The Legal Challenges of Religious Polygamy in the USA Essay

The Legal Challenges of Religious Polygamy in the USA Essay

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Witte writes that the common law has always defined marriage between a man and a woman, and that religious freedom should not allow anyone to break laws. He states “monogamous marriage ‘is the cornerstone of civilization’, and it cannot be moved without upending our whole culture” (73). He believes that allowing plural marriage would cause a lot of chaos and completely destroy our nation’s current culture.
Witte discusses a Fundamental Latter Day Saint group in Texas that was raided. Underage and coerced marriages, statutory rape and child abuse were all found within the group. Witte states, “They will have no claim of religious freedom that will excuse them and no claim of privacy that will protect them” (73). He claims that freedom of religion does not mean freedom to do whatever a person wants. He argues that criminalizing polygamy is constitutional.
He also argues that polygamy is not healthy. He states, “Public health experts raise concerns about communicable diseases among children within the extended household, and transmittable sexual diseases within the rotating marital bed”. He believes that marriage should be strictly between two people to reduce the amount of sexually transmitted diseases.
Witte discusses the problems that could come up if the man dies or one of the wives file for divorce. There are no laws on how to distribute marital property or social security benefits and other money for polygamous families. If polygamy were legalized it would be difficult to determine how many of the spouses would benefit from health care benefits.
Furthermore he says that polygamy should not be legalized because it is inherently wrong and because it will give religions too much freedom to abuse young girls. Witte argues that th...


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...es of Religious Polygamy in the USA." Ecclesiastical Law Journal January 2009: 72-75.
Ho, Andy. "Why Polygamy Should Be Allowed." Straits Times (Singapore). 03 Mar 2011: n.p. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 07 Dec 2013.
Beaman, Lori G. "Response: Who Decides? Harm, Polygamy and Limits on Freedom." Nova Religio: The Journal of Alternative and Emergent Religions August 2006: 43-51.
Klein, Diane J. "Plural Marriage And Community Property Law." Golden Gate University Law Review 41.1 (2010): 33-89. Academic Search Premier. Web. 7 Dec. 2013.
Copeland, Libby. "Big Love, Big Lies." National Post. 02 Feb 2012: A.16. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 11 Dec 2013.
Fry, Amy. "Polygamy In America: How The Varying Legal Standards Fail To Protect Mothers And Children From Its Abuses." St. Louis University Law Journal 54.3 (2010): 967-995. Academic Search Premier. Web. 12 Dec. 2013.





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