With this thesis I explicitly differ from the current special protection of monogamous heterosexual marriage as it is defined for my homecountry in Article 6 § 1 of the German Basic Law and in case-law of the German Federal Constitutional Court. This leads to forbidding polygamy in the German Civil Code § 1306 . The main reason for this preference is that monogamous marriage is seen as the preliminary stage of a family, which a marriage becomes once the maaried people have offspring.
My first point is that polygamous marriages of course also can have offspring, so they also qualify for the special protection because they can be a preliminary stage of a family.
But above all there is no more reason to continue the special protection of monogamous heterosexual marriages which is ultimately based on christian values. My homecountry Germany is not a christian state, yes it even has declared the separation of church and state in it´s constitution. So it simply can not be that christian family values are made into laws for everybody.
This is all the more true because Germany – like many other states – has based it´s social order on human rights with the associated protection of privacy, the separation of church and state and religious freedom, which also means that you can not be forced to follow the rules of any religion. So by forcing the family values of one religion, in this case the christian religion, on everybody by incorporating them in laws and in so doing invading the private sphere of individuals is a violation of the principles and the explicit rules of the german constitution.
How we live our family life is a private matter. It is wrong when states that are based on human rights force their citizens to live only according to a narrowly defined range of possibilities of family life. This was best articulated by the U.S. law professor and lawyer Jonathan Turley: “There is no spectrum of private consensual relations – there is just a right of privacy that protects all people so long as they do not harm others.“ That this right to privacy also applies to group relations was upheld in the Case Brown vs Buhman, by Federal Judge Waddoups, who declared part of the Utah law on polygamy as unconstitutional on friday, 13th 2013. The complete text of the ruling, 91 pages.
Finally, one needs to remember that the ideas of what is consistent with the order of society concerning sex, marriage, family have always changed in history and especially in recent decades. In a time when fortunately more and more countries decriminalize homosexuality and allow lesbians and gays to marry, why should not that be possible for polygamy, provided all parties enter into this kind of marriage consensual, voluntarily and knowingly?
What harm should come of it ? None!
In 2012 , a study by economists showed that polygamy is compatible with democracy. In the August / September 2013 issue of Reason, the author Shikha Dalmia explained why conservatives are wrong when they always promote the downfall of morality and the inevitable disintegration of society, if one more freedom were granted: Freedom ≠ Polygamy and Heroin. Another very good argument for legalizing polygamy was made by Jean Hannah Edelstein in an article in the guardian.
In my article Evidence-based policy would mean to legalize polygamy, I point out that policy – if it were based on evidence – would have to realize that monogamous marriage as the only and by law coercively enforced model for long-lasting relationships is not working for most people and needs to be supplemented by other options.
Notice: This article is translated from an original article