Debate Rounds (5)
Two people who have decided to stay together unmarried usually have more paperwork to deal with. They have to make sure that they write a testament, leaving their belongings to their loved one. If they do not do that, there are legal things that can happen that are easily avoidable. For instance, if they bought a house together in the name of only one, and then this person dies, and if they didn't write a testament, the house will be given to the nearest family of that person. Young people don't plan on themselves dying, so they rarely prepare for it - that is why this happens quite a lot for unmarried couples.
This is just one of the problems an unmarried couple may face.
That is why it is much more practical for both the couple and the state that they marry each other. All the paperwork they had to be doing otherwise is not necessary then. That is why I am for gay marriage.
I am not for polygamous marriages, because these practical things with a marriage are unfortunately non-existent in marriages involving more than two.
1. If one in the marriage of three dies, to whom do his or hers belongings go to? if they were wealthy, there would likely be a lot of fighting over that.
2. Children and divorce - divorce is not easy on children because they can't stand moving around between parents. Imagine what moving around between three parents would do?
3. What if one of the three wants a divorce from the other two? How would they share they're fortune?
All in all, it seems like a marriage involving more than two would create more drama than it would be practical, so therefore I am against it.
I accept this challenge. I'd like to thank shoutevenshy for making this debate. It should be a fun topic to discuss. My argument will operate independently on two different fronts: first, I'd like to challenge his notion of the purpose of marriage as merely a practicality to make our lives simple. I'll then make arguments under his conception of the purpose of marriage to show why that, even if we take his viewpoint, polygamous marriage ought to be permissible.
To begin, I think it's important to begin by talking briefly about the gay marriage debate. The major reason for why the gay rights movement became a thing is because our conceptions of what marriage is has shifted over time from less about a stable, formal committment, and more about a deep love for one another. That founding bedrock has been the fuel that propelled the US to legalize gay marriage. If we take this perspective of what a true marriage ought to be based around, love and not pragmatism, then this leads us to troubling questions for the anti-polygamy position: if this feeling of love and affection is what truly matters in relationships and marriages, then why are other factors relevent between humans? Male or Female, one or many, if all of them share the same mutual feeling of love and care toward one another, then why should anything else matter?
If this point holds true, and it's on my opponent to refute this since this is the belief in the status quo, thus what ought to be the default belief for this debate, then by default there's no reason not to allow polygamy: the only difference from the currently allowed marriages and polygamy is the number of people. So long as the loving part of the marriage is present, that should not matter in determining whether or not they ought to be allowed to marry.
But let's transition now to his framework of the practical reasons. Are there really valid practical reasons why we ought not allow polygamy?
Before I go in response to each of his three refutations in detail, I'd like to make two general points that apply to each of his responses:
First, all of these objections are rather minor in the sense that they can easily be solved and communicated between the family. If anything by legalizing it and allowing legal recourses to be put in place for these families to go to, it creates better avenues for these problems to be solved. So not only can these problems be solved in the status quo by them just deciding between themselves what happens in these situations, but by legalizing it we provide better avenues for these problems to be solved legally that don't currently exist, which make these problems even less relevant.
Secondly, these are all things that are being dealt with successfully in the status quo, since it's not a secret that polygamy happens anyway, regardless of it's legality. It's even to the point that police usually don't enforce it due to the belief in the freedom of choice. Don't believe it? Just go turn on TLC and watch the show called Sister Wives, which is a reality-tv show based around one such family. So the concerns voiced by my opponent really aren't that impactful reasons to deny polygamists their right to lawfully wed, since they're already being dealt with in the status quo.
But let's look at each reason individually now.
His first reason is flawed on multiple levels:
The second reason seems equally flawed:
The third point is eerily similar in nature to the first point, so I'll rehash the points again:
To conclude, I don't feel like there are very solid reasons to disallow polygamy from being a legal form of marriage. I've shown through multiple methods and arguments why this is the case. With that, I'll pass the floor back over to my opponent.
 - http://family-law.lawyers.com...
 - http://www.tlc.com...
Whether or not someone defines marriage being between man and woman, two people or three people is irrelevant to the argument that marriage is designed to make it legally practical for TWO people. Changing the marriage law to allow two of the same sexes did not violate the original law on any matter except the obvious one, that originally it was meant for one man and one woman - that was a moral debate, however this is not just a moral debate, because by changing the marriage to allow more than two people in it, we have to remake the entire law, which would in my opinion not just change the marriage as we know it for religious people, but it would completely change the marriage we know today.
The marriage is a legally binding document that gives people certain rights. Its a practical thing that says - if you sign this document you are legally your spouses heir, you have custody of each other's children, blah blah blah. You don't need to figure out all these things because the marriage does it ALL for you. THAT is the point of marriage. However you say "All it takes is a conversation between the family to get them to agree that this is what should happen in this situation, and the fighting becomes a non-issue since they would've already decided." If they need to sit down and discuss, what is the point of them getting the document that was designed to skip that very step?
Furthermore, I can get married today if I want - to anybody! If there were three people that got spontaneous and decided to get married today, could they? Because you said there need to be a conversation to settle some things. Then you are discriminating polygamous couples by saying they can't get married today, but a monogamous couple can.
I'm...rather confused by my opponent's last round. It seems to be that he, more or less, drops most of everything that was said in the previous round to make two claims and to say that I'm discriminating against polygamous couples? I'm not entirely sure what he's getting at, but I'll go through his responses and then go through what all was not addressed.
I'll start with this idea that marriage is defined as between two people, and that changing it to allow more than two people would be changing our conception of marriage (the first paragraph).
This argument seems to put the conclusion before the claim when it's saying that remodeling our conception of marriage is bad. Sure, I'll give you that if we legalize polygamy then we'd have to make amends to our definition of marriage for legal purposes, but why can't we do this? There doesn't really seem to be an answer to this question anywhere in my opponent's last round. Moreover, I would argue that such a change ought to happen. Since I'm showing that there's no reason why we ought to deny polygamous families the right to marriage, then the next logical step would be that we ought to change the law to allow for this to happen. That just happens to be the very point of this debate....huh. Neat.
He also makes a response to one of my defenses of polygamy by saying that if we can just discuss problems within the relationship among ourselves, then what's the point of legally getting married? The answer to this one is simple: because in the status quo today, polygamy is still technically illegal and you can face legal reprocussions if accused of this. Even though we can find polygamy pretty publically displayed through TV, even the reality TV show "Sister Wives" is potentially facing legal reprocussions since polygamy is still technically against the law. The point of legalizing polygamy would be to prevent these things from happening.
Moreover, I think you misunderstand the point of marriage. You seem to be arguing for marriage just being this legally binding contract saying that x husband can do a, b, and c things with y wife, and that if problems arise we pull out our handy-dandy marriage contract and see what it says we should do about things. That's not really how marriage works:
My opponent seems to be misunderstanding my point. The problems he discusses aren't unique to polygamous families -- traditional couples have these problems in relationships as well. How they solve for it is primarily discussing between the two of them what would happen in these situations. The only problem with this relies in when they can't agree. Fortunately for traditional couples, legal alternatives exist that allow for the fair enforcement of affairs in the relationship (this is things like marriage counciling, divorce court, etc.). These legal alternatives don't exist for polygamous couples because in the status quo polygamy is illegal. Legalizing polygamy would open up these alternative solutions to the problems that the polygamous family couldn't work out among themselves, so that instead of these problems going unresolved because they can't decide between themselves how to solve these problems, that the problems get solved so that everyone can be happy and no innocent parties (i.e. kids) get hurt in the cross-fire.
Why should these legal alternatives be available? Because on a more basic level of human understanding, there's not a whole lot of distinction between traditional couples from polygamous couples other than plus one person. And, as I argue, if that is the only distinction between them, then there are no relevent distinctions between the two that ought to affect eligibility for marriage. Hence, why I'm advocating for polygamous marriage being legalized in this debate...
I'm not really going to respond to the whole "I'm discriminating against polygamous couples" bit because I'm really confused as to how I'm discriminating against them by saying that they're the same as monogomous couples other than the additional people...so instead I'll go on to addressing things that my opponent never did.
To begin with, my opponent never responds to my argument that marriage isn't this practical-based ideal, but rather love is the basis of marriage, and this love is the sole requirement to what qualifies one for marriage. As we've seen from recent movements of the gay marriage debate, this is the current societal belief, and as such, it falls on my opponent to argue why this belief is incorrect. Otherwise, this socially-accepted belief ought to be the default belief. If this is the standard by which we judge who is worthy of being able to marry or not, then there seems to be no reason to deny polygamous couples the ability to marry.
And I've sufficiently defended my responses to his arguements, meaning that I'm winning under both conceptions of marriage. This means that regardless of who's understanding of marriage you agree with more, there ought not be a reason to deny polygamous couples the right to marry.
Back to my opponent.
 - See Round 1
Do you have any suggestions of what our laws of marriage would look like in order to allow polygamous marriages?
Is one person allowed to have several spouses, even though his or her spouses aren't married to each other?
polygamy is not a new idea. It's a standard form of marriage, dating back, of course, to Biblical times and before, and anthropologists say that 85 percent of human societies have permitted it. This means we know a thing or two about it.
Here's the problem with it: when a high-status man takes two wives (and one man taking many wives, or polygyny, is almost invariably the real-world pattern), a lower-status man gets no wife. If the high-status man takes three wives, two lower-status men get no wives. And so on.
This competitive, zero-sum dynamic sets off a competition among high-status men to hoard marriage opportunities, which leaves lower-status men out in the cold. Those men, denied access to life's most stabilizing and civilizing institution, are unfairly disadvantaged and often turn to behaviors like crime and violence. The situation is not good for women, either, because it places them in competition with other wives and can reduce them all to satellites of the man.
a 2012 study discovered "significantly higher levels of rape, kidnapping, murder, assault robbery and fraud in polygynous cultures." According to the research, "monogamy's main cultural evolutionary advantage over polygyny is the more egalitarian distribution of women, which reduces male competition and social problems." (source: http://www.eurekalert.org...)
The study found that monogamous marriage "results in significant improvements in child welfare, including lower rates of child neglect, abuse, accidental death, homicide and intra-household conflict." And: "by shifting male efforts from seeking wives to paternal investment, institutionalized monogamy increases long-term planning, economic productivity, savings and child investment."
You might reply with the fact that a polygamous marriage does not necessarily mean a man marrying several women. But this is a very possible outcome in a male dominant world like the one we STILL live in. Men are richer, and why would a man settle for one woman when he could have 10, and why would a woman settle for a low class man when she could live a luxurious life with another?
Sorry for the lack of response to your argument, don't worry - the voters are gonna notice that.
I'm going to get the necessary parts of this round out of the way pretty quickly so that I can go on to address the new points my opponent brings up.
In short, my opponent drops literally everything that's been said so far. My opponent concedes to having dropped everything. This means that not only on a theoretical level I'm justifying polygamy by showing that marriage is about love, and therefore there shouldn't be anything to prevent multiple people from getting married to each other if they love one another and desire marriage, but I'm also answering back the problems he had with polygamy from a pragmatic standpoint, which means under both frameworks I'm winning this debate. Hold my opponent to these drops and concessions.
With that out of the way, back to actually discussing polygamy. Since the last round from my opponent is a bit scattered, I'll try to answer things line-by-line.
Con says: "Do you have any suggestions of what our laws of marriage would look like..."
Con says: "when a high-status man takes two wives ... a lower-status man gets no wife."
Con says: "Those men ... are unfairly disadvantaged and often turn to behaviors like crime and violence."
Con says: "The situation is not good for women, either, because it places them in competition with other wives and can reduce them all to satellites of the man."
Con says: "a 2012 study ..."
As that's pretty much everything that Con says, I'll pass the floor back over to them.
Never did I oppose that marriage is about love, never did I question whether three people can love each other all at once. I questioned the practicality of such a marriage, and I provided lots of problems that would occur, to which my opponent mostly answered 'the spouses could have a talk what would happen in such cases'. I tried to argument for the fact that this IS what marriage is - marriage is the practical thing between a man and a woman, so that they don't have to deal with paperwork in the future, it is all there in one piece of paper, and that is how I said from the beginning - Practical! I think I have provided very reasonable questions as to what good a marriage between three does, why is it necessary, and I think it raises the question whether it would some situations like divorce, death, etc. much more IMPRACTICAL than they already are.
I failed to see how this could go on without my opponent going on how 'we could work it out' - yes we could work it out, however that was not my point at all. My point was, that marriage is there for a practical reason.
Concessions did never occur, even though my opponent seems to think so.
1. No, never did I ask my opponent to justify a polygamous marriage. If you have been following this debate it has been strictly about the legal matter of such a concept. So I do not think my opponent is free from answering my question at all.
2. Dangerous assumption maybe, but like I said polygamy is not at all a new concept, and I base my opinion on history.
Pro says ... All the women out there who go absolutely nuts over him and say that they won't marry any other person other than him. The moment he got married, their potential marriage pools went from one person to zero people, meaning that there's already a lot of guys who aren't getting wives.
I hope the voters read this carefully to see actually how ridiculous it is. There is unlikely a woman on earth with access to the internet or a television who hasn't had a celebrity crush, most of these are probably already married. I would like to meet the woman who dedicated herself so much to George Clooney that she stayed single for him, I would bet a ton of money on that if this woman exist she is the only one.
Pro says ... There's no reason to believe that a polygamous family can not all equally love one another so that it doesn't devolve into this kind of situation.
There might not be a reason for it, however these complicated situations rarely need rational reasons to occur. We see it
My opponent then says that my study is outdated, saying half a millennia changes a lot of things - I would like to inform my opponent that half a millennia is 500 years, these studies are half a century old.
However that doesn't really change my opponent's point. The study says the following: "Our goal was to understand why monogamous marriage has become standard in most developed nations in recent centuries, when most recorded cultures have practiced polygyny," Polygamous marriages are illegal in all developed countries, so to study these types of marriages their only alternative was polygamy in Islamic countries which would have been an entirely useless study.
My opponent says these studies still useless because; "There's far more access to resources and wealth in today's society than existed within the 50s and 60s. With more people having more things, there's less reason for people to fight among one another."
I do not agree with this. Here is a view of the crime rate in the states dating from 1960 to 2013: http://www.disastercenter.com...
If you look at the numbers, even though the population in the states hasn't doubled since 1960, the crime rate has TRIPLED. I think this proves that even though there might be less reason for people to fight among one another, this is hardly the case. More things just means there is more to fight for.
My opponent misunderstands the way that the frameworks interact and just doesn't seem to cover enough in this debate. It's why they'll be losing. I'm going to go down their last round from top to bottom, extending critical arguments of my own as I go.
To begin with, extend my framework of love being based solely around the capacity to love one another as what we ought to be basing marriages off of, rather than practical concerns. This concept goes entirely conceded by Con, and Con even concedes that they don't disagree with this. This is a game-over mistake from my opponent because if this is true, then, like I implied in the previous round and stated in further previous rounds, practical concerns are irrelevant toward if the marriage is permissible or not. What does it matter if it potentially will add one more parent to divorce conversations if the entire family loves one another and wants to give it a try? Con makes no response to this line of reasoning, nor attempts to respond to it. Insofar as I'm winning on this front, then the debate is effectively over -- marriage based off of love supercedes practical concerns, thus making them irrelevant to discussing whether the marriages ought to be permissible.
Moreover, I've already made responses to this practical version of marriage as a "contract to avoid paperwork in the future" concept. Extend the two responses I made talking about how this view of marriage makes the marriage effectively useless and disregards how contracts are actually formed. Both explain why the Con's viewpoint of marriage is problematic. Neither are responded to. Don't let them go back and make responses to it in the final round because a) they've had chances to respond to these already and elected not to, thus making it their own fault, and b) it's unfair for me to have to cover new arguments in the final round where no one will be able to respond to what I say since the debate will be over.
At this point you don't have to read any more as a voter and can affirm just right here -- if we base marriages off of love, then there's no reasons to preclude polygamous marriages.
Also, don't buy the "this debate is about legality":
Moreover, extend my first two responses to his practical issue of polygamy being that it excludes some men from ever getting married. He responds to the first argument, that his argument makes a really dangerous and unwarranted assumption that men deserve to have a wife by simple being the man, by saying that his ideas are based in history, but that doesn't respond to my argument in the slightest. The assumption he's making is that women are merely property for men to claim as "wives" and that every man deserves himself a wife at some point or another, which has dangerous implications in terms of sexual violence and human worth. His "basis in history" is irrelevant to the unwarranted assumption being present.
But moreover, he drops the third response that I make that this concept of marriage in that a man deserves to have a wife misunderstands the way that marriages actually form. Not every guy can build a relationship with a girl, meaning that by simple process of elimination of candidates, not every guy will marry someone. Forcing people who are incompatable to marry just asks for a lot of the harms listed in his case (namely divorce) to almost certainly happen. He never makes any kind of response to this.
My opponent also seems to confuse what he's responding to. Extend my response that there's no reason to believe that women just become pawns and "sattelites" to the man in polygamy -- there's no reason to believe that a polygamist marriage cannot be based on the premise that all members of the marriage love one another equally, otherwise why would they be getting married in the first place? His response doesn't address it, but rather says "Well they happen anyway", but that's not actually a response. Sure, they can happen, but there's no reason to believe that they must happen or that they will always happen. There's not even compelling evidence to show that this is just what normally happens. Con's not doing enough work to merit this argument.
Then, extend my responses to the study he posted. It's outdated, the most recent data being collected decades ago, and with more material wealth among the rest of society, there's less reasons for people to fight among one another for this wealth, which solves for the child welfare problems.
The responds to the first half of this isn't even close to sufficient. The response of "well polygamy is illegal everywhere except islamic countries, so there's no good studies out there" only lends credence to my argument -- there really isn't any compelling evidence out there that polygamist marriages have all these problems.
The second half he tries to respond back by citing crime rate statistics, but this is laughably fallacious:
a) The easist confounding variable is that as population rises, crime rates will also rise simply because there's more people for crime to happen to. There's no reason this is specifically because of polygamy.
b) There's a number of other confounding variables that could account for these issues, such as race riots, urban gang culture, and a litany of other things that have absolutely nothing to do with polygamy. He's not proving any kind of unique link that links the rise in crime rates to polygamy. Insofar as he's not doing that, these stats are literally meaningless.
And his response will be that being specific to polygamy wasn't his point, but that's where the problem lies -- it has to be his point if he wants to warrant his argument. He needs to be showing how polygamist families fighting among one another account for these rise in crime rates and violence statistics in order for his point to actually be valid. Since this task from the stats he provided us is literally impossible, there's no reason to buy his argument.
My opponent just isn't doing enough work on the flow to justify his side of the resolution. I'm winning the framework debate, which is showing that we ought to base things on a capacity for love rather than on practical concerns which operates before his arguments and precludes his arguments. But even if we're evaluating the practicality of it, he's not making enough offense showing why practically polygamist marriages is a bad idea. Either way, I'm winning the debate at hand.
Over to my opponent.
shoutevenshy forfeited this round.
Well that's an unfortunate forfeit. I'll just summarize here, then.
To conclude, I'm winning on the framework level that love is the basis of marriages and it's what we ought to use to justify which couples/families are deserving of eligibility for marriage. Since there's no reason to believe that polygamous families cannot love one another, then there seems to be no reason to preclude them from marriage for any reason. I'm also showing why his view of marriage as a contractual thing to prevent excessive paperwork in the future is problematic, meaning that the only way to view marriage as a concept is coming from the Affirmative.
If I'm winning this then the rest of the debate becomes irrelevant. It doesn't matter, at that point, what practical problems there could be or how the definition of marriage would differ. If they love one another, then why ought we deny them the chance to make things work?
But even if you look to the pragmatic problems presented by the negative, then there's still no place to negate. I'm giving you sufficient defense to each response against polygamous marriages and showing why none of the objections raised are actually valid objections or reasons why we ought to deny them the chance to marry.
This means that regardless of what framework you evaluate marriage under, I'm showing you that there are no compelling reasons to deny polygamous families the right to marry. As such, the resolution stands.
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