rife with problems of jealousy. Though the members of a two men both married to one woman though not to each other marriage that I know seem to be very happy.
posted by Mitheral at 6:54 PM on December 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think that poly marriages in these religious types of communities actually may be more stable, in many ways, than poly relationships that have come up with within nonreligious communities - if, for nothing else, because there is a unifying structure of how things are done, rather than each group choosing what suits them best. Everyone runs their own households, but a body of law puts out the broad strokes.

Again, it's not like this has never been figured out before. Polygamy has been quite prevalent throughout human history. I'm thinking in particular of early Irish marriage laws per the Cain Lanamna, (a translation I've found here) where different types of marriage had different divisions of property and authority set from the beginning of the marriage, and I think something like that would have to wind up being the prevailing code. I am particularly thinking of the lanamnas comthinchuir, lanamnas mna for ferthinchur, and the lanamnas fir for bantichur. In each case, property rights managed to be safeguarded, and in fact, every single objection raised here has been addressed by the body of polygynous law previous to it. It would only need a few alterations.
Union of common contribution: if it is a union with land and stock and household equipment, and if their marital relationship is one of equal status and equal propriety...no contract of either is valid without the consent of the other, except for contracts that benefit their establishment. Every contract shall be without neglect, an advantageous contract...with acknowledgement on both sides that the ownership of what is acquired belongs to the person whose property was alienated to acquire it. Anything, the lack of which brings loss on the household, cannot be sold without common counsel, consultation, and mutual concession...Either of them may dissolve the bad contracts of the other..

Union on man's contribution: (2) Union of a woman on a man's contribution: the man's contract is a valid contract without the wife's consent, except for the sale of clothing and food; and the sale of cattle and sheep, if she is a duly contracted wife who is not a cétmuinter (head wife). If he gives bridewealth to acquire another woman, even from his own private property, that bridewealth is forfeit to his cétmuinter if she carries out her marital obligations. Every secondary wife who comes 'over the head' of a cétmuinter is liable to penalty: she pays the honour-price of the cétmuinter.
posted by corb at 7:09 AM on December 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


The lost boys phenomenon. A confounding irony in the polygamy discussion is the hat tipping by young males, when they are typically the exiled victims of the practice, by the numbers.
posted by Brian B. at 7:32 AM on December 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


All the discussion about consenting adults has so far been focused on consent between the two adults engaging in an additional" marriage which will transform what was an n adult household into an n+1 adult household. What about the other spouse(es) in the marriage who aren't entering into this new marriage contract? Does the requirement for consenting adults include them, and if so, how?

If A and B are married, and A wants to also marry C, where is there room for B to either consent or object?
posted by bluebell at 7:38 AM on December 17, 2013 [4 favorites]


Laws allowing actual polygamy would have to be structured in a unique way; you couldn't just make a simple change to existing marriage laws, like you can with gay marriage.

I need to go back and read the rest of comments, but thought this would be a useful link: law professor in the area of family law and LGBT activist Nancy Polikoff wrote a very nice book on this topic several years ago called Beyond (Straight and Gay) Marriage. It compares treatment of legal marriage as well as related concepts such as common law marriage in different jurisdictions (focusing on the US but making comparisons with other countries with related legal systems, such as Canada), and argues in favor of legal recognition of households instead of sexual relationships. She's actually thought in depth (and there's a whole bunch of related legal precedent as well from the sounds of it) about how this would work vis-a-vis children, inheritance, etc. She also has a blog.
posted by eviemath at 8:22 AM on December 17, 2013 [9 favorites]


if, for nothing else, because there is a unifying structure of how things are done, rather than each group choosing what suits them best. Everyone runs their own households, but a body of law puts out the broad strokes.

If this was going on among Lutherans, maybe?

But one of the fundamental quirks of Mormonism is the tradition of people receiving direct input from god. Most of the LDS offshoots happened because some dude decided that god told him something different from what god told the official LDS prophets. It's also not an old tradition, and not a tradition that is particularly stable in terms of beliefs about exactly this sort of thing.

I really don't think you can look at all religion as a blanket stabilizing influence on people's domestic arrangements.
posted by Sara C. at 9:00 AM on December 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Polygamy has been quite prevalent throughout human history.

Generally where women were considered property, or at least, of much lower status. Note that multiple-male/single-female was never the norm.
posted by Mental Wimp at 10:19 AM on December 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


Note that multiple-male/single-female was never the norm.

India and China might end up working that one out, though.
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:37 AM on December 17, 2013


Dip Flash: "Abuse flourishes in monogamous marriages, too. How many AskMes have there been about abusive relationships, for example? I would hope that the authorities would vigorously pursue allegations of abuse and coercion, especially involving minors, not because of possible polygamy but because of the abuse."

That's pretty much what I suggested.
posted by IAmBroom at 12:58 PM on December 17, 2013


Welfare fraud and polygamy-poverty. The numbers game doesn't forgive in either male-to-female birth ratios, nor in the extra mouths to feed and the available breadwinners (and child labor as a result).
posted by Brian B. at 3:16 PM on December 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


I really don't think you can look at all religion as a blanket stabilizing influence on people's domestic arrangements.

Oh, never! I'm mostly saying that people who've been doing things for a long period of time in an organized way have more kinks out than people who invent the wheel new each time.

Generally where women were considered property, or at least, of much lower status. Note that multiple-male/single-female was never the norm.

Sure, but I think it could be pretty trivial to get the sexism out if someone really wanted to.
posted by corb at 6:26 AM on December 18, 2013


Sure, but I think it could be pretty trivial to get the sexism out if someone really wanted to.

Really? I didn't realize society was so malleable.
posted by Mental Wimp at 6:38 AM on December 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


I honestly don't know what I think about legalizing polygamy. I mean on the one hand, yes, personal freedom and that's a good thing.

On the other hand, especially with regards to the USA, do you really want to have to completely rebuild laws across the nation relating to inheritance, division of property after divorce, and all the other stuff mentioned above in the current political climate? Sounds like a recipe for disaster to me, and/or a recipe for "One guy lots of ladies is fine, anything else is bad."

So while I'm sympathetic (or is empathetic the better word?) to the needs/desires (romantic desires I mean, not implying it's all about sex) of people who are poly (queer dude here, so wanting to marry the person(s) you love isn't exactly an issue far from my interest), perhaps it's best to wait for less fraught countries to iron out some of the problems involved in such a huge social experiment first. Because it would be an experiment; as has been posted above, polygamy historically has been based on the idea of women as chattel. The idea of polygamy (or polyandry, or polyandrygamy) as a meeting of equals is in some ways as radical as the idea of straight up heterosexual marriage being a meeting of equals once was.

I could probably see somewhere like Sweden or Iceland figuring out how to radically reform entire chunks of law to allow for this kind of change in a rational and equitable fashion, and for that to trickle down to the USA in a decade or so.

Yeah, I know, "be good and wait for your rights" is utter and total bullshit and absolutely reeks of privilege, but that's not exactly what I'm saying.

Basically what I'm saying is: in order to enshrine poly marriage in law, there's going to have to be some truly enormous changes made to existing law. That in and of itself isn't and shouldn't be a hurdle, don't get me wrong. But the way politics are right now in the USA? It's probably a really, really bad idea to try, unless you want Teapublicans framing the discussion. I'm guessing none of us wants that. Sure, don't let perfect be the enemy of the good, but I just don't see any good outcome from the current political situation. Gay marriage has come about in the USA at least partly because people have been able to point to an ever-growing list of countries that haven't imploded because of oh my god two penises (or vaginas) linked by a legal bond.

Maybe, and again I understand the privilege (as a not particularly poly person when it comes to romance) that allows me to say this, maybe it's best to have poly marriage follow the same slow, gentle route, with laws enacted by rational and decent people.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:02 AM on December 19, 2013


This is, indeed, a REALLY interesting decision - thanks, roomthreeseventeen, for the post, and thanks to Kadin2048 for the link to the Pacer PDF.

The whole use of the Green case just blows my mind. How can you possibly argue that that's a similar case?
posted by kristi at 10:20 AM on December 20, 2013


feckless fecal fear mongering: polygamy historically has been based on the idea of women as chattel

Historically, all marriage has been based on the idea of women as chattel. But the institution has evolved.
posted by spaltavian at 12:20 PM on December 20, 2013 [3 favorites]


Well yes, okay, but I figured we were taking that as read. To me anyway, polygamy as it's mainly practiced in the world today is much more explicitly about ownership of women than 1-on-1 marriage has been for quite some time. I'm not explaining myself well.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:58 PM on December 20, 2013


fffm 1-on-1 marriage not being about ownership of women is more of a Western thing than a modern thing. There are a lot more people living the reality of dowries and arranged marriage than you probably realize.

And echoes of marriage as ownership persisted well into the 20th century, such as the lack of recognition of marital rape. If we could ameliorate those problems (one could argue strongly that they're still not completely solved) then we could probably address the historic abuses of polygamy as well.
posted by localroger at 1:18 PM on December 20, 2013 [3 favorites]


So. Uh.

This just happened.

Short version: Utah's anti-gay-marriage amendment to its state constitution is unconstitutional per the US constitution. The state must allow same-sex marriages.

This is going to be a really fun week in Utah.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:23 PM on December 20, 2013 [5 favorites]


Holy crap that's awesome.
posted by The World Famous at 2:54 PM on December 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


Utah FPP
posted by zarq at 3:05 PM on December 20, 2013


So. Uh.

This just happened.


Holy shit yes.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:21 AM on December 21, 2013


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