Dutch Minister Not to Prevent Polygamy

The Dutch authorities are not going to annul the so-called samenlevingscontract or “cohabitation contract,” a civil union registered before a notary, which a man recently concluded with two women whom he now considers to both be his wives. Piet-Hein Donner, the Dutch minister of Justice, responded in the negative to a request of the Dutch parliamentarian Cees Van der Staaij to annul the “trio marriage.” Van der Staaij is a member of the smallest party elected in the January 2003 general elections, the Calvinist SGP, holding two of the 150 seats in parliament.

Homosexual couples are legally allowed to marry in the Netherlands, but those in polygamous relationships must find other ways of formalizing their cohabitation. This is why last September Victor de Bruijn and his two “bisexual” women went to the notary in their wedding attire to exchange rings between the three of them.

Donner, a member of the largest Dutch party, the Christian-Democrat CDA (44 seats), said that such samenlevingscontracten are not illegal because the polygamy prohibition only applies to people that are formally married. According to the minister: “‘Marriage’ denotes ‘civil’ marriage, i.e. marriage as the law exclusively defines it.” The minister stressed that people married in such a [civil] way cannot marry someone else. A cohabitation contract, however, is different, he stated, adding that “contracts that settle the cohabitation of more than two persons can have a useful ordering function.”

SGP leader Bas van der Vlies warned for a legal mess now that the Dutch authorities have sanctioned the union of Victor de Bruijn and his two wives. “These people” van der Vlies said, “have celebrated and publicly confirmed their samenlevingscontract as a marriage. This is about an intimate communion which is more than just a practical arrangement.”

“From a Christian-Democrat minister one might have expected a less acquiescent attitude in such a sensitive matter,” van der Vlies added. “The minister is also ignoring the fact that in this case both women can have children by the same man. This will entail complications, also legally. This is polygamy in practice, and that is something which Dutch law explicitly forbids.”

In the United States the authorities intervene regularly to prevent polygamous relationships, even when these have not been officially registered in “civil” marriage contracts, cohabitation contracts or other types of civil or legal unions.

Since polygamy is a criminal offense, polygamists do not seek marriage licenses. However, even living as married can send you to prison. Prosecutors have asked courts to declare a person as married under common law and then convicted them of polygamy. This is what happened in the case of [Tom] Green, who was sentenced to five years to life in prison. In his case, the state first used the common law to classify Green and four women as constructively married – even though they never sought a license. Green was then convicted of polygamy.

The American authorities recognise polygamy when they see it. The Dutch authorities, apparently, do not. But neither do some American liberals.

Rights of love (4)

@ marcfrans


Welcome to the bizarre world of the 'Twonk Bonk'.


timada: I dread to think  what your local common or garden  Euro-Imam is going to make of all this. 

The common denominator? Nuts!

On the same day I read that red squirrels could be extinct in Britain in a decade or less, Britain's largest teachers union (the N.U.T) wants to abolish Christian (school) assemblies but is happy for British schoolchildren to be required to learn the teachings and rituals of druids, Moonies and Rastafarians as part of the GCSE religious syllabus), along comes timada to complete my day. I wouldn't mind if all this had taken place on April 1st (April Fools Day) but it didn't.





Rights of love # 3


This is getting 'funnier' by the minute.

The reverend Weaver does not want any limits on 'love'.  Do you think that he does not want any government benefits either? And how does the absence of marriage licenses for polygamists limit "love"? Did you get the appropriate number of licenses to cover all your "love" in your long life?

And 'timada' thinks that "liberty" means "the state is making money using the big number of divorces".  Do you think that all of this could be a French plot to make the contemporary Dutch look ridiculous?  Or is my Flemish background making me overly suspicious and 'conspiratorial'?  


The more I read these "flower"-people the more I realize they don't know f..k all about love. May '68 is trying coming back in full force and then some.
Is there a bug at work, eating braincells or such?

Rights of love (2)

"How dare - any- of us place limits on love -- the one thing that this planet could use in -excess-, and in every possible permutation" - Rev. Z (ed/ee)


"I love the Dutch government. I love it because it's an open minded one, clean and beautiful" - timada



Perhaps the Rev Z  and timada should consider gettin' in on  with the Dutch government and one of these little beauties http://regmedia.co.uk/2008/11/10/energy_island.jpg to create for themselves  Holland's first eco-friendly objectophilic foursome.


I love the Dutch government.

I love the Dutch government. I love it because it's an open minded one, clean and beautiful. The state is making money using the big number of divorces; marriage counselors as well... and the liberty is the word that describe this country the best. People there are free indeed. They can decide their lives without the government having a word to say about it. 

Ancient Athens

@ Bob Doney

What you say is completely true. However it is also completely irrelevant.

Only 50 years ago racism was still legal and normal in the USA. Does that mean that everything America or Americans did in that time is bad or stupid?

Of course Ancient Athens wasn't a perfect culture. The fact that large groups were excluded from social and political life is obviously a bad thing. That, however, changes nothing about the fact that they had a free and democratic society. Including sexual freedom.

And calling them 'succesful' is a gross understatement. No civilization before, or since, has had such an impact on world history.

So I'd say they are a pretty good example.

And anyway, I still haven't seen a single good argument for your side of the debate. You won't win the discussion by just attacking minor points... So where are those arguments? Why is consensual polygamy a bad thing? Why should it be illigal? And where will you draw the line, what 'immoral' actions do you propose to ban, and which to grudgingly allow?

uh, no.

I respectfully disagree with your ideas (Diadem) about ancient Greece.

Ancient Greeks had sexual freedom for men. Women were breeding machines and frequently ill used ones at that. i.e. woman ate last & if the food had run out, tough. Women in Sparta were punished for remaining virgins as their bodies as breeders, belonged to the state. Yet, death during childbirth was the greatest killer of women during the Hellenic period (and much, thereafter.)

In the works of Plato, Symposium specifically, he - an ancient Greek in the position to enjoy all the sexual freedom you allude to - bemoaned the tendency of other wealthy, Greek men, to use their lovers in such ways as to deviate them from a righteous path. Hence, Plutonic love, as an ideal came in the vocabulary. However, given that the people of the time saw great abuses in their own society's expression of sexual freedom, is their society one that we should consider emulating in our present day?

Also, the Greeks bloomed and died within about 500-800 years. Given that the Egyptians lasted closer to 3000 years, I would hardly call the Athenians a benchmark civilization.

As to the core subject at hand, the appropriateness of polygamy/polyandry in Dutch society, this is the best example I can offer you.

Speed limits.

The average speed limit in (an American) suburb is about 35-40 miles an hour. And yet we know there are people capable of driving much faster. We see them on tv in their various sponsored race cars. However, when say - Mario Andretti goes tooling through Hyde Park, he does NOT get to drive 295 mph. He gets to drive 40 mph, just like the rest of us. Even though he can safely drive faster then the average person: he was better training, better reflexes, and yes when he is on the circuit, a better car & supporting car maintenance infrastructure than the rest of us. But, he is still not permitted to drive as fast as he wants to, even if driving as fast as he wants to would make him happy. The cost of non-qualified drivers imitating his speed, without having his skills is too high.

It is entirely possible that husband, wife, and friend can have a happy relationship & while not likely due to the very real phenomenon of human selfishness, it is possible that the specific trio in question can live without harm to themselves. Do we allow them to?

No. No more than we allow Mario Andretti to drive as fast as he wants to even though he is probably a better driver at 100 mph than the rest of us are at 40. We would be stating that death (given that crash severity increases with speed), is an acceptable social price if the happiness of the driver depends on the freedom to speed.

Polygamy has very real and negative consequence in the majority of societies that have practiced it. Women are forced to compete for emotional and material resources. Minor children come to greater harm (i.e. death) as multiple wives manipulate their own children into the favored heir position. Unattached young males, historically speakin, were an intentional by-product of polygamous societies because of the need for canon fodder. Children grow up without a stable father figure as there is not enough time in a single man (patriarch’s) day to spend time with his children. 'Fatherless' children, both in current, as well as historical times, are more likely to be violent and delinquent – a cost to society; and lacking in self esteem – a high cost to the child.

Given that the majority of polygamous marriages fall into this rather failed norm - abusive, though usually for economic reasons – stable (in less economically developed parts of the world than are own); we do not allow the rare polygamous marriage that would be non-abusive to be actualized. The cost to society in the continue monitoring of the marriage/family for abuse is too high.

Likewise, the cost is equally too high in allowing persons who cannot make a successful polygamous union to try because other people (those who might succeed) were given permission to try. The dramatic failure of marriage (divorce/abandonment or worse, murder) is emotionally, financially, even physically horrific to all involved. Like a car crash at a greater speed, the failure of a polygamous marriage is more horrific as there are more participants.

Car crashes, like the failure of marriage, are possibilities. We do not know that a specific instance of high speed will produce a crash; and yet still, we have speed limits. Thus, I conclude, we have the right to insist on monogamous marriage as the best compromise between individual happiness and social costs that we, as a human society, has come up with even though we can not predict that a specific polygamous marriage will fail.

Polygamy and Women?


I think you make most your points based only on the fact that society drills into us early what the 'proper' family unit should be.

I notice you taking sides with monogamy and then simply finding examples for when polygamy doesn't work. In other words you've done no real contemplation of both sides of the argument. And simply to refute this I would ask you to look up divorce rates in 'anti-polygomist' American today, I beleive the number now is is 43% of marriages end in divorce. My goal is not to put down polygomy or monogamy or marriage, rather, there is problems in all of them, and I think it's unfair to point out the problems in just one and say.. "look there.. that's why it's wrong"

"Polygamy has very real and negative consequence in the majority of societies that have practiced it. Women are forced to compete for emotional and material resources. Minor children come to greater harm."

You're absolutely right, WOMEN (beind the key word) did have to compete for resources, this however touches on another problem which I think is not rooted in polygamy, instead I think this has more to say about the view on Men as the breadwinners and Women and the ones being homemakers. Basically it says more about the negative impact the genders roles assigned by our culture has on marriages.

The practice and acceptance of polygamy has played a role in succesful and unsucessful civilizations, what is seen is that it is more accepted in cultures in which the familes lived in more 'spread out' conditions usually in spread out farms.

- Pre-colonial era in Africa, the economic activities were centered around subsistence agriculture. This type of farming requires lots of manpower. In order to establish the mode of production that was going to be beneficial to the entire society, the polygynous form was preferred. -

Also I think your analogy of driving to marriage is innacurately presented. You notice yourself that Mario Andretti can indeed drive 295 mph, on a private racetrack which we view on TV, and that's just the point, in the interest that we don't want him to hurt himself or the spectators... shouldn't we apply the same speed limits to these tracks?

There is a difference between the private racetrack and a residential street, and We make laws accordingly. It's expected that those cars will go fast, and if you don't think it's too dangerous, Don't go to the raceway .... or.. BE monogomous. But I think it would be rather inappropriate for you to go there and tell everyone what they're doing should be ilegal.

I think what a home and family are should be decisions of free thinking rational individuals within that family, I think it's a very private decision. I think that three people who want to be together shouldn't have to defend themselves and explain to everyone why they should be together.

Do two people wanting to be together have to explain themselves to the world and explain why they are morally right in doing so? most would think that it's silly to say such a thing... Because it's normal, it's the widely accepted view of the family and the norm, thus needs no questioning.

and Indeed you hear it on the news, and by the religios, by the political.... "X is corrupting the american family" X being Gays, Lesbians, polygamists... etc. Statistically, almost half of marriages end divorce... I the cause of grief in family is elsewhere. And in reality I think america is just seeing the redefinition of what a family is.

Rights of love.

What right does -any- government have to decide how people choose to commune, to share love, or to share a home? It is a matter of personal ethic, and is not, in any case, something that individuals outside of the relationship should determine.

How dare -any- of us place limits on love -- the one thing that this planet could use in -excess-, and in every possible permutation!

Rev. Z. S. Weaver


First of all a quick reply to Bob Doney:

To be honest I know nothing of this Tom Green case. The first time I ever heard of it was in the quote given in the main article. If one of his wives was a 13 year old girl the situation changes of course. A 13 year old can give informed consent to a union. It's not a relationship between consenting adults if one of the involved person isn't an adult.

Paul Belien gave just that one quote to illustrate his opinion. So I base my counterargument on that one quote. Anyway, that changes nothing about the central issue of course. It just means this specific case can't be used as an example.

Now back to the main issue:

I never said that nazism is a logical result of not allowing polygamy. But the extreme intolerence that characterizes nazism is what you get if you follow the line of reasoning that starts with banning polygamy consistently and rationally.

Nazism is the logical result of making your own view of the world a moral absolute that everybody ought to follow, and consistently and rationally applying it.

Like I said before, most people aren't very consistent in their moral and political reasoning. That's usually a bad thing, but here it has an unexpected benefit :)

Freedom and democracy are rooted in culture. I agree with that. But every succesful culture in history has always been tolerant towards people who deviate from the mainstream culture. Fundamentalistic cultures are never free, and never democratic.

The interesting thing about the current Western cultures is that they are, by and large, pretty tolerant. Different religions or political ideals are allowed, for example. The intolerance against sexually deviant activities is not the rule, but the exception. This explains why we can live in a free democracy, despite this intolerant attitude.

This does not make it a good thing though!

Activities like homophilia or polygamy harm noone, and seem to make the people involved happy. You still have not given a single argument why we should ban this. Saying that it is morally wrong is not enough. You don't want to ban everything that you consider morally wrong, do you?

So give some arguments to back up your opinion.

An example of a civilization that was both free and democratic, and allowed polygamy is easy: Ancient Athens

Free and democratic

Ancient Athens wasn't so free for the slaves, the women, anyone not born of Athenian parents, and the poor old islanders who had to keep paying for it all.

Bob Doney



The conclusion is that most people are not consistent in their moral and political reasoning. That can hardly be a surprise.

The conclusion is also that you have not read what I said very well. I think I was being quite clear. But perhaps a 2-line post where you attack a point I never even made is easier than seriously addressing my arguments? Yes, that must be it.

Luckily the reverse isn't true. I have an easy time addressing the few arguments you give.

Most Arab countries indeed allow polygamy. However there, it is clearly not a case of consensual polygamy. Women aren't offered much choice in the matter. Or, in fact, in any other matter. This is not what I am talking about. In fact Arab countries offer about as little personal freedom as is possible. They are exactly what we do not want.

In most aspects, the USA is infinitely better. In some, however, they are not. Sentencing someone to prison for 5 years because he lives with 2 women is one of those things.

culture is the key

If Arab countries allow polygamy, they allow consensual polygamy as well. Your point was that we should allow consensual polygamy. You started to make a reference to Nazism, implying that it was the logical result of not allowing polygamy.
The freedom and democracy we enjoy is rooted in a culture. This culture does not allow consensual polygamy. If you can show me a civilisation that allowed polygamy and was a free and democratic society at the same time, I am prepared to reconsider.

My Point

Actually, yes, that is exactly my point. If you want to have a rational and consistent world view, at least.

First, let's make clear what is the issue here. I'm not talking about forced polygamy, where a man can just pick a second wife with the opinion of his first wife being irrelevant. That's clearly a form of abuse, people are hurt then.

The issue at hand is consensual polygamy. A hetrosexual man and two bisexual women who decide to start a threesome. Each involved party agrees and they each are happy with the arrangement.

You judge this as morally wrong. But you go one step further than that even, you say it should be illigal, you say it should be punished. A man in the USA was sentenced to 5 years of prison for something like this, and you clearly approve.

However these people have never hurt anybody. Their actions have not harmed anyone, not even themselves.

How do you justify punishing such people? Because of divine command? Because your morality is the only true one and everybody in the world should follow it, regardless of the consequences?

And where do you draw the line? If you want to punish people for not following your moral guidelines, what else will you punish? Is skipping church on sundays worth a fine, or should you go to jail for that? What about non-believers, or people with the wrong believe? What about socialists? Not only are those immoral, they are also hurting people by it (unless you like riots in the Frence capital). Should we punish them too? But in that case you've effectively abolished democracy, and replaced it with a system in which even a wrong thought can put you in jail.

That, Mr. Belien, is nazism.

Of course, I know that you don't really want that. I'm not accusing you of having such a worldview. But you propose punishing people who haven't harmed anyone or anything, just because you disagree with their actions from your own moral perspective. If you consequently and rationally follow that line of reasoning, nazism is where you inevitably end up.

Most people are not consequent in their view. Somewhere along the line of reasoning I gave they'll say "Enough is enough. I'm a human being, I can't justifiy punishing people for that". Which is a humane thing of course. But even better would be to not start along this path of thought at all, so your world view is both humane and consequent. Which leads us back to the beginning: Allowing polygamy.

Mr Green in the slammer

A man in the USA was sentenced to 5 years of prison for something like this, and you clearly approve.

However these people have never hurt anybody. Their actions have not harmed anyone, not even themselves.

Tom Green's family? There is at least a point of view that Mr Green may have harmed his family in spite of their protestations to the contrary, not least his 13 year old bride who later bore him seven children. You may think his conduct is perfectly splendid and healthy, but I would have thought that it's possible to argue that it's contrary to society's best interests - and especially to his children's interests - to allow such behaviour.

Anyway, there are tens of thousands of people living polygamously in the States. Most are left alone by the authorities. Tom Green's case was exceptional and there was more to it than having a few wives.

Bob Doney

So allowing a man and two

So allowing a man and two women to live together is morally despicable, but throwing someone who has never hurt a fly in jail for five years is the epitome of civilization.

It seems to me that somewhere you logic is very seriously flawed.

Are you seriously saying that is it right for people to force their morality on others? That it's right to punish people who have never harmed anybody all their lives, just because you do not like the way they are living?

Where will you draw the line? So living together with two women is good for 5 years in jail. What about having consensual sex with 2 women at once? What about not going to church? What about working on sunday? What about not celebrating Yom Kippur? Oh, wait, damn, that last one is the wrong religion.

But what will we do with the Jews? They are clearly despicably immoral, but we already tried gassing them once, and that didn't work. Hmm, what to do, what to do?

Nazi Polygamy

What is your point, Mr. or Ms. "from the Netherlands"? That one has to approve polygamy in order to prove that one isn't a Nazi? Is this the newest "argument" among the secularized Dutch? If you want polygamy just wait for a Sharia republic in the Netherlands. Then, I am sure, you will get another attempt at gassing the Jews.

It never ceases to amaze me

It never ceases to amaze me why some people think the state should intervene in what N consenting adults do in the privacy of their own home. If Victor and his two brides choose to live together and arrange their own affairs with a legal tool available, why should you or the state take an intrest?


What about non-consenting children? Is it OK for them to have 11 dads and 68 mums?

Bob Doney