An attempt was made in 2000 to start a sub-site keeping abreast of news on polygamy throughout the world. Unfortunately I did not have the time or resources to properly undertake this. Further, such a project not fit in with my overall mission.
What follows therefore is an amalgamation on one page of several reports made between 2000 and 2001 which are now (in 2016) somewhat dated though perhaps of some historical interest in the light of recent developments, such as Kenya officially recognising polygamy in 2015. Though no Western nation has officially accepted polygamy, and probably never will, they are no longer, in most cases, prosecuting polygamists as they once did. The repealing of the Edmunds-Tucker Act (1887-1978) in the USA, outlawing and criminalising polygamy, was ceratainly a major step in the right direction for that nation. It has since been decriminalised in several non-Islamic nations but without yet being officially accepted either.
To keep up-to-date with world news on polygamy from about 2008 onwards, we recommend the PolygamyPage.info website.
Index of Materials on This Page
- 1. Scandinavia
- a. Sweden
- b. Norway
- c. Denmark, Finland and Iceland
- 2. United Kingdom
- 3. Russia
- 4. Canada
- 5. USA
- 6. Colombia
- 7. Turkmenistan
- 8. South Africa
- 9. Libya
1. Polygamy in Scandinavia
Of all the nations in Europe most prepared to accept polygamy Sweden stands out especially strongly. We have every reason to believe that Sweden will eventually become the de facto polygyny capital of Europe.
There has been a public discussion recently in Sweden about the legalization of polygamy. It was started by Eva Svendén, active locally in Malmö, Sweden, for Folkpartiet Liberalerna (People´s Party the Liberals).
Report by Karl-Göran Bottwyk
A survey initiated by FECPC member, Karl-Göran Bottwyk, through the libertarian but culturally conservative website Contra made a survey with the question:
"Kan Du tänka Dig att månggifte skulle bli tillåtet i Sverige?" ("Could you imagine polygamy being allowed in Sweden?")
The answer was no.
62,2 % answered No
34,8 % answered Yes
The results of the survey can be found under the heading, "Veckans Contra-fråga" 2000 ("Contra question of the week" 2000) at: http://www.contra.nu/veckansfraga00.html.
The result is presented in Swedish with the text:
Nej till månggifte! Kan Du tänka Dig att månggifte skulle bli tillåtet i Sverige? Antal svarande: 161. Nej 105 (65,2%) Ja 56 (34,8%) Omröstningen stängdes den 29 april 2000
In Sweden you are not allowed to marry somebody if you are already legally married to another person. It is forbidden by the law and maximum sentence is two years imprisonment. But anybody already engaged in plural marriage is not forced to dissolve any, if these marriages were conducted before the relocation of his family to Sweden. I think there have been about five such cases in the district of Skåne with its administrative capital Malmö during the 1990's.
Anyhow, it has been pointed out by the men of law that free polygamous living together is permitted in Sweden since the year 1864, when sexual relations between unmarried persons ceased to be punishable.
A Bright Future in Sweden
What this means in principle is that it is legal for men and women to practice polygamy in Sweden provided they do not attempt to marry formally through the state (or until recently) the State Lutheran Church (which was detached from the state on 1 January 2000). FECPC has friends and members in Sweden who both teach and practice the principle though as yet none of the practitioners have a public profile and wish to remain anonymous.
Further, if you are married legally polygamously before you emmigrate to Sweden, that polygamous marriage will be upheld by Swedish Law. Presumably, though, you would have to be a native of the country which recognised your marriage - the state would probably not recognise three Swedes (one man and two women) taking a holiday to a Moslem country, marrying there, and then coming back to Sweden hoping for state sanction. They would have to have state citizenship in the polygamy-accepting country. Whilst this sort of restriction is very silly indeed it is perfectly understandable from a secular, atheist "culturist" mindframe.
There was a court case some years ago in which a native Swede who married two African ladies in Africa was granted the right to retain them as wives by law in Sweden because that was the cultural tradition of the wives.
With no State Church any longer and with already liberal laws and attitudes about cohabitation, polygamous families who keep a relatively low profile may life their lifestyle in relative safety, the Swedish attitude being for the most part "live, and let live".
I would expect polygamy to be made legal in Sweden within the next 10-20 years though it is doubtful it will be limited to polygyny - polyandry will likely be permitted also. How many will be allowed is difficult to say, but my guess it will not be more than three persons, with exceptions for Muslims (five) and possibly for other state-religtered religions that permit polygamy. Mixed marriage is, in my view, unlikely.
Further Reading: Polygamists Answer the Secular Swedish State
Polygamy in Norway
Though Norway is very liberal (like Sweden) in the matter of homosexuality and (like Sweden) permits official homosexual "marriage", its attitude towards polygamy is more hostile than that of Sweden. Accordingly those who do practice it do so secretly for fear of various state organs like the Child Protection Agency (BV or Barnevern) which has extraordinary powers and little accountability. The BV is known to take children into custody from parents living unconventional marriages and adopt them away, the parents having little or no appeal rights. Polygamists with children therefore very much live underground except in the large immigrant Muslim population where they are better able to conceal polygamous marriages and to protect themselves.
The only political party that has voiced the possibility of polygamy has been the Youth division of Framskrittspartiet (The Progressive Party), a right wing movement. An opinion poll conducted by a Norwegian tabloid newspaper in about 1998 showed results similar to the Swedish results though with fewer in favour.
I do not forsee polygamy becoming legal in Norway for a long time though if Sweden were to initiate such legislation it is possible that Norway might feel itself bound to follow suit (there being quite strong friendly social rivarly between the two nations). Norway still has a very strong State Lutheran Church which, though now very liberal, still wields considerable clout and is most definitely monogamy-only, though tolerant of homosexual "marriages".
Denmark, Finland and Iceland
We have no information about these countries as yet though there is likely a large immigrant Muslim population in Denmark that practices polygamy. Denmark is a very liberal country, more so than Norway, but has similar traditions to Norway when it comes to children. I know of one or two polygamous native Danish families who live their lifestyle secretly.
2. Polygamy in the United Kingdom
Polygyny is illegal in the UK as it is in most European countries, being proscribed by the anti-bigamy laws but it is nevertheless covertly practiced, mostly by the first generation Moslem immigrant population. There are a number of evangelical Christians who teach the principle but to my knowledge none that actually practice it. Similarly, I know of at least one fundamentalist Mormon group in Bristol, England which advocates Joseph Smith/Brigham Young polygamy but again I am not sure that there are any practicing it. I'm sure there are but that they, like so many of us, are "lying low".
The need for polygamy in Britain, especially amongst Christians, is very definitely there as the following newspaper article shows:
Good Men Rare in Church, Say Single Women
(The Weekly Telegraph #462, 31 May-6 June 2000, p.4)
by Bess Twiston Davies
From statistics I have heard the ratio of available men to women is far higher than 1:2, in some congregations being as high as 1:7. A tragic consequence of a surplass of women in a monogamy-only Christian culture is, moreover, that the men tend to lower their values and treat women as play-things, as is sadly the case in Canada (see below).
"Single women who attend church are increasingly giving up hope of finding a Christian boyfriend because of a shortage of men in their congregations, a report claims.
"Women significantly outnumber men as worshippers, according to Christianity magazine, which cites recent figures showing 70 female churchgoers for every 30 men.
"Among unmarried worshippers the gap is almost as wide. For every single man in his thirties who attends church there are two single women in the same age group.
"Although romance may not be the primary objective of churchgoers, more women who would prefer to have a fellow Christian for a partner are forced to look beyond their churches.
"Christianity quotes Alison, 34, a secretary from Essex, as saying: 'I felt my options for finding a decent man were limited. Either I had to keep my standards high and accept that I might not marry or get to desperate that I would lower my standards.
"'After many painful years as a single Christian woman, I decided that I simply did not want to continue with my 'I won't date him if he's not a practicing Christian' stance.'
"Christian woman also reported that they found it difficult to strike up a relationship in church.
"Jennifer, 39, a prison missionary, said she had dated four men since becoming a Christian 20 years ago.
"'Male Christians have the choice of a lot of women and so they flirt and then move on,' she said. 'They have no reason to commit themselves to a relationship when they can have fun doing the rounds.'"
Faced with a gender imbalance at Church, Christian/Messianic women are forced either to remain single or compromise their faith by "unequally yoking themselves with unbelievers", which is forbidden. In a monogamy-only culture it is understandable how Christian/Messianic women, unable to find a righteous man, might come to look upon their faith and their Elohim (God). The fault, however, lies not with Elohim (God) but with the culture.
Righteous Christian/Messianic polygamy, scripturally sanctioned and blessed by Yahweh, ought to be a serious alternative for the more spiritually-discerning and -committed Christian/Messianic woman. All it takes is a little faith, initiative and bravery to enter into a principle where Christian/Messianic family values are high and where a woman can find love and stability. Christian/Messianic polygamous men, if they are living the high profession of their religion, are slowly but surely sought-after by the more dedicated women disciples of Christ for the many reasons that I have shared on this homepage. It is also the opportunity for Christian/Messianic men to show what they are made of and to accept the challenge of becoming modern-day Christian/Messianic patriarchs by seeking revelation from Yahweh and, if they receive His blessing, defy man-made monogamy-only cultural norms and place their complete trust in Yahweh.
United Kingdom Polygamy Law
Challenged by Muslims
by Zubeida Malik
Muslims in Britain are to challenge UK law which forbids husbands from having more than one wife.
They say they will refer Britain's ban on polygamous marriage to the European Court of Human Rights this autumn.
Under Islamic law a man is allowed to have up to four wives, but the Muslim Parliament of Britain says that many families are being forced to live outside the law because their polygamous marriages are not recognised here.
There are no official figures on the number of people practising polygamy in Britain, but it's estimated that there may be hundreds.
One British Muslim wife suffering as a result of polygamy is Sameera, whose 55-year-old husband took up a second wife after 30 years of marriage.
Under Islamic law a man may have up to four wives
He married a 26-year-old cousin in January, whilst on holiday in Pakistan, without Sameera's knowledge or consent.
Told by her in-laws she says she was devastated, but feels she has no choice but to accept the situation.
"I just fainted when I first heard," says Sameera. "The fact that he's married such a young girl, a girl old enough to be his daughter. I cried and cried and felt like my mind was exploding. It felt like the ground had just fallen from under me, why did he do it? It shouldn't happen."
Although Islam allows a man to marry up to four wives, he can only do so if his first wife is infertile, or if he marries women who are considered social outcasts. It is not, as many believe, meant to be for the sexual gratification of men.
Noshaba Hussein from the Muslim Parliament says she knows of many happy polygamous marriages in Britain.
This practice is taking place in Britain and there are couples who are quite happy and satisfied with their relationship
Noshaba Hussein from the Muslim Parliament:
"I am aware that this practice is taking place in Britain and there are couples who are quite happy and satisfied with their relationship and they would like it to carry on and be protected by law."
The police say there is little they can do. Colin Cramphorn from the Association of Chief Police Officers says he finds cases like Sameera's disturbing, but he believes that politicians need to clarify the law.
"Clearly those communities that have a tradition which allows polygamous marriage have a point of view and they are keen to have that point of view taken into account and recognised as part of a multi-cultural society," says Mr Cramphorn.
"But of course if the law is equivocal, as it currently is, then that prevents all of us achieving the kind of clarity that would no doubt be helpful in the longer term."
Human rights challenge
Come October, when the Human Rights Act comes into force, British law on such matters will be open to challenges, under article eight of the act which says everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life.
Noshaba Huseein says that if the government refuses to accept the legality of polygamous marriages then the Muslim parliament will take it to the European court of human rights.
"There will be a need to do something much more, in the way of a campaign, if there is a denial of rights and certainly people will be taking actions to the European court to ensure that we have the rights of freedom of religion."
The issue of polygamy encapsulates the debate over whether minorities have the right to follow their own customs or conform to established Judaeo Christian values. The bishop of Rochester, Dr Nazir Ali, believes the government should not succumb to such pressures.
"I don't think that polygamy should be enshrined in law because it will affect the mutual love and companionship that a marriage needs and it will also affect the stability of the family," says Dr Ali.
But Noshaba Hussein warns that if the government continues to overlook their demands they could end up losing ethnic minority votes.
"Muslims are very strong supporters of the Labour government," she says.
"So far I think we've been getting a relatively rough deal and maybe it will be reflected in the polls."
3. Russian Row over Muslim Polygamy Decree
The Russian Justice Minister, Pavel Krasheninnikov, has said that a new decree allowing polygamy in the mainly-muslim republic of Ingushetia is unconstitutional and should be revoked.
The minister said the decree did not correspond to the Russian federation's family code.
The decree, allowing men to have up to four wives, was issued by the Ingush President, Ruslan Aushev, who said it was - in part -- intended to increase the population. Correspondents say some Ingush men already have more one wife.
Ingushetia borders Chechnya which has introduced Islamic Shariah law.
Many years when my polygamous family was young I saw a vision of a Canadian woman and was told by Yahweh that she would one day join my family here in Europe. I am still waiting for her. What I did not at the time know was just how serious the gender imbalance was in that country - in fact, it's one of the most serious gender imballances of any nation with as many as women outnumbering men in some communities by four to one, there being an average of three women to every man across the country.
The result of this imballance in a monogamy-only culture is tragic but predictable. The result is that women usually end up settling for what they can get and being abandoned upon becoming pregnant. Unrighteous men, knowing the advantage they have over the women, exploit them disgracefully. Having as his aim a solution to the social degradation of women that this imballance is calling, in 1996 Canadian MP Peter Taylor proposed a polygamy bill allowing men to marry up to three women. The riddicule and venom which met his suggestion from the militantly feministic, pro-Catholic monogamy-only establishment was predicable enough. And whilst I am sure his bill was well-intentioned its demise was not unexpected.
The problem, though, remains. For those women - and especially Christian/Messianic women - who treasure family life the dilemma facing them can be heart-wrenching. Over half of them face lives of spinsters or the more degrading alternative of whoredom...or immigration.
It is my firm belief that Elohim (God) is now ordering societies that He wants to start practicing Christian/Messianic polygyny to experience such gender imballances so that a principle which might otherwise never have previously been even considered be approached seriously. Canada obviously faces a real problem unless you believe that the family is outmoded and that modern people should simply swap partners whenever it suits them.
If you're a Canadian visitor to this site that I invite you to take a look at some of our materials and consider the Christian/Messianic polygynous alternative which offers stability, love and - we maintain - something far superior to monogamy for those who are called into it. (2001)
5. Polygamy in the USA
The United States of America is currently (2000) enjoying an explosion in the Christian/Messianic polygyny movement as more and more get to grips with the biblical teaching about this holy principle. It is, however, relatively new and being birthed in a militantly feminist society which is going to great lengths to oppose it. Not only does Christian/Messianic polygyny face, together with traditional Bible-believing Christianity, a common enemy in a vitriolic atheism, occultism and feminism of the day, but must also face hostility from a tradition-entrenched monogamy-only Bible-believing Christianity. Polygyy in the USA therefore faces hostilities not only from true Christianity's enemies but from its own Christian/Messianic brethren and sisters.
With the USA rapidly heading towards an Illuminati-controlled dictatorship, Christian/Messianic polygyny is going to face some difficult times ahead. In my view, it is this persecution that will ultimately refine and mature it into what Yahweh intends it to become. So I forsee it growing slowly but steadily in terms of adherents but not without considerable struggles ahead from both within and without. Added to this are some prophecies with HEM believes that the USA will effectively be laid waiste in a coming World War III that will force tens of thoudands of refugee-survivors north into Canada and south into Latin America.
The polygyny movement in the USA may essentially be broken down into the following divisions:
The American polygyny movement may therefore be viewed as quite a "mixed bag" in common with the general sectarianism of Christianity/Messianism and religion there generally, and when approaching the subject one is likely to meet all of these four categories (2000).
6. Anti-Bigamy Law Overturned in Colombia
by Gabriella Gamini
MORALISTS in Colombia fear their country will become a haven for cheating spouses when a law making bigamy an offence is removed from the statute books next month.
Church leaders in the Roman Catholic country have been vocal against the move, which takes effect on July 24. “This will lead to uncontrolled promiscuity, it will give the unfaithful freedom to sin as they please,” said Bishop Hector Gutierrez Pabon.
Legislators said bigamy is being decriminalised because it is an outdated law that is hardly ever applied. But several conservative congressmen have criticised the measure,saying that marriage will become “cheap and easy”.
One congressman, German Navas Talero, said: “Colombia will become a paradise for frivolous, promiscuous lovers.” He also appealed to anti-American sentiment by saying that marriage was on the verge of becoming just a casual affair along the lines of Las Vegas, where couples can tie the knot for $35 (£25).
The law change has triggered heated debate in the outwardly moralistic country, where married men often keep their mistresses in rented flats while living with their families, but where speaking about extramarital affairs is taboo. Many married couples succumb and continue living together, although they have started new relationships. Divorce has been legal in Colombia for just over a decade.
Those who defend the change claim the statute has been used only three times since it was introduced in 1936. Alfonso Gomez Mendez, Colombia’s chief prosecutor, said warnings that abolishing the law would lead to a wave of immorality were alarmist.
“Only two or three people have been sentenced to three or four years in prison for bigamy in our history, so I feel it no longer makes sense to keep the outdated law,” he said.
Opening the Door for Polygamy?
Could this be the beginning, as some pro-patriarchal commentators are saying, of admitting polygamy to the USA?
I doubt it. But there is no doubt that were the anti-bigamy laws of nations to be repealed that it would enable polygamists to breathe a lot easier. And there is no doubt that if enough nations follow Colombia's lead that it will take the pressure of polygamists living everywhere.
From a liberal secular point-of-view, the repeal is at least a tacit acknowledgement that the anti-bigamist laws are fast becomming irrelevent, even in an at least nominally Catholic country like Colombia.
As I have said many times on this site, this ministry is not so much interested in having governments enact pro-polygamy laws but in having them repeal anti-polygamy ones. I also believe that repealing this law whilst, as the Catholics clerics trumpet, will tempt the immoral to be more open in their morality, it will also remove what is an anti-biblical law from the statute books and so bring Elohim's (God's) blessings. People will sin whether there are laws circumscribing sin or not and as the Times writer points out, the tradition of misstresses is already so widespread that the repeal of the anti-bigamy law will make little or no difference.
So whilst the repeal of the anti-bigamy is good for polygamists it is also, sadly, the green light for sinful lifestyles condemned in the Bible. Perfect justice and righteousness cannot be expected from modern secular governments. It is more a question of "win some on the swing, and lose some on the roundabout". Polygamy in Colombia has won a bit of relief but as the Catholic clerics rightly point out, godliness will lose overall.
Which goes to prove that in this world you can't win.
Officials in Turkmenistan say the issue of whether to introduce polygamy will be discussed when the country's highest representative body, the People's Council, meets later this month.
A foreign ministry spokesman said the question would be one of several to be discussed by the Council, which meets only once a year.
The idea of allowing Turkmens to marry more than one wife is said to have come from Turkmen President Saparmurad Niyazov himself. He brought up the proposal a few weeks ago at a meeting broadcast on national television.
The suggestion is simple: a man can marry again but only if he has the written permission of his first wife.
There has been little discussion of the idea so far in Turkmenistan's heavily controlled media.
But if the proposal were accepted it would be a move unique in this vast Central Asian region stretching from Iran to China.
Central Asia is home to tens of millions of Muslims from many different ethnic groups. Polygamy was practised centuries ago among the settled people of what is now Uzbekistan and Tajikistan as well as among the lands of the Nomadic Turkmen tribes.
But the decades of Soviet rule have left a secular legacy that is still deeply ingrained.
And among the other Central Asians, polygamy remains strictly prohibited - at least in law.
But that has not stopped the practice spreading, particularly in the years that have followed the collapse of the Soviet Union.
In Tajikistan, just emerging from a long and brutal civil war, the government in recent months voiced increasing concern that women left without husbands or brothers by the conflict believe themselves to have no choice but to become a second wife instead.
Other proposals scheduled for discussion at Turkmenistan's People's Council include one which would make Mr Niyazov president for life. He has been in power for the past 14 years (2001).
8. South Africa
by Ann Eveleth
Moves to grant legal recognition to customary marriages have opened the door to changes in the law's view of who may marry whom, writes Ann Eveleth
MARRIAGE law will change significantly if proposals tabled by the Law Commission last week are accepted. Yet the integration of customary and common law has complex implications for both traditional communities and society at large.
The Law Commission's issue paper on the "Harmonisation of Common Law and Indigenous Law" cites a dozen potential areas of conflict between the constitutional rights of the new South Africa and the rules and practices of customary marriages. Project leader Professor Thandabantu Nhlapo, however, argues the current situation holds far greater contradictions.
"It was always an insult to my parents to be told they were just co-habitating because the old colonial-based legal system did not recognise their marriage. Our starting point is that non-recognition of customary marriages is totally unacceptable under the present Constitution."
The constitutional ban on cultural and religious discrimination implies an end to the days when only Christian and civil marriages gave legal legitimacy to a family unit, but the extension of recognition to other forms across South Africa's rich cultural tapestry poses as many questions as it answers.
Human rights lawyers this week agreed the present situation is untenable, but argued the legalisation of polygamy posed potential conflicts between cultural freedoms and the right to gender equality.
Jenine Hicks, a representative of Durban's Community Law Centre who has worked extensively in rural KwaZulu-Natal, said the commission was "jumping the gun" by forwarding proposals before researching the views of rural women affected by polygamy and other aspects of customary marriage.
"It's outrageous to say only Christian or civil marriages are recognised, but rural women I've worked with say polygamy as a system has to go," she said. "Traditional men say its essential to being a Zulu, but the women say it oppresses them."
Nhlapo agreed the commission would have to "walk a political tightrope" on the issue and that the consultation period may need to be extended to canvass sufficient views, but warned against allowing the polygamy debate to pose the main obstacle to the re cognition of customary marriages.
The commission questioned whether the practice of polygamy could be balanced with the Constitution's gender equality clause, but warned against an outright ban on polygamous marriages as this would be "extremely difficult to enforce. Moreover, there is s ome evidence that in a patriarchal world, where there is no economic, social or political equality between men and women, it is the institution of marriage itself, whether monogamous or polygamous, which disadvantages women."
Nevertheless, the commission argued the principle of equality would "frequently be in conflict with the patriarchal principles pervading much of customary law".
Some potential conflicts included:
the customary provision requiring a woman to gain the support of her guardian for marriage;
whether lobola should be allowed to influence the validity of the marriage;
the provision in the "official" version of customary law which deems wives of customary marriages as "minors";
the lack of decision-making power of women on issues such as birth control, guardianship of children and the purchase or alienation of family property;
the lack of protection for family members from "inept or unreasonable conduct" by the head of the family;
the wife's forfeiture of family property upon divorce;
the lack of maintainence provisions within customary law.
Nhlapo said he believed it was possible to remove the patriarchal aspects of customary law while keeping the institution intact.
"What we are going to do is dignify traditional families based on a particular worldview of kinship, but also say, 'This is 1996 and if you had practised oppression in the past, then stop it.'"
He said this would help to advance customary law, which was presently a mix of widely-varying "living law" or oral custom and codified or "official" customary law as entrenched in kwaZulu-Natal: "Customary law has been neglected and has not kept pace with changing social circumstances. Removing the discrimination against it presents the chance to improve it and bring it up to date," he said.
Nhlapo said the commission would begin "scouring the countryside" for views which would influence its final report. Legislation was expected to be tabled by mid-1997 (2001).
9. Libya: Gadaffi Outrage over Polygamy Bill
The Libyan leader, Colonel Muammar Gadaffi, has ordered an inquiry into an amendment of the law on polygamy.
The country's original law allowed a husband to take a second wife only if the first wife agreed, but the amendment, passed by parliament last year, removed the obligation to get the first wife's permission.
In an address to a group of women, shown on Libyan television, Colonel Gadaffi said the Supreme Court must open an inquiry as the amendment was a serious social matter.
He criticised both the parliament and those women who had accepted the change, and tore up a copy of the bill before walking out (2001).
Author: SBSK et al
First created on 27 March 2000
Updated on 17 June 2016
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