Wednesday, Dec. 07, 2011

Polygamy Tries to Go Mainstream

How far can the definition of marriage be stretched? That seemed like one of the Big Questions of 2011, as polygamy moved into the mainstream. Viewers were treated to a second season of Sister Wives, a reality show that centers around the family of Kody Brown, a Kato Kaelin lookalike with four wives and 17 children. Not only is the family living a wide-open polygamous lifestyle in Nevada, but its members are attempting to establish in federal court that they have a constitutional right to do so. Meanwhile, the judicial system in Vancouver heard arguments for and against legalizing polygamy in a case designed to clarify the province's law. On one side, lawyers asked, If women choose to share a spouse, why should anybody else care? The other side's response: Because there's no polygamous community on earth that lets women choose whom or when to marry. In Canada, the polygamists lost. In the U.S. court of opinion, they're gaining ground but have a long way to go.