Up Front by Emma Hart

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Up Front: And a Pony. A Sparkly One.

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  • Matthew Poole,

    I am all for social diversity and tolerance but we can only have one rule of law at any one time… if the Malaysian immigrant can have two wives, why can’t I… and if the Malaysian man living here can have two wives then surely a Malaysian woman can have two husbands? Not!

    And here's a very key part of the issue. If we allow people who are already in recognised polygamous marriages to come into NZ, and retain the status of marriage with all their spouses, why shouldn't kiwis be allowed to enter into polygamous marriages? Also, don't forget that polygamy is a very one-sided concept. One man, many wives. Never the other way around. Do we, as a country, actually want to countenance such views of women? That's not marriage as an equal partnership between two people, that's marriage as a contract of ownership (and, in many contexts, that's precisely what it is).

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3898 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    If we allow people who are already in recognised polygamous marriages to come into NZ, and retain the status of marriage with all their spouses, why shouldn't kiwis be allowed to enter into polygamous marriages?

    Well, obviously, I think that as long as every partner in the arrangement can give informed consent, NZers SHOULD be allowed to enter into polygamous and polyandrous marriages. But I'm also aware that makes me a fairly extreme minority, and it ain't going to happen.

    Also, don't forget that polygamy is a very one-sided concept. One man, many wives. Never the other way around. Do we, as a country, actually want to countenance such views of women?

    In modern Western countries, polyamory isn't like that. Yes, traditional polygamy has been a hugely sexist, possessive institution - and a Judeo-Christian one, of course. But that doesn't mean that a modern polyamorous relationship has to be that way.

    I have a net-friend who's in a polyamorous relationship. She's in serious long-term relationships with two men, one of whom is also married to another woman. Every person involved in that web is aware of and accepting of all the other relationships. This is not a 'she gets a drawer in his bedroom' arrangement.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4340 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    What do we think about a South-East Asian immigrant falling foul of the SPCA and NZ law by slaughtering and eating a dog or cat

    Surely they'd have the pony first?

    Since Nov 2006 • 2073 posts Report Reply

  • JackElder,

    Also, don't forget that polygamy is a very one-sided concept. One man, many wives. Never the other way around.

    Not to nitpick, but that's polygyny, not polygamy. Polygamy is just the having of multiple spouses. Polyandrous societies (one woman, multiple men) are much rarer than polygynous ones, but have existed. Fraternal polyandry (where multiple brothers marry the same woman) is probably the most common. The popular conception of polygamy is very much the "one man many wives" one, though.

    That's not marriage as an equal partnership between two people, that's marriage as a contract of ownership (and, in many contexts, that's precisely what it is).

    No, it's a contract of association between mutliple partners. Who may or may not be equal, just as the participants in a conventional two-partner marriage may or may not be equal.
    It's not ownership any more than a normal marriage is.

    And what's the problem here? If two women and a man want to get married, and assign all their legal benefits to all the other members of the trio, why not? If two women and three men want to, why not? As long as everyone involved is going in with their eyes open, go nuts.

    I think there would be a few practical problems, mind. What if a married couple want to add a third person to the marriage? What happens when one partner leaves - do the others automatically stay married to each other? How would you work out alimony?

    As with so many things in life, this would be easier if I had a whiteboard to draw diagrams.

    Wellington • Since Mar 2008 • 708 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    I actually have met an NZ-resident Tibetan who shares a wife with his brother back in Tibet, where polyandry is a long-standing tradition, even though his dad's quite well-off - 50 yaks!

    (My understanding is that bride prices are steep in Tibet, so going shares in a wife helps. Also, the carrying capacity of the land is low and so polyandry helps reduce overpopulation).

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2936 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    The taxi driver I had last week assured me that black dogs are quite delicious.

    I'm guessing it's down to what you feed them with. Like chooks.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4423 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    I'm guessing it's down to what you feed them with. Like chooks.

    And many dogs are quite happy to eat chooks, that's what happened to ours.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4340 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    I'll be force feeding my pony with chooks then - BBQ in the New Year gang!

    Since Nov 2006 • 2073 posts Report Reply

  • FletcherB,

    They'll taste like shit though

    The taxi driver I had last week...

    For a moment, I thought you were going to comment on the flavour of the taxi driver you'd eaten...

    West Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 791 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Litterick,

    And they call your pony " magna gajine morte"

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1000 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    Smother 'im in onions!

    Since Nov 2006 • 2073 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    The same people might also want state sanctioned sharia courts here as well as they are in the UK, with all that comes with that

    That sentence isn't exactly true, by the way, and certainly not in any meaningful way.

    Also: Barcelona & Catalonia was a hotbed of European anarchism for thirty years; that's partly why the Catholic Church & the Francoists reacted quite so hard.

    The Spanish Left are/were very Left.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1321 posts Report Reply

  • Isabel Hitchings,

    Well, obviously, I think that as long as every partner in the arrangement can give informed consent, NZers SHOULD be allowed to enter into polygamous and polyandrous marriages. But I'm also aware that makes me a fairly extreme minority, and it ain't going to happen.

    I struggle to come up with a moral objection to polygamy/amory that would hold up in a context where all partners are equal and consenting though I can see that the overhauling of divorce, custody and inheritance laws that legalised polygamy would require might be a teensy bit of a PITA.

    Mind you my views on marriage in general are a tad bit non-mainstream.

    Christchurch • Since Jul 2007 • 705 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    a day where I sort of advocated polygamy

    And got a very fast result from the telly folk, Emma.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16500 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    For a moment, I thought you were going to comment on the flavour of the taxi driver you'd eaten...

    Gawd....I wouldn't dream of it..we shared a christian name (he was West Timorese and thus Catholic).

    I'm guessing it's down to what you feed them with. Like chooks.

    Not likely, the chook is worth much more here. As food and as entertainment. Amongst the things that don't make the guide books and TV travel shows is the quaint habit of village Cock fights.

    The warungs that serve RW (big letters outside: Ada RW) which is dog are pretty common off the main roads. Mostly street dogs that just get picked up on the street, and live on scraps, but a warning went out a few weeks back that pet dogs, especially black ones, were being stolen to provide a pricey delicacy (and little ones for religious ceremonies) in the better places in Denpasar.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3203 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    I did mean that chooks taste like whatever you feed them - but you knew that.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4423 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    Yep, but it gave me a good chance to do a Mad Dogs and Englishmen rant ;)

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3203 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    a day where I sort of advocated polygamy

    And got a very fast result from the telly folk, Emma.

    I've sort of avoided posting on this because it's way outside my range of experience or knowledge. I just have to say though - I found that photo of that man and his two partners a little disquieting. Large handsome man and two lovely women, kissing. I'm sure they're all consenting, and I know whatever turns you on etc but I find the portrayal of that relationship, photographically speaking anyway, a little lopsided in the power dynamic area.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3123 posts Report Reply

  • JackElder,

    Actually, I'd have to say that you could get a pretty good result by simply a) legalising gay marriage and b) decriminalising bigamy. Bang, everyone can marry whoever they want, as many times as they want.

    I'd vote for it. Only objection is, as mentioned, that it's going to get very, very complicated in terms of messy divorces.

    Wellington • Since Mar 2008 • 708 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart,

    In modern Western countries, polyamory isn't like that. Yes, traditional polygamy has been a hugely sexist, possessive institution - and a Judeo-Christian one, of course. But that doesn't mean that a modern polyamorous relationship has to be that way.

    Hell, *marriage* has been a hugely sexist, possessive institution - until really very recently.

    Amherst, MA • Since Nov 2006 • 2093 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    I just have to say though - I found that photo of that man and his two partners a little disquieting.

    I think it's a 'bit disappointing' that they couldn't find one polyamorous relationship which consisted of a woman and multiple men, or all members of the same sex. (And by couldn't, just in case I'm not trowelling the sarcasm on heavily enough, I mean didn't.) But then, I don't think I'd pass up people called Summer and Kestrel either.

    Having seen 20/20 reports on things I know and care about, I don't honestly think I could bring myself to watch that.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4340 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Darlington,

    Plus of course they modernised economically, invested in

    To bring things back to Emma, they really don't like bare feet wandering through their towns though, as our kids found out on several occasions earlier this year.

    education, beat us on penalties on the way to winning Euro 2008. The whole thing is revolting.

    Ironically enough Giovanni, we watched this final in Italy, in Liguria. The town was very quiet as Casillas lifted the trophy but we were very happy to see the best team win.

    Nelson • Since Nov 2006 • 884 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Darlington,

    I don't think I'd pass up people called Summer and Kestrel either.

    Ah yes, Summer Ale & Kestrel Super, jeez beer o'clock seems a long way away.

    Nelson • Since Nov 2006 • 884 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    Only objection is, as mentioned, that it's going to get very, very complicated in terms of messy divorces.

    Ohhhhh yes. Divorce is messy enough now, without adding that extra level of complication. We have no tradition of polygamous marriages in this country, or in any of the countries whose courts we use as points of reference, so no legal tradition on which to fall when it comes to trying to decide how relationship property and children are handled in a divorce.

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3898 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    We have no tradition of polygamous marriages in this country, or in any of the countries whose courts we use as points of reference, so no legal tradition on which to fall when it comes to trying to decide how relationship property and children are handled in a divorce.

    Children aren't dealt with via marriage/divorce, they're dealt with via parentage in NZ. That shouldn't be complicated, unless for some reason there was a refusal/inability to identify one father on the birth certificate.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6162 posts Report Reply

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