*Just Married*

That is the new and highly intelligent book by Stephen Macedo, and the subtitle is Same-Sex Couples, Monogamy & the Future of Marriage.  I balk at only one of his conclusions: he is pro-gay marriage, where I agree, but he does not believe in legal polygamy.  For instance he argues there is no polygamous orientation comparable to a same-sex orientation, rather polygamy is a preference.  He views polygamy as unstable, and also as leading to distributive injustice, with high status males reaping excess gains.  Furthermore the historical record of polygamy is often negative.  Here are relevant comments from Will Wilkinson, who (like me) is convinced by Macedo on gay marriage but not polygamy.  Is polygamy going to be such a significant practical problem that we ultimately have to in some way wield the coercive apparatus of the state if people insist on trying to practice it?  Would polygamous-equivalent contracts be not just left unenforced but also banned?  I don’t quite see how a liberal doctrine gets you there.  Furthermore, might polygamy make more sense in some eras than in others?  (“Not your grandfather’s polygamy!”)  I still wish to defend the presumption for some notion of freedom of contract.


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