Is There a Right to Polygamy? Marriage, Equality and Subsidizing Families in Liberal Public Justification
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Journal of Moral Philosophy 8 (2):246-272 (2011)
This paper argues that the four most plausible arguments compatible with public reason for an outright legal ban on all forms of polygamy are unvictorious. I consider the types of arguments political liberals would have to insist on, and precisely how strongly, in order for a general prohibition against polygamy to be justified, while also considering what general attitude towards "marriage" and legal recognition of the right to marry are most consistent with political liberalism. I argue that a liberal state should get out of the "marriage business" by leveling down to a universal status of "civil union" neutral as to the gender and affective purpose of domestic partnerships. I then refute what I regard as the four most plausible rational objections to offering this civil union status to multi-member domestic partnerships. The most common objection to polygamy is on grounds of gender equality, more specifically, female equality. But advancing this argument forcefully often involves neglecting the tendency of political liberalism (by whatever name it goes in contemporary, complex, multicultural societies) to tolerate a certain amount of inequality in private, within the bounds of robust and meaningful freedoms of choice and exit. Properly understood, polygamy involves no inherent statement about the essential inferiority of women, and certainly not more than many other existing practices and institutions (including many expressions of the main monotheistic religions) which political liberals regard as tolerable, even reasonable. Arguments from the welfare of children, fairness in the spousal market, and the abuse of family subsidies are also considered and found insufficient for excluding polygamy
|Keywords||POLITICAL LIBERALISM MARRIAGE JUSTIFICATION POLYGAMY|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
Anca Gheaus (2012). Is the Family Uniquely Valuable? Ethics and Social Welfare 6 (2):120-131.
Francis J. Beckwith (2013). Justificatory Liberalism and Same‐Sex Marriage. Ratio Juris 26 (4):487-509.
Similar books and articles
Andrew F. March, Marriage, Equality and Subsidizing Families in Liberal Public Justification: Is There a Right to Polygamy?
Andrew F. March, Marriage, Sex and Future Persons in Liberal Public Justification: Is There a Right to Incest?
Andrew F. March, Is There a Right to Polygamy and Incest? Should a Liberal State Replace "Marriage" with "Registered Domestic Partnerships"?
Elizabeth Brake (2010). Minimal Marriage: What Political Liberalism Implies for Marriage Law. Ethics 120 (2):302-337.
Simon Cabulea May (2012). Liberal Feminism and the Ethics of Polygamy. In Daniela Cutas & Sarah Chan (eds.), Families - Beyond the Nuclear Ideal. Bloomsbury Academic.
Jon Mahoney (2007). Liberalism and the Polygamy Question. Social Philosophy Today 23:161-174.
Margaret Denike (2010). The Racialization of White Man's Polygamy. Hypatia 25 (4):852-874.
Thom Brooks (2009). The Problem with Polygamy. Philosophical Topics 37 (2):109-22.
Andrew F. March (2010). What Lies Beyond Same-Sex Marriage? Marriage, Reproductive Freedom and Future Persons in Liberal Public Justification. Journal of Applied Philosophy 27 (1):39-58.
Matthew B. O'Brien (2012). Why Liberal Neutrality Prohibits Same-Sex Marriage: Rawls, Political Liberalism, and the Family. British Journal of American Legal Studies 1 (2):411-466.
Thom Brooks (2009). The Problem with Polygamy. Philosophical Topics 37 (2):109-122.
Christie Hartley & Lori Watson (2012). Political Liberalism, Marriage and the Family. Law and Philosophy 31 (2):185-212.
Jacqueline A. Laing (2012). Monogamy. In George Kurian (ed.), Encyclopaedia of Christian Civilisation. Blackwell.
Added to index2011-04-07
Total downloads51 ( #34,675 of 1,102,046 )
Recent downloads (6 months)7 ( #41,676 of 1,102,046 )
How can I increase my downloads?