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Wednesday 08 October 2008


Proclamations of the Red Queen

25th June 2008

Australia: Legalise Polygamy?

Posted by: Craig Young

It seems to be the season for boundary testing across the Tasman, given the recent request from an Australian Muslim leader that Australia should contemplate legalisation of polygamous heterosexual marriages.

In Sydney’s Lakemba suburb, Sheikh Khalil Chami of the Islamic Welfare Centre clarified that while he didn’t perform polygamous marriages himself, he knew other Australian immigrant sheikhs who did preside over such ceremonies, illegal though they are under Australian law. The Islamic Friendship Association agreed, although it should be noted that additional marriages are usually arranged by the husband, although he must ask the permission of his first wife, who usually has seniority and privileges over subsequent spouses. 

It sounds rather like HBO’s Big Love, in which plural wives can gang up on a hapless husband, and in which there’s sex involved, but in a traditionalist turn, it does mean that one doesn’t have to visit a sex worker.

Hmmm. Rather like Big Love, there’s too much accepted male superiority here for me to feel comfortable with the concept of polygamy, except in the context of humanitarian operations in the best interests of the child, and only then. Given global warming, however, and the probable submergence of Bangladesh as a result, I suspect that sometime this century, we’ll have to face exactly the questions raised by that humanitarian exception.

 Recommended:

“Polygamous Marriages Should be Recognised: Sheikh” Sydney Morning Herald:  25.06.08: http://www.smh.com.au

Tags: Politics · Religion

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