As state policy makers and the general public listen to the debates about polygamy and gay rights, the Sound Choices Coalition affirms that in spite of pro polygamy propaganda that would have people believe otherwise, these are two completely separate issues.
If it were only a matter of sexual privacy we would let matters rest, but polygamy is so much more, especially for the children involved.
The bottom line is that numerous studies in the US and abroad clearly show that polygamy is harmful to individuals and societies.
We support the United Nations’ view that polygamy undermines women’s rights to “equality with men.”
As human rights activists, we also agree with the UN that polygamy has such serious financial and emotional effects for women and children that “such marriages ought to be discouraged and prohibited.”
From our experience, we concur with Professor of Economics Shoshana Grossbard who echoes the UN in her findings that polygamy is “anathema to women’s economic, social and emotional well-being.”
Sound Choices Coalition supports Professors Henrich, Boyd, and Richerson’s findings that polygamy encourages crime and places children at greater risk of sexual and physical abuse (and even death) than children in monogamist families.
Henrich and his associates further note the huge age gaps often seen in polygamous unions. They identify how polygamist males spend time competing for females and attempting to maintain multiple relationships, resulting in little time for parenting their children.
Claiming “religious persecution” or “racism” as the reasons for anti polygamy laws is just a smokescreen to mask what Chief Justice Baumann of British Columbia calls the “inherent abuses” of polygamy.
We do agree with Judge Waddoups that selectively applying Utah’s “unlawful cohabitation” laws to polygamists is nonsensical. This only highlights the need for specific legislation limited solely to polygamy, which we request that Utah’s state legislature seriously consider.
Where we disagree with Waddoups is in his failure to confront the larger issues. It is simply impossible to reduce polygamy to just what goes on in the bedroom. [(page 76) …this individual liberty guarantee essentially draws a line around an individual’s home and family and prevents governmental interference with what happens inside, as long as it does not involve injury or coercion or some other form of harm to individuals or society.]
The experiences of the many teens, women, and even men who have left a broad range of polygamous groups and relationships are too easily written off by pro polygamy advocates as simply “not typical,” or worse, as the lies of “ex members with a grudge.” However, It is not so easy to ignore the studies mentioned in this press release, and the many others not listed here.
Is polygamy “just like gay rights?” Is polygamy ”harmless?” Sound Choice Coalition thinks not—and neither do expert researchers.
Marion Munn / Kristyn Decker & Sound Choices Coalition
Former Polygamist (Kristyn Decker) Critical of Plural Marriages