Polygamy in Modern Society – How Is Sister Wives Legal

how is sister wives legal

How Is Sister Wives Legal

Polygamy in modern society has long been a topic of intrigue and controversy. The concept of multiple spouses is not new, but how does it fit within the legal framework of today’s society? One particular example that sparks curiosity is the popular reality TV show “Sister Wives.” Many wonder how such a lifestyle can be legally recognized and upheld. In this article, I’ll delve into the intricacies of polygamy’s legality and explore why Sister Wives manages to navigate these waters.

Firstly, it’s important to understand that polygamy is generally illegal in the United States. Most states have laws prohibiting individuals from having more than one spouse at a time. However, there are exceptions when it comes to religious or cultural practices. This is where Sister Wives finds its legal ground.

The Brown family, featured on the show Sister Wives, practises a form of polygamy known as “plural marriage” based on their religious beliefs as fundamentalist Mormons. In this case, their union operates under what some refer to as “spiritual marriages,” which are not recognized legally but hold significant value within their community. By framing their relationships in this way, the Browns manage to avoid prosecution while still living out their chosen lifestyle.

So how exactly do they avoid legal consequences? Well, authorities tend to prioritise cases involving abuse or exploitation over consensual adult relationships like those seen on Sister Wives. Law enforcement agencies often focus on cases where coercion or harm may be present rather than targeting consenting adults engaged in plural marriages.

In conclusion, while polygamy remains illegal in many parts of the United States, certain religious exemptions and nuanced interpretations allow for groups like the Browns from Sister Wives to live out their chosen lifestyle without facing legal repercussions. Understanding these complexities helps shed light on why such arrangements can exist within modern society while still operating within legal boundaries.

Polygamy in Modern Society - How Is Sister Wives Legal

The History of Polygamy

Polygamy, the practice of having multiple spouses simultaneously, has a long and complex history that spans across different cultures and time periods. In this section, we’ll delve into the historical context of polygamy to better understand its place in modern society.

  1. Ancient Origins: Polygamy can be traced back to ancient civilizations such as Mesopotamia, Egypt, and China. It was often associated with wealth and power, with rulers and nobles having multiple wives to solidify political alliances or expand their lineage.
  2. Religious Influences: Many religions have historically allowed or even encouraged polygamous marriages. For example, in certain interpretations of Islam and Mormonism, polygyny (one man having multiple wives) is permitted under specific conditions.
  3. Colonial Influence: With the spread of European colonialism in the 19th century, many indigenous practices were deemed immoral or against Western norms. As a result, polygamy faced increasing scrutiny and legal restrictions in various parts of the world.
  4. Legal Developments: In the United States, polygamy became a significant issue during the 19th century when members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), commonly known as Mormons, practised plural marriage openly. However, due to social pressures and legal battles, including Reynolds v. United States in 1878 which upheld laws banning polygamy for religious reasons, the LDS Church officially discontinued the practice in 1890.
  5. Modern Perspectives: Today’s views on polygamy vary widely across societies around the globe. While it remains illegal in many countries due to concerns about gender equality and potential harm to individuals involved, there are still pockets where it is practised legally or illegally under certain circumstances.

In conclusion understanding the historical roots of polygamy provides important context for examining its place in modern society. While the practice has evolved and faced legal challenges over time, it continues to be a topic of debate and exploration as societies navigate issues of personal freedom, gender equality, and cultural diversity.


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