What is polygamy? Well, everybody knows that. Or not? After beginning this article in this peculiar way, you might suspect that I think this is not true.
Polygamy is fascination and taboo, wishful dream and frightful image, that lies in the eye of the beholder. Often enough positive and negative qualification of polygamy overlap in a person consciously and probably even more often unconsciously. So maybe we start by explaining not by what Polygamy is but rather by what Polygamy is not.
- 1 What Polygamy is not
- 2 Polygamy is a human right
- 3 The number of spouses is irrelevant for the right to marry
- 4 Deliberately and unlawfully imposed limitations on the number of spouses in many states
- 5 Why I write about Polygamy
- 6 My basic idea on Polygamy and Monogamy
- 7 My Theses on Polygamy and Monogamy in Modern Society
- 8 The website Viktor Leberecht - What it´s about and an overview of the contents
- 9 Series of articles
- 10 General information about polyamory, polygamy and open relationship
- 11 My theses on love and family free from excessive government regulation in a democratic society
- 12 Expert, Author, Speaker and Coach for Polyamory and Open Relationships
- 13 Please feel free to send your suggestions, they are welcome
- 14 Become a guest author
What Polygamy is not
To address the most widespread prejudice right away: Polygamy is not an instrument of oppression designed by anti-female patriarchs to subjugate women, neither by definition nor in reality.
According to the German version of Wikipedia, polygamy is simply the generic term for any kind of multiple relationships, whether in the form of polygamy or in the form of simultaneous marital-like relationships.1Zitat, Stand 08.02.2019: „Polygamie (altgriechisch polys „viel“, und gamos „Ehe“) oder Vielehigkeit bezeichnet bei Menschen eine Form der Vielehe und der Führung von „gleichzeitigen eheähnlichen Beziehungen“. https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polygamie The English language version though only speaks of polygamy as a form of multiple-marriage.2Polygamy on Wikipedia, as February 19th 2019
More about what polygamy is not can be found on the page Prejudices about polygamy (In German sorry, no English version yet, but I´ll do my best to translate soon; you may use Google or Bind or Deepl to translate in the meantime). And how polygamy works, you can find on the page Polygamy Introductions (coming soon). And then there soon will be some more pages in the “What is polygamy?” section, where I provide information about polygamy as fact-based as possible.
Polygamy is a human right
Above all, however, polygamy is a human right. For the right to marry and found a family, provided that it is voluntarily, i.e. without coercion, entered into by people of marriageable age, marriage is a human right.
The general prohibition of polygamy in many states is, therefore, an inadmissible interference of the government in the inalienable human rights. For there is no reasonable basis for this prohibition that is compatible with human rights or the principles of legislation. Because no harm is done by voluntarily entering into polygamy/multiple marriages. But prohibitions, in particular restrictions on human rights, may only exist in order to avert harm as a precaution or to punish it subsequently.
These human rights were laid down internationally and uniformly for all UN Member States in 1948 in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights; Article 16 2 applies to our issue.3Link to original version from the website of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (UN Human Rights)
Rights from this non-binding declaration were formulated more precisely in 1966 in two international covenants and are contractually binding rights for the citizens of all states that have signed and ratified these covenants, including my home country Germany.
Article 23 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights is of interest here:
1. The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.
2. The right of men and women of marriageable age to marry and to found a family shall be recognized.
3. No marriage shall be entered into without the free and full consent of the intending spouses.
4. States Parties to the present Covenant shall take appropriate steps to ensure equality of rights and responsibilities of spouses as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution. In the case of dissolution, provision shall be made for the necessary protection of any children.4Cited acording to the English version linked from the website of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (UN Human Rights)
Article 10 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights also states: “Marriage must be entered into with the free consent of the intending spouses.”5Cited according to the English version linked from the website of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (UN Human Rights)
The number of spouses is irrelevant for the right to marry
Nowhere, neither in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights or in either of the two pacts the number of spouses is specified. The only criteria for the right to marry are a) marriageable age b) voluntary nature of the marriage. So, at least on the basis of the officially recognized human rights, there is no reason to ban polygamy. Indeed, to ban it is – I repeat that, deliberately – an unacceptable encroachment on these very human rights.
Deliberately and unlawfully imposed limitations on the number of spouses in many states
Many of the signatories of these pacts have also protected these human rights through their constitutions and/or individual laws. In my home country Germany, the so-called Basic Law, which is based on the inviolability of human dignity, guarantees these fundamental rights. Everything else is regulated by individual federal laws, e.g. family law.
And in Germany, as in many other countries, in these laws there are restrictions on the number of spouses, but without any justification. That regulation is simply imposed, and in my opinion, there is no reasonable basis for this prohibition compatible with human rights or the principles of legislation. Because prohibitions, in particular restrictions on human rights, must only exist in order to prevent damage or to punish it retrospectively. No harm is done by a voluntary polygamous marriage. So it must not be banned.
You can find a more detailed explanation of why this ban exists and why its lifting is necessary and would be to the advantage of society in my “Theses about love and family free from excessive government regulation, by Viktor Leberecht – all theses“.
Why I write about Polygamy
From my own experience of living in a polyamorous relationship with a married woman since December 2003, I came to think about the subject. After some hesitation – did I really want to be in the public with this sensitive topic? – I started to publish my theses and articles on the topic on this website in November/December 2010.
I am by no means the first to think that polygamy is a human right. Or to put it more comprehensively, the free choice of the form of heterosexual, homosexual or mixed-sex family coexistence is a human right. Therefore, a ban on polygamy in states that guarantee human rights to their citizens is a violation of human rights. But an important idea cannot be expressed by enough people.
I think the issue is so important that our society – in Germany, but also in other countries that guarantee human rights – has to deal with it if we are serious about human rights. Human or individual rights are ultimately nothing other than the claim and the trust that adult, mentally responsible and free people do not need gods, absolute rulers or other authorities to prescribe how they are to organise their private affairs. As long as a person does not harm one or more other people, a person is free to shape his/her/its life as he/she/it pleases.
My basic idea on Polygamy and Monogamy
If two (monogamy) or more (polygamy) people want to lead a family life together, and all those involved voluntarily and knowingly enter into this/these relationship(s), then the state does not have to forbid this but has to support it.
For love, sexuality and family are, apart from being born and dying, the most private areas of human existence in which the state only has to interfere in order to avert harm to individuals or several or to punish damage that has been done.
A polygamous relationship among equal adult partners that is entered into voluntarily and with knowledge of all participants by all participants – this distinguishes it from the rightly forbidden, secretly conducted multiple marriages called bigamy – does no harm to either the participants or to society. Prohibiting Polygamy is, therefore, a violation of human rights and simply superfluous, for prohibitions may only exist where damage is to be prevented or where there is a possibility of subsequently punishing the damage done, irrespective of the question of human rights.
My Theses on Polygamy and Monogamy in Modern Society
In the course of my work on this website, I have developed several theses why polygamy can be an important contribution to modern society. I still continue to develop them. If you are interested, perhaps even want to give some suggestions, you may read my “Theses about love and family free from excessive government regulation, by Viktor Leberecht – all theses“.
This article was published on Viktor Leberecht.
The website Viktor Leberecht - What it´s about and an overview of the contents
On the website of Viktor Leberecht, - an Expert, Speaker, Author and Coach for Polyamory and open relationships, and also an activist for love and family life free from excessive government regulation -, you may find current articles and general information on polyamory, polygamy and open relationships. And you will learn how we all, including the followers of monogamy, are unnecessarily and unlawfully restricted by excessive government regulation of our love and family lives.
Series of articles
You will find articles that I have either written myself or found all over the world, and some by Guest Authors.
General information about polyamory, polygamy and open relationship
What is Polyamory?: the English translation of the subpages is still in the works. They will give information e,g. about prejudices about polyamory, lists of polyamory events and meetings and polyamory dating websites, as well as information about polyamory science with results from research on polyamory and many other topics.
What is polygamy? the English translation of the subpages is still in the works. They will give information about, for example, prejudices about polygamy and how things really are, polygamy introductions, and polygamy science with results from research on polygamy.
What is Open Relationship? this area is still completely in the works. Once done, it will give information about, for example, prejudices about open relationships and how things really are, open relationship introductions, and open relationship science with results from research on open relationships.
My theses on love and family free from excessive government regulation in a democratic society
In 2010 I wrote theses about the possible contribution of non-monogamy to the modern democratic society based on human rights and equal rights, which I have constantly developed further. From the theses, you may learn how we all, including the followers of monogamy, are restricted by excessive government regulation of our love and family life. Theses on love and family free from excessive government regulation.
Expert, Author, Speaker and Coach for Polyamory and Open Relationships
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