Document Type

Social Sciences


Publication of polygamous practices in American media has brought the issue of the legality of polygamy into American politics and discussion forums as a question that pits multiculturalism and free choice versus liberalism. An evaluation of the legal history and current situation of polygamy reveals two sides to the issue. Advocates of multiculturalism such as Charles Taylor argue that different cultures have a right to recognition of their identity and that their practices are essential to forming that identity. Certain feminists and religious theorists also support this viewpoint. Liberalism, in contrast, argues that polygamy results in the subjugation of women to men’s desires for more wives and restrains individual rights. An array of feminists supports the liberal position as well. Even though the arguments for a multicultural acceptance of polygamy have been gaining recognition, the practice of polygamy is justly outlawed in the United States due to its suppression of individual rights from a liberal perspective.