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Big Love ongoing thread

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145 replies to this topic

#141 of 146 OFFLINE   Chris


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Posted June 08 2007 - 04:57 PM

This is a show I really love and I think discusses a lot of valuable issues.

I think I said this once in this thread: I find absolutely nothing morally wrong with polygamy if all parties are legal adults and consent. Several faiths have polygamy at their heart (not just mormonism, polygamy is still largely practiced in many areas of the muslim and hindu world).

That's what makes this story so interesting and complex. I think whether people dislike the lifestyle and find it repugnant or not, the show portrays people who are all reasoned adults, who all have informed consent, and none of them is being deceived or prevented from leaving the situation through coercion.

So, where does this show go from here? The store may take a hit, but nowhere near as big as I think people suppose, it's a minor scandal, but Bill isn't running a compound and there are no "young" brides.

This is a show that has incredible potential for some great drama and to ask interesting social questions. How well it persues them in the first season was off-and-on. I loved the central themes, but at times it felt as though they struggled with a central thought and purpose.

I'm looking forward to season 2 and see where this goes.
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#142 of 146 OFFLINE   Mikah Cerucco

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Posted June 09 2007 - 01:52 AM

I find absolutely nothing morally wrong with polygamy if all parties are legal adults and consent.

Part of the problem is the concept of ability to consent, which is a complex topic for anyone involved in drawing social lines. If you've been "brainwashed" all your life, can you really have consent? We've seen stories in the news that debate whether drunk adults can consent to sex. It's difficult to determine when a person is informed and aware enough to make decisions.

I'm also not inherently against polygamy, but I do see issues with it that the state has attempted to address. For instance, many people in polygamous marriages cannot support all the family members, so the government ends up supporting them. If the mother of 5 children says she doesn't know who the father is, the government can't make him pay up, even if he's living next door.

There are other issues with it as well. Ultimately, I don't watch the show to make any moral judgements, but to learn a bit and think a bit. It's not a documentary, but it is a show unlike any I've seen before with good acting and interesting situations. It even shows the down side of it, which includes what goes on at the compound.
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#143 of 146 OFFLINE   MatthewLouwrens



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Posted June 10 2007 - 01:17 PM

In the state of Utah, it's illegal to live a polygamous lifestyle, even if you're only legally married to one person. From Wikipedia on State v. Green:
In 2001, the state of Utah in the United States convicted Tom Green of criminal non-support and four counts of bigamy for having 5 serially monogamous marriages, while living with previous legally divorced wives. His cohabitation was considered evidence of a common-law marriage to the wives he had divorced while still living with them. That premise was subsequently affirmed by the Utah Supreme Court in State v. Green, as applicable only in the State of Utah. Green was also convicted of child rape and criminal non-support.
I am intrigued by this. How is this enforcable?

And is this situation that is presented in the show? My understanding was that Bill and Barb were legally married, while neither Nicolette nor Margene were ever legally married to Bill. Therefore, in the eyes of the law, Barb is still the legal wife, and the other two are really only like mistresses - they are effectively in an open marriage where only one side actually take advantage of that arrangement. And as far as I am aware, there is no law again having an affair or being in an open marriage.

Of course, the legal question is quite aside from the moral issue, where I fully come down as anti-polygamy. I'm just intrigued by the legal situation.
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#144 of 146 OFFLINE   Yee-Ming



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Posted June 10 2007 - 02:57 PM

I guess Utah has laws on its statute books that, for the purposes of the offence of polygamy, recognises 'common-law marriages' as being legal marriages as well, so if the state can prove at least one additional common-law marriage over and above the legal one, the man commits bigamy (or polygamy).

Common-law marriage basically entails a situation where a man and a woman live together as if they were husband and wife, regardless of whether the marriage has been formally registered or a formal ceremony performed. Of course, for the outright polygamists, they would have undergone some form of ceremony, and even if it was one not usually recognised by the state, I guess for the purposes of the polygamy offence it would be taken into account.

Even leaving aside the issue of polygamy, i.e. where it's only one man one woman, I recall for instance that years ago when Clint Eastwood left Sondra Locke, whom he never formally married, she still sued for 'alimony' on the basis that they had been in a common-law marriage. No idea whether she succeeded or not, though.

I suppose the line between polygamy and 'merely' supporting a mistress is quite thin. And as to how the state is going to prove it, well that's an evidential problem, not a legal one.

#145 of 146 OFFLINE   Qui-Gon John

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Posted June 22 2007 - 12:18 AM

Originally Posted by todd s
Can someone clarify some legal things for me? From what has been presented. Bill technically isn't breaking the law. He is only married (via the state) to Barb. The same goes for his father. When his first wife died. Bill bribed him to marry his mom to make her legal. So the only repercussions I can see are the bad press for his stores.

This is what bugged me as well. I thought if he is only legally married to one wife, (which seems to be how they do this in general), then there should be no worry legally. As others have posted, with Utah having laws relating to cohabitating being considered the same as marraige, I guess that does give them something to worry about. Funny thing is, I can't believe Utah can get away with having such an arcane law on the books. Very ironic as, I had always believed polygamy was legal in Utah. So to find that not only is it illegal, but it is the only state where you can have just 1 legal wife, yet get charged with polygamy because you live with more than one wife, is just mind-blowing.

#146 of 146 OFFLINE   Chris


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Posted June 24 2007 - 09:22 AM

I know we're in season 2, but this is related to Season 1. If you have On Demand, check the "9 months earlier" and "5 years Ago" shorts, which detail what happened in the months and years before Season 1. They are quick (about 5 minutes each) but effectively tell big stories. Nikki's birth of her first child, how Margie came into the family...
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