Dear Tell All: In response to Polygamist in the Closet, who asked "Why is polygamy illegal" (4/27/12): It isn't, just like same-sex marriage isn't. Both are legal, if not officially recognized by the government. If you can get a group of people to recognize your marriage contract, you have a marriage contract. You can't be arrested for it, but you also can't get courts or taxation agencies to recognize it, either. And, yes, you can marry your pet dog, your end table, or your blow-up doll. But, again, you can't get the government to recognize the relationship. In any of these cases you might be shunned by your neighbors, but not arrested.
If you pay attention to the polygamy cases where people were arrested and prosecuted, you will notice that they were not charged with polygamy. They were charged with forcing underage women into sexual relationships - statutory rape. If the polygamist sticks to partners who are of age, the government can do nothing worse than to refuse to recognize any additional marriages beyond the first one. As for the dog - that is legal as long as you don't consummate the marriage. Do that, and you can be arrested for bestiality.
Dear Tell All: I'm baffled about how polygamy, in and of itself, can be illegal. If one man lives with two women and has sex with both of them, there is no legal problem. Why should it become illegal when they have some sort of non-state-sanctioned ceremony that says they're all married?
Is it beneficial to society? That isn't the test of what should or shouldn't be illegal.
The real issue here is girls being "married" off to horny 50-plus men. That is child molestation, and it is despicable.
libertarian (small l; Libertarians are generally nuts)
Yo T.A.: Polygamy seems to desexualize relationships and create disconnection among partners, and inevitably someone gets very hurt. For everyone to be treated with respect, perhaps marriage should stay between two partners.