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Chiki

Should prostitution and incestuous/polygamous/etc. marriages be legalized?

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If even gays can marry anywhere now, who are we to draw the line at this?

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Open relationships already exist with society as it stands. I think the practical concerns of the law related to polygamy and it's close links to fundamentalist religions as well as the subjugation of women as commodities are far larger barriers to it's implementation than moral opposition to the concept of people having more than one sexual partner. For the question of "should it?", I'd say no, but I may change my mind if someone can demonstrate the exclusive practical benefits of a pluralistic marriage. Laws should not be made based on feelings, so simply wanting to be "recognised" or having a relationship "endorsed" don't qualify for good reasons to get married. Expanding a little, personally, whilst I didn't oppose gay marriage, I've never been convinced that there was neccessarily any need to go beyond providing "civil partnerships", as long as they are equal in the eyes of the law. There are legislatative problems with implementing something like a civil partnership into law admittedly, and simply legalising gay marriage alleviates some of those issues, but on principle, laws and emotions need to be kept separate, so a wish for the romanticised ideal of marriage being some ultimate declaration of love isn't enough to convince me of it's necessity of being imprinted into law.

Now, incest on the other hand is still actually illegal, even before we get into the issues surrounding marriage. Specifically, sexual relations with family members who are at least 25% related are where the line is drawn usually. Handy chart. Incest is within the same category that "buggery" or "sodomy" used to be in this respect (funnily enough, anal sex is still illegal in most of the USA). So it's not quite illegal to lust after a sibling, rather the act of intercourse itself is, but generally public attitudes towards the concept are overwhelmingly negative, even within the constraints of a non-sexual relationship. Although this also brings the question of "how does sexual desire relate to romantic interest?" , as love for one's family itself is clearly not the issue, it's the sexual desire.

I don't acknowledge the comparison between gay marriage and incestuous marriage because wanting to fuck your relatives is not a defined sexual identity. There is no sexual identity that means that an individual is primarily attracted to their relatives. Basically, you have other options for finding sexual partners (that you can marry), and it's beyond idealistic to imagine that one could only ever feel romantic and/or sexual attraction to one individual. As such, I'd say no to the question again. However, I may not be entirely opposed to steps taken to "de-illegalise" the act of intercourse with consenting relatives, on the provision that there is an extremely clear set of rules defining what exactly constitutes an abusive relationship. I say "may" because making it legal would mean the state would have to feasibly demonstrate that an abusive relationship was going on in order to prosecute, which is hard to do within families as it stands, even ignoring potential incest. This runs the risk of enabling larger amounts of abuse.

Edited by Irysa

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Argumentation used to support gay marriage can be rightly applied to incestuous marriage. It is bizarre to me that people will on one hand argue that marriage has nothing to do with the product of sex, and then argue complex statistics about the coupling of siblings and their negative effects when the debate starts elsewhere.

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First off, arguments of abuse and/or adultery (polygamy is not cheating) are mostly irrelevant here, as these are potential problems with any relationship and illegal on their own for their own reasons. The legalization of incestuous and/or polygamous relationships would necessarily include consent.

That said...sure, why not? As long as the parties are of age and consent. If a man wants two wives and both women are okay with sharing a husband, I see no reason to tell them not to.

Incest does get a bit trickier, though. It's fine at the same age level (siblings, cousins), but when you get to stuff like parent/child it gets sketchier. Even where it looks consensual and happy, there could still be bad power dynamics going on deep down. Take my opinion on that with a grain of salt, though, as I'm not actually very knowledgeable in that area.

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If it would make someone happy and it doesn't harm the people around them in any meaningful way, what's the problem?

Genetics? We have deadbeat mothers chugging booze with a fetus growing inside them everyday and society hasn't collapsed yet. If it bother you that much that just ban incestual reproduction, we could always use more adoptions.

And Polygamy is something I care even less about. There's nothing wrong with it beyond "my culture tells me it's bad so it is".

I don't know, I just find it silly that people get up in arms over things that affect them in no meaningful way because culture has drilled it into their head.

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i don't care about polygamy. i mean, it's weird and gross imo, but people can do what they want.

i think parent-child relationships should absolutely remain illegal, even if the child is an adult. i don't think i could personally associate with someone who i know regularly has sex with their 18+ child. i mean, the attraction must have started at some point when the child was still a minor. i find it unlikely that a parent could begin to love their child romantically long after the child becomes an adult. i feel it starts much earlier than that...

there's an instinctual part of me that cannot get over how off-putting incest is in general though, especially between a parent and child. i wouldn't want people to be able to do this legally. this may be bigoted and backwards-thinking, but i don't care.

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First off, arguments of abuse and/or adultery (polygamy is not cheating) are mostly irrelevant here, as these are potential problems with any relationship and illegal on their own for their own reasons. The legalization of incestuous and/or polygamous relationships would necessarily include consent.

Disagree, abuse has to be taken into account. It is already difficult for the state to hold inter-familial abuse to account because of the extent it has to prove that abuse, as people can be coerced by their families into accepting things that they simply do not actually want. The easiest example of this is forced marriage - despite being illegal here, many young girls (predominately asian of course) are forced into it by family pressure and are too afraid to refuse. Attempts to report it destroy entire families, and often result in them being disowned entirely. If incestous sexual relations become legal, there is a very real concern that similar abusive behaviour would be accomodated. There won't be the same kind of deterrance, and Instead of there being a categorical grounds for prosecution on the basis of an act, the act must now be shown to not have been consensual. And as the complications of "she said it was fine at the time" esque cases show, very little can be done in situations where it's one person's word vs another's.

Lets put it this way, is it okay to punch someone if they give consent? Under certain situations, yes, and predominately there's a third neutral party to faciliate it under strict conditions. But it's still illegal to assault someone, so if a child has been physically abused by a parent, the state immediately has a mandate to act. I'd extend this outlook sexual abuse as well. We intuitively think we'd have to keep sexual relationships and concerns regarding them private, between two people, but in my eyes an incestous relationship is comparable to punching someone, the act itself is wrong in the first place, so some neutral party has to be privy to circumstances for it to be allowed. That may sound authoritarian, but it's the only "safe" allowance that can be made for something such as this, where it can accurately be determined whether or not such a relationship truly is consensual. However, I'd say the funding required for such endeavours is likely going to be a waste of money and also incur a huge amount of negative backlash from the public ("you're spending our taxmoney on verifying if this guy should be allowed to fuck his sister?"), so this is unlikely. I think on principle I accept the idea that if they really are both fine with it, it should be okay, but there's too many practical problems to just leave it at that. Unless you're a complete libertarian I guess.

Additionally, like I said before, there's no inherant reason we have to accomodate specific sexual desires with marriage benefits such as the desire to fuck one's relatives, because they are not definitive sexualities in themselves. When gay marriage wasn't legal, gays had no option to marry anyone they could actually feel romantically and sexually attracted to. There was a broad denial of emotional and practical benefits across an entire spectrum, against whole genders. This is simply not the case for incestous desires.

Anyway like I said before about polygamy, we already accept open relationships, so what we need now are practical reasons to facilitate pluralistic marriages (I've yet to see any).

Edited by Irysa

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Argumentation used to support gay marriage can be rightly applied to incestuous marriage. It is bizarre to me that people will on one hand argue that marriage has nothing to do with the product of sex, and then argue complex statistics about the coupling of siblings and their negative effects when the debate starts elsewhere.

I'm not sure if that's what you meant, but a couple that can not bear children (while still a couple) is different from a couple that has great chances of bearing an inbred deficient child.

Actually, Chiki, try addressing this:

The reason why incest, when there is a relatively high chance (more than 25%) of bearing an inbred child, is wrong, is because the parents' actions will heavily affect and harm their children. You may argue that an incestuous couple can have safe-sex and avoid it completely, but there is no way to assure this case scenario, nor is there any scientific statistic pointing that the safe-sex scenario is more likely to happen than the unsafe scenario. How is it morally right to bear a deficient inbred child? They will very likely have plenty of issues. It sees both utilitarian and kantian moral views agree with this point. In doubt, should be we in favor of liberty or security?

i wouldn't want people to be able to do this legally. this may be bigoted and backwards-thinking, but i don't care.

In the end, if becoming an open-minded, sensible and wide-eyed person means I should dismiss my values and morals over literally everything secularism offers me, I prefer to stay a backwards-thinking person. Also, by intuition I perceive there is more to this "truth" than meets the eye, so I'm not willing to give up.

Edited by Rapier

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Other couples are not banned from sex/marriage regardless of their chances of their child having a genetic disorder (which may be higher than an incestuous relationship). That does not appear to be logically consistent.

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Disagree, abuse has to be taken into account. It is already difficult for the state to hold inter-familial abuse to account because of the extent it has to prove that abuse, as people can be coerced by their families into accepting things that they simply do not actually want. The easiest example of this is forced marriage - despite being illegal here, many young girls (predominately asian of course) are forced into it by family pressure and are too afraid to refuse. Attempts to report it destroy entire families, and often result in them being disowned entirely. If incestous sexual relations become legal, there is a very real concern that similar abusive behaviour would be accomodated. There won't be the same kind of deterrance, and Instead of there being a categorical grounds for prosecution on the basis of an act, the act must now be shown to not have been consensual. And as the complications of "she said it was fine at the time" esque cases show, very little can be done in situations where it's one person's word vs another's.

Etc.

Did you happen to read my last paragraph? While I didn't say much, I did mention that certain incestuous relations are where things can get sketchy due to basically exactly what you're saying. It's why I included the "mostly" in the part you quoted.

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Being at the same age level does not neccessarily mean there are no power dynamics going on. The point was to highlight that first and foremost, sexual relations with family members can only be made "not wrong" under specific conditions, much like people hitting each other.

One may ask why this doesn't apply to all forms of sexual relations, but the simple answer there is that people must form relationships that allow them to even get close enough to preforming a sex act (well, rape and prostitution aside, but you get my point). You already have a relationship and degree of closeness and intimacy with a family member, so it's infinitely easier for that to go over the line, if it weren't for a very strong societial and biological taboo to avoid as such. Unless the society is absoloutely lawless, strangers lack the ability to invade your living/private space and coerce you into sex in the same manner a close relative can. You have to invite someone into that space for that to happen, wheras close family members generally automatically have access. Additionally you don't have any ties or sense of obligation to strangers to let them do as they wish. This is why the teacher/student power dynamic is also really frowned upon, because it tends to abuse a similar degree of access.

You are not really obligated to form a degree of intimacy with strangers but you are practically biologically inclined to for your family. Thus, any stranger you have formed this trust with can be said to have reasonably gained your consent in most equal situations. This can never be the case by default with family members.

Edited by Irysa

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Other couples are not banned from sex/marriage regardless of their chances of their child having a genetic disorder (which may be higher than an incestuous relationship). That does not appear to be logically consistent.

That's not to mention that there are ways for a relationship to be incestuous without the two being related by direct blood (step-family), being married does not guarantee a child (especially if it's GAY incest), and a child from an incestuous relationship is still pretty likely to be normal. Having a brother and sister for parents doesn't suddenly mean you are gonna grow two extra toes, spurt out buck teeth, get lazy eyes, drop 30 IQ points, and get a third nipple. Yes, there is an increased risk, but that is not the same at all since it's also perfectly viable that you'll be normal.

The problem here is in who or what defines a marriage in the first place. If you pick 'the government' and 'whatever makes people feel happy' than the only thing keeping a man from marrying his goat is finding a machine to let the goat give legal consent. After all, it makes him feel happy, it doesn't affect or harm anyone else, and there isn't even the risk of an inbred child or being killed out of jealousy! The only thing really stopping it is the government.

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No, I don't think either one of these should be legal. On the topic of polygamy, if I become a man's wife, I want that to mean something to both of us. If he has multiple wives, it won't mean as much to me anymore because I won't be the only person he calls his wife. I might as well just be called a close friend or something instead. I can also see a lot of men/women fighting with each other over their spouses for attention or whatnot.

Incest is just disgusting to me, nuff said. And as people pointed out, inbred children are more likely to have birth defects. We'd have an increased number of kids with them overall and I don't think anyone wants that.

Other couples are not banned from sex/marriage regardless of their chances of their child having a genetic disorder (which may be higher than an incestuous relationship). That does not appear to be logically consistent.

The thing is, if you banned EVERY couple that had an increased chance of producing a child with defects/disorders, you'd be banning a fuck ton of people. You'd be banning me from marriage, in fact, because I have an increased chance of having a kid with autism (due to having it myself). It's one of the reasons I don't want to have my own child, though.

It's just easier to ban incestuous relationships.

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The reason why incest, when there is a relatively high chance (more than 25%) of bearing an inbred child, is wrong, is because the parents' actions will heavily affect and harm their children. You may argue that an incestuous couple can have safe-sex and avoid it completely, but there is no way to assure this case scenario, nor is there any scientific statistic pointing that the safe-sex scenario is more likely to happen than the unsafe scenario. How is it morally right to bear a deficient inbred child? They will very likely have plenty of issues. It sees both utilitarian and kantian moral views agree with this point. In doubt, should be we in favor of liberty or security?

Just make it illegal to have children. If the woman in the incestuous couple gets pregnant, they need to go a hospital anyway, so the doctors can tell the police if this happens. Someone will almost certainly find out eventually. Simple solution.

Edited by Chiki

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No, I don't think either one of these should be legal. On the topic of polygamy, if I become a man's wife, I want that to mean something to both of us. If he has multiple wives, it won't mean as much to me anymore because I won't be the only person he calls his wife. I might as well just be called a close friend or something instead. I can also see a lot of men/women fighting with each other over their spouses for attention or whatnot.

That isn't a healthy polygamous relationship. So lets say Jill, James, and Mary are all in a relationship. Jill and Mary shouldn't be seeing each other as rivals fighting for James' affection. They also have to love each other, and not see the other as roadblocks stopping James from focusing on them.

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That isn't a healthy polygamous relationship. So lets say Jill, James, and Mary are all in a relationship. Jill and Mary shouldn't be seeing each other as rivals fighting for James' affection. They also have to love each other, and not see the other as roadblocks stopping James from focusing on them.

And I can't see very many polygamous relationships being healthy. Rarely will a whole group of people get along so well like that. It's also possible for two women to like the same man but hate each other's guts.

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And what are the practical consequences of legalizing them?

I care because I'm in search for the truth. What is right and what is not? I'm an only child, so I could never want to engage in sibling incest, and I personally find polygamy gross. But that doesn't mean polygamy and incest are unethical. I'm just being logical, unlike you right now.

Polygamy - I think someone who knows more than me about sociology/psychology needs to weigh in, because humans are complicated.

Incest - Three reasons why I don't support this.

1. The risk of heritable diseases being passed on.

2. Power dynamics exist, even in sibling relationships (not as severe as parent/child, but still pronounced).

3. IIRC, sexual assault is more likely to be done by someone that the victim knows, whether it be family or otherwise. IMO, it'll create more problems for those who are in abusive situations, if it turns into an issue of consent instead of abuse. I'd argue that same-sex sexual assault beforehand doesn't fall under this, because of how family is viewed in society.

(I think abuse in terms of incest should be considered, because of both the power dynamic and the prevalence of it. . .the latter which is "way too often" IMO)

Other couples are not banned from sex/marriage regardless of their chances of their child having a genetic disorder (which may be higher than an incestuous relationship). That does not appear to be logically consistent.

Genetic testing usually isn't done before people attempt to procreate.

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And I can't see very many polygamous relationships being healthy. Rarely will a whole group of people get along so well like that. It's also possible for two women to like the same man but hate each other's guts.

Except if they hated each other they probably wouldn't agree to be in a relationship with each other in the first place.

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1. The risk of heritable diseases being passed on.

2. Power dynamics exist, even in sibling relationships (not as severe as parent/child, but still pronounced).
3. IIRC, sexual assault is more likely to be done by someone that the victim knows, whether it be family or otherwise. IMO, it'll create more problems for those who are in abusive situations, if it turns into an issue of consent instead of abuse. I'd argue that same-sex sexual assault beforehand doesn't fall under this, because of how family is viewed in society.

1. Make incestuous children illegal.

2. There are incestuous relationships in which there are no power dynamics, obviously.

3. Again, there are incestuous relationships in which there is no sexual assault.

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Except if they hated each other they probably wouldn't agree to be in a relationship with each other in the first place.

You sure it is not possible for them to hate each other but comply for the sake of their loved spouse, who might want to marry both?

Haven't you heard of men who have more than one lover (sometimes a wife and a lover) and these lovers know about it, but are willing to go through the mess because of their love for the same person?

1. Make incestuous children illegal.

If it takes too long for a doctor to report to the police and such, they might have to deal with abortion, and abortion in itself has a moral problem that must be solved, eg. Is it right to take another life even if it is merely on its development state? Not to mention it is ilegal.

Edited by Rapier

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And I can't see very many polygamous relationships being healthy. Rarely will a whole group of people get along so well like that. It's also possible for two women to like the same man but hate each other's guts.

zerosabers is right in this case. That would only apply in dating and the like, because polygamy is just like normal marriage in the sense that all parties have to agree to the union. If said women/men are not willing to put up with their lover having multiple spouses, the union will never take place.

You sure it is not possible for them to hate each other but comply for the sake of their loved spouse, who might want to marry both?

Haven't you heard of men who have more than one lover (sometimes a wife and a lover) and these lovers know about it, but are willing to go through the mess because of their love for the same person?

It's possible, but if the women hate each other and both love the man (or switch the genders around) that much, I can almost guarantee that that relationship would not end well. Tensions will boil up, and their mutual hatred will likely result in a divorce from one of the women.

Also, @ Chiki, remember the "exception that proves the rule" article that you linked to in one of our debates? Saying that there are cases that contradict the statement of your opponent is not a legitimate counter-argument.

Edited by Blaze The Great

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1. The risk of heritable diseases being passed on.

This is not a good argument unless you want to say that any potential couple with a notable chance of passing on such genes shouldn't be allowed to have children. Yes, incestuous couples are more likely to share these genes, but any two people can, and we don't stop them from having children.

And, of course, this is only for when children are involved. Children aren't necessary for a relationship between two people.

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You sure it is not possible for them to hate each other but comply for the sake of their loved spouse, who might want to marry both?

Haven't you heard of men who have more than one lover (sometimes a wife and a lover) and these lovers know about it, but are willing to go through the mess because of their love for the same person?

That is certainly possible, but it wouldn't end well for anybody involved. They'd probably all end up leaving each other or at least one of the wives/husbands would.

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It's possible, but if the women hate each other and both love the man (or switch the genders around) that much, I can almost guarantee that that relationship would not end well. Tensions will boil up, and their mutual hatred will likely result in a divorce from one of the women.

Divorce isn't as simple as separating just because one doesn't like something within their marriage, though, and there are many factors that keep people from divorcing even if there's something wrong that makes them consider. Many unhealthy marriages are kept because of these factors.

But then again, that argument is bad because personal responsibility is a thing. We shouldn't ban things because it is unhealhy for an individual, they should do whatever they want with their lives, so long that it doesn't harm third parties.

This is why I think polygamic relationships are very complicated, not only legally but also personally. I'd like to do some research about how many people are willing to share their spouses, should they have one, and if they're ok with having multiple spouses. I intuitively doubt a significant margin will agree to engage in a polygamic relationship ever, which points out to my argument that it won't be legalized anytime soon (regardless if it should be legalized or not, which is the point of this topic).

Yes, incestuous couples are more likely to share these genes, but any two people can, and we don't stop them from having children.

It's difficult to regulate this, though. It would be a law with little efficacy...

Edited by Rapier

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