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Why is polygamy not legal?

Polygamy is a term that refers to a marital system in which one person has multiple spouses at the same time. It has been practiced by many cultures and religions throughout history, and even though it is still practiced in some parts of the world today, it is illegal in most countries. In this blog post, we will explore why polygamy is not legal in many countries and the reasons behind it.

The Legal Status of Polygamy

Polygamy is illegal in most countries around the world, including the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. In these countries, marriage is legally defined as a union between two individuals, and any marriage that involves more than two people is considered a crime.

The legal status of polygamy varies in different countries and regions. In some countries, polygamy is tolerated or even recognized under certain circumstances, such as religious or cultural practices. However, even in these countries, there are often restrictions on polygamy, such as the requirement to obtain permission from the government or the need to prove that one can economically support multiple spouses.

Reasons for Banning Polygamy

There are several reasons why polygamy is not legal in many countries. Here are some of the main reasons:

1. Protecting the Rights of Women and Children: One of the main arguments against polygamy is that it often results in the exploitation of women and children. Polygamous marriages can create unequal power dynamics, in which one husband has more authority and control over his wives and children than is healthy or safe. Additionally, multiple wives and children can complicate inheritance and custody issues, leading to legal disputes that harm vulnerable parties.

2. Maintaining Social Order: Many countries argue that allowing polygamy would disrupt and destabilize social order. They argue that polygamy would lead to social tensions, resentment, and conflict, as well as undermine the traditional institution of marriage, which is considered a cornerstone of society.

3. Preventing Fraudulent Marriages: Multiple marriages can be exploited for immigration fraud or other types of benefits that can put a strain on the social welfare system or public resources.

4. Legal and Administrative Burdens: When a person has multiple spouses, there can be legal and administrative challenges, such as resolving disputes, setting up inheritance claims, and determining tax liabilities.

The Legal Status of Polygamy and Human Rights

The issue of polygamy raises questions about human rights, equality, and individual freedom. Should individuals have the right to marry whoever they choose, regardless of the number of partners involved? Should the state have the right to interfere in the private lives of consenting adults?

While these concerns are important, many countries argue that they are outweighed by the need to protect women and children, maintain social order, and prevent fraudulent marriages. Polygamy remains a controversial issue, and different countries and cultures have arrived at different conclusions about its legality.


Polygamy is a complex issue that raises questions about human rights, equality, and the role of the state in regulating private behavior. While polygamy is still practiced in some cultures and religions, it is illegal in most countries around the world. The main reasons behind banning polygamy are protecting the rights of women and children, maintaining social order, preventing fraudulent marriages, and dealing with legal and administrative challenges.


What is the point of polygamy?

Polygamy is a practice where one person has multiple spouses at the same time. While it is illegal in many countries, it has been a common practice throughout history in certain cultures and societies. The reasons for engaging in polygamy can vary depending on the individual or group’s beliefs and lifestyle.

Firstly, it is a cultural or religious practice. Polygamy has been traditionally practiced in some societies and religions, including Islam, Judaism, and Mormonism. It is seen as a way to strengthen family ties and honor ancestors. Some religious scriptures even allow men to take more than one wife.

Another reason for practicing polygamy is to provide stability, safety, and companionship. In some societies, women are unable to earn a living or support themselves. Being part of a polygamous family can provide them with economic support and protection. Polygamy is also seen as a way to ensure there is always someone around to take care of the household and children.

Polygamy can also be a way to increase economic resources. If each wife is working, the family’s income can increase exponentially, which can provide for a better quality of life. In some societies, having a large family with many children is also seen as a sign of wealth and status. Having multiple wives can lead to having more children and therefore increasing one’s social standing.

In addition, polygamy can be a way to increase the chances of reproduction. If one wife is unable to have children, having other wives can help ensure the continuation of the family line. In some societies, having many children is considered essential.

Finally, there are people who are polyamorous and believe they have the capacity to love more than one person. Polygamy can provide the opportunity to have multiple loving and committed relationships.

The reasons for practicing polygamy are multiple and vary among cultures and individuals. While the practice may be controversial and illegal in many countries, it is still commonplace in certain societies and religions. The reasons for engaging in such practices can range from cultural and religious beliefs to economic, social, and personal ones.

How many wives can a Mormon have?

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, commonly known as the Mormon Church, is a religious organization that adheres to the standard doctrine of monogamy. According to the Book of Mormon (Jacob chapter 2), “there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife; and concubines he shall have none.” This statement clearly emphasizes the Church’s stand on marriage and polygamy, and it is binding on its members.

However, the Church didn’t always adhere to the standard doctrine of monogamy. In the early years of the Church’s foundation, its leader, Joseph Smith, and a few other prominent figures in the Church practiced polygamy. This act caused a rift within the Church and society, and it led to the Church being driven out of Illinois.

In 1890, the Church officially declared an end to the practice of polygamy by issuing the Manifesto. The Manifesto states that “the Church…instructs its members to refrain from contracting any marriage forbidden by the law of the land.” This declaration firmly established the Church’s commitment to monogamy, and it has remained unchanged to date.

It is worth noting that there are some individuals and groups who identify with the history of the Church’s polygamy and sometimes refer to themselves as “Mormon fundamentalists.” However, these individuals and groups are not affiliated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The standard doctrine of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is monogamy, and there are no provisions for polygamy among its members. Despite its early history of polygamy, the Church has firmly established its commitment to monogamy and has adhered to this doctrine for well over a century.

Is polygamy just cheating?

Polygamy and cheating are often used interchangeably, but they are not the same. Cheating is willingly having sex, romantic emotional contact, or other forms of physical or emotional contact that break previously set rules or boundaries of a monogamous relationship. Polygamy, however, is a marital arrangement where one person has multiple spouses or partners.

Polyamory or open relationship is a form of consensual, ethical, and consensual non-monogamy that is not considered cheating because all partners involved are aware of and agree to the terms of the relationship. In many polygamous relationships, partners have an agreement made up of specific rules, such as practicing safe sex or only having outside sexual relationships that aren’t romantically pursued. If those rules are broken, it may be considered cheating or betrayal.

It is important to note that while many people associate polygamy with a patriarchal, religious-based system, there are communities and cultures worldwide find value in polyamory. This can range from more openly practiced relationships, such as those found in parts of Europe or North America, to more private ones that mix romantic and sexual relationships among close circles of friends or family members, like the Mosuo culture of China or the Inuit people of North America.

However, it is essential to understand that polygamy is illegal in many countries, including the United States, and those who practice it can face legal consequences. Furthermore, it is not always an equitable arrangement, having the potential to create a power imbalance between partners or to pull resources or attention away from certain spouses.

Polygamy and cheating are not the same thing. While both involve multiple partners, polygamy involves consensual agreements, while cheating undermines the trust in a monogamous relationship. However, polygamy does not always lead to an equitable or fair arrangement and may have legal consequences. It is important to understand the differences between these concepts and make choices accordingly.