The Instigator
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The Contender
Con (against)
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Should Polygamy (plural marriage) be Legal?

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Post Voting Period
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after 1 vote the winner is...
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/19/2016 Category: Politics
Updated: 7 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 400 times Debate No: 88490
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (3)
Votes (1)




I will be arguing that yes, polygamy should be legal, and con will argue that it should remain illegal.

I believe that if two consenting women want to marry the same man, or if two consenting men want to marry the same woman, they should be allowed to. If they're not hurting anyone, why should it be illegal?

Can't wait for someone to debate with me.


I believe that it should remain illegal on the basis of an economic reason. Although I don't morally object to this, I believe that in a situation of polygamy, it could be abused in terms of benefits.

For definitions:
Man = (1)
Woman 1 = (2)
Woman 2 = (3)

If (1) has a job and at that job they provide health insurance, due to laws already established, the spouse would also be covered. This would mean that (2) and (3) have coverage. This would put an undue burden on the insurance companies but also the other consumers of the insurance that only had 1 spouse. Insurance companies would be forced to provide care for an extra person with any extra compensation.

Without a explicit statute in the law that limited the number of spouses, the primary party (1), could potentially have an unlimited number of spouses, be that male or female. This would destroy the system of dependent insurance and the insurance companies would simply shut down.

The welfare industry is another example of an industry that would collapse under the burden of polygamy. (1) could work but then his spouses could "stay at home". This would create multiple dependents under (1) and would have an effect on government programs and the poverty level.

Many other industries would face this burden as well, without and specific definition or limit on spouses. Not only the industry, but the other consumers of the industry.
Debate Round No. 1


Those are issues with our economic system that could be reformed. The methods of reforming them could be another debate in and of itself, but I'll try to stay on the topic at hand; polygamy.

Even with the economic aspects considered, that doesn't change the fact that plural marriage should be everyone's right. There was once a time when interracial marriage was deemed unethical; now it's commonplace. And the same process is happening to gay marriage as we speak. So I see no reason why polygamy should not be next.


You didn't actually debate me on the issues I presented, you simply denounced them.

Marriage is a legal ruling. It deals with all aspects the economy, so to simply ignore the economic situation wouldn't be right. Although we could reform the economics through laws, what would they be? If we limited the economics to only cover 1 spouse, then getting married for legal reason would be pointless.

I won't debate the moral side here because the debate requested for a legality, not morality.

I will present another argument here though considering the estate. When a spouse dies, typically the estate is directly given to the surviving spouse. In polygamy, the spouses aren't typically all married to each other, only to 1 common person. So if (1) has 4 spouses and he dies, which spouse gets the estate? Or would the estate be split up, in that case, there be ugly legal battles to determine if it is fair or not.

I understand that these could be debated by themselves but they are the issues that come with polygamy.
Debate Round No. 2


"I won't debate the moral side here because the debate requested for a legality, not morality."
I think matters of human rights matter exclusively to the moral side of the debate. When dealing with human rights, the economic influences are the second priority; the first is the human rights in question.

And I don't see how your estate point is relevant. If my dad dies, my mom would take ownership of all his things. If a man with many wives dies, his many wives would take ownership of all his things. And after he died, perhaps they would split up, take their share of the estate and got their separate ways. That's not complicated at all.


That would have to be determined if polygamy is indeed a human right or a partnership similar to a business arrangement. I don't think marriage is a human right, however, I believe it is a legal right that we are entitled to due to fairness and the 14th amendment of equal protection. That being said, if marriage was simply taken out of the legal system, that would be fair as well. Polygamy still doesn't necessarily fall into that category as the the spouses are treated fairly in the sense that they can get married still just to 1 other person. The issue we have is the undue burden on the institutions that surround polygamy and partnership. Being blind to that hardship would be wrong, so in order to move forward on polygamy, we have to remove that hardship.

There is nothing illegal about being with more than one person. Anyone can be "married" to more than on person whenever they want, just not under the eyes of the law. Our entire law foundation is set up around a binary partnership, we can't ask everyone that deals with legality to simply change practice.
Debate Round No. 3


"There is nothing illegal about being with more than one person. Anyone can be "married" to more than on person whenever they want, just not under the eyes of the law."
Well, that's the point; the eyes of the law should recognize plural marriages.

And yes, I know I haven't come up with many solutions to your "undue burden on the system" point, but I'm not a lawyer, I don't see why I'm expected to come up with a whole new tax plan, or new health insurance plans.

Marriage is more than just a ceremony with a guy in a suit and a woman in a white dress. There are countless legal benefits to marriage, including social security, joint income tax returns, military benefits, and public assistance benefits. And those benefits are not available to those with multiple spouses.

Since this is the last round, here are my closing statements; polygamy should be legal simply because you are not hurting anyone else by doing it, and consenting adults should be able to decide how many spouses they have for themselves.


The reason that those benefits are available to more than one spouse is because it would abuse the benefits and place a burden on them. This is the sole reason on why it isn't legal already. Every system we have in the United States is set up around a binary partnership, when adding to that every system must be set to change with it. This burden is above what can be asked in one sweeping motion.

My closing statement: Polygamy, although morally doesn't victimize anyone, places an ethical burden on the institutions that give marriage so many benefits. It is these burdens that make polygamy illegal and provide the basis of it remaining illegal. It would be abused by the families in trying to get additional benefits and more value from each benefit on the basis of them having multiple partners and would be unfair to the binary families.

Thanks for the debate!
Debate Round No. 4
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by matt8800 7 months ago
I agree as long as it doesn't result in a net loss in taxes. Why not let people do what they want?
Posted by MakeSensePeopleDont 7 months ago
Funny thing about "proof"'s a man-made fallacy. After all, what we teach as "proof", "fact", "truth", etc. is only as good as the data we accept as correct at that point in time. Think about it, how long was the world flat? How long was the Earth the center of the universe with all other objects orbiting around us? All these were facts, told to be so with proof...until we found new proof that changed the facts.
Posted by MagicAintReal 7 months ago
Awesome topic.
The only thing I can think of is the taxes portion may be skewed if an odd number of people are in the taxable unit...otherwise, I'm with you on this.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by XVIII18 7 months ago
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Reasons for voting decision: The south also used economic reasons to limit the rights of African Americans. Because of this, Con's argument did not touch base with me at all.