Oct 8

Polygamy & Polyamory—Why is Only One of Them Legal?

I was recently exposed to a philosophy that was completely new to me: polyamory. Polyamory is the idea that a person can have more than one "life partner" whom they love like a mate. This love may or may not be expressed sexually, although it seems like more often than not, it is.

Now, from a completely humanistic point of view, that sounds like it's a plausible concept. The problem is that based on my life knowledge and beliefs, it's not really workable or moral. First of all, we weren't designed that way. We were designed to only join to one person at a time. Second, I can't believe that polyamorous trios (or quartets, or whatever they may be) are immune to the jealousy that pervades the rest of humanity.

But debating the morality of polyamory is not the point of this post. The point is this: why is it legal to love two people, but illegal to marry them both? Since when is government the end-all-be-all of morality? Marriage and morality has historically been under the purview of the church, not the government. The U.S. Government has already accommodated the non-standard household with the "head of household" tax filing status, so this isn't a tax-related issue.

So my main question is this: why does government get the privilege of telling us what's moral and what's not? I don't trust government nearly that much. Government should reflect morality, not dictate it.

But that leaves another sticky question: does that mean that polygamy should be legal, or that polyamory should be illegal? Not necessarily either one...you'll find that sometimes there aren't easy answers to the questions I raise.