Thursday, December 3, 2009

Some Thoughts on Bigamy

Reading the webpage of one of my local TV stations, I came upon a story about a man who had been arrested for bigamy. He'd married his first wife in 2005, and had married a second woman this past October.

Neither wife had been the wiser until the first wife intercepted a text message for their husband from the second wife. After texting back to the second wife and determining who she was, the first wife called the police to report him for bigamy.

After an investigation, police arrested him and charged him with bigamy. The man is now out on bond awaiting trial.

Arresting someone for bigamy boggles my mind. First of all, I don't think the government has any business meddling in the private relationships of consenting adults, except for cases of domestic violence. If it were up to me, I'd abolish marriage as a legal category altogether.

Knowing that this isn't likely to happen any time soon, I think that as long as legal marriage exists, it should not be limited to monogamous couples.

That being said, with the law as it stands now, bigamy should not be a criminal offense. At the most, it should be a civil matter. In fact, I'd thought it was something that had been decriminalized -- that when discovered, the second marriage would merely be annulled and the offender given a fine.

The police have much more important things to do than being in the business of enforcing monogamy. They should not be involved in the personal relationships of private citizens if there is an absence of domestic violence. In my opinion, the first wife should have handled the situation herself, perhaps by contacting a divorce lawyer, rather than calling the police and keeping them from doing more important things. Sue the guy for breach of contract or some such thing, but don't put him in jail.


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