Bigamy should be legal in all states

Polygamy in Germany : Polygamy is not a romantic way of life

With the immigration of people from other countries, life models also come to us that many in this country are not familiar with or only known from fairy tales or stories. One of these models of life is plural marriage, which usually means the conjugal union of a man with several women. Even if, in terms of quantity, even in the case of immigration, this life plan probably hardly has a significant share, and not only for legal reasons, it does appear quite often in reports and comments. Not infrequently, unfortunately, how it affects me, with a not really well-founded look at the causes and effects of this type of polygamy.

The reasons for these plural marriages are complex and can only be briefly touched upon here. The frequently made statement that this is culturally just like that in some areas and that it should be accepted is far too easy. Often it is about relationships and about securing social positions in narrowly defined communities. The marriage of a daughter as a second, third or fourth wife by a wealthy man can help the family to gain more respect or strengthen important family relationships. Sometimes it also brings the family money in the form of a loan or even a gift. The woman here represents an object to be negotiated or even a kind of object of purchase.

However, plural marriage can also represent the possibility of providing for an unmarried woman. In some social structures, a woman is only able to exist to a limited extent when she is single. She is only socially recognized as a wife. In addition, depending on the location, there are archaic ownership regulations, and women often have no or only very limited rights. A woman MUST be married, as own property is hardly possible or only possible to a limited extent.

In contrast to the first variant, the second means that women - apparently - voluntarily submit to a marriage. For example, widowed women can be taken in and cared for by an already married man as a second or third wife. Sometimes it is also unmarried sisters or cousins ​​who have no chance of marrying themselves who are married when their relatives marry.

From the community

Ultimately, marriage in these states brings more security for women than disadvantages. And to be completely honest: I can't really see a very clear difference between two wives in Syria and a wife and a lover.

... writes user A.v. Lepsius

These are stories from the Arabian Nights

In the minds of people socialized here, when you talk to someone here, there still seem to be many views that were shaped by the Arabian Nights or Mozart's Abduction from the Seraglio: beautiful women in a kind of harem, bored and largely self-absorbed. Alternatively, the lustful old husband is often served, who regularly buys fresh meat.

All of this has little to do with the truth on the ground, as I learned on my travels in regions where polygamy in the way I describe it can be found. The women there never have a harem life, rather there is also the lascivious old goat.

Much more common, however, are forms of the first and second variants I have listed: women as a pledge for the power and influence of families, sold and postponed. Or women who are forced to marry in order to be provided for economically. And who have a lot of children and work very hard.

By the way, there is also the negative effect for men in this social combination. Sometimes the man is expected to take care of his wife's relatives. This can lead to the fact that, for example, he also has to marry an impoverished sister or cousin of his wife, because only this is socially accepted. The social constraint does not only lie with women.

What is crucial, however, is that women never have a say in this system. They are a commodity or are driven in need. They do not make free decisions. But that is often forgotten in this country.

In a comment by Jost Müller-Neuhaus I recently read the sentence: Having sex with several partners and starting a family, sometimes spending days or nights with this one, sometimes with that, is under the protection of the Basic Law as freedom of action. The commentator equated the situation of a plural marriage with an affair between a married man and another woman in this country.

Discussion on polygamy often takes on socially romantic traits

And it is precisely this equalization that is wrong. In an affair, all actors have free choice. Both men and women. In socially conditioned plural marriages, this never applies to women. You never have real freedom of choice, either before or in your marriage. And certainly not about their sexuality.

The comment fits into the image of many people who do not, or only to a very limited extent, illuminate other social constructs that have not yet been used here in terms of negative effects and reject any criticism as eternally yesterday. In parts, even if one follows comments from earlier discussions on polygamy, it takes on positively socially romantic traits.

Just as there are, of course, dogged opponents of any social change among us who want to hold on to everything old out of pure rider principles, there are also those who refuse to even begin to perceive negative things in other social constructs. Or who are really in good faith that our society, with all the freedom of movement that we have, somehow automatically brushes away negative excesses in the end. Somehow stop.

If you have problems here with us, you can get in touch, I often hear. That's right ... in principle. But even members of families anchored here with problems rarely dare to ask for help. How are women from completely different cultures supposed to do that here with us, for example? You would break off any bridge in your life. Most social romantics cannot even imagine what that means.

And how should polygamous families willing to be naturalized be dealt with in this country? To forbid? Or tolerate in a totally tolerant way? My Opinion: It kind of depends. On the one hand, I do not want a silent import of archaic life models; on the other hand, a plural marriage does not generally mean that the family does not work well or that they cannot or will not integrate at all. In addition, I do not believe that plural marriages are a fundamental problem in this country in terms of the number of them. Neither with immigration nor with those already living here. But this phenomenon should not go unnoticed.

It is about the freedom of choice for women in plural marriages. And there is no such thing in the cases I have described. We shouldn't tolerate such a thing in this country, but expect the recognition of liberal values.

Now new: We give you 4 weeks of Tagesspiegel Plus! To home page