Questions about polygamy are likely to dominate Western family law in the next generation. Two generations ago, contraception, abortion, and women¿s rights were the hot topics. This past generation, children¿s rights and same-sex rights have dominated public deliberation and litigation. On the frontier of Western family law are hard questions about extending the forms of valid marriage to include polygamy and extending the forums of marital governance to include religious and cultural legal systems that countenance polygamy. This Article analyzes the 1,850 year tradition of Western laws against polygamy and the growing constitutional and cultural pressures to reform these laws today. I show how the traditional Western cases against polygamy and same-sex unions used strikingly different arguments drawn from the Bible, nature, rights, harm, and symbolism. I conclude that, because these arguments are so different, Western nations can responsibly hold the line against polygamy, even if they choose to accept same-sex marriage and its accompanying norms of sexual liberty, domestic autonomy, equality, and nondiscrimination.
John Witte Jr.,
Why Two in One Flesh? The Western Case for Monogamy over Polygamy,
Emory L. J.
Available at: https://scholarlycommons.law.emory.edu/elj/vol64/iss6/2