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The Forum > General Discussion > Polygamy

Polygamy

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I may as well start by saying that I have no problem with polygamy, polygyny and polyandry provided only that I am not expected to cope with more than one wife. So far as I am concerned other people can make whatever cohabitation arrangements they like.

However the introduction of polygamy into modern industrial societies does lead to some interesting consequences. In Britain, for example, a polygamous family can get 92.80 pounds per week in income support for wife number one and 33.65 pounds per week for each subsequent wife. See:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/1577395/Multiple-wives-will-mean-multiple-benefits.html

Muslim men are limited to four wives. A Muslim family comprising four wives could receive a maximum of 193.75 pounds per week in income support.

In some African cultures, however, there appears to be no upper limit on the number of permitted wives. Could an African family comprising ten wives get income support for the lot?

Some cultures permit polyandry. In terms of income support how much is each additional husband worth?

If, say, a married Catholic man converts to Islam could his Catholic wife stop him taking additional wives?

How many spouses can an immigrant bring into Britain? Could it work like this?

--A man, wife number one, and their children immigrate.

--The man's offspring by his other wives they are his biological children are then permitted to immigrate under the family reunion provisions.

--The mothers of these children are then permitted to immigrate to Britain under the same family reunion provisions.

(No. I am not expecting a flood of immigrants under this scenario. I'm simply asking whether it could work that way)

If one wife files for divorce are her property rights decided under British law or sharia law? Here we have a problem because the new marriage contract in British sharia law requires the husband to renounce his right to take additional wives.

See:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/2518720/New-Sharia-law-marraige-contract-gives-Muslim-women-rights.html

It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

While this focuses on Britain there are obvious implications for other European countries and for Australia
Posted by stevenlmeyer, Sunday, 29 March 2009 9:38:39 AM
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A lawyer friend has pointed out some issues that may tax the legal profession.

Why are later wives only worth 33.65 pounds, less than half the value placed on the first wife? Is that not discriminatory? Shouldn't income support be the same for all wives?

Suppose a careless driver kills the husband. How are damages to be distributed among the various wives? Would the number of wives be a factor in determining the quantum of damages?
Posted by stevenlmeyer, Sunday, 29 March 2009 1:24:23 PM
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Steven,
Last November, I saw a similar article in the UK Daily Mail and was interested as not long before there was an article, by Keysar Trad, in OLO regarding polygamy. Trads article attracted quite a deal of interest from posters.

I posted the Daily Mail link and received a lot of posts saying it was not correct, it was old news from 1988 and questioning my motives for raising the matter. It was even said that I was simply picking up a whack-a-mozzie stick and using it. It will be interesting to see what reaction you receive from posting your link to the DT.

I maintained then and still do that, resulting from a Ministerial inquiry, the UK government quietly changed the law in 2007/2008 to allow for recognition of multiple marriages and provided social welfare for the additional wives, as per your DT story.

Since then I came across this in relation to Australia.

http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,23922968-5010800,00.html

Some what surprised at this story and found that the journalist who wrote the story seems to have a reputation, around parliament house, for getting things wrong. I wrote to the Attorney-general about the story. The reply from his office is that the marriage Act 1961 states- 'the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life'. Polygamy offends this definition and any change is not being considered.

I accept this as a definate NO and the journalist is wrong.

In relation to the Sharia marriage laws in the UK, I do not see the need as the existing UK laws should take precidence over over any religious or cultural rule.

I would think that in Aus marriages can only be carried out by those persons given authority, by law, to do so, and our laws are defiately above those rules of any religion or culture. All citizens have equality under our law.
Posted by Banjo, Sunday, 29 March 2009 5:15:36 PM
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Hi Banjo,

I wonder whether it is as straightforward as you or your correspondent in the AG's office think. The UK position is that they do NOT permit polygamous marriages. In that way their law is the same as ours.

However the UK will recognise a polygamous marriage contracted in a country that does permit polygamy. Would Australia do the same? That is a question I may pose to the AG.

As I understand the UK position a married British Muslim man could go to Yemen with a British Muslim woman, not his wife, and marry her there. The British Government would then recognise both his British and Yemeni marriages as SIMULTANEOUSLY valid. De facto that amounts to a recognition of polygamy as evidenced by welfare payment arrangments.

What would be the position in Australia?

My own feeling is that it is inevitable that some sort of recognition is going to be given to polygamous and polyandrous marriages. I do not see how it can be avoided.

Note, this is not specifically a Muslim issue. There are other cultures that allow polygamy and polyandry. That being said I suspect it is going to be Muslims who lead the charge on this issue
Posted by stevenlmeyer, Sunday, 29 March 2009 7:23:41 PM
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Steven,
I did refer what the journalist said to the AT and can only quote to you the answer I got. Am sure both of us know that polys are good at not directly answering questions so it could still be a possibility that we do recognise multiple marriages that have been carried out overseas. I have not long received the reply and have not pursued it further. If you do make contact with the AT, I would be interested in the reply you get.

My contacts in UK tell me that some blokes were having pseudo divorces and then bringing out the next wife and their kids, while still living with the first wife. This is why the UK governmet made the changes.

I am aware that people other than muslims are polygamous.

I personally have no objections to polygomy if that is what some people want, but I can see a lot of complications in our society. Not the least when the husbands estate has to be divided and demarcation disputes about who does what. No thanks, not for me. They would most likely gang up on me anyway. Imagine if they went shopping together!
Posted by Banjo, Sunday, 29 March 2009 8:28:15 PM
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Isn`t Polygamy, ..... an extramarital activity carried out on the sly by Pygmies with gamy legs?
Posted by Cuphandle, Monday, 30 March 2009 3:44:54 PM
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