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The Geographical Extent of Western Mainstream Polygamy: Europe, North America, and Latin America

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Part of the SpringerBriefs in Anthropology book series (AAE,volume 2)

Abstract

We leave the French and examine whether, elsewhere in the West, polygamy has also been unknowingly allowed through the eradication of the pariah status of non-marital children. The European Court of Human Rights imposes that no discrimination in birth-status rights be made between marital and non-marital children, adulterine or not, incestuous or not. Some countries have already implemented such dispositions. Consequently, Europe is in the process of generalizing the freedom to practise mainstream polygamy. In the United States, the final word on parentage laws belongs to local states. Fortunately, the Uniform Law Commission, a nonprofit organization, proposes a model Uniform Parentage Act. Some states enact the model proposed; others prefer to pass their own legislation trying to reflect what is requested in the model. The UPA indirectly imposes no discrimination between marital and non-marital children. Wherever local states have enacted the UPA without major changes we may safely assume that freedom to practice mainstream polygamy has been unintentionally granted. However, this is less certain when a local state has legislated on its own. For example, Georgia allows polygamy for unwed males or females, for adulterers but not for adulteress. Polyamory studies suggest that 3.5 % of the population may be polygamous. Guatemala preceded Europe in eliminating the pariah status of non-marital children. By 1945, it allowed for unmarried and married men to practice polygyny. Polygynous unions may be up to 18 %. In 2001, Columbia decriminalized bigamy. In both Latin cases, documents consulted did not allow to assert whether polyandry was also made possible. The chapter invites researchers to expend the scope of the study and provides the paradigms for doing so.

Keywords

  • Married Woman
  • Civil Code
  • Illegitimate Child
  • Conjugal Relationship
  • Uniform Parentage

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    WF Rechtsanwälte Frank & Collegen, “ German Inheritance Law - Intestate Succession ,” 2008. HG Legal Directories.org. At: http://www.hg.org/article.asp?id=5397 . Family Law Reform Act 1987 (U.K.). At: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1987/42/pdfs/ukpga_19870042_en.pdf . “Inheritance Disputes (Illegitimate child).” In Brief: Free Legal Information . At: http://www.inbrief.co.uk/estate-law/making-a-dependency-claim.htm (retrieved Feb. 8, 2012). Le statut de l’enfant adultérin (Allemagne, Angleterre et Pays de Galles, Belgique, Danemark, Espagne, Italie et Pays-Bas), Note de synthèse du Sénat français, non datée. http://www.senat.fr/lc/lc47/lc47_mono.html#toc9 (retrieved Jan. 18, 2013).

  2. 2.

    “Le statut de l’enfant adultérin (Allemagne, Angleterre et Pays de Galles, Belgique, Danemark, Espagne, Italie et Pays-Bas)”. Note de synthèse du Sénat français, no date. See http://www.senat.fr/lc/lc47/lc47_mono.html#toc9 (retrieved Jan. 18, 2013).

  3. 3.

    See the Uniform Law Commission web site at http://uniformlaws.org/Narrative.aspx?title=About the ULC. Wikipedia also has an excellent summary from which is borrowed the present overview. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uniform_Law_Commissioners.

  4. 4.

    The Uniform Parentage Act (Amended or Revised 2002) is available at: http://www.law.upenn.edu/bll/archives/ulc/upa/final2002.htm (retrieved Jan. 31, 2012).

  5. 5.

    Since 2008, Georgia may have enacted the Uniform Parentage Act (See: http://www.uslegalforms.com/paternity/georgia-paternity-forms.htm (retrieved Feb. 3, 2012).

  6. 6.

    Benchbook, Chapter XXVI. See at: http://www.georgiacourts.org/councils/cjcj/PDF/Benchbook%20Chapters/ch26.PDF (retrieved Jan 28, 2012).

  7. 7.

    Ibid.

  8. 8.

    Ibid.

  9. 9.

    See Nina Bernstein, “In Secret, Polygamy Follows Africans to N.Y.” New York Time, March 23, 2007.

  10. 10.

    “Interview with Gary Gates of the Williams Institute, U.C.L.A., by Ramon Johnson.” Gary Bates is a senior fellow researcher in demography at the Institute. (http://gaylife.about.com/od/index/a/garygates.htm retrieved Feb. 8, 2012).

  11. 11.

    Morin, Claude, “Age at Marriage and Female Employment in Colonial Mexico.” Paper read at the International Conference Women’s Employment, Marriage-Age and Population Change, University of Delhi, Developing Countries Research Center, March 3–5, 1997. Available at: http://www.hst.umontreal.ca/U/morin/pub/CIDHInd97.htm (retrieved Jan. 22, 2012).

  12. 12.

    Names are pseudonyms that have been partially changed from Wertheimer’s study (2006) to clarify the Hispanic rule of father’s and mother’s name transmission.

  13. 13.

    Amparo Ramirez notes that if marrying in addition to one’s current spouse “is not a crime anymore, […] it may lead to other felonies such as civil status forgery or suppression of information.” See Myriam Amparo Ramírez (Redactora de El Tiempo) “La Bigamia.” El Tiempo, 24 de febrero de 2001. At: http://www.eltiempo.com/archivo/documento/MAM-604578 (retrieved Jan. 17, 2012). Still, it remains to be ascertained whether there are no such felonies if the second spouse has been informed that a first marriage continue to exist.

  14. 14.

    Javier Baena, “Revised Bigamy Law Upsets Colombia.” Associated Press, June 12, 2001. Available at: http://www.polygamyinfo.com/intnalmedia%20plyg%2092ap.htm (retrieved Oct. 1, 2004).

  15. 15.

    World Watch, “Colombia, Bigamy No Longer a Crime.” Catholic World Report Aug./Sept. 2001. Available at: http://www.catholic.net/RCC/Periodicals/Igpress/2001-09/wcolumbia.html (retrieved Oct. 1, 2004).

  16. 16.

    Ibid.

  17. 17.

    Ibid.

  18. 18.

    See “Bishop backs bill accepting illegitimate children.” In Clerical Whispers, September 30, 2008. http://clericalwhispers.blogspot.com/2008/09/bishop-backs-bill-accepting.html (retrieved Jan. 18, 2012).

  19. 19.

    See Legal Updates, “Family Code of the Philippines: Primer on Legitimation.” See at: http://famli.blogspot.com/2007/02/family-code-of-philippines-primer-on.html (retrieved Jan. 19, 2012).

  20. 20.

    “Executive Order No. 208,” Family Code of the Philippines. Title VI: Paternity and Filiation, Chap. 1. Legitimate Children, Chap. 3. Illegitimate Children. At: http://www.familymatters.org.ph/Family%20Code/FC%20Table%20of%20contents%20sample%20with%20links.htm (retrieved Jan. 20, 2012).

  21. 21.

    Ibid. Article 176 (retrieved Jan 20, 2012).

  22. 22.

    Bauman available at: http://www.bishopaccountability.org/decisions/2011_11_23_BC_Supreme_Court_C_1588_Re_Section_293_Criminal_Code.htm (retrieved March 11, 2013)

  23. 23.

    Blackstone, facsimile available at: http://books.google.ca/books?id=Is8DAAAAQAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=IW+Blackstone+Commentary+on+the+Law+of+England&h=fr&source=gbs_similarbooks_r&cad=2_2 (retreived March 4, 2009). Modern English Version available at: http://www.lonang.com/exlibris/blackstone/bla-000.htm (retrieved March 4, 2009).

  24. 24.

    Gray at: http://eclectic.ss.uci.edu/~drwhite/worldcul/Codebook4EthnoAtlas.pdf (retrieved Feb. 6, 2012).

  25. 25.

    Livingston at: http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/files/2010/11/758-childless.pdf (retrieved Feb. 5, 2012).

  26. 26.

    Martin at: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr60/nvsr60_01.pdf (retrieved Feb. 3, 2012).

  27. 27.

    Nock at: http://aspe.hhs.gov/hsp/07/births-to-men/rb.pdf (retrieved Feb. 5, 2012).

  28. 28.

    Pendleton at: http://www.cardozolawreview.com/content/29-6/PENDLETON.29.6.pdf (Retrieved Jan. 31, 2012).

  29. 29.

    Wertheimer at: http://www.historycooperative.org/journals/lhr/24.2/pdf/wertheimer_lhr.24.2.pdf (retrieved Jan. 16, 2012).

  30. 30.

    White at: http://books.google.ca/books?id=UIkVAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA64&dq=illegitimate+child+in+mexico&hl=en&sa=X&ei=P0cWT_8ipeHSAcDT9cYC&ved=0CGQQ6AEwCQ#v=onepage&q&f=false (retrieved Jan. 20, 2012).

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Legros, D. (2014). The Geographical Extent of Western Mainstream Polygamy: Europe, North America, and Latin America. In: Mainstream Polygamy. SpringerBriefs in Anthropology(), vol 2. Springer, New York, NY. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-8307-6_6

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