Dumb idea of the week?

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jake-the-peg | 10:30 Fri 20th Feb 2009 | Society & Culture
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Baroness Warsi wants the state to do more to prevent polygamy

But wait a minute - the state doesn't recognise multiple marriages and it's against the law to register two marriages simultaneously.

So isn't this the state attempting to tell religions what they may or may not sanction?

I wonder what's next on her hit list - perhaps making infidelity a criminal offense?


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Jake - in the UK, the state does recognise multiple marriages, They're acceptable if the marriages took place in a country and under a religion where they're legal.
The government has acknowledged that all wives will be eligible for state benefits. What they're concerned about now is the additional cost to the country, reckoned to be about �10M a year!
Read about it here.
Question Author
On the Today program this morning it was mentioned that in cases where british residents went abroad to marry a second time that second wife was deported when authorities discoverred it.

Listen here: 00000/7900840.stm

Knowing the bacground to "This is London" I find it hard to accept as a reliable source.

Do you have a more reliable source preferably not from the Mail group of Newspapers?

Ohh how about the Home office

If you have more than one husband or wife, only one of them will be allowed to join you here as your husband or wife eligibility/partnersandchildren/husbandwifeciv ilpartner/

Personally, I don't see the problem with bigamy or polygamy. Why can't you be allowed to marry more than one person if you want to, provided all parties consent? The reasons why not are probably to do with money and property.
Well, Jake, if you regard the Daily Mail as an unreliable source, then how about the ''If you are legally married to more than one partner'' section on this Department of Work and Pensions web page?
She IS attractive, though, isn't she, that Baroness Warsi?
Oh, if only I wasn't married already!!!
Question Author
That amounts to recognising the person's status as a dependant not as recognising the marriage.

She only wants to register religous marraiges - if the relationship is not religious there's no relevance - hence my point about infidelity.

It's poorly thought out nonsense - making laws about religious affairs has an ugly history in the UK

That's fine,jake, if the "marriage" is merely religious.
But I'm astonished to realise that polygamy (which means multiple official marriages, all but one of which are illegal) are recognised by the state and paid for in allowances!
This means that a man can claim that every woman in his house (yes, why not make incest respectable as well?) is his "wife" and claim for the lot of them. Beats working.
Correction: "is recognised"
[Two-part post]

I�m somewhat disappointed that you have no problem with polygamy, jake.

One of the main reasons why monogamy was countenanced by most societies for so long was to prevent (or at least reduce) the possibility of incestuous couplings taking place (with all the potential problems they bring for any resulting offspring). If a man fathers children by more than one woman the likelihood of those children later becoming sexually involved as relatives (possibly unwittingly) is greatly increased. This, of course, is not a problem confined to polygamous marriages, but also to the more widespread practice whereby women bear children by multiple partners outside wedlock.

Furthermore, the cultures which do accept polygamy almost exclusively accept it for men only. I don�t know of any culture where women are allowed to take more than one husband. In the same way that the liberal classes have difficulty reconciling rights for homosexuals with rights for Muslims (where homosexuality is punishable) they must also have difficulty embracing a practice which clearly discriminates against women in the most offensive way imaginable.
[Part Two]

Leaving aside the financial issues in our benefits driven society, it has long been held in the UK that monogamy is desirable. (At least, I�ve not heard of any widespread lobbying to have that situation changed). I think the Baroness is suggesting that a �marriage� should not be countenanced unless it was recognised by the State because to allow otherwise makes for confusion. Hence the idea that marriages that were recognised by religious means only should not be blessed with the term.

Mr Moghal�s argument that men habitually take multiple partners anyway (regardless of their marital status) and that Islam was only legalising what already happens is specious. The state of marriage in the UK requires the participants to �forsake all others� (or whatever the term is in the civil ceremony) and whilst that remains the case, polygamous �marriages� have no place here.

Of course men and women are free to take part in �weddings� and call their partners their �wives�. But in the same way that the State has no business interfering in such matters, it has no business recognising them as marriages as the law currently stands.

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